Home additions come in all shapes and sizes, but there’s nothing like a lush swimming pool that dramatically impacts your home’s value and curb appeal. They’re luxurious, fun, and provide a terrific way to beat the summer heat.

But with great pools comes great responsibility! And there’s also nothing like a pool that’s not properly maintained. It’s a turnoff to potential homebuyers, a health hazard, and certainly not the oasis you were dreaming of. 

The good news is that keeping your water’s crystal clear is certainly doable once you know how to clean a pool. And you’re carrying out a weekly maintenance schedule, your pool will be safe to use and refreshing all season long!

Below we’ll discuss everything you need to know about how to clean a pool, including:

  • Why pool cleaning is important
  • Steps to how to clean a pool
  • Tips on maintaining a clean pool
  • Tell-tale signs that your pool needs a deep cleaning

Why is Cleaning a Pool Important in the First Place?

Did you know that pool cleaning is just as, if not more important, than cleaning your house? Whether you’re having a quick dip or swimming laps, your body is coming into contact with the water. If that water isn’t properly sanitised, it can make you sick, or even give you a serious infection.

The team from Ultra Swimming Pool Specialist shares that consistent pool cleaning helps to maintain the proper chemical balance in your pool, reducing the risk of skin and eye irritation. Additionally, regular maintenance extends the life of your pool equipment and prevents costly repairs down the line.

And it’s not just your health at stake. A dirty pool is also a breeding ground for bacteria and algae – not exactly the scene you want to come home to after a long day. Think of it this way – you wouldn’t wash in a shower full of dirt and grime, so why would you want to swim in a pool full of it?

But keeping your pool clean doesn’t have to be a hassle. In fact, once you get into a regular cleaning routine, it’ll only take you about 30-60 minutes a week.

Pool Equipment You’ll Need to Help Clean Your Pool

Before diving head first into the pool cleaning process (pun intended), it helps to have the proper equipment. It saves time, is more convenient and ensures you don’t slip into your pool trying to brush off the dirt and grim. 

Here’s what you need when heading to your local pool shop:

Telescope pole – This is used to attach the various cleaning attachments and lets you extend your reach to clean your pool’s vast surface.

Pool vacuum cleaner – This handy tool provides a convenient way to clean the pool floor and walls. While this is optional, it’s highly recommended unless you want to spend hours scrubbing by hand. Vacuum cleaners come in two varieties: automatic and manual.

Skimmer – The skimmer is a large, flat net that can quickly scoop up leaves, bugs, and other debris which can clog your pool’s filter. It’s also attached to the telescope pole so you maximise your reach.

Pool Brush – Your brush will scrub away any dirt or grime that’s clinging to your pool’s deck, sides or bottom and is especially effective against algae. Like your skimmer, it also attaches to the telescope pole.

However, pool brushes will vary depending on the type of pool you have. Below are our recommendations:

Concrete pools – Use a brush with a combination of stainless steel and nylon. Concrete is highly porous and rough, so you need a brush that can withstand some wear and tear.

Vinyl or Fibreglass pools: Use a brush with soft bristles, ideally made from nylon. These materials are much more delicate than concrete and require a softer touch.

Pools with stubborn algae: Use a stainless steel brush to scrub off specific algae area growth areas. Algae can be very difficult to remove and require a brush with some serious scrubbing power.

Cleaning Products for Your Swimming Pool Clean

In addition to your pool cleaning equipment, you’ll also need some cleaning products to get the job done. Here are a few things you should have on hand:

Chlorine – Chlorine is essential for keeping your pool water clean and sanitary. It releases hypochlorous acid (HOCl), a sanitising agent that kills bacteria and other microorganisms. You can purchase chlorine in either tablet or granular form.

Pool Salt – Pool salt acts as a natural antiseptic to keep your pool water clean and free of harmful bacteria and algae. It’s also less harsh on your skin and eyes than chlorine.

Chemical testing kit – Maintaining proper pool water pH levels keeps your pool crystal clear. It also protects your pool pump, heater and other pool components from malfunctioning. This is one of the most important aspects of pool care, so make sure you have a good test kit on hand.

Now that you have all the necessary equipment, it’s time to get to brass tacks and start cleaning your pool.

