As a pool owner, I’m hyper-sensitive to any little thing that seems off with my pool.

The tiniest little piece of dirt won’t make it past my watch. I’m like a hawk when it comes to pool grime. So, when I noticed an unsightly gray waterline stain starting to form around the wedding cake pool steps, my OCD went into overdrive.

I immediately started researching why stains occur and the best way to clean fiberglass pool steps. This led me down a rabbit hole and me trying a bunch of different methods. Some work great. Others so-so.

So, to save you time, I’ll reveal my favorite way to clean fiberglass pool steps.

First, why do fiberglass pool steps get dirty?

Fiberglass pool steps can get dirty for a variety of different reasons.

The most common reason is people tracking in dirt and debris from the yard. This happens when you have kids or pets running around the pool area.

Another common reason is because of a chemical imbalance in the pool water. If your pH levels are off, it can cause staining on fiberglass surfaces.

Lastly, hard water can also lead to staining on fiberglass pool steps. Hard water is water that has a high mineral content (like calcium and magnesium). When the water evaporates, it leaves behind these minerals, which can then lead to staining.

How to Clean Fiberglass Pool Steps (Gray Stain Removal)

Different color pool stains can form on fiberglass steps due to variety of reasons. In this article, I discuss how to clean gray stains. If you have yellow or brown stains on your steps, I’d recommend checking out Jack’s Magic Step Stuff, a commercial cleaning product that targets those tougher metal stains.

I have pretty hard water at my home. A week or so after I add water to my pool from the garden hose, it might start to recede a little. This is normal as I use the pool a lot and it gets a lot of direct sunlight. So, there is some normal water loss.

When the water starts to drop below the first step is when I can start to notice the remnants of the hard water. An unsightly gray stain from the calcium build up will start to appear.

To be honest, when I first noticed this, I thought it was just dirt. I actually just tried taking a scrub brush, wetting it, and putting in some old-fashioned elbow grease. But the stains just wouldn’t budge.

Use Magic Eraser

After my futile efforts of using a scrub brush, I turned my attention to other household cleaning products. The first one I tried was a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

I had read online that people had used these to clean their boat hulls and other fiberglass surfaces, so I thought it was worth a shot.

I went ahead and wet the eraser and started scrubbing the waterline on my pool steps. It took a little bit of effort, but the stains started to come up immediately. I was amazed at how well it worked.

After I was done scrubbing, I rinsed the steps off with some clean water from the hose. And voila! The steps looked brand new again.

The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is definitely my new go-to method for cleaning fiberglass pool steps. Not only is it effective, but it’s also super easy to use.

If you have hard water stains on your fiberglass pool steps, I highly recommend giving this method a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Summary

In this article, we discussed the reasons why fiberglass pool steps get dirty. We also talked about my favorite way to remove gray stains due to calcium buildup.

If you have hard water stains on your fiberglass pool steps like me, I highly recommend using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It’s super easy to use and it does an amazing job of removing stains.

I’d also recommend testing your pool water frequently. There are specialty Pool Water Hardness Strips that you can use to test the hardness of your pool water. If the levels are too high, it can cause staining on fiberglass surfaces. You can get ahead of this by adding fresh water or using chemical water softener.

Over the years I’ve heard a lot of people grumble that they don’t want a pool. And in some cases, I’ve heard pool owners complain that they want to fill their pool with concrete.

This always comes as a surprise to me.

Who wouldn’t want another private way to cool off, entertain, or get some exercise in?

At the end of the day, it almost always comes down to doing the work.

But this also comes as a surprise to me. Because personally, I think keeping up with the pool water isn’t a chore at all.

It’s pretty easy once you get down the basics.

Outside of major issues to your pool’s filtration system or plumbing, keeping your water clean and on a budget isn’t all that hard.

In the below post, I’ll share five of the ways that I keep up with my pool and keep the water clean.

Add chlorine

This one is kind of a no-brainer, unless you have a saltwater or mineral pool.

Chlorine is the number one way to keep your pool water clean and bacteria-free. You can buy chlorine in various forms, but I prefer the pucks because they’re easy to use and last a long time.

I typically drop at least three pucks in my skimmer and let the chlorine do its magic. On really hot occasions in the summer, I may add another tablet. There are also a number of floating chlorine dispensers that you can purchase online. Even fun ones like this yellow duck. Just make sure the kids know that it’s not a toy!

