Directions for Lowering PH With Muriatic Acid


Swimming in acid may sound like an activity swiped from a horror movie, but for safe use, all swimming pools must maintain a minimal degree of acidity. Acidity is measured by a pH scale: The higher the pH, the more basic or alkaline the water. High pH in pool water reduces the efficiency of chlorine, clouds the water, allows for further discoloration of the pool’s walls and increases the chances of eye irritation for swimmers. Adding muriatic acid to the pool can lower pH quickly, but must be done very carefully to avoid injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Muriatic acid
  • Measuring cups
  • Plastic bucket
  • Pool water
  • Check the pool to ensure that no swimmers are present. Make sure that the pool’s pump is running, so that the newly added acid will circulate throughout the water.

  • Wear protective gloves when handling acid. Measure out the acid needed for your swimming pool into measuring cups or non-metallic bowls. The amount of acid you use will vary based on your pool’s pH level and the number of gallons of water in your pool; consult a local pool specialist or local or state environmental department if you have questions regarding acid rates.

  • Fill a plastic bucket three-quarters full with water from your pool. Make sure to leave enough room in the bucket to add the acid. Slowly pour the acid into the bucket. Diluting the acid before you add it to the pool will help to prevent splashes or dangerous spills.

  • Pour the diluted muriatic acid slowly into the deep end of your pool. Avoid pouring the solution near walls or fixtures, as acid may damage these surfaces.

  • Allow the pump to circulate the acid in the water for at least four hours before allowing anyone to swim. This will ensure that the acid is fully diluted.

  • Make sure to check the pool's new pH level before you reopen the pool for use. The muriatic acid application should have balanced the pH, but you can adjust it as necessary by repeating the process. Afterward, maintain your pool's health by regluar pH checks.

Tips & Warnings

  • The ideal pH level for a swimming pool is between 7.2 and 7.8. Find acidity tests at your local pool care centers if you are unsure about your pool’s acidity level, or to test the acid’s effects after you add it.
  • Sodium bisulfate is the same chemical as muriatic acid, but in a solid form. Ten pounds of bisulfate is about the same as one gallon of muriatic acid.
  • Never add water to acid, as the splashing can cause serious injury. Always pour acid into water.

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  • Photo Credit A swimming-belt in a swimming-pool. image by Saskia Massink from
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