Some substitutes for common pool chemicals include bleach, baking soda and borax. In addition, caustic soda acts as a common substitute for sodium hydroxide as a way to increase pH levels in a pool, while sodium acid sulfate substitutes for sodium bisulfate to decrease pH levels.
Baking soda works in place of a labeled pool-alkalinity product to increase the alkalinity of pool water. Ordinary household bleach serves to increase the chlorine level of the water. Borax increases the PH level in a pool, but it is important to use pure borax and not a detergent that contains borax. Isocyanuric acid substitutes for cyanuric acid as a stabilizer that pool-chemical manufacturers often label as a chemical to protect the pool from exposure to the sun. Most of these substitutes cost less than the pool-branded substances, even though their chemical components are similar, if not identical.