For the most part, adding a few pucks keeps the chlorine levels in my pool relatively balanced. But when it gets really hot, or after we have a party, I’ll look to add a bag of shock.

Shock is essentially highly concentrated granular chlorine that you add to the pool water to help raise the chlorine levels quickly. This is important because when chlorine levels get low, it becomes significantly less effective at killing bacteria. Low chlorine is also one of the biggest reasons why pools turn green.

Bonus Tip: When purchasing chlorine, look for stabilized chlorine. Typically, this is a little more expensive, but it’s worth it. Stabilized chlorine contains a chemical that helps protect it from being broken down by the sun. So, if you live in a sunny climate, this is a must. Otherwise, you’ll need to buy pool stabilizer (also known as cyanuric acid) to keep the chlorine from burning off too quickly.

Use a pool timer

As much as we want to live by the pool 24/7, it’s just not feasible.

People get busy. Life happens.

Personally, I work from home. My desk is less than 100 feet from my pool. With that being said, I’m still not in the pool every day.

I’d love to be, but I have to get work done. And when I do have free time, I don’t want to spend it trying to remember if I turned the pool on or off. Plus, I need to take a vacation every now and then or else I’d go crazy.

This is where a pool timer comes in handy.

A pool timer is an automatic device that you can set to turn your pool’s pump and filter on and off.

This is a great way to save money on your electric bill and ensure that your pool is being filtered even when you’re not using it.

I have a programmable timer that I’ve set to run my pool for at least six hours a day. I typically have it turn on around 10 am and turn off around 4 pm. This gives the pool plenty of time to circulate and filter the water while still giving me time to enjoy it in the evenings.

Remember: Stagnant water in a pool is a breeding ground for all kinds of nasty bacteria.

It also makes it easier for the sun to eat away at the chlorine.

Bonus Tip: You can find pool timers online or at your local home improvement store. I’ve had great luck with the Intermatic T104 Electromechanical Timer.

Invest in a quality pool vacuum

I spent quite a few summers of my young adult years working at a pool store.

Besides sitting at the computer water test station waiting for the next customer, which would sometimes take hours, I’d have to find ways to kill time. Going up to the attic to grab boxes to restock chemicals was a nightmare. So that was a hard pass for me.

A better, healthier, more enjoyable way to kill time (without getting hounded by the manager) was to go outside and clean the display pools.

I quickly learned that vacuuming a pool manually can be very effective. It can also be therapeutic in a way.

But it’s also very time consuming. Especially for larger pools.

Remember: I was manually vacuuming pools at work to kill time. Do you really want to spend a good chunk of your swimming season playing pool boy without the perks of getting paid?

When I first bought my home, which has an inground swimming pool, I thought I’d put my skills from cleaning pools in my early twenties to work.

Let me tell you — hooking up the hose to head, submerging it to prime it, plugging it into the skimmer, and standing out in the sun got old really quick.

After a few months of scraping my knees and sweating profusely, I decided enough was enough. Manually vacuuming a pool is a never-ending battle.

I started doing the math in my head and counted up all of the hours that I was investing into vacuuming my pool on a monthly basis. Conservatively, I probably spent around 20 hours that first pool season cleaning my pool by hand.

When you start living by the idea that “time is money”, it becomes a lot easier to justify bigger expenses. Especially when they help you get time back so you can reinvest that into other things that MAKE money.

I applied this logic when I first looked at buying a robotic pool cleaner. At first, I was a little on the fence, just because of the price tag. Coughing up another $700-$1,200 for a high-end cleaner seemed like a stretch. Was I just being lazy?

Maybe. But here’s the thing — most of those pool cleaners come with a warranty so they’re guaranteed to last at least a few years. So, let’s just say you freelance and charge $50 per hour for your services. If you save 40 hours in 2 years, that expensive pool cleaner just technically allowed you to go out and bill $2,000. So, even a higher-priced pool vacuums at $1,200 actually net you $800.

Bottom line: Don’t be stingy. Investing in a high-quality pool cleaner automates the cleaning process, allowing you to focus on other things. This will ultimately make it easier to keep your pool clean, water balanced, and save you money down the road.

