There are many methods that can be applied to lower the pH in a pool. It mainly involves two processes; which are chemical methods and natural methods.
As concerning the use of vinegar, it falls under the natural methods of lowering the pH of a pool and is a very effective way to lower pool pH. The application of white household vinegar is done by adding it directly into the pool in the appropriate quantity without having to undergo any worrisome steps.
Although the application of vinegar helps lower pH, it is considered very expensive and not very safe for use in a swimming pool. Hence, the answer is “yes.”
Vinegar to lower pH?
Many believe that vinegar is a good but weaker acid for lowering pH compared to other pH reducers like Muriatic acid (MA). They claim that muriatic acid contains HCl (hydrochloric acid), which is more effective than the acetic acid in vinegar.
They also say that it is more environmentally friendly as it disintegrates into mainly salt and water, unlike vinegar, which reduces into acetate or haloacetic compounds.
Also, the smell of vinegar is something that is bound to turn you off compared to muriatic acid.
However, you should take note that muriatic acid causes strong fumes, which makes it harder to handle and, obviously, something to be concerned about.
Since muriatic acid contains hydrochloric acid (which is a strong acid), it disintegrates totally in water. The acetic acid in vinegar, on the other hand, disintegrates partially because of its nature as a weak acid.
This leads to the assumption that muriatic acid will function more effectively than vinegar, although vinegar is very useful.
How to use vinegar to lower pH in my swimming pool
Before you can use vinegar in your swimming pool, you need to first understand what it is. Afterward, you should be aware of the help it can render in terms of lowering the pH of a pool.
The use of vinegar to lower the pH of a pool is a very effective method and has proved to be very helpful for a long time now. Firstly, vinegar is a safe and eco-friendly substance, and so it is known to be an all-round disinfectant that can be used to clean the swimming pool.
In addition, vinegar contains certain acids known as acetic acids, thus making it really helpful in lowering a pool‘s pH and also furthering its cleaning advantages. Due to its acidity, it helps to cleanse off debris, stains, and even mineral deposits, some of which are lead (which could be found in the pipes through which water flows in and out of the pool) and the like.
Also, vinegar helps to kill germs and remove mineral deposits from the pool tiles due to its acidic nature.
As concerning a better and more harmless disinfectant, vinegar stands out (even more than chlorine) because it is natural and it does not create bleach on the surface of the pool tiles, unlike chlorine. Not just any kind of vinegar can be used to lower the pH in a pool.
There are two specific types of vinegar that can be used. They are white household vinegar and apple cider vinegar, although the most commonly used of the two is white household vinegar.
White household vinegar is preferable because of its many advantages. It is made as a result of the fermentation of sugar-containing crops like sugar beets, sugarcane, potatoes, and so on.
Today, it is gotten from mixing sugar and yeast with grain as the end product of two fermentation processes, namely: ethanolic fermentation and acidic fermentation. The former involves using yeast to convert the mixture of grain and sugar to ethanol (or alcohol), while the latter involves using acetobacter (a type of free-living bacteria) to convert the remnant of the first process to vinegar.
It has a very strong acidity level, hence it is considered a very good disinfectant because it makes cleaning both the pool tiles and the water easier. It does not have any coloring agent in it, and so it does not cause stains on surfaces.
Funny but, despite all the good attributes that white household vinegar possesses, it has an unfriendly smell, due to its high acidity.
The apple cider vinegar also has similar features to the white household vinegar, only that the attributes are weaker and it has a very nice scent. It is also gotten from the same processes as white vinegar, with the difference being that, instead of grains, apples are used.
Also, there is a need to dilute the apple cider vinegar in water before it is applied since it is dark and can cause a change in the color of the pool water.
Just as was said earlier, white household vinegar is the most preferable for lowering pH, and it can be applied by adding it directly into the pool without necessarily diluting it with water.
The quantity to be added could involve several gallons full of white household vinegar, which could be extremely costly to purchase and will definitely have side effects on the pool’s users.
Is it safe to put vinegar in a swimming pool?
It is very important to know the state of a swimming pool before going ahead and using it. Before you dive into any pool, make sure to inquire about the condition of that pool (mostly the pool’s pH), because swimming in any pool will have effects on the skin of the swimmers, whether positive or negative.
