Alternatives to Chlorine to Keep Your Pool Water Sparkling

ThinkstockPhotos-99020435Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to swimming in a backyard pool is the irritation that chlorine may cause. Chlorine is an effective cleanser for pools, but it has many downsizes such as a pungent odor, eye and skin irritation, and the potential for allergic reactions. Many homeowners have the misconception that salt water pools will eliminate chlorine and reduce these irritating qualities, but salt water pools actually do contain chlorine; they just produce their own chlorine with a self-sustained system. There are, however, some chemical alternatives to chlorine that can be effective for sanitizing and oxidizing your pool, and these are discussed in greater detail below.


As a close cousin to chlorine, bromine can do similar work in killing harmful bacteria without the irritation of chlorine, though it is not as effective in oxidizing pool water. Therefore, bromine on its own may leave water with a green tint, so many homeowners will opt for a bromine and chlorine combination. One clear advantage of bromine is its stability at high temperatures, which makes it common for use in spas.


An ozonator is an addition to the filtration line of the pool that pumps ozone gas into the water to react with bacteria and other impurities. These devices are highly effective in the Tucson climate, since they run best on dry air. Ozonators do not completely eliminate the need for chlorine, but they can reduce use by as much as 90%.


PHMB, or polyhexamethylene biguanide, is the only true alternative to chlorine, since it is actually completely incompatible with chlorine. PHMB works by trapping particles from bacteria in a gel that will sink to the bottom of the pool where a vacuum system will suck it up. It is much gentler on skin, hair, and eyes, and offers lower maintenance than other pool chemicals. If you do make the switch to PHMB, you will need to drain your pool and rinse off all pool gear to avoid a reaction with lingering chlorine.

With the help of Carl Ragel’s Natural Pools & Gardens, you can find the ideal solutions for your residential pool in Tucson. To connect with us for a look at your pool cleaning and filtration options, call us at (520) 323-2627.