How to Shock an Above Ground Pool

If you have an above ground pool, you know how quickly that water can turn from pristine to algae pit. Shocking back to something swimmable is necessary not only for aesthetic appeal, but also our health.

It’s not too terribly complicated or expensive, but it does require the right chemicals in the right proportions administered at the right time.

Earlier, we mentioned the importance of maintaining a healthy pool. This is particularly true because stagnant pool water can become a breeding ground for insects, bacteria and certain harmful species of algae.

This, of course, is in addition to the chemicals and bodily fluids or materials that we naturally bring with us into the pool.

Unfortunately, our filters won’t do the complete job of keeping this mess out. Hence, the need for shock treatment.

Essentially, Shocking a Pool Gives its Chlorine a Boost to help do its Job Properly

​​The properties we mentioned earlier will actually lower the effectiveness of chlorine as they build up. That’s why it takes a specific property clean a pool.

Too little won’t help the chlorine continue to purify, and too much will prove harmful to humans.

Typically, experts recommend about 1 lb. of shock treatment for every 10,000 gallons of water in a pool.

Not all Shock is the Same​

Also, it’s important to note that some situations may require different types of shock treatment. This won’t always be the case; most formulas work quite well.

But if you live in an area with unique climate patterns (i.e. climates like those of Seattle, New Orleans, southern Florida, etc.), you may need a specialized shock treatment.

Also, if hard water is a typical problem with your pool, you’ll probably need a specialized shock treatment for it as well.

This is the best shock that we have used and it works very well:

What Do I Need to Shock my Pool?

In addition to the shock treatment, you’ll need some “work clothes”. Chlorine can easily stain clothes or remove their color.

Also, you may want to wear gloves and, if it’s windy, a pair of glasses. It may also be helpful to use a bucket for even distribution around the pool.

Remove Debris from your Pool

Whether it’s pool toys like floats or organic matter like leaves, debris will lower the effectiveness of your shock treatment.

Therefore, it’s important to remove all debris before application. You may need a net for smaller items or even a pool vacuum for anything stuck on the bottom.

Just be sure to clear it out as much dirty and debris as reasonably possible.

Applying the Shock Treatment to your Pool

With your filtration pump running, begin pouring the treatment into your pool. It’s best to begin sprinkling or pouring the shock slowly around your pool’s outer perimeter.

As you do, try to avoid inhaling any fumes or particles that may get captured by the wind. Ideally, you’ll want to do this in the evening and continue allowing the pump to run overnight.

Wikihow recommends first pre-mixing the pool shock into a 5 gallon bucket filled with water. Then you can add the pre-mixed water to the pool.

We have seen good results from this method but read the directions on the particular shock you purchase and follow them.

It may not take long to see results, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe to swim yet.

Just give the solution plenty of time to do its job. Besides, it’ll be at least 24 hours before it’s safe to swim again anyways.

When or How Often Do I need to Shock My Pool?

Now that you know how to shock an above ground pool, it’s important to establish a calendar to clean it regularly. There is no standard time, as it will vary greatly with use, weather patterns and even the local insect population.

However, it’s easy to tell when your pool’s water begins to turn cloudy; soon after, it’ll start going green. This is a pretty solid visual indication of when the pool’s water needs to be shocked.

There are certain situations that will require you to shock your pool as well. For instance, after a pool party where there have been a lot of people in the pool and after a heavy rain storm.

I highly recommend investing in a good above ground pool cover to use during rainstorms and to keep debris out as well.

Eventually, you’ll be able to set your own calendar. Just remember to be a bit flexible, as even a simply rainstorm can be enough to set your pool’s cleanliness back a bit.

If we really had to put a timeline on it, we would generally say at least once per week is the best policy.  But you could stretch it out to once every two weeks if your pool isn’t getting much usage at the time.

This Short Video Demostrates How Easy it is to Shock your Pool Back to Blue


In addition to the advice here, we always encourage you to check the pool’s owner’s manual and the shock treatment’s directions for additional information.

Some may have special considerations, especially an above ground pool’s tolerance for specific shock treatments.