Pool Cleaning 101: Why, When and How to Clean a Pool

Pool Cleaning

“My pool is dirty” may very well be the biggest “first world problem” of them all, but that does not mean it is not a problem. For homeowners lucky enough to have their own backyard swimming pools, cleaning and maintenance are incredibly important, though sometimes overlooked.

The dream of having a backyard swimming pool is typically coupled with visions of soaking in cool waters on a hot summer day, sipping on a fruit concoction nestled in a pineapple, and tempted only to step out of the paradise long enough to pull dinner off of the backyard grill or change up the Spotify playlist if your kids complain you have played one too many songs by the Beach Boys. (How rude!)

What typically does not factor into this daydream is the vision of skimming the pool for leaves or scrubbing a mildewed pool deck or (ew, gross) cleaning it after the neighbor’s kid who was “totally potty trained” turned out to be NOT so potty trained.

The necessity of pool cleaning is an unfortunate reality for pool owners, so we will walk you through why, how, and when it needs to be done.

Why We Must Clean Pools

After the aforementioned example involving the neighbor’s kid, you probably do not need much convincing that a pool must be cleaned. But such catastrophes aside, there are other reasons why your pool needs cleaning.

Some may think, “doesn’t chlorine do the job of keeping my pool clean?” If only it were that easy! While chemicals may keep the water “safe” to swim in, there is an inevitable build-up of contaminants over time that will require a deeper cleaning than just dumping more chlorine in the pool.

After all, chlorine does not keep bugs and leaves out of your backyard oasis, and it also cannot prevent the pool from eventually building up “grime,” just like you might see on a neglected kitchen sink or bathtub.

This is not a finger-pointing exercise on cleanliness, though. Even the tidiest of homeowners will need to take extra efforts to “deep clean” their pools from time to time. The key to making pool cleaning a bearable exercise (versus an overwhelming task) is to keep up with a regular schedule of tasks, broken out into daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance.

When We Should Clean Pools

By breaking tasks up into specific timeframes, it is easier to manage the pool cleaning process in small “chunks” versus allowing the pool to become so dirty you have to call in the professionals to rescue it! Pool maintenance does not have to be overwhelming unless you let it become that way.

Depending on the season and how often you are using your pool, make sure you are performing these tasks daily (or weekly/monthly in some case):

Skimming: If you take the time to skim the pool daily, removing bugs, leaves, and debris that has settled on the water surface, you will find it easier to keep the pool clean overall.

Brushing: Just as you would clean the tile in your bathroom or kitchen with a soft brush, especially when you notice that unsightly grime building up, you should brush the walls and floor of the pool as well. This will aid in the prevention of algae build-up and calcium deposits.

Checking the pH: Your pool should have a pH level somewhere between 7.2 and 7.8 in order for the chlorine to work effectively.

Cleaning the Filter: The filter that protects your pool from debris will inevitably become dirty over time and needs a regular cleaning.

Adding Chlorine: When your pool is low on chlorine, that is when the algae and bacteria start to grow. Therefore, it is crucial to stay on top of this to keep your pool not only clean but also looking nice (no one wants to swim in anything that looks like a murky and slimy mess!)

HTH 42037 Super 3-inch Chlorinating Tablets for Swimming Pools
HTH 42037 Super 3-inch Chlorinating Tablets for Swimming Pools

Maintaining the Water Level: Another important area to monitor is the water level because this affects the functionality of the pump and filter. If the water is too high or too low, the pump and filter cannot effectively do their jobs, which could mean a build-up of debris.

How to Clean a Pool

The key to pool cleaning is having the right tools, and now that you have a checklist of tasks that need to be performed, we will walk you through the best tools for those tasks.

AquaAce Nylon Bristle Pool Brush V2
AquaAce Nylon Bristle Pool Brush V2

Pool Brush: The thing to remember with brushes is you want bristles that will not damage the surfaces of your pool. If you have a fiberglass, vinyl, or painted concrete surface, stick with nylon bristles. If you have a gunite pool, stick with stainless steel bristles. And finally, if you have an unpainted concrete pool, you can use either.

440 Heavy Duty Pool Brush, 18’ Extra Wide, Stainless Steel Bristles
440 Heavy Duty Pool Brush, 18’ Extra Wide, Stainless Steel Bristles

Telescopic Pole: Once you determine the kind of brush you need, you can attach it to a telescopic pole. This adjustable pole will help you get to hard to reach places to keep your pool sparkling clean.

U.S. Pool Supply Professional 12 Foot Blue Anodized Aluminum Telescopic Swimming Pool Pole
U.S. Pool Supply Professional 12 Foot Blue Anodized Aluminum Telescopic Swimming Pool Pole

Skimmer Net: There is nothing like a backyard pool to make you want to cut all your trees down! But before you make a rash decision that will have the neighbors scratching their heads, remember you can keep the leaves out of your pool with a skimmer net. It’s a must-have when it comes to pool cleaning tools.

Stargoods Pool Skimmer Net, Heavy Duty Leaf Rake Cleaning Tool
Stargoods Pool Skimmer Net, Heavy Duty Leaf Rake Cleaning Tool

Vacuum: A vacuum hose can be attached to your telescopic pole for additional help in removing debris from the pool, or you can also opt for an automatic pool cleaner if you are willing to spend more.

U.S. Pool Supply 1-1/2" x 36 Foot Professional Heavy Duty Spiral Wound Swimming Pool Vacuum Hose with Swivel Cuff
U.S. Pool Supply 1-1/2″ x 36 Foot Professional Heavy Duty Spiral Wound Swimming Pool Vacuum Hose with Swivel Cuff

Don’t Forget the Pool Deck

It is not just the pool itself you want to keep clean; an unsightly pool deck is a turnoff for guests, and if it becomes slimy and slippery, it is a safety hazard!

30 SECONDS Outdoor Cleaner, 1 Gallon - Concentrate
30 SECONDS Outdoor Cleaner, 1 Gallon – Concentrate

Keeping your pool deck cleaned regularly will ensure algae and bacteria do not build-up, and you can do this with a brush and cleaning solution for smaller areas, or you may opt for a pressure washer for larger areas.

WHOLESUN 3000PSI Electric Pressure Washer 2.4GPM 1600W Power Washer with Hose Reel and Brush Green
WHOLESUN 3000PSI Electric Pressure Washer 2.4GPM 1600W Power Washer with Hose Reel and Brush Green

While a pressure washer is a significant purchase, bear in mind it can be used in many ways beyond your pool deck (for example, to clean your fence and driveway as well). Before you know it, your sparkling backyard pool oasis will be the envy of all the neighbors!

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