What Can I Use to Clean My Swimming Pool?
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A swimming pool provides a place you can relax, host fantastic pool parties and family get-togethers while improving your home’s aesthetic appeal and value. But this can only be possible when the pool is clean, with clear sparkling water.
See, a dirty, neglected pool is a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms which result in recreational-related illnesses such as skin infections and diarrhea. So you have to maintain a clean pool to ensure that the water is safe and healthy to swim in. You do not want to expose your family to illnesses, or do you? But what can I use to clean my swimming pool? Let’s find out.
Importance of Pool Cleaning
Pool cleaning is time-consuming and expensive. It could cost you an average of $60 to $95 per hour to have your pool professionally cleaned. Why not forego the cleaning process to save on time and money?
Here are reasons why regular pool cleaning is crucial.
- A clear pool improves your home’s aesthetic appeal
- Lowers repair costs
- Improves the pool’s functionality and leads to better operation
- Clean pools can improve the value of your home
- Safer pool water (reduces risks of contracting recreational-related diseases)
- Leads to more enjoyment from regular use
What to Use to Keep Your Pool Clean
The first step of pool cleaning is gathering the necessary equipment. Not sure what to use to clean your pool? The following are some of the pool cleaning products.
Let’s delve right in.
1. Household Products
Using household items can help you shave off a fraction of your pool maintenance costs. What’s more? These items are readily available in your grocery or hardware store.
It is worth noting that the different household items that help keep your pool clean are only ideal for a chlorine-based swimming pool. They are also not ideal when using other pool maintenance options such as oxidizers or saltwater systems. Some of the household items you could use when cleaning your pool include;
a) Baking Soda
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, helps clean the pool by raising the total alkalinity levels of the pool water. The baking soda also helps deal with algae, especially on vinyl above ground pools, as it is gentle.
What’s more? You do not have to wait for days to swim after adding baking soda to your pool, as with pool chemicals. The water is safe to swim within an hour of sodium bicarbonate application.
To clean your pool, you should add 1.5 pounds of baking soda to every 10,000 gallons of water.
b) Muriatic Acid
Muriatic acid is used to acid wash concrete and gunite pools. It lowers the alkalinity of the pool water by 10 ppm for a typical 10,000-gallon pool. Muriatic acid further protects the pool water from mineral buildups and bacterial blooms.
Now it is worth noting that this acid can be dangerous when not handled correctly. It can cause severe respiratory infections or burn the skin. So, you should always wear acid-resistant gloves and boots, long pants and sleeves, and eye protection when using the acid.
Borax is often used as a detergent booster to clean and remove the nasty smell of clothes. Now, this laundry supply can be used as a natural pool cleaner to raise its pH levels. It further helps keep algae growth at bay by inhibiting algae blooms.
To use borax to clean your pool, you need to add half a detergent cup per 10,000 gallons of pool water. For the best pool care results, ensure that you check the detergent’s label to ascertain that you purchase pure borax.
The active ingredient in bleach is sodium hypochlorite. Bleach helps clean the pool by reducing calcium precipitation in the pool water eliminating hardness. Bleach can help remove the stubborn stains missed by baking soda from the pool floor.
Bleach can further be used as a pool shock. Shocking the pool involves raising the chlorine levels to kill algae and bacteria lurking in the swimming unit. A half-gallon of household bleach increases free chlorine levels by 5 ppm.
With bleach, you save the cost of purchasing two different chemicals to shock the pool and reduce water hardness. Now you do not want a floral-scented pool so ensure that you choose the unscented bleach variety.
e) White Vinegar
Calcium buildup results in the chalky, white grunge you often see in your pool’s waterline. And while the buildup is not damaging to your pool, it makes the pool water uninviting.
To eliminate the calcium build-up from your pool, you should mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water. Next, dip a soft cloth or sponge into the mixture. You should then scrub the residue away, and voila! You have a sparkling clean pool.
Ensure that you test the water to determine the chemicals in your pool after using white vinegar and adjust the levels if necessary.
f) Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, helps to remove stains on stainless steel surfaces around your pool. Before using rubbing alcohol to clean the pool’s surfaces, ensure that you make a mixture that is 50% to 70% water and alcohol to dilute it.
Ensure that you clean wounds with rubbing alcohol to prevent carrying bacteria to the pool water.
2. Pool Vacuum
Pool vacuums are used to remove debris from the bottom of the pool. There are various types of pool vacuums, including;
a) Robotic Pool Vacuum
A robotic pool cleaner, also known as an automatic pool cleaner, is a self-contained unit that drives around the pool while sucking up debris. You just have to sit and relax while this fantastic automatic cleaner does all the work for you.
