How long after adding baking soda can you swim?

When it comes to maintaining a swimming pool, one of the key components is maintaining proper pH and alkalinity levels. Baking soda is a common solution used to balance these levels, but many people wonder how long they have to wait before diving in.

In this article, we’ll explore the chemical reactions between baking soda and chlorine in pool water, factors that influence its effectiveness, and general guidelines for safe swimming after adding baking soda.

The chemical reaction between baking soda and chlorine

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) primarily functions as an alkaline substance. When added to pool water containing chlorine, it reacts with hypochlorous acid (HOCl) to form sodium chloride (common table salt), carbon dioxide (CO2), and water (H2O). This reaction can raise the pH level if too much baking soda is added – which makes it important to properly monitor and balance your pool’s pH and alkalinity levels.

Chlorine plays an important role in maintaining clean pool water by oxidizing contaminants like bacteria and algae. If chlorine levels dip too low or too high, however, it can negatively impact the effectiveness of baking soda’s balancing effect. High concentrations of chlorine will often indicate low pH levels or insufficient alkalinity – both problems which may be solved through careful application of baking soda.

Maintaining ideal pH ranges are essential because when the pH goes below 7.0 or above 8.0 problems start occurring like eye irritation, skin irritations or infections on contact surrounded areas due to unbalanced acidic conditions could develop.

Factors that influence how quickly baking soda works

The effectiveness of baking soda largely depends on several factors including:

  • Amount added: Small pools require smaller doses whilst larger pools require more.
  • Pool size: An average-sized swimming pool typically holds about 25 thousand gallons of water which would require much more time for the diluted solution to take effect evenly; otherwise, some areas of the water would still need baking soda treatment.
  • Water temperature: The hotter the pool water, the more quickly baking soda will dissolve and start working. Conversely, colder pool water may decrease reaction speed and result in longer wait times before swimming.
  • Weather conditions: High humidity or heavy rain can negatively impact baking soda efficacy by impeding even distribution throughout.

How long to wait before swimming after adding baking soda

It’s essential to let the solution sit for a time period before swimming as it has to effectively balance out the pH level. Generally, waiting 2 -4 hours is reasonable before going for a swim. After adding baking soda, circulate your pool’s water system for 30 minutes such that the baking soda can be distributed evenly.

Waiting periods also traditionally require one turnover of your pool’s circulation system – meaning all of the water in your pool flows through the filter once. The time needed for a single turnover varies on different sizes of pools but rough calculations estimate between four to six hours for commonly used volumes.

Swimming too soon after adding baking soda can cause skin irritation and redness since it creates alkaline solutions which in turn disrupts natural oils on people’s skins causing deep penetration causing dermal burn. Proper application and correct timing is crucially important.

How to properly add baking soda to a swimming pool

Adding baking soda requires specific guidelines since an incorrect dosage not only alters pH levels but impacts Alkalinity levels affecting irritation rates among swimmers.

Here are steps on how to add it:

  1. Start by prepping equipment necessary including safety gloves and safety goggles to keep eyes protected from dust present whilst emptying bags into the water
  2. Measure quantities recommended based on packaging label instructions depending on pool size.
  3. Distribute evenly by walking around alongside tracks with bags open like a powder rate-tracker behind you pouring equally until all contents have been poured into your pool.
  4. Start your circulation system and mix the mixture properly by moving around with any electric poles available.

Alternative methods for balancing pH levels in a swimming pool

An alternative fix to using baking soda is opting for other commonly used methods to balance pH levels effectively in pools:

  • Sodium carbonate (soda ash)
  • Muriatic acid
  • Sodium bisulfate
  • Liquid or granular oxidizing shock treatments

Although, instructions vary depending on special chemicals chosen. Using certain chemicals will require specific concentrations and techniques being followed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I add too much baking soda? A: Yes, excessive use of baking soda causes something called “overstabilization.” Overstabilization describes water with an excessive amount of alkalinity making the water potentially unsuitable for swim. Testing alkaline testing strips can help you avoid this problem beforehand.

Q: What happens if I swim before waiting the recommended amount of time? A: Swimming before the recommended waiting period results in bad case skin burn, irritation, redness due to chemically over sensitive area from unbalanced pH levels of the water.


In conclusion, knowing how long to wait before you take a dive after adding baking soda is essential for safe swimming. Properly adding baking soda, along with close monitoring of pool chemistry levels can maintain healthy skin reactions and desired outcome increasing clients’ wellbeing over time while swimming. Remembering these simple guidelines when adding baking soda – measuring carefully, waiting patiently – ensures that our chemical balance isn’t disrupted.


  1. Q: Can I add baking soda to my pool right before jumping in for a swim? A: No, you should wait at least 4 hours after adding baking soda before swimming in your pool. Baking soda needs time to dissolve and disperse throughout the water.
  2. Q: How long does it take for baking soda’s pH-balancing effects to kick in? A: The pH level of your pool should start to rise within an hour or two of adding baking soda, but it may take up to 24 hours for the level to stabilize.
  3. Q: Is there any harm in swimming too soon after adding baking soda? A: Yes, swimming too soon after adding baking soda can cause skin irritation and other discomforts. It’s best to wait until the baking soda has had time to properly dissolve and balance the water chemistry.
  4. Q: Can I speed up the process of waiting for my pool water’s pH level to stabilize after using baking soda? A: Yes, you can use a pool testing kit or strips to monitor the pH level until it stabilizes. You can also use products like “pH-Down” or “pH-Boost” if you need to adjust your pool’s pH more quickly. However, be sure to follow product instructions carefully and avoid over-treating your pool.

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