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How Long After Shocking Your Pool Can You Swim

January 27, 2022

How Long After Shocking Your Pool Can You Swim

Shocking (or adding high amounts of chlorine to) your pool delivers many benefits for controlling algae and reducing bacteria, and it’s a regular part of upkeep for most pool owners.  However, swimming after shocking the pool can be harmful to sensitive skin. While the answer to the question of when it is safe to swim after shocking your pool may vary based on your circumstances, two primary guidelines for safety include chlorine level testing and time.

If Chlorine Levels Are Around 5 Parts-per-Million

Many pool owners shock their pools after completing an evening swim and then running the pool pump. Doing so allows the pump to do its job overnight, increasing the free chlorine level count to prevent the occurrence of algae, bacteria and chloramines that affect water quality. Another reason many choose to shock in the evening is because of the impact of UV rays on free chlorine. The sunlight gobbles up free chlorine the same way picnic-goers do hotdogs. Shocking overnight gives your levels a chance to grow without worry.

Yet, life is not always cooperative, and there may be a need to shock your pool during the day. Plan to allow one hour for each pound of shock you add, or follow the product manufacturer’s guidelines — many provide recommended waiting periods.

Since duration and levels vary, you should test your water after using pool shock and before swimming, no matter what time you choose to do it. Water quality is best for swimming when free chlorine levels are 5ppm or less.

After 24 Hours

Waiting to swim 24 hours post-shock is a commonly accepted standard because of differences in:

  • Pool size.
  • Pool cleanliness.
  • The type of shock product you use.
  • The pH levels in your water —  higher pH can impact the treatment’s effectiveness and lead to cloudy water.


The exact time frame will vary based on these factors, but a day is likely long enough for free chlorine levels to recover. It’s still wise to test water quality for everyone’s comfort and safety and to wait until your pool water is clear enough to see the bottom before swimming.

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