Is It Ok to Pee in the Pool?

A young boy smiling at the edge of a pool and wearing swim goggles and floaties.

No. It isn’t OK to pee in pools of any kind. The safety of pool water comes from properly maintained or balanced chemical levels. You might not realize it, but even a small amount of urine is enough to throw off the balance, which may threaten swimmers’ health and safety.

What Happens When You Pee in the Pool?

Urine is sterile, but it contains compounds like urea, ammonia, amino acids, and creatinine that can throw off the balance of an untreated pool. Even though urine is naturally acidic, these compounds aren’t harmful on their own. When they react with the chemicals in your pool, they can lead to eye irritation and even breathing problems like occupational asthma. The ammonia in urine can mix with chlorine to produce small quantities of chloramine gases, which can cause coughing and nausea.

Urine in pool water is a very common issue, as 1 in 5 American adults admits to peeing in the pool at least once. But it’s worth noting that no children were surveyed, and who readily fesses up to peeing in a pool?

Myth or Fact: Does Pool Water Turn Blue When You Pee in It?

No. Pool water does not change color when peed in. As great as it would be to have an obvious sign that someone has peed in the pool, there is no such chemical reaction.

What Happens If You Pee in a Saltwater Pool?

Essentially the same thing as when you pee in a chlorine pool. Saltwater pools still contain some chlorine, just less. This means that if someone urinates in your saltwater pool, the same chemical reactions will occur. Much like in a chlorine pool, you should be on the lookout for symptoms like puffy eyes, rashes, and other skin irritations.

Does Chlorine Kill Pee in Pools?

Urine is sterile, meaning chlorine has nothing to “kill.” Chlorine’s job in your pool is to kill germs and break down contaminants, but it isn’t an infinite resource, and chlorine expends itself as it works. When someone pees in your pool, the chlorine will treat it like any other contaminant and begin expending itself, trying to remove urine, but it won’t be able to. Just because your pool has a strong chlorine smell doesn’t mean it’s working extra hard. In most cases, that’s the result of the compounds in urine mixing with the chlorine, not being destroyed.

Tips to Avoid Urine in Your Pool

Although you can never stop people from peeing in pools entirely, these tips could help:

  • Make sure your youngest swimmers wear swim diapers.
  • Inform everyone swimming where the nearest bathroom is, especially if they are new to your house.
  • Remind young swimmers to use the bathroom before swimming and ask periodically while swimming.

How to Remove Urine from a Pool

Your pool’s water doesn’t naturally refresh itself, so once urine is added, the only way to fully remove it is to drain your pool, clean it, and refill it. For an inground pool, you should be changing the water at least every five years anyway, but if there has been known contamination, urine or otherwise, you’ll need to speed up this timeline.

For homes with young kids, where this could be a recurring problem, you won’t be able to drain your pool every time. So, what to do? Adding enzymes can break down urea and other compounds in urine. You can also use ozone or UV to continuously shock your pool, trying to counteract the effects of peeing in the pool water.

We’ll Clean Your Pool Properly

If you hosted a pool party and noticed the tell-tale heavy smell of chlorine mixing with foreign compounds, call ASP—America’s Swimming Pool Company.

Our local pool professionals can drain, clean, and refill any type of inground pool, provide a safety inspection, and test your pool’s water chemistry. Request your service online or call (866) 253-0455 today!