The only limitation about using robotic cleaners is that they are costly, so it might not be ideal if you are working under a tight budget.
b) Manual Pool Vacuum
You need a telescopic pole, a vacuum head, a vacuum hose, and a vacuum plate to use a manual vacuum. You should then assemble these tools then vacuum the pool manually. That said, manual pool vacuuming is labor-intensive, so you should consider purchasing a robotic pool vacuum.
c) Suction-side Cleaners
The suction-side cleaner is often attached to the pool’s skimmer. This cleaner works by siphoning dirt and debris to the filter system as the skimmer draws in water. Now a suction-side cleaner may not be your ideal pool cleaning device as it may accidentally pick up harmful substances such as rocks that may end up damaging the pool’s filtration system.
d) Pressure-side Cleaners
Pressure side cleaners connect to the pool’s filtration system return jet. They remove debris from the filtered water and place it in a mesh bag. When the pool is clean, you should remove the mesh bag and empty the contents.
It is worth noting that while a pressure-side cleaner does not damage the pool’s system, it may not be as effective as a robotic vacuum.
3. Pool Brush
A pool brush helps scrub the bottom of the pool and the walls to remove the dirt clinging on these surfaces and detach algae before it grows. The choice of the ideal brush to use depends on the pool material.
You could use brushes with stainless steel bristles for gunite and unpainted concrete pools. Vinyl, fiberglass, and painted concrete pools should be cleaned with brushes with nylon bristles only. Unpainted concrete pools can also be cleaned with a brush with a nylon bristle.
It is worth noting that the brushes are subject to frequent exposure to pool chemicals, so you should purchase a quality brush. That said, you should brush the pool at least twice a week for the best results.
4. Pool Chemicals
What can I use to clean my swimming pool? Consider pool chemicals. A pool chemical can help deal with a green pool to achieve silky, clear water.
Before deciding on the best chemical to use for your pool, you should test the water to determine the different chemical levels. To determine the water chemistry, you should dip the test strip in water and compare the results to the pool chemical chart.
The following are some of the pool chemicals suitable for pool cleaning.
Chlorine helps to keep the pool clean and sanitized. When used correctly, chlorine helps to keep the pool water clean, clear, safe, and healthy to swim in. Other pool chemicals work together to keep the water in a suitable condition so that chlorine can perform its function.
For a clean and healthy pool, ensure that you maintain a chlorine level between 1-3 parts per million. Increasing or decreasing chlorine below or above the standard level could result in red eyes and a foul smell. So you should always have pool shock and chlorine tablets at hand to adjust the levels.
Oxidizers come in handy when killing algae and bacteria in your pool. They are used as secondary sanitizers( together with chlorine) to keep the swimming unit clean.
Oxidizers such as the potassium monopersulfate shock the pool to help chlorine break down contaminants. You should always shock the pool in the evening or at night to prevent the oxidizers from being destroyed by the UV rays during the day.
Bromine is used to sanitize water to keep pools clean. It is a great alternative for chlorine but works better in hot water pools.
d) Water Balancers
Water balancers help to maintain standard pool chemical levels. You should test the balance weekly and adjust the chemicals when necessary.
For instance, you could use pH increasers and decreasers to adjust the pH levels of the pool water. Soda ash can help increase the pool’s pH levels, while granular sodium bisulfate can help decrease it.
Alkalinity adjusters can also be used to balance the total alkalinity of the pool water. Sodium bicarbonate can be used to increase total alkalinity, and granular sodium bisulfate can lower it.
5. Skimmer Net
A skimmer net is connected to a telescopic pole and helps clean the pool by scooping up dirt and debris such as leaves, twigs, and hair ties, to mention a few that accumulate on or below the pool’s surface. You should skim the pool daily to prevent debris from getting to the pool floor, as this may make it difficult to vacuum the pool.
How to Clean Your Pool
Now that you know what to use to clean the pool, the next step is to start the cleaning process. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean your pool. Let’s get started.
Step 1: Use a Leaf Skimmer to Skim the Surface of The Swimming Unit
Ensure that you attach the skimmer to the telescopic pole before you start skimming. Skimming helps remove dead bugs, leaves, and twigs from the water’s surface. Use a flat skimmer as it is easier to shake off the dirt collected from the swimming unit.
Step 2: Brush The Pool
Using a pool brush, scrub the sides, the floors, the stairs, and ladders to remove grime. Ensure that the brush is attached to the telescopic pole before you start cleaning.
Step 3: Vacuum The Pool
To vacuum, first, choose your preferred vacuum cleaner and then assemble it. To set up the manual vacuum, you should attach the vacuum head to the telescopic pole. Next, secure the hose to the vacuum and lower it into the water.
You should then attach the other end of the hose to the pool pump while ensuring all air has been expelled. Once the vacuum has been assembled, start vacuuming your pool. Ensure that you linger longer on areas that appear dirtier.
