Brown pool water is a common issue many pool owners face, detracting from the overall appearance and enjoyment of your backyard oasis. Various factors, such as algae growth, excess metals, or organic contaminants, can cause this discoloration.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to get brown pool water clear and provide you with top product recommendations to help you achieve and maintain a crystal-clear pool.

How to Get Brown Pool Water Clear

Understanding the Causes of Brown Pool Water

To effectively treat brown pool water, it’s essential to understand the underlying causes. Some common reasons for pool water discoloration include:

  1. Algae Growth: Algae can quickly multiply in pool water, causing it to turn green, brown, or even black. Insufficient sanitization, poor circulation, and imbalanced water chemistry can all contribute to algae growth.
  2. Excess Metals: High levels of metals like copper, iron, and manganese can lead to brown or rusty-colored pool water. These metals can be introduced through fill water, corroding pool equipment, or algaecides.
  3. Organic Contaminants: Leaves, twigs, and other organic debris can accumulate in your pool, releasing tannins that stain the water brown. Rainwater runoff and nearby vegetation can also introduce organic compounds into your pool.

Step-by-Step Guide to Clearing Brown Pool Water

To restore your pool’s crystal-clear appearance, follow these steps:

Step 1: Test and Balance Your Pool Water

Begin by testing your pool water using a reliable test kit. Check the pH, alkalinity, and sanitizer levels and adjust them as needed to ensure they are within the proper ranges:

  • pH: 7.2-7.6
  • Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
  • Chlorine: 1-3 ppm

Step 2: Brush and Vacuum Your Pool

Thoroughly brush your pool walls and floor to dislodge algae, debris, or stains. Pay extra attention to corners, steps, and other hard-to-reach areas. After brushing, vacuum your pool to remove the loosened contaminants.

Step 3: Shock Your Pool

Shocking your pool helps to eliminate algae, bacteria, and other organic contaminants that can cause brown water. Choose a high-quality shock treatment, such as calcium hypochlorite or potassium monopersulfate, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dosage and application.

Run Your Pool Filter

Step 4: Run Your Pool Filter Continuously

After shocking your pool, run your pool filter continuously for at least 24-48 hours. This allows the filter to capture the dead algae and other contaminants, helping to clear the water. If necessary, clean your filter during this process to maintain its efficiency.

Step 5: Use a Pool Clarifier or Flocculant

Consider using a pool clarifier or flocculant if your pool water remains cloudy or brown after shocking and filtering. These products help to coagulate small particles, making them easier for your filter to remove.

Step 6: Maintain Proper Water Chemistry and Filtration

To prevent brown pool water from recurring, maintain proper water chemistry and filtration. Regularly test and adjust your pool water, clean your filter as needed, and ensure adequate circulation by running your pump for at least 8-12 hours daily.

Top Product Recommendations for Clearing Brown Pool Water

To help you effectively clear brown pool water, consider these top product recommendations:

  1. Shock Treatments:
    • In The Swim Calcium Hypochlorite Shock
    • Clorox Pool&Spa Xtra Blue Shock
    • Doheny’s Super Pool Shock
  2. Pool Clarifiers:
    • Clorox Pool&Spa Super Water Clarifier
    • Robarb Super Blue Clarifier
    • SeaKlear Natural Clarifier
  3. Pool Flocculants:
    • In The Swim Super Floc
    • HTH Pool Floc
    • Doheny’s Quick Floc
  4. Algaecides:
    • In The Swim Super Algaecide
    • Clorox Pool&Spa Green Algae Eliminator
    • Doheny’s Algaecide 60 Plus
  5. Metal Removers:
    • Doheny’s Metal Eliminator
    • Clorox Pool&Spa Metal Eliminator
    • Doheny’s Metal Klear

How to Get Brown Pool Water Clear (FAQs)

How long does it take to clear brown pool water?

The time it takes to clear brown pool water depends on the severity of the discoloration and the underlying cause. Following the steps outlined above should result in clear water within 24-72 hours. However, more severe cases may require additional treatments or professional assistance.

Can I swim in a pool with brown water?

Swimming in a pool with brown water is not recommended, as the discoloration may indicate the presence of algae, bacteria, or other contaminants that can harm swimmers. Wait until the water is clear and the chemistry is balanced before entering the pool.

Will shocking my pool remove brown water?

Shocking your pool can help eliminate algae, bacteria, and other organic contaminants that cause brown water. However, additional treatments like metal removers or flocculants may be necessary if the discoloration is due to excess metals or other inorganic substances.

How often should I test my pool water to prevent brown water?

To maintain clear, balanced pool water and prevent discoloration, it’s recommended to test your pool water at least once a week or more frequently during periods of heavy use or adverse weather conditions. Regular testing allows you to identify and address any issues promptly.

Can brown pool water damage my pool equipment?

Brown pool water may not directly damage your pool equipment. Still, the underlying causes of the discoloration, such as algae growth or excess metals, can lead to clogged filters, reduced circulation, and other issues that can strain your pool equipment over time. Addressing brown water and maintaining proper water chemistry can help protect your pool equipment.


Clearing brown pool water requires testing, balancing, cleaning, and treating your pool. Following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article and using the recommended products, you can effectively restore your pool’s crystal-clear appearance and maintain a healthy, inviting swimming environment.

Regularly test and maintain your pool water chemistry, clean your filter, and ensure adequate circulation to prevent brown water from recurring. You can enjoy a sparkling, pristine pool all season long with proper care and attention.