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Is it OK to Pee in the Pool?

Is it OK to Pee in the Pool?

Pool season has arrived. Suspicion will soon mount about that child who managed to swim for four hours straight. When grandpa jumps in the pool straight after his five hour drive to see you with no bathroom break in between, eyeballs will roll. Questions will arise about that barbecue guest who consumed a six pack and floated in an inner tube for the rest of the day. There will be queries. There will be polite declinations to that offer to swim. “You put a lot of chlorine in your pool, right?” a friend might ask before dipping her toe in the shallow end.

Is it, or isn’t it, OK to pee in the pool? That depends on your definition of “OK.” Here is what experts have to say about urine in chlorinated swimming pools:

The CDC says: “Irritants in the air at swimming pools are usually the combined chlorine by-products of disinfection. These by-products are the result of chlorine binding with sweat, urine, and other waste from swimmers. As the concentration of by-products in the water increases, they move into the surrounding air as well.” So more pee in the pool = more chlorine by-products in the air around indoor pools.

The Water Quality and Health Council says: “…if chlorine is combining chemically with contaminants like urine, then it is not available to destroy germs in the pool that can make swimmers sick with diarrhea, swimmer’s ear and various skin infections.” In other words, since chlorine gets used up combining with urine and other organic compounds, it isn’t there to kill off the bigger, badder germs in the pool.

But then, a biochemist piped up on Sense About Science: On Ryan Lochte’s famous Jimmy Kimmel Show interview (the one where he admitted to peeing in the pool), a biochemist named Stuart Jones said, “An Olympic size pool contains over 2 million litres of water and a single urination is somewhere in the region of 0.2 litres. To have any significant effect on the overall composition of pool water you’d need a serious amount of peeing.”

What can we draw from this meager assortment of research? We can conclude that it is still gross and bad to pee in the pool, and you shouldn’t do it. Peeing in the pool produces chlorine by-products that can irritate eyes and the respiratory system.  However, the amount of pee that it takes for any noticeable effect is up for debate. It depends on the size of the pool, as well as how diligently the pool’s chemical balance is maintained. Pooping in the pool will make people more sick than peeing will, but nevertheless the CDC still advises all swimmers to shower with soap and to refrain from urinating in pools to limit the amount of organic compounds that they add to the magic soup that is swimming pool water.

Chaya Kurtz writes about everything from Atlanta concrete contractors to tile contractors for

Read more: Children, Family, General Health, Health, Health & Safety, Home, Nature, Outdoor Activities

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+ add your own
6:03PM PDT on Apr 20, 2014

No. That's nasty! People will do it anyway and no one would ever know. I don't use public pools anymore.

7:42PM PDT on Jun 14, 2013

Dahhh who wants to swim in pee?

9:27PM PDT on Jun 12, 2013

The thought of being in a pool with pee in it is sickening. I know it happens though, especially with children who don't want to take time to get out of the pool to go. They're afraid they'll miss some of the fun.
This brings up the importance of a pool house for changing, showering and peeing. It saves you from having to mop up the water trail in the house when guests go inside to use the toilet.

6:59PM PDT on Jun 12, 2013

Why would you.We are not animals or are we.

7:07AM PDT on Jun 11, 2013


8:49PM PDT on Jun 10, 2013

No Never,Never!
I really like the idea for the signs to put up
There should be NO PROBLEM THEN!
If they are Offended they don't need to come again!
Why Pollute your pool??
Thank You

8:42AM PDT on Jun 8, 2013

Most people do ,even though they dont want to admit it

4:09PM PDT on Jun 7, 2013


7:32AM PDT on Jun 7, 2013

I saw a sign at a backyard pool once that read "Welcome to our OOL. Notice there is no "P" in it. Please keep it that way!"

And Michael H, my older daughter was at a pool party the other day where one of the homeowner's daughter's pranked everybody in a manner similar to "Caddyshack." No candy bars or anything like that were in the pool-she merely shouted, "There's a TURD in the pool!" and everybody cleared out in a second! Man, they were all laughing like hyenas at that!

That having been said, it is NEVER okay to pee in the pool! It's not just unhygeinic, it's simply bad manners. We are "housebroken," so if you gotta go, find a friggin' toilet! That goes DOUBLE for men, who seem to be the ultimate in lazy when it comes to finding a place to pee-"why find a toilet when a pool/tree/wall/etc. will do?" seems to be the motto for many guys out there, and it's DISGUSTING. If we women have to hold it until we find a bathroom, so do you men! Man up and quit being so lazy!

And that's the rule for everybody-find the bathroom and don't be a bunch of lazy pigs!

2:24AM PDT on Jun 7, 2013

No peeing in my pool, ever!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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