How to Keep a Kiddie Pool Clean With Bleach

When filling a small pool on a hot day, make sure the water stays disinfected for kids to play in by adding a little chlorine bleach. Here’s how to keep your inflatable pool water clean and splash-friendly.

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By Mary Gagliardi
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Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach is the ultimate kiddie pool cleaner. In fact, a 7.5% sodium hypochlorite solution containing approximately 7.1% available chlorine by weight is a convenient, economical source of chlorine for water treatment in swimming and kiddie pools. Also, because this product is a liquid with no insoluble particles, it is especially suitable for this use. For the initial filling, use a bleach to water ratio of ⅛ cup bleach per 100 gallons of clean water (use the chart below for guidance).

How much bleach to add to your kiddie pool

Don’t guess—always measure first.

Only a small amount of bleach is needed to treat the water in a kid’s pool. That’s why it’s important to measure both the pool diameter and the depth you will fill it to so you know how much bleach to use.

Pool Diameter6 in. water1 ft. water2 ft. water3 ft. water
4 feet1/16 cup⅛ cup¼ cup⅜ cup
6 feet⅛ cup¼ cup½ cup¾ cup
8 feet¼ cup½ cup1 cup1½ cups
10 feet⅜ cup¾ cup1½ cups2¼ cups
15 feet¾ cup1⅝ cups3¼ cups5 cups

3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon = 1/16 cup; 2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup

What you need

Steps to disinfect water in a kiddie pool

  1. Measure the pool diameter and water depth

    Use the tape measure to determine how deep the water in the pool will be, and then find the inside diameter of the pool if you don’t know this already.

  2. Mix the bleach with water

    Add 2 gallons of water to the bucket, then use the measuring cup and/or measuring spoons to add the right amount of bleach listed in the chart to the water in the bucket.

  3. Add the bleachy water to your pool

    Pour the bleach and water solution in the bucket into the pool, scattering it over the pool bottom surface.

  4. Finish filling your pool

    Use the garden hose to add more water to the pool, mixing it uniformly with the bleach water already in the pool, until you reach the pre-measured depth of water you have planned for.

  5. Confirm the bleach concentration

    Use the chlorine test kit to check the chlorine level of the pool water to make sure it is between 1–3 ppm available chlorine before using the pool.


    Pool chlorine test kits are available at hardware and pool supply stores.

  6. Maintain 0.5–1 ppm of available chlorine

    Re-test the chlorine level in the water each day you use the pool, and when necessary add 1 teaspoon Clorox® Bleach per 100 gallons of water; retest to ensure the correct level of available chlorine is achieved.


    Empty small pools daily.

How frequently you need to re-treat the water depends on the outdoor temperature and the number of swimmers. Before draining the water in a treated wading pool, contact your sanitary sewer and storm drain authorities and follow their discharge instructions.

Do not enter the pool when the available chlorine level is 4 ppm or higher.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use Clorox® Splash-Less® Bleach to disinfect my pool?

No—instead, be sure to use Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach, Clorox® Performance Bleach or Clorox® Germicidal Bleach. Thickened bleach products or bleach products with added fragrance are not appropriate.

How often should I put bleach in my pool?

It depends on how many people are using the pool, how hot outside it is, and if the pool is in the sun. These are all situations where the bleach will break down faster and why you may need to add more bleach. By testing the water with the pool chlorine test kit, you will know if the available chlorine in the pool is too low, and that’s when you would add more bleach. You want to maintain the pool chlorine level between 0.5–1 ppm available chlorine as measured by a test kit.

How do I know how much bleach to add to a square pool?

A little math will get you to an equivalent diameter you can use. Divide the area of your pool (length x width) by 3.14 (the mathematical constant π). Take the square root of your answer, then multiply by 2, and this will give you an equivalent diameter. For a 7 foot pool:

(7 x 7)/3.14 = 15.6; square root of 15.6 = 3.95; 3.95 x 2 ≈ 8 feet in diameter.

I want to fill my 6 foot pool so it’s 9 inches deep but that’s not on the chart?

To fill your 6 foot pool to a depth of 6 inches, you would add 1/8 cup (or 2 tablespoons) of bleach. You want to increase the amount of water by 50% with an extra 3 inches of water, so add 50% more bleach, which in this case is an additional 1 tablespoon of bleach.

  • 1.

    Bleach should be stored away from direct sunlight in a cool, dry place. When stored as directed, a bottle of bleach has a one-year shelf-life. This applies to both unopened and opened bottles.