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If You Pee in the Pool Will the Water Turn Blue

Muncipal Swiming Pool
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicensePhoto by  Seattle Municipal Archives

Here’s something that has been handed down from generation to generation for ages. They say that if you pee in the swimming pool then there’s a special chemical that will turn the water the color of the deep blue sea. Thus notifying everyone that you just did your business in the pool!
Then of course it sends everyone running for the hills trying to escape your wasteful wrath. Parents have used this explanation for ever in hopes their kids will think twice before relieving themselves in the swimming pool.
But the real question is, is there really a chemical in the swimming pool that will turn the water blue when mixed with urine?

The Myth of Urine and the Blue Pool

I’m sure many of you have seen the movie Grown Ups. There a specific scene in that movie where Kevin James and his daughter are swimming in a public pool. Well he’s just been explaining to her that there is no such thing as the chemical that turns the pool water blue when someone pees in it. Just about that time you begin to see a huge blue cloud forming from around his waste, or should I say waist! lol


But the fact of the matter is, in reality, he is correct, there really isn’t any chemical that will do this, and it would be quite hard to create one for that matter. I’ll go into more detail on the reasons for this…


The Chemistry Behind a Urine Reactive Chemical

In high school chemistry class we all learned how to use pH test strips to test for the presence of acid and alkaline substances. These test strips would change color depending on the specific levels of these substances that were  present.


But urine is not your average “water substance”. You can not test the pH levels in urine with a test strip. This is because the pH levels in urine vary so much from person to person, that it would be impossible to set a “standard” pH level. Depending on what a person’s diet consists of and how much salt, time of day, all these things play a role in what the pH level would be.


The fact is, urine is basically water, but contains other things like urea, salt and creatinine. But all these things are also found in human sweat, therefore the probability that science would devise a test to detect urine is highly unlikely.


Would a Urine Detecting Chemical be Practical

Of course we all know that the biggest fear of swimming in a public pool is running into other people’s pee! And I know none of us like to think about it, or discuss it, but it really is there. There’s no way you could get a hundred people mixed with adults and children all in the same pool and absolutely no one would take the opportunity to relieve themselves. Children are especially prone to doing this simply because they don’t want to waste any of their precious “play time” going to the restroom. Truth be told, the adults are probably just as guilty of using the gigantic municipal restroom themselves! Yak!


But anyway, considering this, if there were a chemical that turned blue in the presence of urine, a municipal swimming pool would be blue all the time.


During a survey done by the Water Quality and Health Council in 2009, the concluded that 17% of American adults confessed to peeing in the pool. So you can imagine that this number would be just as high and probably higher for children. If they would ever admit to it that is.


And here’s a doozie, Michael Phelps, a 19 time gold medalist, himself admitted to taking a nice pee in the pool

So, have you ever witnessed the pool turning blue? The fact that it’s never been seen is a sure fire lesson in the fact it does not exist.
What do you think about peeing in the pool? Is this something you should only do in your private pool, or is public the way to go? I’m kind of leaning toward, “Just go to the restroom you lazy arse!”

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34 thoughts on “If You Pee in the Pool Will the Water Turn Blue
  1. Hahaha
    Now people can actually pee in the public pool NOT. Well it is rude and really immature behaviour. Thanks for the update

  2. I think you have the great idea about this but if it is true the children can do experiment for this. This should be done it in our private pool first. Thanks for sharing this scientific view!!

    1. I agree, if you’re going to experiment with this, please do it in the privacy of your own pool…lol

  3. I admit it. I would like to put it out there though that it’s not necessarily laziness. Swim instructors (and lifeguards – if you have a reason to be in the water) can’t just leave to pee. 🙂 Ironically you’d get in more trouble for leaving a student unattended than you would by peeing. And bear in mind that swim instructors – when they’re at their best – are in the water for hours on end with lesson after lesson.

    1. Well I can certainly see that view on the subject. But I have to admit that it would probably be best to get another lifeguard to fill in for you for 5 minutes while you go to the restroom.

      At least that would be a better option than creating a health risk such as peeing in the pool…lol After all, lifeguards are there for everyone’s safety.

  4. No one should ever, and I mean ever, urinate in the pool. It is disgusting and can be harmful to yourself and the others that are swimming in the same pool as well. It might not turn blue but it his harmful to everyone’s health.

    1. Thanks for sharing your concerns on this Caleb. Urinating in a public pool or any pool for that matter is definitely not advised. Even though some people believe that urine has some medicinal properties, it doesn’t make it any more acceptable to do such things. 🙂

  5. Hahaha through your blog it remembers my childhood days. Really, I enjoyed this blog so much and this is true the story of turning blue is passed from one generation to another generation. I think somewhere to make our kid civilized person that’s why I this type of rumor is spread…!!!

    1. Very true, I also believe this type of rumor is parent’s attempt to as you put it, “civilize our children”. And to a certain extent it has been quite successful, at least to those children that believe. But to some it may only create that, “let me try it and see if it’s true” approach…lol

      Either way it makes for a neat remembrance of childhood for all of us!

  6. Hahaha! So true! always doubting when entering to an unrecognized pool. However, its good that there is such thought as people should not pee in a pool.Its disgusting.

    1. Oh I definitely agree Mindy, even though this is nothing more than a myth, it’s a good thing some still believe if for no other reason but to prevent them from souring everyone elses swimming experience…lol

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