Use a Water Softener To Soften Your Pool Water – Here’s Why 

Last Updated on December 12, 2022 by Mattias

Hard water in pools is a common problem, and if you’re filling your pool with hard water, the “water hardness” can damage your pool equipment.

The hard water can cause skin irritation, and some people experience more acne from the hardness of the pool water.

So, “How to soften pool water?” – in this article, we will give you the best methods for making your pool’s water soft and the most effective method for getting rid of the hardness of the water.

For all pool owners with hard water problems, consider this your go-to guide the get rid of your pool hardness.

What Is Hard Water?

Hard water has a high mineral content which contains magnesium and calcium minerals.

If you got a well, you should be aware because well owners tend to have slightly hard water, which makes it extra important to check the water quality to ensure it isn’t too hard.

When speaking about hard water in pools, it’s often referred to as “calcium hardness levels.”

What Effect Does Hard Water Have On Pools?

Hard water can lead to limescale build-up in the filtration system and around it.

The scale build-up can make your pool walls look grouse and damage components and equipment like your pool pump if you don’t deal with it.

All from a clogged-up filter to a low water flow rate due to the scale build-up in the piping. Other noticeable issues might also be:

  • Cloudy water
  • Rough surfaces
  • Bad circulation because of piping
  • Higher pressure
  • Red eyes due to the hard water

As a pool owner, you don’t want hard water, and once you get soft water in your pool…you won’t be disappointed!

Read also: 12 Best Kitchen Faucets For Hard Water + Buyers Guide

How to Measure Your Pools Hardness

Before you go and buy a water softener, make sure to measure the hardness of your water. Because if you don’t have hard water present in your home. There’s no need to buy a water softener.

So what’s the ideal range of hardness? Well, it all comes down to your pool, but here are some guideline numbers to go after. You can measure the hardness level in ppm – parts per million, also known as the hardness number.

Pool Material Need a ppm of
Fiberglass and Vinyl pools 175-225
Plaster and concrete pools 200-275

If you want to measure the hardness in your pool, you should buy a simple hardness test kit and use a test strip every week to keep track of the hardness level.

We recommend using EASYTEST 7-Way Pool Test Strips, which allows you to see

  • ph level
  • Bromine
  • Total Alkalinity
  • Free Chlorine
  • Total Hardness
  • Cyanuric Acid
  • Total Chlorine
  1. Dip the test strip in the pool water for 5 seconds until it changes color.
  2. Pull the test strip, then compare the color with the color chart on your test kit.

If your pool water is harder than 300 ppm, you must treat it to become softer.

Read also: Will Water Softener Water Kill Plants?

The Best Methods For Softening Pool Water

So “how to soften pool water”? Well, there are a few methods for making your pool water soft. It all comes down to how bad and fast you want fresh water again.

Water Softener

Using a water softener for pools is the best method. Hooking it up to your water system is a good idea because you can use your garden hose to fill your swimming pool with softened water directly.

If you’re wondering what type of salt you should use? We did a guide on the best types of water softener salts.

Using a water softener is the easiest way to get soft water for your pool.

Read also: How To Add Salt To Water Softener

Chemical Water Softener Products

This kind of product is nothing we would recommend since it’s not as efficient as a water softener. You might have seen some of these at your local pool store, but having a water softener system is needed for hard water pools.

Sure, they can treat hard water but not even close to it as a water softener can.

Pool Flocculant

Using a pool flocculant is much cheaper than a water softener, but at the same time, it’s also much worse. Prepare to spend a lot of time over an extended period; even then, you might be disappointed.

A pool flocculant can clear and clean cloudy water by gathering the specks in the pool that aren’t heavy enough to sink by themselves. The particles get clumped together, and you can vacuum them up afterward.

The most important thing is to turn off your filter and pump before adding any pool flocculant into the water.

Read also: 9 Reasons Why Your Softened Water Tastes Salty

Muriatic Acid

Using Muriatic acid for pool water treatment won’t make your water soft directly or reduce your calcium levels. Because if you have high calcium levels, a water softener is essential for your home.

How to Soften Pool Water

Once you know that your pool water is hard, you must consider your choices.

As we stated above, water softener for pools is epic. Not only will it make your pool water softener, but your whole household will benefit from it.

Connect it to your main water line; you won’t be disappointed if it’s your first time trying soft water.

But if you want to try something else before investing your hard-earned money into water softer, do this:

  1. Turn your pool off.
  2. Use a pump to drain a few inches of water with the use of a pump.
  3. Replace the drained water with fresh (not hard water)
  4. Wait until the water level is back to normal.
  5. Turn on your pool pump.
  6. Let the pool water circulate for 8-12 hours.
  7. Test the hardness one more time.

If that didn’t work, look over our methods above and take action asap.


Are water softeners good for pools?

Yes, a water softener can improve your water quality to the best of your ability. It can make your hot tub and swimming pool water silky smooth.

Are saltwater pools worth it?

Yes, a saltwater pool is worth it since it gives your accessories better longevity and is better for your skin, eyes, and hair.

But when the installation cost comes, it may not feel so good when you see the bill.

Can I use pool salt in my water softener?

No, your valves might clog in your water softener if you use pool salt. The softener needs a coarser salt to function correctly.

What is a chlorine generator?

A chlorine generator is a system that creates chlorine from sodium chloride (salt)

Will baking soda soften pool water?

Baking soda improves the softness of pool water and can make cloudy water clear. But it isn’t designed to make the water soft, but you can use it in your pool maintenance since it can keep the alkalinity and the ph at optimal levels.

What happens if the pool water is too hard?

Hard water can damage your pool since there is too much magnesium and calcium; the minerals can leave an ugly white residue on the pool’s surfaces.

Will high hardness make the pool cloudy?

Yes, when the water becomes hard, it can lead to a cloudy look. 

How to Soften Pool Water Summary

I hope you enjoyed this guide about how to make your pool water soft.

As you discovered, hard water can cause serval problems for your pool, and imagine if you got hard water in your regular water source too?

Try to have some routine maintenance for your pool, where you regularly check the hardness and quality of your water.

Good luck, and I hope you can enjoy smooth swimming in your pool.