Busting the Great Chlorine Myth

Everything you think you know about pools is about to get turned upside down, and it’s all thanks to two common myths about chlorine in swimming pools.

We all know summer is the time when your pool changes from a luxury to a necessity, especially in the summer heat that plagues Florida. Whether it’s lounging at your own pool or going to a public pool at the gym or for a party, a few simple “facts” help you know that your pool time experience is safe and the water is healthy. That strong scent of chemicals? It’s the pool’s way of telling you that the chlorine is working overtime. Those red eyes? Well, they’re just a sign of the chlorine doing its job! Right?


If you thought these were facts too… don’t worry. You are in good company. According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of the Water Quality and Health Council, three-quarters of Americans incorrectly believe that the chemical odor they smell at pools is a sign that there’s too much chlorine in the water. However, the opposite could be true. That chemical smell is the sign that something is wrong. When chlorine combines with bodily fluids and body oils, it forms something called chloramines.

Chloramines give off that strong chemical odor and cause the reddening of the eyes. What makes this dangerous is the fact that the formation of chloramines uses up the germ killing power of chlorine, making the water less healthy and less safe. Suffice it to say, if you’re at a public pool, it may not be a good idea to hop right in. If you’re at your own pool, it’s time to test the water and possibly add more chemicals.

The CDC has something to say.

Some tips, offered by the CDC, are helpful. If you’re swimming, be sure to take frequent bathroom breaks. Use good hygiene practices before getting into the pool. Another tip is to take a shower before entering a pool. This will rinse off any oils and sweat that could dilute the germ killing effects of the chlorine. If you are monitoring your own pool, be sure to test it frequently. Chlorine and pH are your best weapons against recreational waterborne illness.

Don’t wait for the symptoms to tell you that something is wrong.