What Does Pool Salt Do? Exploring the Functions and Advantages of Pool Salt

When it comes to maintaining a swimming pool, pool owners are often faced with the challenge of balancing chemicals, such as chlorine, to keep the water free from bacteria and algae. Pool salt offers an alternative approach that provides numerous benefits and a more enjoyable swimming experience.

Swimming pools are a source of enjoyment and relaxation for many people. To keep the water clean and safe, various chemicals are used, with chlorine being the most common. However, there is an alternative that is gaining popularity in recent years – pool salt. In this article, we will explore what pool salt is and what it does for your swimming pool.

what does pool salt do

Benefits of Using Pool Salt – What Does Pool Salt Do?

Using pool salt in your swimming pool offers several advantages over traditional chlorine-based systems. Let’s explore some of the key benefits:

1. Chlorine Generation

One of the primary benefits of pool salt is its ability to generate chlorine through a process called electrolysis. A saltwater chlorinator system converts the dissolved pool salt into chlorine, which sanitizes the water. This eliminates the need for storing and handling chlorine tablets or liquid.

2. Reduced Chlorine Odor

Unlike traditional chlorinated pools, saltwater pools have a milder and more pleasant odor. Chloramines, the compounds responsible for the strong chlorine smell, are significantly reduced in saltwater pools. This creates a more enjoyable swimming environment for both you and your guests.

3. Softer Water

Saltwater pools offer a unique experience with softer water compared to traditional chlorinated pools. The presence of salt in the water provides a gentle and silky feel, similar to that of a natural ocean or sea. This can enhance the overall swimming experience and make your skin feel smoother.

4. Gentler on Skin and Eyes

Another advantage of saltwater pools is that they are gentler on the skin and eyes. Chlorine can often cause dryness, itchiness, and redness, particularly for individuals with sensitive skin. Saltwater pools help reduce these side effects, making swimming more comfortable for people of all ages.

What is Pool Salt?

Pool salt, also known as saltwater pool salt, is a type of salt specifically designed for use in swimming pools. It consists primarily of sodium chloride, which is the same compound found in table salt. However, pool salt undergoes additional processing to remove impurities and ensure it is suitable for use in pools.

Sodium Chloride

Sodium chloride (NaCl) is the chemical compound that forms the basis of pool salt. It is composed of sodium ions (Na+) and chloride ions (Cl-). When dissolved in water, these ions separate and play a crucial role in pool sanitation.

Types of Pool Salt

There are different types of pool salt available on the market. The two most common types include:

  1. Evaporated Salt: This type of pool salt is produced through evaporation and is generally considered the purest form. It dissolves quickly and leaves behind minimal residue.
  2. Mined Salt: Mined salt is obtained through mining natural salt deposits. It may contain impurities that require additional processing before use. Mined salt is often less expensive than evaporated salt.

How to Use Pool Salt

Using pool salt in your swimming pool requires some basic understanding of the process. Here are the main steps involved:

Saltwater Chlorinator System

If your pool is equipped with a saltwater chlorinator system, the process is relatively straightforward. The system converts the dissolved salt into chlorine automatically. You will need to add the appropriate amount of salt to your pool based on its size and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Saltwater Pool Conversion

If you have a traditional chlorinated pool and wish to convert it to a saltwater pool, you’ll need to consider a few factors. This typically involves adjusting the pool’s equipment and plumbing to accommodate the saltwater system. It is recommended to consult a professional for guidance during the conversion process.

Saltwater Pool Maintenance

Maintaining a saltwater pool involves regularly checking the salt levels and pH balance. Salt may be lost due to evaporation or splash-out, so periodic salt additions might be necessary. Additionally, it’s essential to monitor and adjust the pool’s pH and alkalinity levels to ensure optimal water quality.

Common Misconceptions about Pool Salt

There are some misconceptions surrounding the use of pool salt that we should address:

Pool Water Salinity

Some people worry that using pool salt will result in overly salty water. However, saltwater pools typically have a salt concentration similar to tears (around 3,000-4,000 ppm), which is barely noticeable to swimmers. It is important to maintain the appropriate salinity levels to ensure the pool functions optimally.

Corrosion and Damage

Another concern is the potential corrosion or damage caused by saltwater. While it is true that saltwater can be corrosive, saltwater pool systems are designed with corrosion-resistant materials. As long as the system is properly maintained, the risk of damage to the pool and its equipment is minimal.

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In summary, pool salt offers an alternative method for maintaining a clean and enjoyable swimming pool experience. It provides benefits such as chlorine generation, reduced chlorine odor, softer water, and gentler effects on the skin and eyes.

By understanding how to use pool salt correctly and dispelling common misconceptions, you can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right choice for your pool.


  • 1. Is pool salt the same as table salt?

    No, pool salt is specifically formulated for use in swimming pools and undergoes additional processing to remove impurities.

  • 2. Can I use regular salt in my pool?

    Regular salt, such as table salt, may contain additives or impurities that can affect water quality. It is recommended to use pool salt for optimal results.

  • 3. How often should I add pool salt?

    Salt may be lost due to evaporation or splash-out, so it’s important to periodically check the salt levels and add salt as needed. The frequency will depend on various factors, including pool size and usage.

  • 4. Will using pool salt save money?

    While the initial investment for a saltwater system may be higher, the long-term cost of maintaining a saltwater pool can be lower compared to traditional chlorine-based systems.

  • 5. Is it safe to swim in a saltwater pool?

    Yes, swimming in a properly maintained saltwater pool is safe. The salt concentration is relatively low and should not cause any harm to swimmers.