Frugal Living » Saving Tips: Making your Own Pool Chemicals

Saving Tips: Making your Own Pool Chemicals

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Adding chemicals to your pool and spa can get expensive rather quickly! Here are some common household items you can use to maintain a sparkling clean pool.

Making your Own Pool Chemicals

The following substitute options are intended for pools that use chlorine or bromine chemistry. These options are  should never be used with any type of copper/silver or Baquanide systems (such as Baquacil™, SoftSwim™).

Alkalinity Increaser

To increase alkalinity you can use Baking Soda- which can be purchased in bulk at club stores. It runs about $6 for a 12# bag at Costco, which is less than half price of a 10# pail ($18.29) at the local pool supply store.

While it’s fine to substitute baking soda in the pool, it’s NOT okay to substitute pool/spa alkalinity products in your baking. Yes- people ask this.

As a rule of thumb, 1.5 lbs per 10,000 gallons of pool water will increase total alkalinity by 10 ppm. The recommended alkalinity level for a swimming pool is 80-120 ppm.


If you’re utilizing a chlorine based product, you will save money by adding your chlorine in the evening, rather than the daytime. This is because chlorine breaks down by sunlight, which in turn, causes you to add more to obtain the desired results.

When pool temperatures are above 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, chlorine dissipates faster, algae grows even better and the formation of scale is likely to occur. Scale is caused by calcium carbonate deposits.


Common unscented household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) works well to shock a pool. To increase the chlorine level by 5ppm in a 10,000 gallon pool, you would need 1/2 Gallon of basic household bleach.


PH Increaser:

If you need to increase the ph of your swimming pool (which should be between 7.2 and 4.6) you can use pure Borax. The Borax works the same way as soda ash based ph increasers. You use the same amount of borax as you would it’s retail counterpart.

Please note- be sure you are using BORAX (sodium tetraborate), and NOT a detergent that contains borax or I promise, you will have a very nasty mess on your hands.

See Also: Swimming Pools on the Cheap

*Additional Disclaimer- this information is provided “as is” and (owners,members,guests,etc) shall have no liability for any damages (whether direct, indirect, consequential or otherwise) arising from the use, attempted use or application of any of the hints described in the site. Means- you are responsible for your OWN actions and can’t blame me.

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