Dispelling the Biggest Pool Myths

There are some persistent pool myths out there. Most of them were fed to you as a child. Now that you’re all grown up, it’s time to get the facts.

You have to wait an hour after eating to swim.
This is a deeply ingrained myth. The truth is that you don’t have to wait an hour after eating to get into the pool. Yes, the blood is moving to the digestive area to take care of the meal you just ate which means there’s less blood for your muscles. However, you can still swim…unless you’ve eaten like King Henry VIII. If you are competing or training, then it is best to eat 2 or 3 hours before swimming for maximum energy as you would for any rigorous exercise. If you do get a muscle cramp, it should be pretty mild and you can move to the nearest ladder and exit the pool. No harm done. You won’t drown.

Chlorine turns blonde hair green.
You swam in a friend’s pool and now your hair is green. You blame chlorine, but that’s not the culprit. It’s actually oxidized copper in the water that has bound itself to the hair shaft and deposited its color there. Copper is found in some algaecides, not chlorine.

If your hair does turn green in the pool, you can get rid of the color by using a “swimmers” shampoo that chelates (removes) the metal. Vinegar and lemon juice can also remove the green copper from you hair.

The intense chemical smell in the pool means there’s too much chlorine.
A chlorine odor actually means there is too much combined or waste chlorine (chloramines) in the water. After free chlorine attacks an organic product such as bacteria or oils, it forms a waste product that has a strong chlorine smell. These chloramines are not effective sanitizers and in addition to causing odor, they irritate eyes and skin.

Shocking your pool eliminates a high combined chlorine level. First test for free and combined chlorine. If the free chlorine level is good, 1-3 ppm, and the combined chlorine level is high (above .4 ppm), shock the pool with an oxy shock. These don’t contain chlorine and will allow you to swim immediately after shocking.

If your free chlorine is low, shock with granular chlorine. Make sure you know your pool volume, so you use the correct amount. After shocking with chlorine, the free chlorine level will be high for about 8 hours in the sun. Test before swimming. In a warm, busy pool, we recommend 3 ppm of free chlorine and no more than .4 ppm of combined chlorine.

Pools turn pea green, so we can all know who the culprit is.
If you’ve seen the movie Grown Ups with Adam Sandler and Kevin James, it makes you think that this myth is true. However, it’s not. If someone pees in the pool, it could be briefly yellow because urine is that color. There is no chemical indicator you can put in the water to catch people who pee.

If the water is clear, the pool is safe.
Clear water is always better than green, cloudy water, but even clear water can have bacteria and parasites present. A pool is safe if the sanitizer and pH levels are correct. In public pools, the operator should either use a clarifier that removes parasites such as CRS or a UV system to kill parasites that are chlorine resistant. If you are traveling, it’s best to take your own test strips to make sure the pool and spa have enough chlorine. Always shower after using the pool or spa.

A disposable diaper is all my baby needs to keep other swimmers safe.

Diapers leak. Any parent knows this from their own experience. Thoroughly wash your baby before (and after) swimming and make sure he or she is wearing a swim diaper that seals correctly.

One thing that is not a myth is that persistent pool hygiene keeps your pool fun and clean for everyone! Hines Pool & Spa has built a reputation in Central Texas with almost thirty years of proven dedication and expertise in our field. If you know someone who needs help with their private or public pool management, we’d appreciate the referral!

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