Go swimming

Whenever I talk to pool owners, the first question I like to ask them is “Do you swim?”

This might come as a shock, but a lot of reply like, “We don’t use the pool that much”, or “The pool is just for entertaining…”

While there’s nothing wrong with that, I can’t help but feel like they’re missing out on one of the best parts about having a pool — actually using it to go swimming!

Beyond getting exercise, cooling off, or simply floating around to chill out, going for a dip in the pool is one of the best ways to stay on top of your pool. And it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

By regularly using your pool, you’re more likely to catch any potential problems early on. Maybe the pH is off. Maybe there’s a leak somewhere. Maybe the water is a little cloudy.

If you only use your pool for special occasions, those problems could go undetected for weeks or even months at a time. By then, they could be much worse and much more expensive to fix.

Swimming is one of my secret weapons when it comes to keeping a pool clean. And it doesn’t cost another dime. Get some exercise and keep tabs on how my pool is functioning? Count me in.

Open and close properly

My last trick to a relatively low pool maintenance and sparkling blue water starts and ends with the season.

Unless you live in Florida or other more tropical climates, there’s a pretty good chance that you have to winterize your pool. This means lowering your water levels below the skimmer, cleaning everything out, and adding some antifreeze to prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting. It also means putting on a pool cover to keep leaves and other debris from getting in.

Bonus Tip: Make sure you’re using a good quality pool cover. A lot of the time, people skimp on this and try to save a few bucks by getting something cheap. But trust me — it’s not worth it in the long run. A high-quality pool cover will last for years and will make closing and opening your pool a breeze. For me, I’ve had a lot of success using the Loop-Loc Mesh Safety Cover. I’ve even seen some drunk adults from time-to-time stumble across it at night, though I wouldn’t advise this.

In the spring, it’s time to “open” your pool again. This means removing your pool cover and putting it safely in storage. Once that’s complete, you need to add water back to your pool and get the filtration system back up and running.

From there, you’ll want to add liquid shock and start to remove all of the junk that trickled into the pool while it was closed. Run your filter for a full 24 hours and it will start to clear up. After that, you should test your water using test strips, or by taking it in to your local pool supplies store. I can’t emphasize how important it is to get your pool start up chemicals right. Balancing your water from the get-go will make your entire season a lot easier.

Vacuuming your pool regularly is important to keeping it clean and your water well-balanced.

There are quite a few great pool robots to consider that can help automate this process. But, pool cleaners can get expensive. And in some cases, they might not do the job perfectly (or fast enough).

I know I’ve been in a pinch and had people on their way over to my house with a pool full of dirt. Talk about anxiety!

For these cases, vacuuming your pool manually is the best method.

To make sure that you vacuum your pool properly, it’s important to know what setting you should vacuum your pool on. This guide will help you understand what setting to use and when.

In General

If you’re regularly staying on top of cleaning your pool, and there’s only a little bit of debris at the bottom of your pool, you can vacuum on “Filter”.

This is the most common setting that you will use with your pool for everyday maintenance. And you can use it for vacuuming too.

Essentially, when you vacuum to filter, you suck dirt up from the bottom of the pool and pass it into your skimmer basket. The skimmer basket should filter out most of the debris. Anything else will pass through your pump basket before going into your actual filter.

Bonus Tip: After you are done vacuuming on filter, turn off the system. Make sure to clean out your skimmer and pump baskets. Then, switch your multi-port valve setting to “Backwash” and turn the system back on. It’s always a good idea to backwash after vacuuming because it helps clean your filter. I also like to “rinse” the filter after a backwash to make sure all the dirt and debris is flushed out.

For Bigger Jobs

When your pool is a hot mess, running your pool vacuum on filter isn’t the best idea.

For example, when seasonal pool owners open a pool, they’ll likely find it littered with bugs, leaves, and other large pieces of debris. This is definitely not the time to vacuum on filter!

In cases like this, you want to use the “Waste” setting.

The waste setting bypasses your filter completely. This is important because you don’t want to clog your filter with all that junk.

Anything that you vacuum up will go straight out the waste line. Keep in mind that when you do this, you will actually be dumping water from your pool. So, keep an eye on your water level as you’re vacuuming. If you see it drop significantly, switch the system off and add a hose in. As a general rule of thumb, you want your water level to be halfway above your skimmer. This keeps the pump from sucking air and damaging itself.

