Can Sunscreen Make Pool Water Cloudy?

If you have a pool, you may be wondering if your sunscreen is having an effect on the water. When you research how to clear pool water that is cloudy, you’ll find that the first step is figuring out the cause–the answer may be your sunscreen.

Why Wear Sunscreen in the Pool?

Assuming your pool is outdoors, you’ll be exposed to UV rays while swimming. Even when there are clouds in the sky, your skin is still at risk. 

According to dermatologists, wearing sunscreen can help prevent uncomfortable sunburns, signs of aging, skin discoloration, inflammation, and, most importantly, skin cancer. When spending time outdoors, choose a sunscreen that is labeled with SPF 30 or higher.

How Do I Apply Sunscreen for the Pool?

Apply your sunscreen at least twenty minutes before going swimming. Once you’ve been in the pool for some time, it will start to wear off. For that reason, you’ll need to reapply every forty to eighty minutes, depending on how water-resistant the product is.

What Causes Cloudy Pool Water?

While wearing sunscreen is essential, we’re here to talk about what makes pool water cloudy. In most cases, it can have a few different causes. For example, you may be curious about phosphates (naturally occurring organisms that collect in pool water). 

Can phosphates cause cloudy pool water? If the levels reach higher than 1,000 parts per billion, it most certainly can. High levels of calcium can also cause pool water to become cloudy.

Once you see the water start to cloud up or algae appear in your pool, you may be tempted to whip out the bleach and dump some in your pool–but does bleach actually clear cloudy pool water? While it can solve a minor cloudiness problem, it’s not specifically formulated for pools so that it can cause other problems with the chemical balance of the water.

What Sunscreen Does to Pool Water

As sunblock dissolves in your pool, it reacts with the chlorine and other chemicals in the water. This unfortunately can cause it to turn cloudy. This is a necessary evil, as we know how important it is to stay protected from UV rays when you’re outside.

How to Remove Sunscreen From a Pool

Thankfully, there are ways to get sunscreen out of a pool. In fact, you can take some steps before swimmers even enter the water. Adding a scum remover before anyone starts swimming can cut back on the amount of time it takes for pool water to clear up once clouds have formed. Scum remover enzymes work by dissolving oils and lotions naturally to make cloudiness disappear.

Another solution is to give your pool a shock treatment after you’re done swimming. If you do this, you’ll want to keep people out of the water until your chlorine levels come back normal (between one and four PPM).

Another way to tackle sunblock in your pool is to implement rules for swimmers. For example, you can require that they wait twenty minutes after applying their sunscreen before entering the water to give it time to set into their skin. Most likely, not everyone will follow your rules so it’s important to keep the above cloud control steps in mind.

In a Nutshell

Having sunscreen in your pool isn’t fun because it can cause cloudiness in the water. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent and remove the cloudiness. By being proactive, you can keep your pool in tip-top shape all summer long. 

If you’re looking for more advice on how to maintain your pool or spa, check out our other articles. You’ll become an expert on pool care in no time!

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