Beginner's Guide to Swimming Pool Chemicals

I was super excited when I purchased my first Intex Easy Set Deluxe Pool and remember spending every single minute of my free time swimming or just floating in my beloved pool.

Although I did my pre-purchase homework and bought all the right accessories for my pool, I lagged behind on the pool chemistry — the most important part of pool care.

As a novice pool owner, I had no idea how important it is to use the proper chemicals to maintain a clean and clear pool. Within a few days, my sparkling clean pool started to lose its beauty and the water started turning cloudy.

That was when one of my dear friends came to the rescue and guided me through the pool maintenance routine. “Your pool needs cleaning, toning, moisturizing — just like your face.” Those were her exact words to me, which I have never forgotten.

I know that there are a lot of excited new pool owners out there who, like me, may be overwhelmed by their new purchase and may need some coaching on basic Pool Chemicals. Then you can enjoy spending more time in your pool and less time wondering which chemicals to use and when.

Pool Shocks

Pool Shock and Super Chlorinating Chemicals are some of the most important pool chemicals and are the base of your pool maintenance routine. When added to water, these sanitizing chemicals oxidize organic contaminants such as bacteria, deactivating and destroying them.


Shock chemicals are extremely powerful oxidizers that are used when extra contaminant-killing power is required, such as at the beginning of the season and after heavy pool usage. Shock chemicals come in different varieties, like Chlorine Pool Shock and Chlorine-Free Pool Shock.

For detailed information on pool shocks, see Lauren's post: "The Many Types of Pool Shock."

Pool Sanitizers

There are multiple types and brands of pool sanitizers available on the market, but Chlorine Tablets are the most commonly used sanitizing chemical. Chlorine comes in liquid, granular, tablet and stick form, and it is an inexpensive and effective way to sanitize your pool.

Some folks find chlorine to be too harsh and don't like chlorine's strong smell, so for bathers like these, there are several alternatives used to sanitize your pool water and keep it contaminant free.

Image credit: Los Angeles Times

Bromine is another sanitizing chemical that can be used to keep water sparkling clean without any harsh odors and side effects like red eyes and skin irritation. Bromine is sold in 1-inch tabs and has many advantages over chlorine, but you'll also pay about twice as much as for chlorine tabs.

Along with the traditional pool sanitizers like chlorine and bromine, there are several options available for green or alternative purification; these options include natural and enzyme-based chemicals.

In The Swim offers a broad range of Chlorine-Free and Alternative Pool Chemicals, including Aqua Silk Chlorine-Free Pool Chemical System and the Natural Chemistry Water Treatment System.

Stabilizers and Balancing Chemicals

Other important swimming pool chemicals include Water Balancing Pool Chemicals. Chemical levels in your pool water are affected by many factors, including sunlight, rain, evaporation and the presence of oils. This means that the water's chemical levels are always changing, which affects the water's pH levels and total alkalinity.

Balancing chemicals such as pH Increaser and pH Reducer allow you to keep pH and alkalinity levels in the right range and help maintain healthy and clean water. Water balancing pool chemicals also help enhance the performance of your sanitizer, reducing maintenance time and chemical use.

While bromine cannot be stabilized, or protected from the sun, chlorine's life can be extended by using stabilizer, aka conditioner. Stabilizing pool chemicals provide protection for chlorine molecules, preventing them from becoming quickly destroyed by UV radiation from the sun. This allows your chlorine-based chemicals to last longer, which saves money and prevents rapid depletion on warm summer days.

Pool Algaecidesno-mor-problems

Pool algaecides are also a great help when it comes to keeping your pool free from the ugly and annoying algae attacks. Algae is a form of plant life that grows in water and can cause many problems in swimming pools; making the water cloudy and clogging up filtration systems.

Algaecides are special chemicals that kill algae and prevent its future growth. In The Swim Algaecide and No Mor Problems Algaecide are not only great at eliminating and preventing algae, they are also very affordable and easy to use.

Stain Removal and Prevention

Stains and ugly water lines are another issue that most pool owners have to deal with. Pool Stain Removal & Stain Prevention Chemicals effectively remove and prevent stains that can be caused by metals such as copper, iron, lead, silver, nickel, manganese, and cobalt. These metals are a major cause for discoloration and scaling in your pool water; pool stain removers disperse these metals from your water, leaving it clear and clean. By using stain prevention chemicals on regular basis, the need for backbreaking scrubbing and cleaning will be greatly reduced and it will be far easier to maintain a beautifully clean pool environment.

Chemical Kits

beginner's guide to pool chemicals

Along with using the above-mentioned chemicals on weekly basis, you can use Pool Chemical Value Packs. These chemical kits are especially for pool openings and closings, and contain everything you will need for a successful winterizing or an easy breezy pool opening.

Pool chemical kits take the guess work out of preparing your pool for closing or opening and contain pre-measured chemicals based on your pool size. Just follow the directions and with one convenient package, you have all you need to close or start up your pool.

Swimming pool chemicals play an important role in maintaining clean, clear water. By killing contaminants, maintaining water's chemical balance, and preventing stains, these chemicals are absolutely vital to creating a safe and sanitary environment where you can hang out with family and friends, or simply enjoy some special relaxing time.

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.