PoolStore’s recommended non-chlorine alternative is Bayrol Soft and Easy. For a comprehensive article on all the various non-chorine alternatives read our help and advice section on the main website. We like the Bayrol product because it is easy to use but it has a few shortcomings and this article will explain them.
Firstly let’s just re-cap on why you put chemicals in your pool. Two reasons. (1) to kill bacteria. (2) to kill or prevent algae. Bacteria and algae are living organisms, organic material and the way to kill them is to oxidise them. Oxidising organic material is the same as if you set fire to it. When you burn something it reacts with oxygen from the air and becomes something else, in the case of bacteria being oxidised it becomes dead.
So to kill bacteria you must add an oxidising chemical to the water and the favourite chemical to do this the world over is chlorine. But if you don’t want to use chlorine you could use a peroxide type chemical. The best known peroxide is hydrogen peroxide, used as rocket fuel and to bleach hair. In swimming pool chemicals they come in the form of persulphates and one of the two sachets in soft & easy contains a persulphate oxidiser that does a very good job of killing bacteria. Persulphate oxidisers are also know as Active Oxygen.
Although peroxides are a good oxidiser for killing bacteria, algae is a different matter. Peroxides are not a strong enough oxidiser to kill algae. Fortunatly there is more than one way to kill algae. One way is to add a chemical called a poly-quat to the water. The other sachet in Soft & Easy contains a poly-quat to attack the algae because the peroxide can not do it.
The problem that Soft & Easy has is that if you get an aggressive attack of algae the poly-quat part of it can not cope with the influx of algae and before to long your pool will start to look green. Algae reproduce at an alarming rate and if your pool is green you have live algae and need to kill it straightaway. The only way to kill algae quickly is with a shock dose of unstabilised chlorine. Provided you put enough in, the chlorine will kill the algae in hours and what is not used up in killing will be burnt off by the sun.
So it is not at all uncommon for a pool treated with Soft & Easy to go green from time to time so you will need to have some shock chlorine in reserve to kill off any algae that the copper can not cope with.