How to Clean a Salt Cell

Tdirty-salt-cellhe number one maintenance item for a salt water chlorinator is to clean the salt cell regularly, every 2-6 months, but only as needed. Mineral deposits bridge the space between the metal plates, and not just in hard water areas.

Calcium is naturally attracted to the electrically charged plates, and when they build up too much, it blocks the ability for electrolysis to occur. Over time, too much build-up on the salt cell can permanently damage the coatings on the plates, leading to cell failure.

Many new pool salt systems are self-cleaning. A great feature, they do this by reversing the polarity or charge of the metal plates, repelling the attracted mineral deposits, which is swept away by the rushing water, before it can attach to an oppositely charged plate.

Clean a Salt Cell:

  1. fill a small bucket with 1 gallon of water, mixed with 1 cup of muriatic acid.
  2. Submerge the cell in the bucket and left it for 10 minutes, then returned and flip it over for a few more minutes.
  3. Flush the cell with the garden hose, you can now see clearly through the cell – that the deposits had been successfully removed.
  4. Shock the pool with granular chlorine to raise the chlorine quickly.
  5. Reconnect the unions and turned the filter pump back on.

Some things NOT to do when cleaning your salt cell.

  1.  Don’t soak the cell in acid for too long, over 20 minutes.
  2. Don’t increase the acid strength, use a 15:1 solution.
  3. Don’t use metal tools to scrape off salt cell deposits.
  4. Don’t clean the salt cell if it’s not visibly coated.

Other Salt Cell Maintenance Tips:


Don’t overwork your salt cell – keep your chlorine level as low as you need to maintain clean and clear pool water.


Use Conditioner or Stabilizer, to help protect your chlorine level from the sun, and again, to prevent overworking your salt cell.


Keep your pH balanced, if below 7.2, it can etch the salt cell, and if above 7.6, it will reduce the chlorine’s effectiveness.


Keep the salt level proper in the pool. You’ll need to add more salt once or twice per year.

Pool Salt Systems are real time savers, but they do need occasional maintenance to keep them working properly, and to prolong the life of your salt cell.

Eventually, you’ll need a new salt cell. You’ll know it’s time when the chlorine output drops to low levels, despite a clean cell and sensor, proper water balance, salt levels and water temperature.


Here is a great video on how to clean a salt cell: