How to Clean Your Own Pool

If you have your own swimming pool, you may want to save money by cleaning the pool yourself. It takes quite a bit of work to clean a swimming pool and you’ll have to monitor chemical levels at least three times a week. However, it’s worth it to keep your pool clean and safe for use.

How to Clean your Own Pool

Skimming and Brushing

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    Make sure you have the right supplies. Before skimming and brushing your pool, take stock of your supplies. Make sure you have everything you need.

    • Make sure you have a telescopic pole. Most pool cleaning supplies attach to a pole like this, so having one available helps. You might want to wipe off the pole to make sure it’s free of any debris that could potentially contaminate your pool.
    • A leaf skimmer or skimmer net is an important pool cleaning tool. This is a small net that attaches to the telescopic pole. You use this net to remove leaves and other debris from the surface of your pool. As with any pool cleaning supplies, leaf skimmers should be cleaned out on occasion.
    • Make sure you have a pool brush. This is a device used to clean the sides, ladders, and steps of your pool. Brushes can get clogged with dust and debris, so make sure you rinse out your pool brush periodically to make sure it’s clean.


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    Skim the surface of your pool with a leaf skimmer. The first step to cleaning your pool is to skim its surface with the leaf skimmer. In fact, this should be done on a day-to-day basis to make sure the pool’s surface is free of any contamination.

    • This is a fairly easy part of pool maintenance. Attach the skimmer to the telescopic pole to start.
    • Then, use the net to pull out debris. Things like leaves and other foliage frequently fall into outdoor pools. Simply use the net skimmer to remove any foreign bodies you see at the top of the pool’s water.


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    Brush the sides of the pool and the pool ladder. Once you’ve cleared out any obvious debris, use a pool brush to clean the sides of the pool as well as any stairs or ladders. This should be done on a weekly basis. Simply attach the pool brush to the telescopic pole and run it over these areas, using some force to remove grime when necessary. Keep in mind areas with poor water circulation, such as stairs, may need more attention. 




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    Select a pool vacuum. A pool vacuum is used to clean the floors of a swimming pool. There are different types of pool vacuums depending on your type of pool and personal needs.

    • Automatic cleaners come in three types. Suction side cleaners are not recommended as they often accidentally suck up things like rocks, which can harm your pool’s filtration system. Pressure side cleaners attach to the return jet of your pool filtration system and work by removing debris from the filtered water and placing it in a removable bag. However, this requires you to do some filtering. The most efficient automatic cleaner is a robotic pool cleaner. These self-contained units drive around the bottom of your pool collecting debris. The only downside, however, is they tend to be costly.
    • You can save money by using a manual pool vacuum. You can buy a manual pool vacuum online. You may also find one for sale at a hardware shop. The vacuum should come with instructions for set up and use.[7]


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    Set up the vacuum. Once you’ve selected the pool vacuum that best suits your needs, set the vacuum up for your pool. Most pool vacuums come with some kind of instructions for use.

    • For a manual vacuum, there is usually a way to attach the vacuum’s head to the telescopic pole. You will then slowly lower the vacuum head into the pool.
    • You should then feed the hose into the pool. Make sure all air is removed from the hose before attaching it to the pump that comes with most manual vacuum cleaners. Attaching the pump to the hose before the air has been expelled can harm the pump.
    • Vacuums should always come with individual manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re unsure how to use a vacuum pump, there is usually a number on the box you can call with questions.


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    Vacuum the pool as you would a carpet. You use pool vacuums much the same way you would vacuum a carpet. Move the vacuum across the bottom of the pool, staying longer in areas that need appear dirtier. Some automatic cleaners do not require you to vacuum yourself.


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    Vacuum at least once a week. A lot of debris and bacteria builds on the bottom of a pool. You should be sure to vacuum your pool at least once a week to keep it clean and safe for use.



Managing Chemicals

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    Test the water’s pH levels. There are chemicals in pool water that help maintain a pool’s cleanliness. Factors like weather and use can affect chemical levels. You should test the pH levels at least three times a week to make sure the pool is safe to use.

    • You can buy a pH tester at a local supermarket. You should read reviews of different brands before making a purchasing decision to make sure you’re buying a reliable brand. Once you’ve selected a tester, use this to check your pool’s pH levels.
    • The pH level of your pool should be between 7.2 and 7.6. If it is outside these ranges, use either pH reducer or pH increaser. Apply as needed to bring your pool to the proper pH range.


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    Check the pool filter. You should keep the area around your pool filter free of debris and grime. Check the pool filter for debris, grime, and other build up. If you notice anything clogging the filter, remove it.


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    Add sanitizing chlorine tablets. Sanitizing tablets are tables you can purchase online or at many hardware stores. They dissolve slowly and release chlorine to kill any bacteria in your pool water. You should add tablets to your pool as instructed on the label. You should also add tablets to your skimmer, floater, or automatic feeder to make sure these utensils are also bacteria free.


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    Consider pool shock. Pool shock is a type of pool cleaner that targets bacteria released by things like hair, urine, and sweat. If you’re worried about contamination, consider using pool shock.


Part4Cleaning a Very Dirty Pool

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     Remove debris with a leaf net. If you have a pool that’s dirty to the point the water is green, it will take some extra effort to clean. For starters, there will likely be a layer of scum on the surface of the pool. Do not use a skimmer to remove debris as this will stir scum into the water and make the pool look worse. Instead, use a leaf net to remove debris from the pool surface. If you do not have a leaf net, you can purchase one at a local hardware store. 

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    Adjust the chemicals. A very dirty pool is likely swimming with unwanted bacteria. You need to adjust the chemical levels until the pool water is safe for use.

    • Test and adjust the water’s pH levels. It will probably take a few days, and some trial and error with pH reducer and increaser, to get the pH levels to a safe level. In addition to pH reducer and increaser, you may need to add alkalinity increaser to the pool.Remember, a good pH level is between 7.5 and 7.8.

    • You need to shock the pool. It is likely very dirty and might need quite a few gallons of pool shock, administered over the course of a few days, to get the water back to safe levels for swimming. Start off by adding 3 or 4 gallons. See if the pool water has, by morning, changed cloudy white, light green, or clear. If it has not, add another 3 to 4 gallons and wait until 24 hours. Repeat this process until the water has changed color.


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     Run the filter for 24 hours a day. You’ll need to run the pool filter 24 hours a day for a few days. This is clear out unwanted bacteria and debris that have gathered in the pool.

    • Make sure to backwash your filter 3 to 4 times a day. Green water can clog a filter and cause damage. It is normal to have to backwash the filter frequently while cleaning a very dirty pool.

    • Have your filtration system checked if the pool does not clear up in 4 to 5 days. This could be a sign something is wrong with your filtration system. You may have to get it replaced before you can safely use the pool again.


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     Clean the pool floor. Once the pool water is clear and the pH levels are balanced, clean the pool floor using your pool vacuum. There is likely a lot of debris gathered on the pool floor so it may take some extra time and effort to vacuum the pool. Keep in mind if there’s a lot of debris on the floor, consider professional help if you’re not experienced with pool cleaning yourself. Debris could get clogged in your pool pipe, causing damage, and it can also cause wear and tear to your pool filtration system.

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