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Thread: Water Smells Like Laundry?

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    Join Date
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    Water Smells Like Laundry?

    Hi All,

    I successfully SLAMmed my pool after opening it in late May to a green algae swamp. Since then, the pool chemistry has been stable using BBB until earlier this week. The PH was down to 7.2 so I used pool math and added 20 Mule to raise PH to 7.5. The water is clear, but now it has a "laundry" smell, like baking soda, especially in the shallow end.

    I do usually add bleach and in this case, the borax, in the shallow end. We have jets on both sides of the steps, and I pour the chemicals in that location so that it gets dispersed quickly.

    One more thing- I have a Bromine pool, but I use Bleach to kick up the bromine. I test every morning, the bromine level is usually 2.5-3.5, and I add bleach to kick it up to 4-4.5. Sadly, the pool doesn't get a lot of use, it's just me, my husband, and our 4 year old son most days.

    Any ideas on what could be causing the odor? My husband leaves the pool chemistry up to me, but he is skeptical about my jugs of bleach, bag of baking soda, and boxes of Mule 20. He thinks I messing up the pool somehow. I'd hate to prove him right in this case.
    25k gallons, Star-rite System 3 cartridge, vinyl, In-Ground, Bromine, Dolphin keeps it swept clean.

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Water Smells Like Laundry?

    See this post by chemgeek.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Water Smells Like Laundry?

    Thanks, Joyful! In the article, I see that Bromine has a different odor. It's odd though, this is our 2nd year with the pool, but this week was the 1st time it had this smell. I'm not sure what is causing the smell now. It might be in the post and I just missed it- chemistry isn't my strong point.
    25k gallons, Star-rite System 3 cartridge, vinyl, In-Ground, Bromine, Dolphin keeps it swept clean.

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    Re: Water Smells Like Laundry?

    Could you have possibly added 20 mule laundry detergent instead of the laundry booster? I have never had to raise my ph yet, so no experience buying the booster product


    Free form 17X30. 14,500 Gal. Pentair sand filter and 1.5 hp pump. Aqua-Rite SWCG. TF-100 Test Kit w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Water Smells Like Laundry?

    It's Arm & Hammer that has the laundry detergent in addition to washing soda. I don't think 20 Mule Team Borax has laundry detergent, only Borax "laundry detergent booster".

    We've never had any report of Borax having a smell and 20 Mule Team Borax shouldn't have any additives. If you still have the box make sure it's the right stuff and it should say it contains "sodium tetraborate decahydrate". It does sound, though, like you did add some sort of detergent or something with fragrance. Check your bleach. Maybe it's not unscented since some bleach has fragrance so will smell more like what you add in the laundry.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Water Smells Like Laundry?

    Thanks, chem geek and jagger. The smell is nearly gone. I am using 20 Mule Borax Laundry booster with sodium tetraborate (I don't see
    "decahydrate") and pure bleach from Aldi's. I use "pure" Baking soda from Arm and Hammer, it comes in a big 12 lb bag, bought it in the pool section at Walmart.

    I noticed today that I really smell it when I'm near the skimmer. I hopped out and opened the skimmer in the shallow end- there were leaves and a frog in the basket. I pulled up the basket and gently dumped it out towards the fence/woods. Unfortunately, the frog hopped out and then right back into the now basket-less skimmer hole. I am a wuss about frogs and other slimy creatures, so I ran in to get the Husband and son. Husband got out just in time to see the poor frog get sucked into the tube at the bottom of the skimmer. UGH. Poor frog! My husband was able to get the frog before it made its way into the cartridge filter. The frog was alive and hopped out, ready to live another day.

    Adventures with the pool (and a chicken wife, who should have just picked up the !@# frog!)

    I now strongly suspect that the smell is in fact coming from the skimmers or from something nearby in the ground. We have a bed of rocks that goes around most of the pool, something could be in there decomposing (even just plant matter, maybe?)

    I am putting more Borax in today, our PH is back to 7.2 and TA is 50. I'll see if the scent increases and I'll be checking the skimmers and rocks to see if anything stinky is found. I'll report back. I used 20 Mule last summer as well per the Pool Calculator and didn't notice a smell. It's odd.
    25k gallons, Star-rite System 3 cartridge, vinyl, In-Ground, Bromine, Dolphin keeps it swept clean.

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Water Smells Like Laundry?



    That's the stuff, correct? If so you've got it right.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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