How to Clean a Pool – Step by Step

1. Remove leaves with a skimmer

This first step should be done regularly, which is to skim your pool’s surface with a net to remove any floating debris. You’ll prevent pool filter blockage and make vacuuming much easier. Skimming is especially prevalent in the fall when tree leaves are falling onto your pool. 

2. Use a pool brush to scrub the sides and bottom

Use your specific pool brush to scrub the sides and bottom of your pool. Be sure to do this weekly (more if needed) to remove any accumulated dirt, grime or algae. You’ll also want to keep your pump and filter running to ensure all the debris gets sucked up and doesn’t just settle back to the bottom.

3. Vacuum the floor

It’s fairly difficult to remove all the dirt and debris from your pool’s floor by hand, so we recommend using a pool vacuum. This will save you tons of time and effort, making the process much less daunting. Just be sure to vacuum slowly and methodically to ensure you don’t miss any spots.

4. Use your pool kit to test the pH levels

As we mentioned before, maintaining a proper pH level is crucial to keeping your pool sanitised, clear and safe to use. Simply follow the instructions that came with your pool testing kit to test the water’s ph levels and always backwash your filter when needed.

5. Add chlorine or salt as needed

Depending on your preference and pool type, you’ll want to either add chlorine or salt to your pool water. This will help keep the water clean and free of harmful bacteria or algae. Salt is less harmful to your skin and eyes, but can eventually corrode your pool’s surfaces and components.

If using chlorine, simply add more to the water using either tablets or granules. It’s recommended that chlorine levels remain between 1 and 3 ppm to balance your pool water’s acidity.

6. Clean your pool filter

There are three types of pool filters – sand, cartridge and diatomaceous earth (D.E.). All three types should be cleaned regularly to prevent clogging and ensure efficient filtration.

Cartridge filter – Apply your cartridge filter cleaner to the cartridge and let it soak for as long as the label directs. Next, use a garden hose to rinse off any remaining dirt or debris. Finally, re-install the cartridge filter.

Sand filter – Pour your sand filter cleaner into your filter’s strainer basket and let it fill up completely. Let it sit for the amount of time specified on the label (typically 8 hours), then backwash your filter for 5 minutes to remove the cleaner and all grime and dirt. Ensure your filter system is off while you’re doing this.

Diatomaceous earth (D.E.) filter – Before starting, always check how much D.E is required by looking at the manufacturer’s directions.

Clean your Backwash, DE Grids and add your DE to the skimmer. You’ll need to mix the appropriate amount of DE with water in a bucket to form a creamy consistency. Next, pour the mixture into the skimmer very slowly while the pump is running. After 30 minutes, your DE filter should be fully clean.

7. Don’t forget your pool deck, stairs, ladders and handrails

In addition to your pool itself, you should clean your pool deck regularly. You may not swim on it, but foot traffic can track in all sorts of dirt and debris. Your decks won’t simply be unsanitary – it will become slippery and dangerous if it’s not properly cleaned and cared for.

If it needs to be disinfected, either use trisodium phosphate (TSP) or a regular store-bought pool deck cleaner and pre-treat any tough stains. Proceed to use a power washer or hose to remove any dirt, grime, stains, silt, chlorine and other chemicals from your deck. 

Don’t forget to also sweep and clean any stairs, ladders or handrails leading into your pool. These areas can get just as dirty as the pool deck, so it’s important to give them some attention as well.

That’s it! By following these simple steps, you can easily keep your pool clean and sparkling all season long.

Pool Cleaning Tips for Proper Maintenance

Pool maintenance isn’t just about regular cleaning – there are a few other things you can do to keep your pool in tip-top shape. Let’s go through some of them:

Invest in a good pool cover

This will protect your above ground pool or in ground pool from dirt and debris when you’re not using it. It’ll also help reduce 95% of pool water evaporation, saving you money and water in the long run. Pool covers can be used for indoor and outdoor pools.

Maintain a correct chemical balance for your pool

A big part of proper pool maintenance is identifying chemical imbalances, which cause all sorts of problems like cloudy pool water, algae growth and skin irritation. When testing pool chemicals, there are five things you should always keep an eye on:

Alkaline levels – Your pool’s water should always be neutral, meaning it has a pH level of 7 to 7.6. If ph levels are below 7, the water is too acidic and can damage your pool’s surfaces. If it’s above 7.6, the water is too alkaline and can cause skin rashes.

