There is no chemical that will turn pool water a different color if you pee in it

Mourn my pecker, purple daughter: all it passed was sky-blue water.


…while asparagus affects #1. Though I’m not sure if/how this further affects the pool water.


Pool owners everywhere upon reading the headline:


A good tip: if the pool turns brown, there’s probably some pee in there—but that’s also the least of your concerns.


Yep. Checked right away. After a few furtive glances determined that they were lying and who REALLY needs to get out of the water, right?

I just swim in mountain streams.

There’s no chlorine or any chemicals, my eyes don’t burn, it smells a whole lot nicer, and if I pee the river automatically washes it away :grin:

I hate swimming pools and will never normally go in them. Chlorine saturated cesspools that burn my eyes.
I really do only swim in mountain rivers. Fortunately there’s plenty of that in my state

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They told us this at summer camp in the 70s and the camp had a huge lake. We all knew it was BS and I was really amused years later when I ran into people who actually believed that lie.

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I choose to swim in the ocean, where whales have been peeing for millions of years. The Pacific must be over 50% recycled urine by now.


This assumes that the people have a need to pee. Perhaps if they spend a day, but when you are in only a couple of hours? I spend a lot of time with my 7 year old at the indoor pool, usually 4 hours.

But I rarely have to use the lavatory.

"…Where the veg’tables are green,
And you can pee into the stream!
Yes, we’re back from the Shadows again!"
– Firesign Theatre


Had occasion to test this in a secluded saltwater pool over the weekend. Am happy to report that rigorous testing yielded no such results.

Sadly, it’s not as simple as that. My dad is a practical joker and was a pharmacist when I was a kid; he brought home methylene blue to experiment with. Unfortunately it’s strongly alkaline, so 1) it has a very bitter flavor that’s hard to mask and 2) it makes carbonated beverages fizz violently and then go flat.

You might get away with slipping it into somebody’s coffee - assuming that they don’t actually like coffee but drink it out of some sort of compulsion and will choke down any sort of bitter sludge - but I can’t think of any other way to sneak it into a drink. (Yes, I saw that episode of MAS*H too, but it was a TV show.)

In case anybody’s ever wondered what the actual medical purpose of the stuff is, by the way - it’s used as an antidote to cyanide poisoning. Cyanide does lots of nasty things to the body; one of them is binding so tightly to hemoglobin that it can’t transport oxygen. Turns out that cyanide likes to bind to methylene blue even better than to hemoglobin, though - so if your friend is turning blue, give them blue dye and they’ll soon be in the pink again! They WILL pee blue, though.

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I have managed a community pool for ~15 years and am managing it. In fact, I just got back from doing morning pool chores because it’s supposed to get to over 100°F today in central Texas.

Executive summary:
Pee in the pool is the least of your problems, if you are swimming in a “public” pool.

Longer version and with apologies for geeking out:

Unless the person has a bladder infection and pees in your pool water…

… urine in pool water not super scary, just distasteful.

Children shedding (through any mucus membrane, not necessarily through pee) live viruses from recent varicella vaccinations is one of the many reasons that public pools are chlorinated. More reasons here:

IMO that stuff is what we should be more cognizant of re pool water.

Among the pool water constituents that are not pee yet ought to be considered IMO…

ETA: grammar dangit


Nailed it.
Am a big fan of Firesign–thanks for posting this.

See also:

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I remember my mom telling us we could just pee in the ocean, because the current will dilute it etc. Later that day I saw a turd floating in the surf and said something like “how about that ocean bathroom now!?

Some kid put the “poo” in “pool” and my son wound up with salmonellosis.


Dear god no!
I am sorry to hear.

I hate Code Browns and what is worse is that the parent whose child it is (invariably it’s a child who does this, sorry kids but hey stop it already) usually does not call me or own up to it the event, or anything.

A Code Brown must be called instantly, with immediate closure of the pool, shocking (super-chlorination), etc.

I get it that some people really do hate chlorine and swimming in chlorinated pools. Folks, if you are in any body of water, chlorinated or not, be aware you are in an ecosystem, with all that that implies, including microorganisms, some of which do not mean humans well.


This was a few years ago – he was ok, just a messy affair for a few days.

Evidently no one noticed (or, reported) anything. My son figured it out later (initially he thought it was mud or leaves because why would any sensible person take a crapping toddler into a public pool?).

When we found out it was salmonellosis, and figured out how he got it, I called the pool, suggested that they do better enforcement of their own swim diaper rule, and got a noncommittal response. I guess the pediatrician’s office notified the health department about my son’s case, because they called me in a day or two. I gave 'em the pool’s phone number (they agreed that’s probably what had happened).

(At that point in time, we could fairly much rule out vectors like salad and raw vegetables.)


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