What does muriatic acid do for a pool? Let’s find out.
Chlorine has gotten much of the attention when it comes to pool cleaning. However, the reality is, it takes more than chlorine to get the job done. You’ve probably heard about muriatic acid but don’t know how it can be used in pools for cleaning.
This article will discuss its uses as one of the cleaning agents for swimming pools.
First, it’s necessary to explain what muriatic acid is. This simply refers to dilute hydrochloric acid. It is a strong pool cleaning agent which has been diluted to about 15 to 30%. Even with low strength, this acid should be handled with care as it’s still corrosive.
Functions of Muriatic Acid
The obvious use of this acid is for cleaning the inside of pools.
However, its use isn’t limited to cleaning alone. There are other beneficial uses such as lowering the pH of pool water. Now pH is a scale of measurement that helps determine how acidic or basic a solution is.
For pool water, the pH should be balanced between acidic and basic.
The ideal pH is 7.6. The pH level in pool water is essential to how effective chlorine works in maintaining bacteria-free water. With a slight rise in the water’s acidity, chlorine degrades and bacteria growth spreads quickly.
Stains on Pool
Pools are likely to have all sorts of stains ranging from metal stains or organic stains.
Examples of metal stains include rust or other forms of discoloring resulting from the addition of chlorine or when it is shocked with granular chlorine.
This results in a reddish-brown or very dark discoloring that will need to be cleaned using muriatic acid as a reliable cleaner. For organic stains, they come about from natural debris such as algae growth, leaves, and mud.
This creates a stain on the pool surface that may look yellow, green, or brown.
Stains make pools unsightly and despite being cleaned (especially with the wrong cleaning agents), they hardly come off. Muriatic acid comes to the rescue. However, knowing how to use or apply it in pool cleaning is also as important.
Always Pour Acid into Water
You don’t want to create an explosive reaction by adding water to acid. Rather, the safest way should be adopted by adding acid to water before being used to clean your pool. So, at what ratio should acid be mixed with water?
One part of muriatic acid should be added to 10 parts of water. Or mix a cup of acid to about a gallon of water to create your pool cleaning agent. However, when used for pool cleaning, a different combination is done.
This will be discussed shortly.
Steps for Adding Muriatic Acid to Pools
Having explained the uses of muriatic acid, we’ll shift our focus to how it should be applied. There are various steps to safely apply this cleaning agent into pools.
For best results, follow the steps below;
Wear Your Safety Gear
It is important to understand you’re dealing with corrosive material. This is despite the hydrochloric acid being diluted. Improper handling and inhalation of fumes may lead to serious burns and other health problems.
Protective gears to have on include durable gloves, especially those resistant to acid corrosion. A pair of goggles is also necessary to protect your eyes from spills.
Also, your arms and legs should be covered as well. Equally important is the need to wear a respirator to prevent the inhalation of fumes.
Inhaling such fumes will likely lead to respiratory problems which can cause significant damage. Safety precautions shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Drain the Pool
To be able to wash a pool clean, the water will need to be drained. To do this, plug out or pull the hydrostatic drain plugs which allow water to drain out properly.
When this is fully drained, the next step is taken;
Applying Muriatic Acid
In applying this cleaning agent, you want to soak the pool sides as well as the floor with muriatic acid.
One way to do this is by using a delivery hose whose tip will be placed along the pool’s edge and moved around the perimeter until all the insides of the pool are well soaked. If the hose has a spray nozzle attached, it should be removed before using it.
Get Into the Pool with a Garbage Bag
A garbage bag will be needed to clear out debris lying on the pool’s floor. Get into the pool and begin the cleaning process.
Prepare the Wash Solution
The wash solution will need to be prepared.
Here, a gallon of water should be poured into a 3-gallon jug and a gallon of muriatic acid should also be added into the jug. Stir the mixture with a dowel until it is well mixed.
Empty into Watering Can
A watering-can is needed for the job. Get one, including a funnel and pour the acid solution into it. This should be done carefully.
Cut Strips of Rope and Lay Them Down the Pool Walls
A rope should be cut into multiple strips with a length of about 5 feet and laid down the walls at about 5 to 6 feet apart. This creates sections that you’ll focus on throughout the pool cleaning process.
Cleaning the Pool
Starting from each section, pour down a small amount of your muriatic acid from the top, moving the can across for full coverage. A brush or pool scrubber should be used to clean the walls.
After cleaning, you’ll need to clear out or drain the acid from the pool floor, but first, it will need to be neutralized. Soda ash should be applied and allowed to neutralize the acid for about 30 minutes before draining out the solution.
Certain actions will need to be taken to prevent pool stains. One of these includes maintaining the right pH level.
Test the pH Levels of Pool Water
You don’t want to be working on an assumption when using when applying muriatic acid to your pool. Therefore, the first step to take is to test the pH level of the water. Test strips may serve the purpose but are unlikely to give you accurate readings.
The best test kit to use is a pH sensor. This provides accurate readings. When pH readings are high, it gives you the green light to apply muriatic acid to remedy the problem. Readings higher than 7.2 to 7.8 should require urgent action.
Muriatic acid is an effective cleaning agent for pools and helps get rid of all sorts of dirt and stains.
Related Cleaning Guides:
- Pool Cleaning Supplies List: In-Ground And Above-Ground
- How To Chlorinate A Pool: Standard Chemical Levels
- How To Start A Pool Cleaning Business