Calcium hardness – This is the amount of dissolved calcium in your pool water and should always be between 200–400 ppm, and 150-250 for spas. If it’s too high, your water will become cloudy and scale will start to form on pool surfaces. 

Cyanuric acid levels – Cyanuric acid protects chlorine from sunlight, and determines how much chlorine you need in your pool. It should always be 50 ppm for outdoor pools. If cyanuric acid levels are too high, your chlorine won’t work as effectively. Think of it as a sunscreen for your pool’s chlorine.

Chlorine levels – This is the amount of chlorine available to kill bacteria and other contaminants. As mentioned, keep levels between 1 and 3 ppm.

Total Alkalinity – This keeps your pH levels in check and should always be between 100 to 150 ppm.

Keep your Water Levels in Check

The water in your pool eventually evaporates due to sun, wind and heat. That’s why it’s important to monitor your pool’s water levels and add more when necessary via a garden hose. If pool water levels are too high, your system won’t filter water properly, clouding your water. If levels are too low, your skimmer will suck in air and work overtime, damaging or even melting your pump in the process.

To monitor your water levels, simply take a look at your pool’s waterline once a week. Pool water levels should be between one-third and halfway up the skimmer box opening. If water levels aren’t at that mark, add more or drain until it reaches the appropriate level.

Clean your lint pot

When water bypasses your skimmer, it goes to your lint pot, which is usually located inside your pump’s glass screen. You’ll want to clean your lint pot once to twice a month, or more often if you have a lot of trees in your backyard. A clean lint pot ensures your pump doesn’t overheat, extends its lifespan and improves overall filtration.

Have a shower before swimming

Contrary to what many think, pool water doesn’t actually clean you – it only circulates and filters contaminants. So, before taking a dip, have a shower first to rinse off any sweat, makeup, sunscreen, oils and dirt from your body, which can pollute your pool water. It also helps protect other swimmers from possible skin infections.

Invest in a robotic pool cleaner 

A robotic pool cleaner removes dirt, debris, leaves and even sand from your pool walls and floor. They’re a big investment, but definitely worth it if you want to minimise chemical usage and reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning your swimming pool.

How do You Know if You’re Keeping Your Pool Clean?

You’ve meticulously monitored your pool’s pH levels, kept your lint pot clean and added the right amount of chlorine. But how do you know if you’re doing a good job? Sometimes, it’s as easy as taking a look and giving it the old sniff test. If your pool looks and smells clean, you’re on the right track.

However, if you’re a new pool owner, it can be hard to know where to start. Below are the main tell-tale signs that indicates your pool needs some attention:

Cloudy water – Cloudy pool water is usually caused by improper pH levels, too much chlorine, high calcium hardness, or environmental contaminants like dirt, debris, ammonia or a clogged filtration system.

Algae growth – Algae loves pool water that’s been neglected, as it likes to feed off of nitrogen and phosphorus. If you notice any growth, it’s important to act quickly and shock your pool. Other reasons you may have algae growth include poor water circulation, dead spots in your pool and improper PH and alkalinity levels.

Scaling – Scaling or limescale is caused by excess minerals, like calcium and magnesium, in your pool water. When these minerals come into contact with each other, they crystallise and form a hard white or tan substance. You’ll typically find these gritty, rough crystals on your pool’s walls.

Eye and skin irritation – If you or your guests start to experience redness, itchiness or burning eyes and skin, it’s likely because of high levels of chlorine or other chemicals in your pool.

Bad smells – If there’s an almost intolerable chlorine smell or other funky odour coming from your pool, it’s likely due to high pH levels, improper chlorination, too much chlorine or a clogged filter.

Struggling to Keep Your Pool Clean? Let Sidepost’s Pool Cleaners Step In

While we’ve given you the tools and knowledge to comprehensively clean your pool, sometimes it’s easier – and more effective – to hire a professional.

At Sidepost, we offer an affordable and convenient pool cleaning service that takes the hassle out of pool maintenance. Simply create a booking request, and one of our certified Pool Technicians will come to your property at your convenience. We can service and clean your pool, and offer weekly, monthly or one-off options to suit your needs. You may avail of our pool cleaning services in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Perth, and anywhere in Australia.

Get in touch with us today by booking online or contacting 1300 138 499 to find out more about our pool cleaning service.