Last Updated on October 19, 2021
Chlorine has been the most widely used pool sanitizer ever since because it does a great job killing bacteria, germs, and viruses in your pool water, helps in controlling the organic debris from body oils and sweat, and stops algae from taking over your pool. And you can’t take away the fact of how inexpensive it is to use on your pool.
As popular as chlorine is to pool owners, there are still some people who might be allergic to it. If you’re not allergic, the strong chemical smell from chlorine may deter you from using it. You also have to consider that being exposed to chlorine for long periods may cause eye or skin irritation.
The good news is it’s not the only sanitizer that you can use to achieve clean and clear swimming pool water, there are numerous alternatives to chlorine for pools that are way safer and gentler to your skin and eyes.
If you’re one of those people who are looking for the best substitute for chlorine, here are our recommendations.
Alternatives to Chlorine For Pools You Could Consider
Bromine is a great alternative to chlorine. It can be used by those allergic to chlorine, however, this may not apply to all since bromine is still in the same halogen chemical family as chlorine.
Bromine is a capable pool sanitizer but sunlight can easily burn away parts of bromine faster compared to chlorine. Chlorine has better protection against this that’s why it’s good for outdoor pools.
If you will be using bromine on an outdoor swimming pool, you will be forced to use more of it to counteract the sun’s effect.
This pool chemical offers well-balanced pool water and gives you more stability with regards to your water chemistry levels unlike when you are using chlorine. Using bromine instead of chlorine reduces skin irritation and makes your water feel softer on your skin.
It also does well in high water temperatures which is the main reason why it’s the water sanitizer of choice for spas and hot tubs.
Pros of Using Bromine as a Chlorine Alternative
- Great chlorine alternative for indoor pools
- Can sanitize your pool almost as good as chlorine
- Much gentler on the skin and eyes
Cons of Using Bromine as a Chlorine Alternative
- More expensive than chlorine
- Dissolves easily by the sun’s rays, may not be the best sanitizing solution for those with outdoor pools
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A more natural way to sanitize your pool that eliminates chlorine usage all together is by going with a saltwater pool system. Instead of adding chlorine directly to your pool water, you will rely on using salt to keep your pool clean. Once the salt becomes charged, it will break down into chlorine. But unlike the typical chlorine, these won’t hurt your eyes or irritate your skin.
This is a good pool sanitizing solution and it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to make the necessary changes. Most pool owners are turning their chlorinated pool system into saltwater pools because of the many benefits of doing so and one of the most obvious benefits is it eliminates the need to use chlorine in your pool.
Pros of Using Salt Water System as a Chlorine Alternative
- Eliminates the need to use chlorine completely
- Offers better and safer pool experience
Cons of Using Salt Water System as a Chlorine Alternative
- Depending on the size of your pool, installing a saltwater pool system can be expensive
- Fits most in-ground and above-ground pools up to 25,000 gallons with 1 ½"" or 2"" rigid PVC pipe plumbing.
- Easy, do-it-yourself installation. Everything in one box.
- Cartridge lasts up to six months.
- Reduces chlorine use up to 50%.
A mineral pool system effectively reduces the need to use chlorine by as much as 50% and this makes it one of the most popular pool chlorine alternatives today. This cartridge-based system is composed of minerals that eliminate bacteria, algae, and other microorganisms as your pool water flows through its chamber.
They are easy to set up and low on maintenance as you just need to refill the mineral cartridges. The downsides of using mineral pool water systems are that chlorine must still be used and the replacement cartridges add additional costs to your pool maintenance. They need to be replaced often, especially for those with larger pools.
Pros of Using Mineral Water System as a Chlorine Alternative
- Reduces the need to use chlorine
- Does a great job removing bacteria and viruses from your pool
Cons of Using Mineral Water System as a Chlorine Alternative
- High initial setup costs
- Can become too expensive to maintain for those with large swimming pools
- Reduce chemical usage by up to 95%
- 5 G/hour Adjustable Ozone Concentration
- Variable Ozone Output (10 - 100%).
