Why Does My Pool Get Cloudy When I Vacuum? Here’s Why!

Why Does My Pool Get Cloudy When I Vacuum? Pool maintenance is a must if you’re looking to have crystal clear water that you can be proud of. To do this, you’d occasionally have to vacuum the dirt from the bottom of your pool. But it can quickly turn cloudy if done wrong. 

For one, your pool can become cloudy if you move your vacuum head around too quickly while vacuuming. You could easily push the settled dirt back into the water. In essence, move your vacuum slowly and in one direction while vacuuming. If it gets easily agitated, add a flocculant before you proceed. 

Also know, the presence of air gaps in the pump may significantly reduce circulation. In that case, your vacuum is doing less vacuuming and more pushing dirt around. Ensure that your pump is filled with water before you start vacuuming. 

What Makes Pool Water To Become Cloudy?

If your pool water is increasingly cloudy, any of the following could be the problem: 

  • Poor water chemistry
  • Low chlorine levels
  • Poor filtration
  • Presence of contaminants. 

Here’s how any of these factors affect your pool water clarity: 

Poor Water Chemistry

The hygiene of any pool is directly linked to its chemical balance. In essence, if you desire to have crystal clear water in your pool, you need to pay close attention to its PH level, Calcium hardness level, and Total Alkalinity. 

Of utmost importance to your pool’s hygiene is the Chlorine levels. But did you know that to maintain the right chlorine level, the PH level has to be just right? 

A pool’s PH is a measure of how acidic or basic your pool is. The ideal PH level should be between 7.2 and 7.8. Any reading outside these values simply means that the water is too basic or acidic and will give room for the growth of algae. 

Also, in cases where Calcium hardness is not addressed quickly, it could cause the buildup of scales in your pool’s circulation and filtration system, causing poor filtration. 

Low Chlorine Levels

Cloudy water is an indication that your pool is not clean enough. The chlorine helps to keep bacteria and pathogens at bay so that your pool is clean at all times. The moment free chlorine depletes beyond a certain level, pathogens begin to populate the water. The result will be cloudy pool water. 

Furthermore, washing off sunscreen from swimmers’ bodies and the effect of UV rays on free chlorine effect (negatively) the level of chlorine in your pool, causing your pool water to become cloudy. Pathogens, bacteria, and cloudy water form when there’s not enough chlorine to sanitize your water. Chlorine levels can drop if there’s lots of debris like leaves in your pool.

Poor Filtration

Your filtration system must be clean and efficient enough to trap debris of every size. If your filtration system is not working as it should, then tiny particles can easily reenter your pool as you run it.No matter how long it runs, your pool water will never be rid of the floating fine particles because they’ll come right back in. 

Presence Of Contaminants 

Contaminants can be anything: dust, leaves, bird droppings, sunscreens from bodies, and so on. The longer these contaminants stay in the pool, the better the chances of algae growth that could make it cloudy. 

How To Clear Cloudy Pool Water

Now that we know what makes your pool water turn cloudy, it’s only natural to ask the next question: ‘how can I clear cloudy pool water?’ The next solutions are possible fixes for your cloudy pool problem:

Solution 1 – Check And Balance Pool Water PH, Calcium Hardness, And Total Alkalinity

If your pool is to be as clear as day, you must get the chemistry levels right. If you don’t know what the ideal numbers are, here they are: 

  • PH level: 7.2 – 7.8
  • Alkalinity: 100 – 150 ppm(parts per million)
  • Calcium hardness: 175 – 225 ppm for pools with vinyl liners; 275 ppm for plaster and concrete pools. 

Any of the following solutions(or a combination) should take care of your cloudy pool water. Take a look: 

Balance Total Alkalinity(TA) Levels

Depending on the TA reading you get, you may need to increase or decrease alkalinity in your pool. To boost alkalinity levels, add sodium bicarbonate or an alkalinity booster to the water. 

To decrease alkalinity levels, add muriatic acid or any suitable ph decreaser. 

Balance Pool PH Levels

Calcium can quickly build up if the PH becomes high. In the reverse, low PH levels can make free chlorine react rapidly. In both cases, your pool water is at risk of turning cloudy. But no matter the case, you can use a PH increaser or decreaser(depending) to bring the PH levels within range. 

Balance The Calcium Hardness 

The buildup of calcium can easily cause a cloudy pool and build scales within your circulation system. 

If your water source is Calcium-rich, try draining the pool and refilling it while using a hose filter to keep some of the minerals out. 

As a last resort, add muriatic acid to raise your pool’s saturation level and hence, restore balance to your pool water. 

Solution 2 – Balance Chlorine Levels

You should be interested in two types of Chlorine levels in your pool: Free Chlorine(FC) and Combined Chlorine levels. While the former is a measure of how much chlorine is available to sanitize your pool, the other measures how much chlorine is in combined form(Chloramines)- and should be kept as low as possible. 

To boost free chlorine density, use a pool shock having about 60% – 80% Calcium hypochlorite to shock your pool. 

To combat the free chlorine-depleting effect of the sun’s UV rays, you can cyanuric acid as needed. The ideal cyanuric acid level is between 30 – 50 ppm. 

Solution 3 – Maintain Pool’s Filtration System

If you’re constantly getting debris in your pool when you pump water, you may need to backwash your filter. However, you cannot backwash a cartridge filter; manually clean it to remove the build-up. 

Also, check your skimmer basket and clean out the debris if full. In the spirit of cleaning, you may also need to replace your filter media, e.g add fresh diatomaceous earth to your sand filter. 

Will a Cloudy Pool Clear Out On its Own?

Yes, if the conditions are met, your cloudy pool should clear on its own. By ‘conditions’ we mean that your chemistry levels have to be balanced, your filters; functional, algae growth; non-existent, and chlorine levels; optimal. 

