If you own a pool in your backyard, then putting on sunscreen is an important part of your regular swimming routine. It should ideally be applied before you go out into the pool and start swimming. Many people also like to put suntan lotion before they go to lounge by the pool. However, there is a downside to all this. Although the sunscreen and suntan lotion provides benefits to your skin, it can adversely affect the quality of water in the pool.
How do Sunscreen and Suntan Lotions Change the Water Chemistry of the Pool?
You may think that now that you have applied sunscreen, your skin is fairly protected and you can safely enter the swimming pool. However, there are certain negative effects of these products on the water chemistry of the pool. The water chemistry of a swimming pool is an important part of the swimming experience. It has been found that sunscreen and suntan lotions can harm the quality of water in the pool. This becomes especially pronounced if there are many people getting in and out of the pool wearing these products on their skin.
Although sunscreen is essential to keep the skin safe from sun damage, its harmful effects on the pool water cannot be ignored. The products, when dissolved in water, combine with chemicals like chlorine in the water and create a chemical imbalance. You will be able to see the results of this almost immediately as the water starts becoming cloudy. If the water chemistry of the swimming pool becomes too imbalanced, it can also lead to eye and skin irritations in people.
The problem encountered in this situation is that you cannot prevent this from happening. Chemicals are essential for keeping the pool functioning and the water clean. At the same time, protecting our skin with the help of sunscreen is also essential. However, there are ways you can protect the pool from this.
How to Protect Your Pool
If you go to any public swimming pool or a water park, there is a strict policy to shower before you enter the pool. This is done so that the pool water can be kept free of gunk and oils. Many suntan lotions are made from oil. When these oils get dissolved in water, they not only affect the quality of the water, but it can be practically impossible to get them out completely. The oil residue often bonds with the filter material, making it very difficult to clean the filter.
A similar situation can arise in your backyard swimming pool as well. Even if you have a ‘shower before entering’ policy, you will end up with some amount of oil residue in the pool because of these products. The gunk can begin to accumulate in certain areas of the pool, like the filter, skimmer, and filter hardware. Once it reaches these spots, it can be quite difficult to get it out. It affects the quality of water in the pool and also has an adverse effect on the functionality of the filter system.
There are a number of ways this can be prevented. You can use the following tips to keep your pool water and filter system oil-free.
Shower Before entering
Follow the rule applied in the theme parks when entering your backyard pool. Showering before you jump into the pool will be a good precaution to take as it will help in removing some of the natural oils of the body as well. If suntan lotion or oil has been applied, now is a good time to scrub it off your skin. The skin should be rubbed off thoroughly so that there is no white residue of the lotion in your skin.
Shock the Water
If you notice your pool water getting cloudy due to an accumulation of black gunk and oil residue, you should take a break from swimming for a while. This would be a good time to shock the pool water with the help of a chlorinated compound. Remember to keep the filter running and ensure that it has been backwashed.
Wear Protective Clothing
If you swim frequently, you can opt for protective clothing instead of sunscreen. A long-sleeved swim shirt can be a great alternative, as it will provide adequate protection to your skin. It will also prevent the sunscreen from washing off into the water and affecting its chemistry.
Use the Products Correctly
You can remove the suntan lotion before entering the pool, but sunscreens are often a necessary requirement as your skin needs protection even inside the pool. There are ways to apply sunscreen when you need to swim in the pool. It is important to follow the product’s directions and allow the sunscreen to soak into your skin. Many people slather on the sunscreen and jump into the pool immediately. This can be counterproductive as the lotion will wash off as soon as you enter the pool. It will also affect the water chemistry of the pool. So, remember to use the products judiciously before entering the pool.
Use Enzymatic Solution
You can also treat the oily residue in the pool with the help of an enzymatic solution. The best part about this is that it will start working almost immediately in cleaning out your pool. It will remove not only the oils, but also dirt, detergents, and pollen. The enzymes break down the oils and convert them into components that can be easily removed through the pool filter.
By following these tips, you will be able to keep your swimming pool free of product accumulation. Although these tips can aid you, the best way to ensure that the water chemistry of the pool is not harmed is by keeping up with regular maintenance and cleaning. For proper filtration, the pool filter should be kept clean by periodic backwashing. It will help in removing the dirt and grime more easily and ensure that the water quality remains best.