Nobody wants to dive into a dirty pool. As a new pool owner, you likely dream of having a sparkling clear pool, but debris, dirt, and sediment can find their way to the bottom and become unsightly. The dream can be closer than you think, and the fact is that you don’t need a vacuum to get that ideal clean pool bottom for the summer months.
To clean the bottom of your pool, use a non-abrasive leaf rake to remove the large debris found at the bottom of the pool. Then, gather up and discard. Next, use a brush to remove algae and other small particles along the side of the pool using care not to stir them up. If you have a filter, turn it on afterward. If not, you can manually gather the particles from the bottom of your pool using a dustpan. Read on for more detail on cleaning your pool bottom and more tips on keeping your pool sparkling through the Summer months and beyond.
Pool vacuums, while convenient, can be an expensive investment for you and your family. Keeping the bottom of your pool clean can be relatively easy without a vacuum, especially if your pool is on the smaller side or if it’s above ground. However, you can use these cleaning methods for any size or type of pool.
Clearing Large Debris With A Leaf Rake
Experts agree that using a leaf rake, even if you have a vacuum, is the best way to clear larger debris from the bottom of your pool. Some debris is too large for a vacuum to pick up. Therefore, a leaf rake is the best tool for the job.
Make sure the leaf rake is appropriate for your pool’s surface. A safe bet is a plastic rake that is gentle for all surfaces. Rake any loose leaves, plant debris, twigs, acorns, etc., into a pile at the bottom of your pool. Then remove by hand. If your kids are around, make it a game and recruit them to rake, then dive down and retrieve the debris (My 10-year-old loves it!).
Brush The Surface
Once the large debris is out of your pool, use a brush to remove algae and other small particles from the sides and bottom of the pool. Make sure that the brush you use is an appropriate fit for your pool. You can use a firm stainless steel or metal brush on a concrete pool; however, if you have a vinyl, fiberglass, or pebble finish on your pool’s surface, you’re better off using a non-abrasive brush with soft, nylon bristles. Never use stainless steel or metal brushes on anything other than concrete, as this could cause lasting damage to your pool’s surface.
Turn On The Pool Filter
If your pool has a filter, turn it on once you’ve brushed down all the sides and corners of your pool. The filter will remove all the tiny particles that are now floating freely.
No Pool Filter? No Problem
If you don’t have a pool filter, don’t worry. The process is more labor-intensive but still doable. After brushing down the pool’s surface, sweep the small particles into a pile at the bottom of the pool. You will then manually need to dive down with a dustpan to brush and lift the smaller debris from the bottom gently so as not to disturb the dust (now is an excellent time to recruit those kids again, but make sure they don’t disrupt your debris pile!).
Keeping Your Pool Surface Clean
Now that the hard part is over, you may have debris floating on the top surface of the pool that it’s time to eliminate. Use the below tools to help rid your pool of top surface debris. The kids will love getting involved here as well!
One of the most popular manual pool cleaning tools is the classic pool net, a long pole attached to a net that you skim over the top surface to sweep up dead bugs, leaves, twigs, and other debris before it sinks to the bottom of your pool. Use your net regularly to keep your pool bottom from getting cluttered. If you have teenagers or kids older than 9 or 10, this makes a great task to add to the chore list and might end up being one of their favorites.
Your in-ground pool will also have a built-in pool skimmer that acts as a filter to catch floating debris as well. Floating pool skimmers are free-floating with an attached filter that can float around your pool, picking up dust and pollen from the surface. Some pool owners use floating skimmers in conjunction with their built-in skimmer, or if you have an above-ground pool, a floating skimmer may be ideal for you.
It’s advised that you not add chlorine tablets to your floating pool skimmers as the chemicals can degrade the filter.
You may be surprised to learn that throwing a few tennis balls into your pool is a simple and inexpensive way to get rid of sunscreen lotions, oils, or insect repellent that may come off swimmers and into your pool.
The fuzzy coating on the tennis ball accumulates oils and lotion as it free floats in your swimming pool. Make throwing the balls in the pool a fun game for little ones.
Algae In Your Pool
Algae in your pool can be a real problem. Algae can compromise the hygiene of your pool and can be dangerous for your family and pets to swim. Some algae in your pool are normal, but when it starts to grow out of control, it’s time to do something about it.
Swimming in a pool with excessive algae growth can cause skin infections and rashes in some people. If ingested, algae and bacteria that feed on it can cause diarrhea, fever, and eye infections, although this is rare. It can also make your pool unhygienic and unsightly, causing murky water and injury due to slips or falls.
Signs Of Algae In Your Pool
If you have algae growth in your pool, you will probably know. Look for signs of discoloration or a greenish hue in the pool water itself and the corners, walls, and stairs. When swimming, you may also notice that the water is cloudy and hard to see through.
The good news is that you can also clean algae out of your pool without using a vacuum. If your algae problem isn’t too bad yet, the steps above may do the trick. If your algae problem is worse, try the following solutions:
Multi-purpose algaecides are available on the market, such as this one from SeaKlear. When you’re ready to apply, turn on your pool pump to circulate the water, then use the algaecide according to the directions (usually around 16 ounces for a 10,000-gallon pool). Keep the filter running to clear up the algae. You should see a difference within 12-24 hours.
Shocking your pool requires increasing chlorine levels to kill the algae. You will need calcium hypochlorite pool shock and a bucket for the job. Ensure that you follow proper safety precautions by wearing goggles and gloves and following the directions on the label carefully.
After shocking your pool, for the safety of your family, make sure to allow the chemicals to settle and wait 24 hours to pass before letting anyone swim.
Tips To Prevent Debris Buildup In Your Pool
To prevent debris from building up in your pool, here are a few tips to try:
Make sure to keep up with regular cleanings. Clean your pool bottom at least once per month to maintain a clean and hygienic pool to keep the family swimming all Summer long.
Use A Pool Cover
When not using the pool, keep it covered. A pool cover can catch leaves, acorns, and other debris, both big and small, from falling and settling into your pool.
Keep The Area Around Your Pool Clean
After covering your pool, perform a good cleaning around the pool area by sweeping or blowing debris away from the pool that could potentially end up inside once you remove the cover. Keep trees above and around the pool trimmed to prevent branches and leaves from falling in as well.
Keep Pool Filters Clean
If you routinely clean your pool once per week, make sure not to neglect your pool filter. A pool filter in good working order will work wonders to keep your pool clean, so you won’t want to skip this.
Before you start, make sure you turn off your filter switch. You will need a wrench, some cleaning solution such as Simple Green to spray down and soak the filter, and a garden hose with a strong spray attachment.
Here is a great step-by-step video to walk you through cleaning your pool filter.
Make It A Family Affair
Give your kids a purpose this summer and make them part of your regular pool maintenance. Older kids are perfectly capable of raking, scrubbing, and diving to collect debris from the pool bottom.
Make it a game by timing them or seeing who can collect the biggest pile.The tennis ball trick and pool nets are also something that can be incorporated into a game or an item on their chores list. However, always make sure there is an adult around that can swim, to supervise.
Cleaning the bottom of your pool on a regular schedule can help keep it looking its best. Not only that, but it will be a safer and more hygienic place for your family to cool off in the Summer.
Dirt, debris, and algae can build up without regular cleanings. Make sure to also follow the preventative tips in this article to keep debris from getting into your pool in the first place.
A clean, blue pool makes for a happy pool owner. Happy swimming!