On the other hand, if you feel you’ve done everything there is and it’s still not clear, try using a pool flocculant or clarifier. A cloudy pool may mean that there are particles so fine(and light) they can’t seem to sink to the bottom. A flocculant allows the fine particles suspended in the water to recombine and sink to the bottom of the pool. A pool clarifier works in much the same way. 

Why Is My Pool Cloudy When Chemicals Are Balanced? 

The major cause of cloudy water in a pool is unbalanced water chemistry. But if all pool water levels readings are within range, we can safely tick water chemistry off our suspect list. The other two suspects are environmental factors and poor filtration systems. 

If your water chemistry is balanced, be sure that severe weather is not messing with your pool. The surroundings of your pool matter a lot in case you were wondering. Wildlife, construction sites, harsh weather, insects, and so on, can contribute negatively to your pool’s hygiene. Covering your pool when it’s not in use is great to help for keeping all manner of things out of your pool. This, in turn, helps to keep your pool clear. 

Lastly, is your pool filter in top condition? If your filter media Is clogged you might be pumping fine filth into your pool, and that’s probably why the pool water is cloudy. Change your filter medium. Sand filters usually need to be changed after 5 years of use; cartridge filters should be replaced after 2 years. 

Is Too Much Chlorine In a Pool Harmful?

Yes, too much chlorine in your pool can have nasty side effects on swimmers. As the major pool disinfectant for pools, chlorine often gets overused. The result is side effects such as lung, skin, or eye irritation. In worse cases, it could instigate asthma. 

These side effects are even more severe if it’s an indoor swimming pool. According to Cleveland Clinic, swimming in indoor pools exposes swimmers to high doses of chlorine in the air and increases the chances for chlorine-related side effects: wheezing, coughing, throat burns, etc. Competitive swimmers who spend a lot of time in pools are more prone to these side effects than recreational swimmers. 

When chlorine disinfects your pool, it combines with ammonia(mostly swimmers’ sweat, pee and other waste products) to form chloramine. Chloramines cause the strong smell you have come to associate with chlorine. In outdoor pools, the chloramine is quickly dissipated in the air. In an indoor swimming pool, however, it hovers a few inches above the pool- right where swimmers draw their breath, increasing the risk for lung infections. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that the air conditioning system in indoor pool settings is properly set up to allow circulation of air and prevent the buildup of chloramines. 

How Do You Keep A Pool Clean Naturally

If, like many pool owners, you’re sick and tired of all the risks associated with chlorine and other pool chemicals, consider keeping your pool clean by going all-natural. Here are three solutions for your consideration: 

Saltwater Treatment

A popular alternative to chlorine treatment is by using a saltwater disinfectant. With saltwater systems, the amount of chlorine needed by the pool is present in sodium chloride is generated on-site – as needed. The process is automatic, unlike conventional chlorine pools where you would have to add liquid chlorine or tablets manually. 

Overall, salt systems are less harsh and more comfortable for swimmers. They also require less maintenance because now, you don’t have to store, handle or manually add chlorine in its harsh form into your pool. 

However, long exposure to the slightly saline water may react and wear down certain deck materials. Plantlife around the pool that receives a steady dose of saltwater may also be adversely affected. Metals in constant contact with salt water may also experience early deterioration overtime. 

Ozone Purification

Ozone(triatomic oxygen) is the most efficient FDA-approved pool water purification solution. Being a strong antioxidant, Ozone makes small work of harmful bacteria, annihilating them and stopping them from accumulating in your pipe systems.  

Ozone-purified pools don’t require any harsh chemicals. The generated ozone is a naturally occurring substance and helps to restore oxygen into the pools without leaving harmful byproducts behind. In essence, you won’t experience red eyes and other problems associated with chlorine-disinfected pools. 

However, for all the benefits of Ozone, its effect can only last between 20 to 60 minutes in the pool before it starts to fade. Therefore the pool water would have to be allowed to constantly pass through the ozone generator to maintain the pool ozone level.

Ultraviolet(UV) Purification

Ultraviolet pool sanitation is a method which uses light of short wavelengths to destroy all kinds of dangerous microorganisms in the pool. Some chlorine-resistant pathogens can also be annihilated using UV light. 

Like other methods in this list, ultraviolet light purification kills harmful microorganisms through natural means and leaves no harmful byproducts behind.

How Long Should It Take To Clear A Cloudy Pool? 

Assuming that your pool’s filter is working perfectly, the water chemicals are balanced and there are no contaminants in your pool, then you can take one last step: add a dose of pool flocculant into your pool water. A clarifier will do a great job also, but a flocculant will do a faster job(since you need your pool clear in no time). 

When a flocculant is added to cloudy pool water, it should recombine the floating particles between 8 – 16 hours of use. By the second day, you should have a clear pool, unlike clarifiers that take up to 72 hours. 

If you’re looking for the best flocculant for your pool, here’s what we recommend: 

BioGuard PowerFloc Pool Flocculant

PowerFloc Pool flocculant is effective for clearing debris from your pool by binding them together so that they sink to the bottom. Now you only have to worry about one thing- vacuuming.

This result leaves your pool sparkling clean. 


  • No PH requirements- just use. 
  • Takes 6 – 18 hours to bind debris.
  • Safe for cartridge filter.
  • Easy to use. 


  • Will not reduce pool water hardness. 
  • Now you have to vacuum.

Conclusion on Why Does My Pool Get Cloudy When I Vacuum?

If the bottom of your pool is cloudy, you would need to be careful about how you move your vacuum while cleaning it. Administer a pool flocculant or clarifier to your pool to help bind the fine particles so that you can vacuum your pool more easily. Most times, the best way to tackle cloudy pool water is to avoid it; cover your pool and clean out your filters when needed and you should be fine.