6 Step Guide How To Get Brown Pool Water Clear

above ground pool with brown pool water inside

In the process of filling your pool, you may notice a slight hue to the water as it gets deeper.  This can be any number of colors, but one of the most common is brown.  If you notice this is the case, you’re probably wondering how to get brown pool water clear.  In this article we will review methods for clearing up the pool water, and ultimately what to look out for to prevent this from happening again.

What Causes Brown Pool Water?

One of the first things you think of when figuring out how to get brown pool water clear again is how it got this way initially.  99% of the time, brown pool water means you have iron in the water.  Iron is naturally occurring in much of our groundwater.  If you are on a well for example, you may notice rust stains on your porcelain sinks and tub.  Most of the time this is not from the pipes rusting, but from the iron content in the water.  

Though iron is okay in small amounts in drinking water and water you use for bathing, the pool is another story.  Iron is not something you want to have in the pool as iron and chlorine do not get along well.  Since chlorine will oxidize the iron (rust), if you add chlorine to a brown pool, you will get an even browner pool as the dissolved iron oxidizes.  

Unfortunately, you’re not going to be swimming today.  You need to do a metal removal process to get your water back into shape.  The product you want to use is called a sequestering agent.  There are a number of options on the market, our favorite being Pool Mate 1-2550 Metal Out.  The sequestering agents all work very similarly.  What they do is chemically bind to the dissolved iron in the water so it can be filtered out.  

Pool Mate 1-2550 Metal Out Swimming Pool Mineral Remover, 1-Pack
  • This product helps prevent discoloration of pool water due to iron, calcium, manganese, copper and other metals and minerals which may be present in…
  • This product is an excellent general purpose sequestrant which helps protect plumbing and pool walls from rust, stain and scale
  • It should be used for all pool openings and closings and throughout the season as needed

How To Get Brown Pool Water Clear Step By Step

Step 1: Check the chlorine level of the pool. Make sure it is zero and then proceed to step #2.

Step 2: Make sure your filtration pump is running.  This may seem obvious, but it’s important to this clearing process.

Step 3: Test your PH and adjust it down so the PH is 6.8.  The low PH helps ensure the iron is dissolved, and able to bind with the sequestering agent.

Step 4: Now add 1 quart of Metal Out for every 10,000 gallons of water in your pool.

Step 5: Let your pump run for 24-48 hours straight, keeping an eye on your filter pressure.  If your filter needs backwashing, go ahead and backwash and keep the process going.

Step 6: At the end of the process, backwash the filter or clean the filter if it’s a cartridge filter.

large backyard with green grass and a blue above ground pool with metal out being added to show how to get brown pool water clear

How Long Will It Take To Get Brown Pool Water Clear?

Within 24-48 hours you should see the water begin to clear up from the brown color.  If it still looks brown, go ahead and do the above process again.  When the water is free of the brown color, adjust the PH and add chlorine, allowing swimmers into the pool once the water is back around 2PPM of chlorine.

If you top off your pool with iron rich water, you will want to add 1 quart per 20,000 gallons every month.  Doing this as a precaution helps remove any metals which find their way into the water.  Adding the Metal Out regularly will help ensure your pool will remain iron free.

How To Get Brown Pool Water Clear Summary

Ultimately, brown water is something that needs be addressed. Like other pool water color changes, this is due to a chemical difference. Iron in your pool water will turn it brown just as a cooper imbalance will cause purple pool water. As long as you follow our step by step guide above, you should be swimming again in a few days.