Pool Care Pool Troubleshooting

How to Get Rid of Pool Foam

We love the sparkling bubbles coming out of the swimming pool return jets. They look pretty and inviting in the sunlight. They create something magical when they burst on the water surface. They are mainly caused by the air vents, the pump, and the circulating process.

The bubbles don’t take long to disappear and start accumulating on the water surface to the point that they cover the area; there is a problem. That’s pool foam. And you might be searching for a tip on how to get rid of pool foam. Right?

If it has become your nightmare, stop worrying; the problem is easy to fix and prevent in the future. This post will take you through everything you need to know about pool foam and how to get rid of it from your swimming pool.

What is Pool Foam?

At first, it might look like the normal air bubbles produced by the water circulation and pumping process. However, unlike bubbles, they don’t pop-up. They start covering one area, and soon, the pool water surface gets covered.

The foam formed on the surface isn’t just air. The foam is an indication of a high load of organic matter in your pool water.

So, what is pool form? It’s organic matter that cannot dissolve in water, nor can it be removed by the water sanitizer causing water to thicken.

It’s the opposite of water bubbles. The bubbles are light and of low surface tension, and that’s why they pop quite easily.

Pool foam bubbles are formed when the water is agitated by the pool return jets. Inside the bubbles is air, and the exterior is organic matter that makes them float on the surface. That is what you see as foam.

What Causes Pool Foam?

Of course, pool foam can be caused by pool negligence. But you might be giving your swimming pool the best cleaning and keeping the pool water well balanced and still get pool foam. That is because pool foam might be coming from innocuous sources and pool chemicals. Here is the most common cause of pool foam in a swimming pool:

Hair Care Products

When I say hair care products, I don’t mean a ton of hair spray or gel. Introduction of organic contaminants in the pool water can be done by slight residue left behind when you shampooed or conditioned your hair. With time, it could be built up enough to cause the pool foam menace.

Soap or Laundry Detergent

Another thing that might be causing the foam can be the soap you use during the bath that you rinse off the skin. At times, there may be residue left behind.

Mostly it is from those soaps and shower liquids or gels claiming to keep your skin moisturized even after you take a shower. They leave something behind that allows them to achieve that. When you dip your body in the swimming pool, all the organic materials on your skin are dumped there.

The same goes for the laundry detergent that you use to wash your clothes. Have you ever asked yourself how the clothes still smell fresh even after rinsing and leaving them to dry? The smell comes from the detergent residue, and fabric softener coating left them.

When you wear the clothes, the residue gets deposited on your body. When you dip yourself in the cold refreshing water, you enjoy the swim but leave the rubble there.

It gets even worse when you wash your swimming costumes the same way. All these organic materials hang in the swimming pool, and when you dive into the pool water, they all shed, and they are left there. With time, they accumulate and cause foamy water.

Toiletries and Other Residue

Like hair care products, you might also want to protect your skin from sun rays and avoid tan by applying sunscreen. That leaves you with a residue that you will deposit in the water.

Other toiletries such as perfume and deodorant will also leave some residue on your body. Sometimes, toiletries are unavoidable.

High Bather Load

Imagine you hold a pool party, and everyone comes with their toiletries and hair products despite them in your pool. That’s not all; add other contaminants such as urine and sweat.

It’s a must that anyone pees inside the pool. Residues on the swimmers that were not freshly showered could find their way into the pool water.

Pool Chemical Issues

It might not be all the above as you might be washing right but still be getting pool foam. It might be your pool water chemistry isn’t balanced. If the pool sanitizer was to lose its strength, you could get in trouble.

It could also mean you tried saving some cash and you bought cheap chemicals you. Right? If that was the case, you could be dealing with inadequate water sanitization.

I’m not saying only the expensive pool chemicals work. But there those brands that have the most inferior performance. These are the products available in bulk and from those stores that aren’t in pool chemicals.

If you used such pool chemicals, then maintaining your pool can get messier, and you end up with pool foam.

Low Calcium Level

Another thing that can cause the foamy pool problem is the calcium hardness level. If it gets too low, the water molecules become too soft, leading to pooling foam formation.

Algae Infestation

The last possible problem that can lead to a foamy pool is algae infestation. As I mentioned earlier, pool chemical balancing is crucial.

The sanitizer works in protecting the water from water bacteria like algae, mildew, and mold.

If the sanitizer strength isn’t enough to fight them, then you will soon be dealing with pool algae infestation. These living plants end up causing foamy bubbles.

How to get rid of pool foam

Now you know what might be causing foam in your swimming pool. It’s time you get to know how to get rid of it and make your swimming as refreshing as you wish.

Balance your pool water

Now that you have shocked your pool, it’s time to balance it. You need to test the water first before trying anything. You could use pool water strips or a pool liquid test kit.


Take the testing kit ideal for your pool sanitizer and make sure it’s at an ideal level. Mostly chlorine levels should be between 1-3 ppm (parts per million). If it’s not, then balance it to the recommended level adding the right amount of your best pool sanitizer.