Bonus Tip: Like when you vacuum on filter, keep an eye on your skimmer and pump baskets. If these get full, you will lose pressure in your vacuum. When they get full, you’ll want to turn the system off and clean them out. Then, start again.

Are you finding yourself constantly adding chlorine or having to shock your pool? You may need to add stabilizer.

But what is pool stabilizer exactly and how does it work?

What is Pool Stabilizer?

Pool stabilizer, also known as cyanuric acid (CYA), helps stabilize chlorine in your pool so that it lasts longer.

Using pool stabilizer ultimately reduces the amount of chlorine you need to add to your pool, which can save you money. It also helps keep your pool water clean and clear by reducing the amount of chlorine that is lost to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Adding stabilizer becomes increasingly important for outdoor pools as the weather gets warmer and the sun’s rays become more intense.

Do You Really Need Stabilizer in Your Pool?

There is some debate on whether or not adding isolated pool stabilizer is actually necessary. Some pool owners believe that if they maintain their chlorine levels properly, they don’t need to stabilize the chlorine. Others find that using additional pool stabilizer helps them save money on chlorine and keeps their pool water cleaner and water chemistry more balanced.

If you are on the fence about whether or not to use pool stabilizer, you should monitor your chlorine levels. After adding chlorine, test your water after a couple hours in the sun. If the chlorine level has dropped quickly, you may want to consider adding pool stabilizer.

Keep in mind that many commercial chlorine products already include stabilizer in them. This is referred to as stabilized chlorine. If you are using one of these products, you may not need to add additional cyanuric acid to your pool.

How to Add Stabilizer to Pool

If you’re curious on how to add stabilizer to your pool, you’ve come to the right place.

At the end of the day, pool stabilizer is an acid. Because of this, it is very slow to dissolve. This is why you’ll want to make sure that you dissolve the stabilizer in water first. The best way to do this is to use an old empty chemical bucket, or to purchase one like this.

By dissolving the acid first, you can prevent potential damage to your pool surface and filtration equipment.

Once dissolved, you can pour the stabilizer directly into the pool. We recommend pouring it around the edges and brushing it up afterwards, especially if you have a vinyl liner or fiberglass pool. Make sure you always use chemical-resistant gloves and protection when adding stabilizer, or any other chemicals to your pool.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Stabilizer Should I Add?

The amount of stabilizer you need to add to your pool depends on a few factors. First, you need to know the size of your pool. Additionally, you should use a CYA test to check how much is already in your pool.

A general rule of thumb is to keep your stabilizer around 30 parts per million (ppm). If your pool is around 15,000 gallons, and you want to raise your chlorine stabilizer by 10 ppm you would need to add around 19.5 oz of cyanuric acid.

Can I Add Stabilizer Directly to the Skimmer?

Adding stabilizer directly to the skimmer is not a good idea. This is because the acid can damage the skimmer basket and other parts of the filtration system. It is best to dissolve the stabilizer in a bucket of warm water before adding it to the pool.

If you have a pool, you probably already know that shocking it on a regular basis is important for maintaining clean, clear water. But what you might not know is when the best time to shock your pool actually is.

The below guide will help you understand when to shock your pool for the best results and to make sure your pool doesn’t turn green.

What Does Shocking Your Pool Mean?

Shocking your pool simply means adding a high concentration of chlorine to your pool in order to kill off any bacteria or algae.

It is typically recommended that you shock your pool on a weekly basis, but this can vary depending on how often you use your pool and the weather conditions.

When Should You Shock Your Pool

In General

As a general rule of thumb, you shock your pool at least once a week or after heavy rain or thunderstorms. This will help keep your pool clean and clear and prevent any algae or bacteria from taking over.

After Opening

If you just open your pool for the season, it is recommended that you shock your pool right away. This will help get rid of any bacteria or algae that might have formed over the winter.

After Heavy Use

If you have a lot of people over to use your pool, it is also a good idea to shock your pool. This will help get rid of any bacteria or germs that might have been brought into the pool.

When the Weather is Hot

If it has been particularly hot outside, you might want to consider shocking your pool more often. The heat can cause bacteria to grow more quickly, so shocking your pool will help keep it clean.

