Can I Use Salt in My Pool Instead of Chlorine?


Chlorine is commonly used to sanitize swimming pool water. This might involve pouring liquid chlorine directly into the water, or placing chlorine tablets into a small basket that floats on the surface of the water and slowly releases chlorine. Chlorinated pool water can have a strong odor and be harsh on the skin and fade bathing suits and discolor hair. Another way to sanitize swimming pool water is to use salt instead of chlorine. In order for a swimming pool to to use salt for sanitation, the pool must have a salt system installed.

Salt Systems

  • When a swimming pool has a salt system installed, several bags of salt are added directly to the pool water. This is pure, natural evaporated ocean salt that resembles soft water salt in appearance. When the pool water runs through the filter, it is subjected to electrolysis, which transforms the chlorine portion of the salt into a sanitizer capable of destroying algae, virus, bacteria and other radicals. The process does not destroy the salt, enabling it to continue working without having to add another bag. Typically the only time you may have to add salt to the pool is when the pool has been drained and refilled.


  • Periodically, the water should be tested for sanitizer levels. This is not the same as testing for salt levels, but for the amount of sanitizer being generated by the salt. One way to do this is to take a sample of the pool water to a pool supply store that performs this service. Some pool supply stores do not charge for this test. If the levels are off, an adjustment can be made to the water system control. The salt water system typically has an indicator that shows if the salt levels of the pool are sufficient. If there is not enough salt, more can be added. If there is too much salt, water can be removed from the pool and new water added.


  • The advantage of a salt-water pool is less maintenance. Muriatic acid should also be added to the pool water. Each week the water should be tested, using a home water-testing kit. This will indicate how much acid to add the pool water. Skin also feels softer after using a salt pool and clothing and hair is not discolored. Wasps that might swarm around the surface of a chlorine pool, taking in water to build their nests, tend to avoid salt-water pools.

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