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Pool clarifier flocculants: What you should know

Pool clarifier flocculants: the complete guide

Pool Clarifier and flocculant serve a similar purpose but they are not the same thing. As a swimming pool owner, have you ever woken up in the morning to find your swimming pool water cloudy and looking slightly murky in color? This is mostly caused by algae and debris floating in the swimming pool water. Pool clarifiers and flocculants are known as coagulant agents, their role is to consolidate debris into bigger clumps in order for the filter to be able to suck them in and flush them out. Clarifiers and flocculants do the same thing but they work differently in the sense that one takes longer than the other to work effectively.

In this article, we will discuss more about pool clarifiers and flocculants. We will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of using both to help you make an informed decision as to which one will be best for you.

Pool Clarifier

Pool clarifier is the mildest coagulating agent, it facilitates the cleaning process and makes it easier for the filter to pick up the dirt. Pool clarifiers can be used in conjunction with sand filters, DE filters, and cartridge filters. If you decide to go ahead and use a pool clarifier, bear in mind that you will need to switch on your filter and pump and leave it on for a full day (24 hours)

Pool clarifiers consist of polymers that bind small pieces of dirt and debris together to facilitate the cleaning process.

Pool clarifiers are not as strong as flocculants so they take longer to work effectively. You might have to wait for a few days to really see the best results. Therefore, pool clarifiers are not the best for speedy results.

If you want to regularly clean out your pool and keep it looking fresh, then pool clarifiers can be utilized as a part of your regular pool clean up routine.

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Pool Clarifier Instructions

Here are some tips on how to use pool clarifiers

Note: If you have an algae problem too then you need to reconsider using pool clarifier. Using a pool clarifier alone will not eliminate the algae problem.

  1. Check the pH levels, if they are out of whack, you will need to treat the water to bring it up to or down to 7.4- 7.6.
  2. Follow the directions on the packaging to get the right dosage
  3. Identify the volume of your swimming pool, figure this out using a pool calculator if you don’t know the exact measurement.
  4. Measure the clarifier out to ensure you have the right quantity.
  5. Switch the pool filter on, allow it to stay on for as long as possible (throughout the pool clarifying process)
  6. Get rid of the dirt and debris in the pool filter
  7. Test the pH of the water, if it has gone down as a result of the pool clarifying process, treat the water to reduce the levels.

There are advantages and disadvantages of using swimming pool clarifiers, here are some of them:

Advantages of using a pool clarifier:

  • Less effort required
  • Excellent for mild cloudiness and tiny particles


  • Takes a couple of days to work effectively

The main disadvantage associated with using pool clarifiers is that it takes a few days to see results. If you want very quick results, you are better off using a flocculant instead.


Flocculants are also coagulation agents however; they are far more powerful than pool clarifiers. The main difference between a pool clarifier and a flocculant is that it does not require a filter or a pump. Also, it is extremely potent compared to pool clarifiers. Instead of turning the pump to facilitate the cleaning process, you would need to use a vacuum instead. It works in the same way that a pool clarifier works. It consolidates the dirt and pulls everything into larger clumps, then the user vacuums the dirt to remove it from the swimming pool water. Flocculants are excellent for people that want fast results, also, if you left cleaning your pool to the very last minute, or on the day of a major event, within a few hours, you should see some results.

The majority of commercial flocculants used for tackling cloudiness in swimming pool water are artificial water-soluble polymers. They are mostly sold in powder form and can be poured into the pool as a powder, or it can be mixed with water to form a liquid solution.

Tips on Using Pool Flocculants

1.Switch the filter on (only suitable for sand and DE filters)

2. Check the pH levels to ensure that they are around 7.4 and 7.6 on the pH scale

3. Pay attention to the directions on the packaging and follow them carefully

4. Identify the volume of your swimming pool, if you are unaware of your swimming pool volume, utilize a pool calculator to find out.

  1. Pour the flocculant into the pool according to the instructions on the packaging
  2. Turn on the pump for a couple of hours
  3. Switch the pump off, do this evening so the flocculant can settle overnight.
  4. Switch the pool filter to the Waste mode

9, Use a vacuum to clean up the clumped-up dirt and debris

  1. When the process is complete, you might need to refill your pool. Because usually, this process removes a large amount of water from the pool.
  2. Check the water pH levels again, if it has decreased, you might need to treat the water again to bring the water to the correct pH level.

Caution: Before you commence the cleaning process, make sure that you have set up your filter to Recirculate, you need to make sure of this because if the flocculant gets into the filter, you will have a problem.

     Disadvantages and Advantages of Using Flocculants

Here are some of the disadvantages and advantages of using flocculants


  • Fast results
  • Works really effectively


  • Need to use a vacuum
  • Wastes a lot of water
  • If you have a cartridge filter, you cannot use flocculants

Flocculants can be used for severe cloudy water and mild, less severe cloudy water. The only problem is that if you want fast results, you need to use a vacuum, and usually, there is a significant amount of water wastage.

Caution: When you use Flocculant, you should be very careful about letting the solution touch the filter media. This can cause significant damage to the media, if you do want to use flocculant, you need to make sure you are using with filters that have bypass capability. For example, DE filters and sand filters are suitable for use with flocculant. However, if you have a cartridge filter, you should avoid using this product. If you do have a cartridge filter, check to see if you have a bypass feature (usually installed within the plumbing system)

Which One Should You Use? Pool Clarifier or Pool Flocculant?

It really does depend on how much time you have available, also the severity of the problem. If the problem is really severe and you need to get the pool cleaned fast because you have an event or a video shoot or something like that, then choose flocculant. Why? Because floc is stronger than pool clarifier and you can solve the problem literally overnight. However, with pool clarifier, it takes a few days to work effectively, and in terms of potency, it really is not that strong. Although pool clarifier does work well on mild cloudiness, it doesn’t work as effectively when it comes to severe cases of cloudy swimming pools.

As stated above, time really is the major factor here. If you stock up on both products, you can use the clarifier when it really is not that urgent and then you can use the flocculant, when you need to get the pool cleaned pretty quickly.


Pool clarifiers and pool flocculants are similar in the sense that they consolidate dirt and debris in the swimming pool water to facilitate the cleaning process. However, they work differently in the sense that they both at different speeds. Pool clarifiers, for instance, require more time but generally less work. However, flocculants require less time but more handiwork, in order for a flocculant to work effectively, you need to use a vacuum. However, with a pool clarifier, you do not need to use a vacuum.

Therefore, it is up to d you decide what is best for your current situation. Remember to always check your swimming pool water pH levels prior to carrying out any water treatments. Often pool clarifiers and flocculants destroy the pH balance therefore, check before and after carrying out the treatment. If the pH level has drastically reduced, you can add sodium bicarbonate or baking soda to raise the pH levels of your water. Ask your local swimming pool store for information on how to effectively do this. If pH levels need to be reduced as a result of the treatment, you can add muriatic acid according to the recommendations on the packaging to bring the pH levels down. 

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