Borax is a household cleaning agent with several other names: sodium borate, disodium tetraborate, and sodium tetraborate. What you might not know is that it is also handy when it comes to swimming pool care and maintenance.
The compound comes in either granular or crystal form. It is a multipurpose product for pool maintenance as there are several things you can use it for in a swimming pool. This guide explains why you need to use borax in your pool and provides step-by-step directions on how to use it.
Why Should You Use Borax?
Although borax is a multifunctional compound that will have several benefits for your pool, here are some of the key reasons you should add it to the pool water.
1. Stabilizing pH
You need to maintain the pool’s pH between 7.2 and 7.8 to keep the water safe and ensure your sanitizer effectively cleans it. Borax has a pH of 9.5, so adding it to your pool can help raise the pH if it is too low. Better yet, it can also help stabilize and maintain the pH at the optimal level.
2. Prevent Algae Growth
Borax helps prevent algae formation in pool water. It does this by creating ideal conditions for your pool sanitizer to clean the water effectively. By helping balance out pool chemistry, borax makes it hard for algae to form.
3. Water Softening
If you want your pool water to be sparkling and soft, adding some borax is a great idea. With borax in your pool, chloramines will not form quickly. Additionally, most borax swimming pool products in the market today will include water softening components that will help prevent dry skin and itchy eyes.
Note: Borax will not decompose or even get used up, and so the only way to lose it is through splash out, water leaks, and pool drain. Therefore, you will only need to add it once in a long time.
How to Use Borax
It is vital to use borax correctly for the best results. Here is what you will need and step-by-step directions on what to do.
What you Need
- pH test kit
- Safety gear (eye goggles and chemical-resistant gloves)
Step 1: Test Water pH
Since raising or stabilizing water pH is the most common purpose for using borax in swimming pools, you should always start by testing the pH level. Knowing your actual pH makes it easy to determine whether you need to add borax and how much to use.
Although you can use digital pH testers here, some simple, inexpensive test strips like the Just Fitter pH Test Strips are often reliable enough.
Step 2: Determine How Much Borax to Use
If you buy borax specifically for use in swimming pools, the label should provide clear directions on how much to use. However, the amount you need depends on the purpose of the borax and other things like your pool size.
It is important to note that unlike other pool chemicals such as chlorine, borax will not be used up, and so you will have to drain and dilute your pool if you add too much. Hence, extra precaution is necessary when calculating how much to use.
That said, if you have a 10,000-gallon swimming pool, you will need around 20 ounces of borax to raise the pH by 0.5. Keeping these numbers in mind should make it easier to calculate how much borax you need.
Step 3: Add the Borax
You do not need to pre-mix borax with water before adding it to the pool. It is best to pour it directly into the water. Here you can choose to add it along the pool’s perimeter or in the deep end.
Regardless of how you choose to add the borax to the pool water, you must make sure you use a good quality product like the 20 Mule Team Borax.
It is essential to switch on your water pump before adding borax as this will help circulate it much faster. Also, keep the pump running for at least 24 hours after adding borax, and it is best not to use the pool within this period.
Step 4: Re-Check the pH
After 24 hours, you should re-check the pool pH water. Some borax types will require you to wait for up to 3 days before retesting the pH, and so it is always better to check the specific direction the manufacture provides.
If the pH is still too low, you should repeat the process and add more borax. However, if it is higher by anything less than 0.2, it is still okay as the level will reduce in just a few weeks as you add more water to the pool.
Borax provides a quick and easy way to raise or stabilize pool pH. What’s more, the compound can help prevent the growth of algae and keep your water soft and sparkling.
However, as good as borax might be for your pool, it is essential to make sure you follow directions when using it. Also, ensure you choose a good quality brand with the right concentration.