What Are the Most Common Chlorine Alternatives for Swimming Pools?

family in swimmng pool

Chlorine remains the most popular purification agent used with swimming pools, and for good reason. It is an affordable, easy to use solution that works well in large volume pools. In addition, it effectively accomplishes the three main cleaning functions required by a purification agent:

  • Sanitizes your pool to kill any bacteria and germs
  • Oxidizes your pool to eliminate organic debris from perspiration and body oil
  • Deters algae, ensuring your pool’s walls, water, floor and tile remain clean

However, there are also several drawbacks to using chlorine to keep your pool clean. It has a strong chemical odor and can result in dry skin, irritated eyes and allergic reactions. For these reasons, many people are seeking out chlorine alternatives that can reduce these side effects. If you’re looking for a different sanitizing option, you have several choices available.


Bromine is an excellent alternative for indoor pools. Your pool water will require less testing and will remain more stable than when chlorine is used. This will ensure your pool remains in balance for longer periods of time, allowing you to enjoy your pool without the need for constant adjustments to the chemical agents you’re using. Other benefits include:

  • Easy to use
  • More stable at high temperatures than chlorine
  • Reduces eye irritation and dry skin

However, there are several drawbacks to bromine:

  • Sunlight reduces the effectiveness of bromine, requiring significantly more of the chemical to make it a practical solution for outdoor pools
  • Weaker oxidation process than chlorine, resulting in a dull, green water color that foams up while swimming
  • More expensive option than chlorine

Ozone Generators

Ozone generators attach to your filtration plumbing line, inserting ozone gas into your pool to address impurities in the water. There are two different ozone generator options:

  • UV Light System – Low-pressure vapor lamps are used to generate the ozone that will kill pathogens floating in your pool water.
  • Corona Discharge Generators – An electrical arc is used to create the ozone that kills pathogens in your pool.

The main benefit associated with using an ozone generator is the ability to reduce the use of chemicals by up to 90%. In addition, this option:

  • Makes your pool water softer, providing for a more enjoyable swimming experience
  • Is a pH neutral solution that won’t impact your pool water balance
  • Eliminates issues such as calcium scaling
  • Results in only a minimal increase in energy use

It’s important to understand that ozone generators won’t sanitize your pool. As a result, you’ll need to combine this option with a chemical, such as chlorine, that will perform this important sanitization function. That being said, you’ll need to use significantly less quantity of the sanitizing chemical than would be necessary without an ozone generator. Other drawbacks to this option include:

  • Reduced performance in humid climates
  • More expensive than many other solutions


An ionizer is a machine that uses low-voltage DC current to send two metallic minerals, typically copper and silver, into the water. The positive charge will attract fungi, bacteria, algae, viruses and other harmful substances, clumping them together so that they can be eliminated by the filtration system.

This option won’t irritate your eyes or result in allergic reactions. When only a small number of people are using the pool, it has the ability to significantly reduce the amount of chlorine used. However, you will still need some chlorine with this solution.

Ionizers aren’t effective when there are high dirt levels or heavy levels of air pollution. In addition, the pool pump must run continuously in order to maintain proper sanitization levels, which makes this a relatively expensive option. You may also find that the increased levels of metal in the water stain your pool.

Salt Water

Salt water pools are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to using chlorine as a cleaning agent. It provides a natural way to generate chlorine. The salt is sent through a cell that provides a charge and breaks it down to chlorine. This delivers all the sanitization benefits of chlorine while avoiding dry skin, eye irritation or a potent chemical smell.

In addition to providing a highly effective, all-natural way to sanitize your pool, salt water offers the following benefits:

  • Provides a more comfortable swimming experience
  • Creates soft water
  • Eliminates the need for chlorine entirely
  • Less expensive than chlorine

The one downside to this option is that you will need to replace the salt cell every 4-5 years. However, most people find that the benefits of this option far outweigh the drawbacks.

Allen Pool Service Can Help

Allen Pool Service has been taking care of pools throughout the Atlanta area since 1972. Our team is committed to providing you with the dependable, high quality pool service you deserve. If you’re tired of dealing with regular pool maintenance tasks, we can help. Our experienced pool care technicians can address all of your cleaning and maintenance needs so that you can relax and enjoy your pool. We use the most advanced filtration systems and equipment to ensure you have a comfortable experience every time you go swimming.

Schedule an Appointment

Please call us today at 770-451-1621 today to schedule a pool maintenance appointment.