What is a Chlorine Free Pool?

Alexis W.

A chlorine free pool is a swimming pool that does not use chlorine to keep the pool clean. There are several alternatives to chlorine. For example, a pool may use bromine instead, while saltwater pools do not require the use of chlorine as a cleaning mechanism.

A saltwater pool system may be more expensive to maintain than a chlorinated pool.
A saltwater pool system may be more expensive to maintain than a chlorinated pool.

Swimming pools can be breeding grounds for various bacteria. Germs from individuals swimming in the pool can fester in the water. Other types of dirt can enter a pool, from bugs to animals, also causing germs and bacteria to grow.

Swimming pools might use bromine instead of chlorine to kill germs.
Swimming pools might use bromine instead of chlorine to kill germs.

Algae can also grow on a swimming pool. The growth of algae is common and can make the pool water appear green instead of blue. Algae commonly grows along the sides and bottom of a pool, especially if the pool has a liner, and can grow along the top of the pool.

Chlorine is the chemical most commonly used to treat these germs and bacteria, killing them so they cannot harm individuals who swim in the pool and so that the pool does not turn green. Chlorine is usually added to pools on a daily basis. If chlorine is not added in sufficient amounts, algae growth may begin to occur and the pool may need a shock treatment with harsher chemicals or higher doses of chlorine.

Some people, however, wish to have a chlorine free pool because they do not want the ill health affects of chlorine. Chlorine can cause allergic reactions in some individuals and potentially lead to skin irritation. Chlorine can also turn blond hair green and can be an expensive chemical.

As a result, a chlorine free pool provides an alternative. Some people use a chemical alternative, such as bromine, which acts as chlorine does to kill the algae. This can be a good option for those who don't mind chemical cleaners but who are simply allergic to chlorine.

Those who want a truly chemical free pool though, might opt for a saltwater pool system. A saltwater system can be more expensive to install, but overall may be less expensive to maintain, as chlorine purchases are not required. With a saltwater system, the salt itself produces chemicals that keep bacteria and algae at bay, keeping the pool looking nice without the need for chemical cleaners.

Discussion Comments


A saltwater pool IS a chlorine pool. There is a saltwater chlorine generator (SWCG or SWG) that generates chlorine from the salt in the pool so this is not a chlorine-free pool.

There are only three disinfectants approved for use in commercial/public pools that pass EPA DIS/TSS-12: chlorine, bromine and Baquacil/biguanide/PHMB. For spas, there is also Nature2 with non-chlorine shock (MPS). Other products may have EPA registration numbers, but this is only because they are pesticides such as algaecides and does not mean they kill pathogens quickly enough to pass EPA DIS/TSS-12.

Chlorine-free pools typically use a pesticide to control algae, most commonly copper ions. For some additional sanitation, some systems also use silver ions, others use sphagnum moss, and others use ozone or "active oxygen" (oxygen and hydroxyl free radicals) in the circulation system. None of these kill pathogens as quickly as the EPA approved disinfectants that pass EPA DIS/TSS-12.

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