Pool Clarifier vs. Pool Flocculant Which is Best to Use

Michael Keenan


Pool Water Chemistry

There is nothing that makes you feel lousy quite like cloudy water in your swimming pool. While it is still safe to swim in it, opening your eyes underwater in a cloudy pool can cause irritation. In any case, it is best to clean the pool before jumping into it.

Now, it is a fact that sometimes your pool water contains tiny particles that you just cannot get rid of. The fact that they keep coming back makes you feel like your filters are not working. But filters can only help with big-ish clumps. And here’s how you solve that problem.

What Is Pool Clarifier?

To get rid of the small particles in the pool, you need something called a pool clarifier. It’s a chemical that condenses these minute particles so that your filter and skimmer can do their jobs effectively.

These chemicals contain polymers that essentially add positively charged ions into the water. They attract the negative charge in the particles and gather them into a clump form.

Pool Clarifier Pros

There are quite a few direct and indirect benefits of using a pool clarifier.

They are one of the easiest ways to clean cloudy or dirty water in a pool. According to the Centers for Disease Control, this helps prevent water diseases like diarrhea, pink eye and other bacterial infections by limiting E. Coli and Giardia which are two of the most commonly found bacteria in dirty swimming pools.

Clarifiers are also a good way to keep the pool clean which in turn keeps pests like mosquitoes out. This way you can prevent diseases that come from those pests.

Since they help keep the pool clean, clarifiers also indirectly improve visibility and reduce accidents or drowning.

And using pool clarifier is easy too. If you have a mildly cloudy pool, all you need to do is add it to the water and let it do its thing. It cleans up the pool and also lets the filter do its thing. This is also an efficient way of cleaning without changing the water.

The problem with clarifiers is that they take their own sweet time to clear the pool. Of course, this depends on the size of the pool and the amount of debris in there. And if you don’t follow it up by cleaning your filters, a clarifier is hardly any help.

How to Use Pool Clarifier for Great Results

The first thing to remember is that this only works on a little cloudy water in the pool. If your pool is plagued by algae or other kinds of microorganisms, a pool clarifier is not the answer to your problems.

Start the process by balancing the pH levels of your pool. The ideal value is 7.2 but anywhere from 7.2 to 7.6 is fine.

Read the instructions on the pool clarifier because they vary from brand to brand. Decide the volume of water in your pool and the clarifier accordingly. You can use a pool calculator to figure it out.

Make sure the pool filter is turned on and keep it so till the pool is clear.

Remove the pool filter and clean it.

Check the pH levels of your pool and balance it again if needed.

You’re good to go.

Read next – ways to reduce copper levels in poolwater.

What Is Pool Flocculant AKA Floc?

The pool flocculant, also called floc, is also a chemical like a clarifier except it is a lot more powerful. It is usually used when every other chemical fails to clean up the pool.

Floc also works similarly to a clarifier in the sense that it also collects microscopic debris like bacteria, viruses and algae that cannot reach the vacuum and lumps them together.

These particles are difficult for the filter to spot and get rid of. That’s where the pool floc comes in. It attracts all these particles as soon as you put it in water and turns them into a big enough clump so that they drown. Once they are at the bottom of the pool, the filter will take them out or you can vacuum it with a pool cleaner.

Pool Flocculant Pros

There are quite a few advantages to using a pool floc. For one, you don’t have to wait for a really long time like you have to with a clarifier. It finishes the job in a few hours.

It is quite efficient in the way it functions. It keeps the particles bound to each other until you are done with them. Floc is also good for sand and DE filters because they have many wolves and also a “waste” setting.

Pool Floc Cons

Every good product has some lousy side effects which sometimes make it unfit for certain scenarios. The pool floc is not an exception to the rule.

If you go for a floc over a clarifier, you must be ready to put in a little more work than you would with the latter. This is because you need to remove the clump gathered at the bottom of the pool manually.

You need to remove the clumps by bypassing the filter and vacuuming them. This will reduce water levels in your pool.

If you have a cartridge filter, you will need custom plumbing that lets you skip the filters and vacuum the pool.

How to Use Pool Floc

There are many steps in using a pool floc. Here’s the easiest overview:

  • Step 1: Start by turning the sand or DE filter valve to the recirculate mode.
  • Step 2: Balance the pH levels in your pool to be between 7.2 and 7.6.
  • Step 3: Introduce the pool floc by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Step 4: Use a pool calculator and figure out your swimming pool’s volume. Add the floc accordingly.
  • Step 5: Turn on the pool pump and let it distribute the floc all across the pool.
  • Step 6: Let the floc do its job for the next eight hours. You can set a timer to do this.
  • Step 7: Turn your filter valve to the waste mode.
  • Step 8: Get in there with a vacuum and remove the clumps at the bottom of the pool. You will have to stop periodically to make sure the clumps, ruffled by your vacuum settle at the bottom so that you can easily scoop them up. You might have to do this a few times to get rid of all the particles.
  • Step 9: Balance the water chemistry of your pool.

Your pool is ready for you to take a dip.

When is it Best to Use Pool Clarifier vs Pool Flocculant?

There are many differences between a pool clarifier and a pool flocculant.

Apart from the way they are used, pool clarifier and floc differ fundamentally in the amount of time they take to clean a pool. If you want to open the pool for the summer in a day or two, get a clarifier. But if you want to get your pool ready in a hurry you go for a floc.

A pool clarifier is usually best when the water is just a bit cloudy whereas floc is used if you want aggressive cleaning without having to grab a brush.

Wrapping Up

So, it’s not about one being better than the other but what you need for your pool right now. Both these cleaning agents work differently and are more than capable of meeting your cleanliness requirements.

michael keenan author

Author - Michael Keenan

I'm Michael Keenan the owner and creator of the Outdoor Care Guide. I'm a trained horticulturist with over 30 years of experience in pool care, plant care, and landscape care! Seemed like a good idea to share - I think I can make your life easier and save you some time and money!