Step 4: Manage Pool Chemicals
You should test the pool chemical levels and adjust them accordingly. Next, you need to add chlorine tablets to the water to kill bacteria and algae. You could use pool shock to adjust chlorine levels in case you notice an imbalance.
Step 5: Clean the Pool Filter
A filter system helps to remove debris and impurities from the pool. You should regularly clean the filter to avoid clogging the system, thus inhibiting it from performing its function.
A good way to clean the pool filter system is through backwashing. Backwashing reverses the water flow through the system and flushes it out to keep the filter debris-free.
There are three types of filters, sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth, so ensure that you follow the specific filter’s manufacturer instructions to avoid damaging the system.
Pool Maintenance Tips
The secret to healthier pool water is routine care. Here are a few tricks you could adopt to ensure your pools remains in good condition over the years.
1. Winterize the Pool
When you live in an area that experiences temperatures below freezing, you should winterize the pool to prevent damage. To winterize the pool, you should drain it to around 18 inches, vacuum and brush the pool to remove dirt and debris, and increase its pH levels to 7.8.
You should also drain water from the pool features, including the pool filter. Finally, disconnect the heater, chemical feeders and pump and store them away.
2. Invest in a Pool Cover
A pool cover helps to secure your pool, therefore, preventing dirt and debris from entering the pool, especially during strong winds.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What household items can I use to clean my pool?
What can I use to clean my swimming pool? There are plenty of household items you could use to keep your pool clean. These household products include olive oil, white vinegar, bleach, lemon juice, muriatic acid, borax, rubbing alcohol, and a paste from baking soda and water( This makes a non-abrasive pool cleaner that makes the pool water sparkling clean)
2. What is the fastest way to clean a dirty pool?
The fastest way to clean your pool is by running the filter 24 hours a day and backwashing it frequently. It is worth noting that murky or cloudy water clogs a filtration system necessitating frequent backwashing until the pool is clear.
3. How can I make my pool water clear naturally?
Use Baking soda, also referred to as sodium bicarbonate. Baking soda is naturally alkaline, so it raises the pH and alkalinity when you add it to the pool’s water. This helps to improve the water’s stability while making it clear.
Cleaning the pool naturally makes the water clean and safe as it prevents the use of pool cleaning chemicals, which could cause skin irritation.
4. Can I put Dawn dish soap in my pool?
It is not recommended to use dawn soap in your pool because it causes bubbles around the swimming area. These bubbles result in an imbalance in the pH level, which can cause skin rashes, scaling of pool maintenance equipment, and a cloudy pool.
That said, dawn soap can help keep algae out of your pool when used in moderation. A 1/4 of a cup of this organic soap is enough for a pool with 25 000 gallons of water.
5. How do you clean a very dirty above-ground pool?
The first step to cleaning a filthy above-ground pool is skimming it to remove large debris. This further helps to keep the pool’s filter system from clogging. Next, brush the pool to remove the dirt that may be clinging to the pool’s walls. You should then use a pool vacuum to remove dirt from the bottom of your pool.
Finally, run the pool filter for at least 8 hours to get rid of all dirt and debris to ensure that the pool water is clean and safe to swim in.
6. How long does it take to clear a dirty pool?
It takes 4-5 days to clean a green pool using pool chemicals. That said, you may notice a major improvement in your pool water within 24 hours of application.
7. How do you clear up a cloudy pool naturally?
Often, a cloudy pool results from tiny particles that may be too small to remove using a vacuum, skimmer, or filter. You could clear the cloudy pool by adding aluminum sulfate to the pool water.
The aluminum sulfate clumps dirt particles and debris together, making it easier for the filter to trap and get rid of them.
8. How do I get dish soap out of my pool?
Soap causes bubbles which result in pH level imbalances. You could use a skimmer for manual removal of the bubbles and then add white vinegar.
9. Can you mix Dawn dish soap with chlorine?
Mixing Dawn dish soap and chlorine forms a toxic combination. This is because the mixture creates chloramine, a toxic gas that could be dangerous when released into the atmosphere. Exposure to a bleach and dish soap combination could lead to death, according to the Texas Poison Control Network.
10. Does dish soap kill algae?
Dish soap can help you kill algae and moss from the pool. For instance, adding 1/4 cup of the Dawn dish soap to 25 000 gallons of water can help keep algae at bay.
11. How do you know if your pool has too much chlorine?
Some common signs of a high chlorine level are the strong chlorine smell or red eyes among swimmers. That said, these signs could also indicate that there is not enough chlorine in the pool.
So, you should test the pool to determine the water chemistry to take the necessary action.
12. What happens if a pool has too much chlorine?
Chlorine comes in handy during pool cleaning as it destroys germs and bacteria caused by urine, feces, saliva, and any other substances. That said, too much chlorine results in illnesses. Swimming in a pool with excess chlorines exposes you to nose and throat pain, coughing, bouts of asthma, rashes, and eye irritation.