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How to Prevent Sunblock Buildup in Your Pool Water

Published by Brooke Sardella on 07/22/2022

How to Prevent Sunblock Buildup in Your Pool Water

You’ve heard it time and time again - always wear sunscreen! We hope you are taking this advice and are sure you know why, but you may be wondering how swimming with sunscreen affects your pool water.

The truth is, sunscreen and body oils can really throw off that water chemistry you’ve been working hard to achieve. You can even see it slide right off your skin into a rainbow oil slick in the water around you. We all know oil and water don’t mix!

While sunscreen protects your skin, it also reacts with the chlorine in your pool and can cause the water to immediately become cloudy. It also contributes to slimy walls and black gunk buildup near the waterline and in the filter. Since sunscreen is usually oil-based, it does not evaporate and can clog your filter, becoming very hard to remove. Does this mean you should ban sunblock from your pool? No way!

There are a few ways you can prevent the negative effects of sunblock in your pool while it is helping you stay safe from the sun!

1. Sunscreen and Scum Absorbers

These sponges hang out in your skimmer basket and absorb body oils and lotions so they won’t end up clogging your filter system. Check out: StarfishScumbugs, and Scumballs as scum absorbing options.

2. Enzymes

When you add enzymes to your water, they help break down organic waste (this includes sunscreen!) so your chlorine can work more efficiently. You can learn more about enzymes here.

3. Focus on filters

Keeping your water in motion will prevent buildup in any one area and help keep your water clean. As we said, sunscreen can clog your filter, so taking care to clear your filter is important, too.

Besides what you can do directly for your pool, there are also ways you can prevent sunscreen from becoming a big issue in the first place. Here are some simple sunscreen tips that make it easier to protect your skin and your pool.

Sunscreen Tips for the Pool:

  • Use natural mineral sunscreen instead of chemical oil-based lotion.
  • Rinse off before swimming.
  • Let the lotion sink into your skin before you jump in!