It would be best if you made sure the alkalinity is anything between 100 – 150 ppm (parts per million). 125 ppm is the ideal level.

You can balance the alkalinity in two ways:

  • If the alkalinity is low, you will need to add a pool water base to the pool water, such as sodium bicarbonate. You could also use an alkalinity increaser for swimming pools.
  • If the alkalinity is on the roof, you will need to add muriatic acid to lower it.

Note this: alkalinity balancing should be done continuously and before adjusting the pH. The reason behind it is that the base or acid reaction takes place in the pool, and might affect the pH levels.

Water pH:

The pH level required for balanced water is 7.5, but anything between 7.4 and 7.6 is perfect.

If the pool water pH is above 7.6, it is more essential. You have to add some pH increaser until you get it to the ideal level.

If the pool water is more acidic, below 7.4, get a pool water base to lower it. You can buy it from a local pool store or online. Whichever method you find convenient for you.

Calcium Hardness:

Balanced calcium hardness level should be between 175 – 225 ppm for the vinyl and fiberglass pools. If you have a concrete and plaster pool, the hardness should be between 200 – 275 ppm.

If you test and see the water calcium hardness is too high, get the ideal chemicals to lower it. You could also refill the water with fresh water to dilute the calcium ions in the pool.

If the calcium hardness is too low, the best solution is to add calcium hardness increaser to increase calcium chloride.

Add algaecide

If your water isn’t balanced, then Algae will always keep surprising you. Even though you balanced the water in the steps above, you will still need to add algaecide to kill the already grown algae and other bacteria.

Purchase the best algaecide and follow the given instructions and proposed doses for your pool capacity.

Once your pool water chemistry is balanced, wait for a few hours and see if the pool water gets clean. The pool foam should dissipate. If not, then you’ll need to shock it.

Shock Your Pool

One of the best ways to get rid of pool foam is to shock it. Using a Pool Shock Treatment eradicates the pool contaminants and helps you take your pool water and a normal state, foam-free.

If you’re not into chlorine sanitizer, you could go for a chlorine-free shock. However, you might not get the best results, or the water might take longer to clear.

Remember: you will have to balance the water chemistry again after shocking it.

Anti-foam chemical

If you’ve done all the above, but your pool is taking time to clear, and you need to use the pool in few hours, you could go with the fast Remedy for Pool Foam, an anti-foam chemical.

The chemical makes the pool foam disappear quite fast as you watch. But remember, this treats the foam and not the cause.

It’d be best to address the problem first or do it later.

How to prevent pool foam

The last section of this article shows you how you can prevent the pool foam menace. The steps are quite simple and easy to follow.

Rinsing Off Before Getting into the Water

You have always to make sure you rinse your body before you dip it in the pool water. While washing your hair, ensure you do a better job at rinsing all the shampoo.

If you use many hair products such as hairspray, paste, and more, washing it while rinsing your body and rinsing it well would be the best move.

Additionally, make it a rule for everyone using your pool to rinse their body before getting in it. The move might make you unpopular, but it’s necessary to avoid the bodily fluids making your pool foamy.

Change of your clothes cleaning products

You could also consider changing your clothes cleaning products. Use something without fragrance. You can again try the ‘Green’ detergents with lesser ingredients and those that are environmentally friendly.

Another thing, instead of using a fabric softener, you could try using white vinegar. It does some great work in softening clothes and reduce static cling. What’s more, it can help keep the washing machine interior clean.

Using the Right Pool Cleaning Products

Always check the types of pool cleaners you use. Ensure you’re using products specialized explicitly for cleaning the swimming pool.

Buy your pool chemicals from recognized and reputable brands. You can also visit the nearest pool store. You can again ask for some recommendations from reputable, licensed pool maintenance professionals.

Keeping the Pool Chemistry Balanced Always

Test the pool water chemistry frequently and always make sure it’s balanced. Ensure the sanitizer, calcium, pH, and alkalinity stay in the ideal range all the time.

Use Algaecide the Right Way

If you’re opening your swimming pool in the simpler after closing it for the winter, it’s always best to use a pool start-up kit that includes an algaecide. It will help deal with any blooming algae.

But understand this; if you add the algaecide and there is nothing to treat, it will have no place to go. That can thicken the water, and with slight agitation, the water might create the problem you’re trying to prevent pool foam.

Use the algaecide when there are algae to kill. You can’t use it as a preventive measure. You can do that by keeping the sanitizer level at the ideal range.


Pool foam can make you worry, but dealing with the problem is easy. And you know what, by doing so, you will also be improving your pool condition. As you might have seen, you can easily control the causes of pool foam and even take measures to prevent it. In summary, how do you get rid of pool foam? By keeping up with your pool maintenance, rinsing before getting in the water, balancing the pool chemistry, and controlling the algae infestation. Do the above and you will enjoy foam-free swimming.

About the author

Sharif Miah

Hi! I'm Sharif, the founder of Globo Pool® and I have been working in the pool & hot tub industry for the last few years. I love to share my experiences with people & hope you are enjoying my information and lessons!

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