Swimming Pool Blog

The Latest in Pool Water Filtration………Moss!

by Myles McMorrow, October 11, 2009

sphagnum moss growing wild

Yes, moss. Not the green stuff that grows on trees - this is
Sphagnum moss.

It can be found in the northern USA and grows wild in wet, boggy areas.

Sphagnum moss, over thousands of years, will turn into peat deposits, known as peat moss.
   But how and when did people start using it to filter pool and spa water? As the story goes, a guy in Minnesota  with a hot tub always wondered why the lakes up north are so crystal clear. He looked to the ecosystem and thought it must be the moss that grows around the water and acts like a filter. He took some moss and put it into the filter chamber in his hot tub and within 24 hours it was the clearest it has ever been. He was on to something.
   Our ancestors would wrap freshly trapped fish or meat in sphagnum moss to preserve it until they could return home.  Recently, an "ice age" man in Europe was found frozen in a glacier. Upon examination, it was noted that he had an injury that was packed with sphagnum moss. As recently as World War I moss was used to protect open wounds from festering with disease while waiting for proper treatment.  Those soldiers who were fortunate enough to be "treated" with the sphagnum moss had significantly less occurrence of medical maladies than their "untreated" comrades.  Today, certain wounds care centers around the world utilize this type of moss to successfully treat "non-healing" wounds.
   After lab testing it was found that it not only filters and kills bacteria, but Sphagnum Moss was also found to have the ability to break down biofilm. Biofilm is what chlorine breaks down as it sanitizes pool water. If you have a hot tub, it is the slime that gathers on surfaces. By breaking down the biofilm you need a lot less sanitizer in the body of water . It will make the water cleaner with less chems and is environmentally friendly, and when the moss is used up you can compost it in your garden.
  Now available for pools and spas is a feeder chamber you place moss into and run your pool water through it. The moss comes in large packets much like a tea bag that you just put into the canister. Many commercial pools are running these systems to cut costs associated with chlorine use. New patented products such as the patented PoolNaturally™ and SpaNaturally™ use eco-friendly, eco-processed sphagnum moss in disposable, consumer friendly pouches to remove biofilms and prevent biofilms.
  Studies are further showing that pool water treated with sphagnum moss stays better balanced (natural buffers are present in the moss) and is "gentler" for swimmers. PoolNaturally™ sphagnum moss pouches are replaced on a monthly basis for optimal effect. Sphagnum moss products work with all chlorine, bromine, salt systems, and ionizers but are NOT compatible with biguanide products such as BioGuard® Soft Swim® or Arch Chemicals® Baquacil®.
Just another way your pool can operate with alternative sanitizers and purification methods.