How to Clean a Swimming Pool (Maintenance Tips and Instructions)

Nobody wants to jump into a green and dirty pool full of debris, algae, and bacteria. Dirty pools can cause skin rashes, eyes stinging, and can be extremely toxic. While we all enjoy splashing swimming and having pool parties when it comes to cleaning we always have more important things to do. And let’s face it, it could be a time-consuming and not fun thing to do. But we all know how important having a healthy pool is, both for our health and for our safety.

In case you are more DIY person, and you want to do things your way, here’s how you can clean your swimming pool and what tools and accessories you’ll need.

Brush and a Telescopic Pole (Brush And Sweep)

In order to clean and sweep all the major parts of the pool such as the walls, ladders, steps, the edges and the floor, you’ll need to get an appropriate attachable brush and hook it up to the telescopic pole. As an alternative, you can buy a specific telescopic pole that already has a brush attached to it. Same as for the vacuum head (which we cover below), you need to know the material of your pool walls and floor to know which type of brush to get.

Basically, they all fall into three major categories: fiberglass, concrete or vinyl. Based on the type of the pool you have, seek for brushes meant for that specific pool. You want to pay attention how long the telescopic pole is, and how dirty your pool actually is.

If the walls are extremely dirty, the brush and sweep method cannot help you with all the stubborn stuff, such as getting rid of the algae. The way you figure this one out is to look at how slippery the walls are. When brushing and sweeping your pool, there’s no an effective or easier way to do it. Try to be as much detailed as you can starting from one particular area and moving to the next one.

How often should you scrub your pool? In general, it’s recommended to do this once in two weeks. However, if you enjoy doing this cleaning process, you can do it more often. A good rule of thumb is to make a judgment call, based on how fast your pool gets dirty, how often do you use it, the surrounding environment, etc. Some pools tend to get dirty quite fast while others require less maintenance.

Leaf Skimmer or Leaf Net (Skim)

The process of skimming is pretty straightforward. You’ll need to remove anything that’s floating, such as debris, bugs, twigs, leaves or any dirt in general. The way you do it is by using a well-known leaf skimmer which usually gets attached to the telescopic pole. Basically, this is one of the most regular tasks you need to perform and often you should do this on a daily basis, just to catch anything that doesn’t suppose to be at the surface of the water.

The reason why you would need to do this more frequently is that the next step, vacuuming, could be a real challenge and if not appropriately handled might even break the vacuum cleaner apart. The same as a regular vacuum we use to maintain our home, if you start sucking all that debris, it’s a no-brainer. This also puts a lot of pressure on the engine of the vacuum. So before vacuuming make sure you have used the leaf net.

Main takeaway? Make sure to clean up the surface of the water daily; it’s fun and easy task to perform.

Vacuum Cleaner (Manual or Automatic – Robotic, Suction and Pressure Based)

We can break the vacuum pools cleaners into two main categories; manual and automatic. Manual cleaners are the ones you attach to the telescopic pole, and you swipe the floor of the pool. In order to do this efficiently and based on the size of your pool, you need to get an appropriate hose that will be long enough to have access to the entire pool flooring. On top of that, you would need a vacuum head, which comes in different shapes and sizes.

Based on the type of the pool surface you have you’ll either need a vacuum head meant for vinyl liner, concrete or fiberglass pool.

The takeaway? You need a telescopic pole, and attachable (pool type specific), vacuum head with proper length hose.

What about Automatic Vacuum Cleaners? You have three types to choose from, Robotic, Suction and Pressure Automatic Cleaners.

What’s a Robotic Pool Cleaner? Think of it like you just dropped your regular vacuum cleaner into the pool, and the vacuum is cleaning the entire pool surface by itself, only with a single button click. Yeah, you don’t do anything. You watch this tiny little thing do the job for you. The downside? Robotic cleaners are a bit pricey.

What about Suction Vacuums? Suction vacuum cleaners, in general, are used to get rid of the debris, but using those is a risky business. Why? They often can get stuck in the walls, they can scratch the pool liners, some do a good job in cleaning others are mediocre, but the main issue is that they can damage your filters if not used correctly. So keep that in mind.

Lastly, let’s cover briefly Pressure Vacuum Cleaners. They are far more safe to use compared to the Suction cleaners, but in general, they are not as much efficient as the manual debris skimming and using the Leaf Skimmer. They DO help and reduce the workload, but you’ll probably have to remove all that’s left manually anyway.

Bottom line, when it comes to vacuuming, our suggestion is to go with a manual vacuum or a robotic one.

Pool Filter

The primary purpose of Pool Filters is to keep the water clear. Brushing, sweeping, skimming and vacuuming are just one part of the puzzle. Without a proper filter system, all those tiny little dirt particles can’t be removed, and you’ll have a dirty pool, no matter what you do. Pool filters come as cartridge filters, sand filters, and D.E. filters. Each comes with its pros and cons.

You’ll have to check if there’s anything clogged and stuck there, especially debris, remove it and backwash the filters frequently.

Pool Deck

Keeping the pool deck clean is essential both for safety reasons and avoiding unnecessary cleaning of the pool. Also the deck is a perfect environment for the bacteria and harmful pathogens, so make sure you clean your deck regularly. Sometimes brush can do the job, but for more stubborn and dirty slippery decks, you would probably need a trisodium phosphate and a pressure washer.

Water Test Strips and Proper Chemicals Levels

The first step is to test the water pH levels and sanitizers by using a water test strips. Based on the finding you want to chlorinate the water in the next step in order to get rid of all the dirt and bacteria. If you do have a salt water pool for example by default, you’ll have high pH levels. On the other hand, fiberglass pools have lower pH levels by default, so you can use more sodium bicarbonate to increase the pH levels.

Anything below pH level of 7 means that the pool is toxic. And in the same pH level above pH level of 8 can cause skin rashes and eye stings. You want to have your pH levels between 7.4 and 7.6 for maximum chlorine effect. In order to maintain a healthy pool environment follow the steps we mentioned above, then you can use sanitizing chlorine tablets for example to hit the optimum pH levels.

Final Words

Cleaning and maintaining your pool is not an easy job, but some folks enjoy doing it. In case you are finding it hard to keep up with all the dirt that’s accumulated on a daily basis, you can always hire a professional pool guy to help you out. At least one time so you can learn how to do it by yourself the next time.