When the Water is Cloudy

If you notice that your pool water is starting to look cloudy, it is probably time to shock your pool. This will help clear up the water and make it look clean and clear again.

Pool still cloudy after shocking it? Check out this detailed guide.

Best Time of Day to Shock Your Pool

The best time of day to shock your pool is in the evening. This gives the chlorine time to work overnight and kill off any bacteria or algae. In the morning, you can brush the sides of the pool and vacuum any debris that might have settled on the bottom.

One of the biggest ways to waste a lot of money is by adding chlorine during the hottest part of the day. The sun will quickly evaporate any chlorine you add, so it is important to add it in the evening when the sun is not as strong.

To maximize the chlorine’s effectiveness, make sure to run your pool filter for at least 8 hours after shocking your pool. This will help circulate the chlorine and make sure it evenly distributes throughout the entire pool.

Yes, this means running your pool pump when you typically wouldn’t. One tip to help automatically have the pump and filter shut off while you’re sleeping is to invest in a pool timer. This will allow you to set it and forget it, so you don’t have to worry about the pump running all night long.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to shock your pool during the day?

While it’s okay to shock your pool during the day, you should keep in mind that direct sunlight will quickly evaporate any chlorine you add. This means that you won’t get the full effect of the shock and your pool might not be as clean as you would like.

It is best to shock your pool in the evening or at night so that the chlorine has time to work overnight. This is also a great strategy because you typically aren’t swimming in the middle of the night. And it is recommended that you don’t swim for at least 8 hours after shocking your pool.

Baking soda is a common household item that can be used for many different purposes, including cleaning and baking. Surprisingly, it’s also a popular, cost-effective way to raise the pH and alkalinity levels in pool water.

The primary reason pool owners choose to use baking soda over commercial chemicals is because it’s a natural product that won’t harm swimmers or the environment. It’s also very effective at raising pH and alkalinity levels. This helps with stability and clarity, and it also prevents staining and scale buildup.

While baking soda is an excellent way to raise the pH and alkalinity of your pool water on a budget, it’s important to keep in mind that it can only do so much. If your pH and alkalinity levels are very low, you may need to use a commercial chemical product in addition to baking soda.

Can you use regular baking soda in your pool?

The short answer is yes, you can use regular baking soda in your pool.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, regular baking soda is not pure sodium bicarbonate. It also contains other ingredients, like cornstarch or trisodium phosphate. These ingredients can affect the pH and alkalinity of your pool water, so it’s important to use a pure sodium bicarbonate product.

Second, regular baking soda is not as concentrated as pool-grade baking soda. This means you’ll need to use more of it to raise the pH and alkalinity levels in your pool.

For these reasons, I recommend using a pure sodium bicarbonate product, like Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. It’s a pure, concentrated product that will raise the pH and alkalinity levels in your pool more effectively than regular baking soda.

How much baking soda do you need to add to your pool?

The amount of baking soda you’ll need to add to your pool depends on the size of your pool and the current pH and alkalinity levels. To raise the pH by 0.2, you’ll need to add about 2 pounds of baking soda per 10,000 gallons of water. For example, if you have a 20,000 gallon pool, you’ll need to add 4 pounds of baking soda.

To raise the alkalinity by 10 ppm, you’ll need to add about 1.5 pounds of baking soda per 10,000 gallons of water. For example, if you have a 20,000 gallon pool, you’ll need to add 3 pounds of baking soda.

If you’re not sure how much baking soda to add to your pool, I recommend starting with a smaller amount and testing the pH and alkalinity levels after 24 hours. You can always add more baking soda if needed.

I recommend buying a pool water test kit, so you can easily test the pH and alkalinity levels at home. Alternatively, many pool stores will test your water for free. Just don’t tell them you plan on using baking soda to raise your levels! Otherwise, they might not be so willing to give you a free test on future visits.

Will Baking Soda Clear a Green Pool?

No, not exactly.

A green pool is typically an indicator of algae growth. Algae grows in pools due to high levels of nutrients, like phosphorus and nitrogen. While baking soda can’t remove algae from your pool, it can help to raise the pH and alkalinity levels, which will make your pool less attractive to algae.

