I can't seem to come out of ascorbic acid treatments for staining.


Bronze Supporter
Apr 22, 2019
Hot Springs, Ar
I have been reading over and over the forums and just had a whole journey restoring my pool from a foreclosure home that we purchased (our first house!). You can see all of this on the thread here. I had never had a pool of any sort in my life, so this was all a crash course learning experience.

I thought it would be a good idea to start a new thread specifically for this...

Everything has been going well except that there is iron in the water. I don't know 100% how it got there, but I suspect a rusty ladder. I am not on well water, I am on city water.

I know the best way would be to replace the water but... I have spent so much time and $$ getting the water fixed and, the pool is a vinyl liner. I have no idea of the age, but I am going to assume "pretty old". I am sure that it needs replacing, but as we won't really be able to afford that for a few years, draining is not an option right now.

I have preformed an ascorbic acid treatment twice now. The treatment works fine, but "coming out" of it just isn't working. Timeline:

  1. Starting working on pool about a month after we moved in.
  2. Started by adding 1 gallon of 6% bleach a night before my test kit arrived.
  3. I was noticing slight improvement during this.
  4. When my test kit arrived, my PH was below 6.8 so I added PH Up. I had no CYA, so I added CYA. And I adjusted bleach to shock level.
  5. The next morning, the water was brownish. Creating waves in the pool showed me that the entire liner under the water line had turned rusty orange.
  6. I tested a spot with vit. c pill, instantly removed.
  7. My SLAM took a very long time, over a month, due to so much gunk, equipment failures etc. But, we finally got the pool clean. I didn't address the stains until this point.
  8. I added two bottles of Poly-60 algaecide and let my FC drift to about 1.
  9. I followed the advice on the iron article located on this website and added 3lbs of AA to my pool with my filter on recirculate. A lot of the stain was gone but not all, so I added 2 more lbs. The article indicated adding more if the stain wasn't gone in 30 minutes. It still wasn't all gone. As I was out of AA, I went to bed for the night. However, when I woke up, the stain was 100% gone and the pool was beautiful!
  10. I added two bottles of Metal Magic by Proteam.
  11. 24 hours later, I started upping the FC level. Took about 5 gallons to break through the AA. To be noted, I mostly used 6% bleach here and for a few days after.
  12. 24 hours later, I brought the ph back up from where it had fallen to 7.2, from under 6.8
  13. The pool was good, for about a week. I switched to 10% pool chlorine because my walmart finally had fresh bottles at this time.

Then I noticed my return jets turning tan again and eventually the whole liner in just a few days.

  1. I ordered more AA, and this time ordered jacks magic magenta stuff.
  2. I let the FC drop to 1 again..
  3. Added poly 60
  4. Added 2.5lbs of AA and the entire stain lifted this time, really quickly.
  5. Added 2 bottles of magenta stuff.
  6. Pool turned super cloudy.
  7. Added jacks magic fiber filter stuff (sand filter).
  8. 24 hours later, started raiding FC. I would only take it to what was suggested for my CYA of 50 - 4ppm. I needed less bleach this time because I used less AA. (10% chlorine)
  9. Pool cleared of cloudyness quickly.
  10. 48 hours later... I noticed a ting on the liner, the next morning the return jets were tan again. Staining everywhere. I hadn't even gotten to adjust the PH yet. Ph was(is currently)still 6.8 or less.

I just tossed in my remaining two lbs of AA and another bottle of magenta stuff... I haven't tried raising any levels yet. I am just not sure what to do. Is my 10% bleach too strong? Should I stick to 6%? Would that even matter when I had to add more of the 6% anyway? Am I doing something else wrong? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

The pool as mentioned is vinyl, no heater, sand filter (brand new), VS pump (brand new), 1 skimmer, no water features, approx. 25,000 gals, at least 30 years old, unknown water age, unknown liner age, removed ladder.


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
There’s too much iron in the water. Your going to drive yourself nuts trying to control it. The chlorine is going to break down the sequestrant over time and the moment that there’s insufficient sequestrant levels and enough oxidizer (chlorine) then you’re going to get stains.

Are you on well water or city water? Have you ever priced out how much it would be to truck in clean water?


May 19, 2013
I am currently going through pretty much the same cycle. In previous years one treatment and warm water seemed to make the stains manageable but this year the process has not worked thru 2 ascorbic acid treatments. I have not added much city water to the pool over the past year because of plentiful rain so why does it seem my staining is worse. I have lots of trees, could materials in the tree leaves which got in the pool over fall and winter (I kept the pool open) have increased dissolved materials that act like iron and copper?


Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
Northern NJ
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Use polyfill in the skimmers to capture and filter out the iron. You have to remove the iron from the water for a lasting fix.
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