Pool Chlorine Strength Compared to Household Bleach

The calcium hypochlorite used in swimming pools is much stronger than household bleach.
••• eau de piscine 2 image by Nathalie P from Fotolia.com

Pool chlorine and household bleach both contain hypochlorite ion, which is the chemical agent responsible for their “bleaching” action. Pool chlorine, however, is substantially stronger than household bleach.


The most common source of pool chlorine is calcium hypochlorite, Ca(OCl)?. Other methods of chlorination, such as chlorine gas or chloramines, are sometimes used in public or commercial pools. Household bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, NaOCl.


The calcium hypochlorite sold specifically for swimming pools contains about 65 percent active ingredient by weight. Household bleach typically contains between 5 and 6 percent (by weight) sodium hypochlorite.

Reactions in Water

Both calcium hypochlorite and sodium hypochlorite dissolve in water to release hypochlorite ion. Depending on the pH of the pool, the hypochlorite may or may not be converted to hypochlorous acid, or HOCl, whose oxidizing properties kill germs.

Free Available Chlorine

Hypochlorite ion and hypochlorous acid together constitute “free available chlorine.” FAC effectively represents the disinfecting power in an aqueous (water-based) solution.

A Comparison

One gram of pool chlorine (65 percent calcium hypochlorite), dissolved in 1 liter of water, would provide a FAC level of 0.47 grams per liter, whereas the same amount of household bleach (6 percent sodium hypochlorite) dissolved in the same amount of water would provide a FAC level of 0.04 grams per liter.

Thus, gram for gram, the pool chlorine will provide 11 times more FAC than household bleach.

Related Articles

About Bleach Neutralizers
What Is the Chemical Formula of Bleach?
What Happens When an Acid & a Base Are Combined?
How Does the Excretory System Respond to Physical Activity?
How to Dissolve EDTA in Water
The Effects of Chlorine on Water Conductivity
Uses for Potassium Perchlorate
Dangers of Phosphoric Acid
Danger of Drinking Propylene Glycol
Physical Properties of Household Ammonia
Where Can I Find Zeolite?
Do the Heat & Sun Affect Pool Chlorine?
What Is the Meaning of a Ph Scale?
Difference Between 316 & 308 Stainless Steel
Difference Between a Halogen & a Halide
How to Calculate the Normality of NaOH
Brine Vs. Conductivity
How to Make a Citrate Buffer
Desalination Process

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!