If you have a green pool, we recommend shocking it and running the filter for about 24 hours, then backwashing as needed. This will help clean a green pool fast by killing and removing the algae. Once the algae is under control, you can raise the pH and alkalinity levels with baking soda. Just be sure to test your water regularly and add more baking soda as needed.

A pool is an important part of your home. Swimming is healthy and exciting for recreation. It is the best place to have a cold drink after a hard day’s work. It’s disheartening to head to your pool to get a refreshing dip, only to find your pool water has turned green.

Swimming in green water isn’t healthy and can cause skin irritation or eye infection.

To get started fixing the water, you need to know what’s wrong. To help you determine what’s going on with your pool, here are the 11 main reasons your water turns green.

What Causes Green Pool Water?

1. Frequent Rain

Rain isn’t bad for your pool because it lowers the concentration of chemicals such as calcium and cyanuric acid in the pool. However, excessive rainfall may cause a chemical imbalance in the pool. The rain itself is acidic, with a pH of about 5. When rainwater gets into your pool, it may increase its acidity and lower the chlorine level in it.

But that’s not all. Rainwater also comes with dirt and organic particles that can alter your pool’s chemistry. This means that rainwater can cause the growth of algae and other microorganisms in the pool, causing the water to turn green. Cleaning your pool regularly is the best way to prevent the negative effects of rainwater.

2. A Low Level of Chlorine in Pool Water

The absence of chlorine or low chlorine levels is one of the most common reasons pool water turns green. The actual cause of the green color is algae, which blooms in the absence of chlorine. Algae can grow exceptionally quickly and turn your water green in less than 24 hours. This happens mostly in warm weather.

On average, the chlorine level in the swimming hole should be between 1 and 4 ppm. Keep testing the chlorine level in your pool to confirm whether it falls in this range. If not, you can use one of these to increase the chlorine levels in the water:

  • Powder shock
  • Liquid shock
  • Granular chlorine
  • Chlorine tablets

This will eliminate algae from the pool and prevent it from turning green.

3. Over-Stabilized Water or Very High Levels of Cyanuric Acid (CYA)

Cyanuric acid is used in pool water stabilization. It’s a chemical that reduces the rate at which chlorine degrades in sunlight. It acts like sunscreen for the swimming pool. However, if you use excess cyanuric acid, it will interfere with chlorine, preventing it from sanitizing the pool water. This means that over-stabilizing your water will provide a conducive environment for algae to thrive, turning your lovely swimming spot green.

The recommended cyanuric acid concentration is between 30 and 50 ppm. If your concentration is higher or lower than this, you have to bring it back to the recommended levels. For higher than necessary levels, you have to drain off some water and replace it with untreated water.

After checking Cyanuric acid levels, you should use chlorine to sanitize the pool rather than using chlorine tablets or chlorine floaters, two chemicals that contain Cyanuric acid. Alternatively, you can use salt water with a chlorinator in your pool to prevent cyanuric acid from getting into your swimming hole.

4. High Phosphate Level

Phosphates are among the chemicals that make algae thrive. Phosphates can get in through garden runoff, organic debris, and fertilizer. Apart from encouraging the growth of algae, phosphates also reduce chlorine levels in the water. This means if you don’t treat your pool, the levels of chlorine will go down faster than anticipated in the presence of phosphates.

Continue testing your water to determine phosphate levels. If it goes beyond 500 parts per billion, use a phosphate remover to lower its levels. You can then use the right chemical to boost chlorine levels to ensure the water is well sanitized.

5. Pollen Grains

If you have flowering plants nearby, the pollen grains they produce can be carried by wind and deposited in the pool. This can make the water look green. Pollen grains are tiny, making it difficult for them to be retained by the standard filters. This means if you don’t clean your pool regularly, pollen will build up in it.

Pollen floats on water, and you can mistake it for algae. If you don’t remove it, pollen will increase the level of phosphates in the water and lower the chlorine level in it. The net effect is that the water will turn green.

Though pollen is harmless and you can swim in it, those particles will make your outdoor space look unsightly. There are many methods of removing pollen from water. Some methods include:

  • Skimming the water regularly
  • Adding aluminum sulfate
  • Shocking the pool, and
  • Vacuuming the pool.