As was said earlier, the use of vinegar to lower pH is very helpful. Even with that, it is not considered best to apply it in excess. A small portion of it should come into contact with your pool, and should you be in a state of doubt, a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar will do.
This is to prevent you from overdiluting the vinegar, as it can reduce its acidity and, simultaneously, prevent your pool’s pH from going too low.
If you are not still sure, apply more, but ensure that you test your water after each application to be on the safe side. However, it is not always advisable to apply more.
Does vinegar dissolve in water?
Science has it that the nature of a substance in water can be known through the substance’s reaction with water. If the substance is hydrophilic (like water), it will dissolve in water.
But if the substance is hydrophobic (dislikes water), it will not dissolve in water. However, in some cases, hydrophilic substances do not dissolve in water.
Vinegar, being a mixture of water and acetic acid, is hydrophilic. This should be a go-ahead for vinegar to dissolve in water, but no!
Vinegar does not dissolve in water; instead, it absorbs water molecules into its molecular makeup and appears as though it has dissolved. Also, vinegar is chemically known to be a polar substance.
Water, on the other hand, is a polar substance. Thus, you cannot say that their mixture occurs as a result of vinegar’s dissolution in water; instead, they mix to form a homogeneous mixture.
Hence, the simplest answer is “NO!”
What is the pH of vinegar mixed with water?
Vinegar, originally, has a pH value of between 2 and 3. When mixed with water (i.e., distilled water), it becomes a mixture of acetic acid and water.
This mixture usually has a pH of about 2.4, which is a satisfactory acidic value. It is noteworthy that the acidic properties of vinegar also make it an excellent cleaner because it is trusted in breaking down oils and other messy residues like soapy scums and glue.
Will vinegar hurt pool liner?
It is widely known that the use of vinegar is a natural remedy geared towards lowering pool pH. In addition to its use in lowering pH, it is also used to get rid of stubborn stains due to its acidic nature.
As such, it tends not to hurt your pool liner after use. Another benefit is that it poses fewer health threats than other chemicals and it does not bleach pool components.
Does vinegar affect the chemicals in a swimming pool?
If you use moderate quantities of vinegar, the answer is NO! Vinegar is a weak acid, therefore its application will have little or no effect on the chemicals in the pool.
However, great care should be taken because vinegar, on dissociation, breaks down into sugars that can become food for microorganisms in your pool.
Hence, it must be applied in calculated amounts.
What would happen if I used vinegar to lower pH?
Vinegar is chemically termed a “weak acid” because it is, in the real sense, a solution containing acetic acid up to five percent. It also dissociates in water, thereby adding acetates to your pool.
Thus, it is highly capable of creating an undesirable buffer system in your pool. As a result, professionals recommend sodium bisulfate, also known as dry acid.
Dry acid is a chemically strong acid because it dissolves completely in water to form sulfuric acid. Although pros do not condemn the idea of using vinegar, they still recommend the use of dry acid.
If you are not comfortable with the use of dry acid, muriatic acid is another option worth considering.
Is distilled vinegar the same as white vinegar?
Vinegar is very useful in lowering the pH of your pool water as well as cleaning objects and treating infections. But the question that most people ask is: “is distilled vinegar the same as white vinegar?”
Distilled vinegar can be gotten from both white and apple cider vinegar, but more alcohol has to be extracted from the vinegar.
It is useful in cooking, the addition of food flavors, the preservation of food, and so on. On the other hand, white vinegar is a type of vinegar and it can be gotten in 2 ways:
- A mixture of acetic acid and water.
- Allowing sugarcane extract to undergo fermentation
While distilled vinegar has been tested to contain about 5 to 8 percent acetic acid, vinegar is 5 to 20 percent acetic acid, and it is fondly called ‘spirit vinegar’.
As such, white vinegar is the stronger of the two, and it is usually the choice of most users.
What is high strength vinegar?
The name, high strength vinegar, alone should give you a hint of what it is about. Without much ado, high-strength vinegar is basically vinegar with a high acetic acid composition.
It contains more than 5% acetic acid; which normally belongs to white vinegar. A high-strength vinegar can be either a full-strength vinegar or a double-strength vinegar.
A full-strength vinegar has an acetic acid composition of 6%, while a double-strength vinegar contains 10% acetic acid (twice that of white vinegar).
You should note that the higher the acetic acid content, the more effective your vinegar will be.