How to Clean a Pool: A Step-by-Step Homeowners' Guide

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iStock / Getty Images Plus

Every pool should be cleaned regularly to maintain its crystal-clear appearance. Cleaning a pool can either be done by a professional or the pool owner and should include among other things, testing and balancing the chemical levels, maintaining the filter system, and of course, cleaning the pool itself.

No matter which route is chosen to maintain your pool, cleaning a pool if done weekly should take under an hour and will ensure your pool stays ready for use at a moment’s notice.

Important Tasks

  • Vacuum Weekly

  • Skim Pool

  • Empty skimmer and pump baskets

  • Test and balance chemicals

  • Backwash system

How to Clean a Pool

Test the Chemical Levels

Test the pool water to see the current levels before disturbing the system and water in the pool.

Empty the Skimmer and Pump Baskets

Do this by turning off your system and closing the valves around your pump to maintain prime if possible. This is done in preparation for vacuuming to limit the chance of debris getting stuck in the pump impeller.

Isolate Suction to One Skimmer, or as Few Points as Possible

The exact method for this will vary based on your setup but the idea is to create the strongest suction possible for vacuuming. If your pool has a main drain, close it with the appropriate valve.

For all skimmers except for the closest one to the pump, you can either close them off via valve if possible or after checking for size, you can use a tennis ball to block suction temporarily in the farther skimmers.

Prime and Connect Your Vacuum Hose

Assemble to pole, vacuum head, and vacuum hose and lay them near where the skimmer that will be used is. Next, while the vacuum head is still next to the skimmer, lay out the hose, removing any twist or kinks.

Submerge the vacuum head in the pool, grab the hose, and submerge it into the pool in a way that would not trap any air. Once the end of the hose is reached, hold the end slightly above the water and when a small gush of water comes out, insert the end into the skimmer opening under the skimmer basket.

Vacuum the Pool

Start in the shallow end and work towards the deep end and/or main drain. Be sure to go slow enough so as to not disturb the dirt which would make it harder to vacuum.

Brush the Pool

Connect the pool brush to the pole and first brush down the water line of the pool. After, starting in the shallow end of the pool, brush the walls and floors from the top down towards the main drain.

Continue brushing until all debris is at the main drain for the filter to pick up.

Backwash the Filter and Empty the Skimmer and Pump Baskets

Emptying the baskets is the same process as before. To backwash your filter, turn your pool off and set the multiport to backwash. Then run the system while watching the sight glass on your multiport.

Once it is clearer, shut the system down and switch your multiport to rinse. This changes the flow of water inside the filter back to normal but keeps the backwash discharge open to prevent debris from the filter from entering the pool. After a few seconds, shut the system off and change the multiport back to filter.

Balance Chemicals

Using the test results from the first step and now that the pool is clean, add the appropriate amount of chemicals to restore each one back to its appropriate levels.

How Often to Clean a Pool

Cleaning a pool should be done weekly to limit the growth of algae and to catch any chemical imbalances or maintenance issues before they get out of hand. Depending on your exact pool and location, if it generally stays clear and does not have much greenery around, a deep cleaning which includes brushing and testing for all chemicals can be done every other week.

It is good practice to clean, test, and backwash your pool every week to catch any potential maintenance issues before they get expensive and maintain chemical levels before a potential algae outbreak. If maintained weekly or even bi-weekly, a pool should not be able to become too dirty and will allow catching and preventing most major repairs, making owning a pool that much more enjoyable.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to clean a pool?

The best way to clean a pool is with a skimmer and pool vacuum. Cleaning robots can be used but vary in effectiveness and some need auxiliary pumps, which can be expensive. With that being said, if already equipped and with a proper setup, some robots can be as efficient as a human when cleaning a pool.

How do you clean a dirty pool floor?

The best method for this depends on exactly how dirty the floor is but, if your pool floor is dirtier than normal in any way, it is best to use a separate pump and filter. If this is not possible, then you can use your regular pool system to slowly vacuum up all the dirt on your floor.

How do you keep pool water crystal clear?

The most important task that can be done to keep pool water clear is to vacuum, test, and backwash your pool weekly.


Read the original article on The Spruce.