What Is Pool Shocking All About?

You know you need to keep your pool clean for it to be safe to swim in. Have you heard of shocking your pool? If you’re a new pool owner, you may not have: What is it all about, and is it any different from the normal water balancing you do? As it turns out, pool shocking is a different process, one that’s important to keeping your pool safe and healthy to swim in.

What Is Pool Shock?

Have you ever walked by a pool and noticed that it smelled strongly of chlorine? As it turns out, what you were smelling wasn’t technically chlorine: it was chloramines. Chloramines are a byproduct of chlorine that form when chlorine mixes with the nitrogen found in sweat, oils, and urine–all things that accumulate in pool water. Pool shock, sometimes called superchlorination, is a chemical that oxidizes chloramines, kills pool algae growth, and helps clear up cloudy water.

Types of Pool Shock

There are a few different types of pool shock you can use on your pool: calcium hypochlorite shock, lithium hypochlorite shock, dichlor shock, and non-chlorine shock. Calcium hypochlorite shock is one of the most convenient and inexpensive forms of shock. It must be dissolved in water before being added to your pool. Lithium hypochlorite shock is a bit more expensive, but it’s better for pools with high calcium levels. It dissolves more quickly, so you can add it directly to your pool. Dichlor shock can be used to shock chlorine and saltwater pools and doesn’t usually have to be dissolved before adding it to the pool. 


You’ll need to wait about eight hours before swimming after adding any of these types of shock. Non-chlorine shock is the preferred shock for saltwater pools. It’s the only kind of shock you don’t need to add after dusk. You’ll only need to wait 15 minutes before swimming after adding this type of shock.

Pool Shock Frequency and Timing

Most types of shock must be used after dusk, as the sun’s UV rays burn off unstabilized chlorine and neutralize their effects. Shock your pool weekly or a minimum of once every other week. Events like pool parties or other heavy pool use, a severe rainstorm, major water level changes, or someone having a bowel-related accident may necessitate an additional shock treatment.

You’ve spent a lot of time and money on bringing your private pool vision to life. It only makes sense to take good care of it. That means shocking your pool, regularly cleaning it, and balancing your pool’s chemicals. It takes a lot of work to keep a pool in good condition, but it’s work you’ll find to be well worth it once you kick back, relax, and enjoy your pool.

Hot tubs need regular maintenance too. Sonoma Backyard has you covered with all the accessories you need to take care of your hot tub. Click here to learn more!