Solved! How do I fix my cloudy brown pool water?

How do I fix my cloudy brown pool water? If you are on this page chances are you have an ugly cloudy brown pool that you want to fix ASAP. Well, you are in the right place. Below are easy-to-use, step-by-step directions directly from Dr. Joe teaching you how to clear up that nasty brown pool water!

If your pool water is clear and brown, but not cloudy, click here for the Clear Brown Water Pool Treatment.

Brown Pool Water From Organics and Metals
Example Of Brown Pool Water In Hot Tub
Cloudy Brown Pool Water

Use our step-by-step directions to fix your cloudy brown pool water.

Items needed to fix your cloudy brown pool water:


We recommend using liquid chlorine for this process.

Copper-Based Algaecide

A copper-based algaecide (Dr. Joe recommends Bio-Dex Aqua Pure) works with chlorine to kill organics. Follow the directions on the algaecide label.

Super Metal Stain Eliminator Kit

Super Start-Up is an extra strength sequestering/chelating agent that holds stain-causing metals, like iron, copper, and manganese in suspension.  

Rust and Iron Stain Remover reduces the suspended oxidized iron (rust) into its clear ionic form.  

Copper Stain Remover reduces the suspended oxidized copper into its clear ionic form.

CuLator Ultra 4.0 removes and eliminates dissolved iron and other metals from the swimming pool.  

Purchase our Super Metal Stain Eliminator Kit and use the step-by-step instructions below to solve your brown pool water problems!

Follow these directions step-by-step

Print off the Step-By-Step Guide Here.

Prior to starting this procedure read all instructions. Make sure to properly balance the pool and spa water, but the free chlorine level should be below 0.5 ppm. IMPORTANT: The pool should not be used until the procedure is completed and the pH is 7.2-7.8 and free chlorine level is between 1.0 ppm and 4.0 ppm.

Balanced Pool Water Guide: Free Chlorine: 1-4 ppm, Total Chlorine 1-4 ppm, Combined Chlorine 0, pH: 7.2-7.8, Calcium Hardness: 200-400 ppm, Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm, Cyanuric Acid (CYA) 30-50, Iron: 0 ppm, and Copper: 0 ppm.

Step 1.

Use a skimmer net to remove any solid debris from the water and vacuum to waste.

Step 2.

Brush the pool walls and floor to loosen any settled debris.

Step 3.

Vacuum any additional debris to waste.

Step 4.

Run the pool’s filtration system to help remove suspended particles. You may have to clean your filters if the pressure increases.

Step 5.

Check to make sure your alkalinity is between 60-120 ppm and your pH is between 7.2-7.8

Step 6.

If you cannot see the bottom drain of the pool, add a copper-based algaecide (Dr. Joe recommends Bio-Dex Aqua Pure). Follow the directions on the algaecide label.

Step 7.

Add chlorine to the pool until the level is between 5-10 ppm. Allow the filter pump to run for 12-24 hours. This helps to remove algae and other organics.  

Step 8.

Super Start-Up: Thoroughly shake until the solids are completely suspended. Walk around the edge of the pool adding Super Start-Up to the water. IMPORTANT: Make sure that the proper amount of the contents of the bottle are added (Full quart bottle for 20,000 gallons, 3/4 bottle for 15,000 gallons, 1/2 bottle for 10,000 gallons and 1/4 bottle for 5,000 gallons.  Do not over-use Super Start-Up or you can lock up your chlorine).

Allow the Super Start-Up to circulate in the pool for 1.5 to 2 hours.  You may see discolored water out of the returns.  This is normal and will dissipate in a few hours.

If your pool water is now clear, CONGRATULATIONS! Place the CuLator Ultra 4.0 into your pump basket and balance your pool water. You are done!

If you cannot see the bottom of the pool continue to the Steps 9-13.

Step 9.

Place CuLator Ultra 4.0 into your pump basket. CuLator removes and eliminates metals, which prevents metal staining and water discoloration.

Step 10.

Wait for the chlorine level to go below 0.5 ppm. This may take a few days.

Step 11.

Walk around the pool’s edge while adding 1 bag of Rust and Iron Stain Remover and 1 bag of Copper Stain Remover. This will both reduce the chlorine level to 0 ppm and help to remove the brown or other color of the water.

Step 12.

Run the circulation pump for 2 hours.

Step 13.

When the water is clear and colorless, start to slowly add chlorine (1/8 of a lb. of powdered chlorine or 1/4 gal. of liquid chlorine per hour, per 20,000 gal.) until the level reaches 1-4 ppm.  The pool water may go cloudy*, which is normal, and may last a few days to several days. It may take a large amount of chlorine before the chlorine holds. Finish balancing the pool water and maintain a chlorine level between 1-4 ppm.

Important: After 12 hours, even if the water still has color, you MUST start to add chlorine until it holds at 1-4 ppm to avoid an algae bloom. Slowly add chlorine (liquid chlorine is preferred) to the pool. If you are using “pool shock” to add chlorine to the water, add no more than 1/8 of a 1 lb. per hour. If you over-chlorinate the pool, you risk staining your pool surface.  Follow all steps for best results.

Keep the chlorine level between 1-2 ppm for 3-4 weeks. DO NOT OVER-CHLORINATE WITH LIQUID OR POWDERED CHLORINE OR SHOCK DURING THIS TIME. (If you allow the chlorine level to exceed 4 ppm the brown water may return and surface staining may appear). Keep the filtration system running for a minimum of 12 hours per day until the water is clear. 

*Note: The pool water may temporarily turn cloudy due to the chlorine removing excess Rust and Iron Stain Remover. Once the excess Rust and Iron Stain Remover is gone, the cloudiness will disappear, and you will be able to measure chlorine in the pool water.  This may take several days. 

Purchase the Super Metal Eliminator Kit to Remove Brown Pool Water!

The solution for cloudy brown pool water!

Brown Pool Water Before Treatment with Super Metal Stain Eliminator Kit
Before Treatment
Brown Pool Water After Treatment with Super Metal Stain Eliminator Kit
After Treatment

A used CuLator with iron removed from pool!

Used CuLator Ultra 4.0 with iron removed from pool water trapped inside.
Used CuLator Ultra 4.0 with Iron Trapped Inside
Used CuLator with Iron Trapped Inside
Used CuLator 1.0 with Iron Trapped Inside
Periodic Products' Metal Stain Eliminator Kit for Pools and Spas

Does Your Swimming Pool Have Ugly Metal Stains?

Remove pool stains with a Metal Stain Eliminator Kit!

How can I prevent ugly brown pool water?

It’s easy to prevent icky brown water in the future. Simply keep your water balanced and chlorinated and use our Trifecta System:

  1. Pre-Filter source water with FillFast.
  2. Sequester any additional metals with Super Start-Up or Mega Maintain.
  3. Place a CuLator Ultra 4.0 in your pump basket.