- PTFE tube for O3 outlet.
Considered as one of the best chlorine alternatives today, ozone generators are starting to become more popular among swimming pool owners. The best thing about ozone generators is. unlike other chlorine alternatives listed here, they can break down all types of organic contaminants in your pool
It also helps soften your pool water because it is a pH-neutral solution, so it can help solve your calcium scaling problem.
It works by inserting ozone gas, an active form of oxygen, into your pool water and make it react against impurities. However, it’s advised that you use another sanitizing solution to get the most out of your ozone generator and keep your pool water clean.
If you need help finding the right size of ozone generator for your pool, check out this guide here.
Pros of Using Ozone Generators as a Chlorine Alternative
- Allows you to use fewer pool chemicals
- Effectively rid your pool water of bacteria and viruses
Cons of Using Ozone Generators as a Chlorine Alternative
- High upfront costs
- Will still need to use another sanitizing solution for best results
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Another one of the most common pool chlorine alternatives is making use of ionizers. The ionization process introduces metallic ions into your pool water with the help of a low voltage current. These positively-charged ions are attracted to the negatively-charged bacteria, viruses, oils, algae, and other harmful substances in your pool. Once attached to them, they destroy their cell membranes. This makes it an effective sanitizer without the need to utilize any chlorine.
As the water is recirculated in your pool system, you get to produce more positively-charged ions that will help keep your pool clean and safe to use.
The most popular type of ionization system is copper ionization. Copper ions are not affected by sunlight and this makes it a great chlorine alternative for those with outdoor pools.
Pros of Using Ionizer as a Chlorine Alternative
- Great chlorine alternative for outdoor pools
- Effectively sanitizes your pool water
- The system is fairly easy to install and maintain
Cons of Using Ionizer as a Chlorine Alternative
- Initial setup can be expensive
Not really an alternative to chlorine, but can help you lessen the chlorine that you will need to put in your swimming pool. The UV light takes care of most germs, viruses, and bacteria in your pool and the chlorine takes care of the organic waste. With a UV light system in place, you won’t have to use much chlorine to keep your pool water safe and clean.
The UV light alters the DNA of the harmful bacterias so they won’t be able to reproduce and destroy them. You will need to get the proper-sized UV light which you can determine by calculating the flow rate of your pool.
Pros of Using UV Light as a Chlorine Alternative
- Ensures your swimming pool is clear of harmful organisms
- Does not require many pool chemicals to be used
Cons of Using UV Light as a Chlorine Alternative
- Water needs to make contact with UV light, if it doesn’t then it can back to your pool as unsanitized water
- UV light becomes less effective over time and you will have to replace it regularly
Polyhexamethylenebiguanide or PHMB or Biguanide
Another great alternative to chlorine for pools is the Polyhexamethylenebiguanide, or more commonly known as PHMB or Biguanide. Biguanide works by penetrating the bacteria cell walls which causes them to burst. When used in pools, Biguanide does not cause skin or eye irritation unlike chlorine, and is easy on swimming pools that are using vinyl pool liners.
The main drawback in using PHMB or Biguanide is they don’t oxidize the organic matter in your swimming pool and you will have to use hydrogen peroxide as well.
Pros of Using Biguanide as a Chlorine Alternative
- Gentler on the skin and eyes
- Doesn’t corrode walls and floor of the pool
Cons of Using Biguanide as a Chlorine Alternative
- Can be expensive to use for those with large swimming pools
- Doesn’t oxidize, you’re forced to use another set of chemicals for those
- You’re required to clean your pool filters and apply a separate algaecide every four to six weeks
As you may already noticed, most of the alternatives to chlorine for pools are much more expensive. If you’re going to ask us which of these chlorine substitutes is our best choice we have to go with getting a saltwater pool system installed. This setup eliminates the need to use chlorine altogether and allows you to get the best pool experience possible by providing you with clean and soft water.