Can your borate level be too high?


Well-known member
Nov 11, 2017
Greenville, SC
Working on getting my water balanced. I have been adding 20 Mule Team Borax over the last week among other things as I have been trying to get my water balanced. I added 65 ounces about 24 hours ago. I will take another reading in the morning. The pump has run continuously. 50 is the level I am going for correct?

My question is that since it is recommeneded in the pool math calculator to add borax to lower total alkalinity, can you get a borate level that is too high over time? Or when you get your borate level at the desired level, do you switch to soda ash or something else?

Below are my current test results from my TF-100. I added 3 cups of bleach and 3 cups of acid which was close to what the calculator said to add.

Fc 3.5
cc .5
ph 8.2
ta 90
ch 225
cya 20. I am not confident in this reading when I did it a couple of days ago, I got higher readings two days in a row of about 35.
borate 40ish, it was between the 30 and 50 colors on the test strip chart. Before that is was 20. I am sure this is user error on my part, perhaps due to different light conditions. I feel like 20 is probably correctly based on what I added.

If I understand correctly, the bleach I added this morning will raise the FC by 2. The acid will drop the ph by .72 and drop the ta by 12.
I should expect to see the TA about about 80ish and the ph about 7.5ish. The chlorine should go up to 5.5, but the sun is shinning there will be some burn off. I haven’t quite figured hat part out yet.


Gold Supporter
Jun 28, 2017
Fresno, CA
I don't use borate in my pool or spa so I will let someone else address this.

Pool acid, muratic acid is the best way to reduce your pH and be careful with it and where you put it in your pool. Do not pour it into your skimmer as it may damage your pump equipment, rather slowly pour in front of a running return port.
Soda ash will raise your pH.
Always test your water after applying chemicals and they are well mixed to confirm your water chemistry. Pool math will get you in the ballpark but confirm your levels to be sure until you are confident in the results.
Proper testing is at the heart of the TFP method so rely on your TF-100.
Do not place any credibility on test strips especially for CYA they are useless and will only confuse you. Again, proper testing is at the heart of the TFP method. Read up on the CYA testing method, buy a large bottle of reagent refill, practice the test and always round up to the next number 20-30-40-50-etc there are no numbers in between and use that CYA/FC ratio to avoid under chlorinating your water due to testing error.
Don't over concern yourself with your TA rather manage your pH and the CSI (Calcite Saturation Index) on pool math, those numbers are what are most important here.


Well-known member
Nov 11, 2017
Greenville, SC
For chemicals I am using:
plain bleach from Walmart or Aldi
plain baking soda from Walmart or Aldi
Muraric acid from Lowes
CYA from Lowes
20 Mule Team Borax from Walmart

my test kit is a TF 100
I am using borate strips that I bought from there tf test kits website.

I have a fiberglass in-ground pool and am manual adding chlorine.


Bronze Supporter
Feb 5, 2018
Rogers, AR
20 Mule Team Borax is used to raise PH...Muriatic acid will lower PH and Total Alkalinity at the same time. Most of us don't pay a lot of attention to actual Borate levels but the recommended level is 30-50


Well-known member
Nov 11, 2017
Greenville, SC
Have been reading through pool school and came across the borate sticky and why they are a good idea. Am still wondering once I get my borate level to 50 if there is any problem going over 50 when I need to raise ph in the future or if I need to switch to soda ash, because continuing to use borate will raise the borate level.

Here is the sticky I read about the benefits of borates.

So you want to add borates to your pool--Why and How


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
The small amount of borax needed to raise pH from time to time will not significantly increase the borates level. And levels up to 80 are fine anyway. You can use the effects of adding chemicals at the bottom of PoolMath to see how much adding borax will raise ph vs raising borate level.