How strong should the smell of chlorine be...


New member
How strong should the smell of chlorine be in a swimming pool? It shouldn't be strong enough to make your nose burn, should it? I keep thinking our pool has been over-chlorinated...

Stumpy McDugal

Cracker OG
Staff member
I was always hypersensitive to chlorine in the pool. I remember the smell was always stronger the first day or two after a cleaning. We have since converted to a salt water system. Much better on the eyes and wallet.


Well-known member
It may not be strong enough.
[h=2]What does it mean if I smell a strong chlorine odor in my pool or hot tub or it burns my eyes?[/h] A common misconception, even among some pool and hot tub "technicians," is that the strong odor of chlorine means there is too much chlorine in the water. This is absolutely incorrect and in fact, the opposite is true. There is not enough chlorine to neutralize the ammonia in the water. More chlorine-based product should be added to solve this issue

Little Dee

Sweet & Sassy
VV was a pool inspector for a long time and he used to say that if you can smell the chlorine in the pool it has too much in it. He was in the chemical business for about 17 years.


New member
I'm no expert, but if my pool water makes my nose/eyes burn, I back off on the chlorine and it seems be okay. It seems like my pool is a constant chemical battle, so I'm going to do what Stumpy did and switch to a salt water system.


In The Pokey
Could it also be that your pool was 'shocked' at the same time? That will amplify that smell....... BTW, I use a chlorine float in my fountain pond and when I walk by and smell the chlorine, I say to myself...... GOD! I'm glad I don't have to swim in that!!!!!! But all jokes aside, I find that smell related to 'pool/ fountain' to be a sign of cleanliness.


Actually there are a number of reasons you can smell "Chlorine" smell....A simple and inexpensive test kit is worth its money in your time and unnecessary expense. I used to use the test strips...50 tests for less than 20 bucks...It saved me more than that in chemicals easily was simple and convenient.
This is the brand I used...Great reliable results.
Proper sanitation and chlorine levels depend on a balanced system and if you don't have that balance your simply throwing money away.


Army Cracker
Actually the best thing for a pool owner to do is take a "proper" sample of your pool water and take it to Pinch-A-Penny and have it analyzed. When I worked for Proteam Products in Jacksonville we had contracts with the Jaguars for their therapy pools. We also, (before my time there) did the Olympic pool in Korea for the games. The company had quite a lab and field techs all over the globe. There was a product called Proteam Supreme that actually made algie unable to live. It just could not survive in a Supreme pool. Hurricane Andrew saw Proteam Supreme pools a beautiful blue after three weeks of no filtering or chlorination/salt/bromine, whatever sanitizer used. The real kick about this is the founder of The Girvan Company, Mr. John Girvan figured out that Borax, simple pure Borax killed Algie. He actually patented it as Proteam Supreme! The only Borax mine is in California and they were required by the Feds to package at the mine in 100 pound bags for us. Reba McEntire actually did her own pool and used Supreme in her private pool. What a gal!

Now then when I say a proper sample take a clean clean 16 ounce bottle and open side down submerge as far in as your arm will go turning the bottle to fill. Remove from the pool and cap it tightly. That's the test sample. Never do this in direct sunlight. Try to do at dawn or dusk.

There are so many things to know that it may just make sense to hire a good pool guy.

Read all you can at this site: http://store.pinchapenny.com/info/pool-care-guide-table-of-contents

Now if you really want to know why your pool might stink, read this. Like c-scape said though, you might not have enough! That certainly is possible.

Take some time to read the information here: http://chlorine.americanchemistry.com/Science-Center/Chlorine-Compound-of-the-Month-Library/Chloramines-Understanding-Pool-Smell

I would pay attention to this part:

"A whiff of pool water - often described as the smell of chlorine -can stir happy thoughts of summer. If strong enough, however, "pool smell" can signify a source of irritation to the eyes, lungs and skin of swimmers.Pool smell is due, not to chlorine, but to chloramines, chemical compounds that build up in pool water when it is improperly treated.
Chloramines result from the combination of two ingredients: (a) chlorine disinfectants and (b) perspiration, oils and urine that enter pools on the bodies of swimmers. Chlorine disinfectants are added to pool water to destroy germs that can give swimmers diarrhea, ear aches and athlete's foot. Perspiration, oils and urine, however, are unwanted additions to pool water. By showering before entering the pool, and washing these substances from the skin, swimmers can help minimize pool smell."

Oh and about those Proteam Supreme places to buy. Take a look here. There is a place on Nova Road that sells it. http://www.proteampoolcare.com/index.php/products/enhancers/supreme/


New member
Total Alkalinity is usually the culprit. Most people believe it is chlorine but its not. Check the TA then adjust accordingly.


New member
Thanks everyone for the input. I am new to swimming pools (obviously) and still don't think I have the hang of it. I'd love to go salt water but have even less knowledge about that than I do about chlorinated pools. I'll look into a test kit and go from there. Thanks again.


Staff member
Saltwater is much easier from what I have heard and it's not that big a deal to convert.
Pretty much all it does is generate your chlorine directly by releasing it from the sodium in the salt using an electric charge that is isolated from the rest of the water.


New member
Really? I guess I figured a saltwater pool would be harder to take care of than a regular pool because I have always heard that saltwater aquariums are a lot harder to maintain than freshwater ones. I might have to look into this some more...


New member
I agree that Total Alkalinity needs to be checked first. Chlorine in a properly balanced pool does not burn swimmers eyes. Usually burning eyes ,nose and skin irritation along with the strong smell of chlorine is a sure sign that your pH is out of balance. Since TA is the measure of buffers in the water that stabilize pH you need to test it first. If TA drops below 100mg/L, you will experience pH bounce (the pH will drift up and down drastically)

If you adjust your pH without first checking TA you are taking a chance of throwing good money away.

The test kits they sell are very simple to use. (Dont buy the big one with all of the little bottles, buy the smaller one)
A few tips on the kit: Get your water approx. 18 inches below the surface.
Hold reagent bottle vertically when using it.
Rinse tubes thoroughly before and after every test.

I am certified to operate commercial pools (CPO) in the state of Florida. :)