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Maintaining water quality in paddling pools

Keep the young ones happy...and healthy!

With the current hot weather and start of the school holidays, there's nothing the kids like better than splashing around in the paddling pool. But what should you do with the water at the end of the day?

With most people on water meters and hosepipe bans in force in some areas of the country, it makes sense to save the water for the next day and beyond. But such conditions make for an ideal environment for algae to grow. The last thing you need is for your little ones to be ill during the holidays.


girl in paddling pool

There is a simple way of maintaining the water quality using two simple household products, without the need for expensive pool treatment products. They are Bicarbonate of Soda and Sainsburys 'Little Ones' baby bottle steriliser (which is double concentrated). The former helps control water pH levels and the latter prevents the growth of bacteria and algae.

Pools (both swimming and paddling) will become acidic over time, because the water absorbs CO2 and because kids tend to 'leak' (to put it politely). Acidic water will break down chlorine. Bicarbonate of Soda is a natural alkali so can be used to neutralise acid solutions.

How much to use

The method below should keep your water safe for up to a fortnight, although you may want to scoop out dead insects, leaves and grass.

  1. Simply add 2.5ml of Sainsbury Steriliser fluid per 100 litres of new water. The paddling pool should quote its capacity on the box so you can adjust the required amount.
  2. After a week or so, to bring the pH to a level that keeps the steriliser fluid from breaking down,  add 50g per 100L of Bicarb. Dissolve the bicarb and mix in to the water then add the original amount of Steriliser again (2.5ml per 100 litres).

If you do have pH test strips to check the water pH, you should keep the pH level around 8.0-8.4 but this 'rule of thumb' method should last up to 2 weeks or so before algae starts to grow. After that time, you'll probably want fresh water anyway.

By the time the water is ready to change, the steriliser will have broken down and won't be harmful to the garden so the pool water can be used for watering your lawn or garden.


6 thoughts on “Maintaining water quality in paddling pools

    1. Although in principle you should be able to scale it up, it’s probably best seeking the guidance of a pool specialist as there may be more practical alternatives for a volume of that size.

  1. This is a great idea for paddling pool water – could the same method be used in a water butt to get rid of the ‘film’ that forms on the surface?

    1. Hi Janet – in theory the risk is minimal and probably no worse than a dog entering a swimming pool, but you may need to seek a vet’s advice if your dog was drinking the water for some reason.

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