6. High pH Level

Chlorine makes your water acidic, so it will be rendered inactive when the pH is high. That’s why you should not allow your pool pH to reach 8.2 or more. The pool’s pH is likely to increase when using a chlorinator, which is very common in saltwater maintenance.

To prevent this problem, test the pH regularly and correct it if it’s too low or too high. The recommended pH range is between 7.2 and 7.8. If the pH is too high, use pool acid to bring it down.

7. Poor Filtration

If your pool filter is damaged or you don’t run it for the recommended duration, dust and other organic debris will build up in the water, creating an environment that encourages algae growth. This will make the water turn green. The filter should run for no less than eight hours a day in warm weather.

You can always invite an expert to check the filter to ensure it’s in good shape. If you are using a sand filter, do some back-wash once in a while to clean it. The filter can get clogged with organic matter, which may end up in the pool.

8. Dissolved Metals

Dissolved metals are another reason for green. The main culprit here is copper metal. When this metal gets into your swimming water, it will turn the water green when it gets oxidized. Copper can get into the pool through your water source. For example, well water is mineral-rich and contains a high percentage of copper.

Another way copper can get into your pool is through accessories such as the heating system or metal ladder fitted into the swimming hole. Copper gets oxidized when the water is highly acidic. This mainly happens after a shock treatment.

If you don’t treat your pool, the levels of dissolved metals in it can worsen, causing stains on the finish and fitting of the swimming hole. You can use specialized products to remove dissolved metal from water to prevent it from turning green.

9. Larger Debris and Contaminants

Grass clippings, tree leaves, and birds’ droppings are organic matter that supports algae growth. As you cut the grass around the pool, some grass cuttings may get into your water. Nearby trees are also likely to lose leaves that the wind can carry into the pool. Another issue is birds’ droppings that fall directly into the pool.

Debris, dirt, and other contaminants will inevitably fall into your pool. Winds can transport soil from great distances. Dirt and debris provide an excellent environment for algae growth that can turn your pool green.

All these can be prevented by covering the pool when possible. Alternatively, when leaves do enter the pool, it’s important to remove them quickly either my raking them out or vacuuming.

10. Using Copper-Based Algaecides

As already mentioned, copper is one of the metals that can make water turn green. In an attempt to remove algae, you may use excess copper-based algaecides, which may increase the copper levels in the water. If that happens, the water will turn green.

The solution to this problem is to use metal-free algaecides. If you have to use copper-based algaecides, you have to determine the right amount to use so that you don’t have any excess copper in the water.

11. Failing to Use Clarifiers or Flocculants

After shocking your pool, the water should be clear, and you should be able to see its bottom. If not, adding a flocculant or clarifier may be necessary to help remove dead algae that makes the water dirty.

A flocculant is a chemical that binds to tiny particles in water, clamping them together so they can become heavy and sink to the bottom. A clarifier is a product used to remove the cloudiness in the water, making it shiny and clear.

Both clarifiers and flocculants bind microparticles, thereby creating larger particles that can sink. Once these larger particles formed by clarifiers sink, you can remove them through filtration. In the case of flocculants, you may need to vacuum to remove the particles.

Get Rid of the Green This Summer

Algae is the leading cause of the green color in pools. It’s not healthy to have these microorganisms in your swimming water because they encourage the growth of bacteria wherever they are present.

When you notice your pool water turning green, act fast to correct the situation. Consider these reasons your pool may be going green so you can find the best solution to your problem.

What’s better than enjoying a warm summer’s day in your own swimming pool? That’s okay… we’ll wait!

This is a rewarding way to spend time with family and friends. That is, until you walk outside expecting to jump in the water and find your swimming pool is dirty and discolored.

Pool vacuums make the process of maintaining a clean swimming pool year-round easy and convenient. With this equipment, pool owners will turn this daunting chore into a simple habit (an enjoyable one at that!).

How does a pool vacuum work? We’ll cover this and more. Let’s dive in!

The Importance of Vacuuming a Pool

Vacuuming is crucial to fighting algae and keeping the chemistry of your water balanced. If you don’t vacuum weekly, you’re allowing dirt and debris to build up. With time, algae will start to form, requiring special (and expensive) treatment.

Algae is introduced to your pool when wind or rain brings algae spores into it. It can grow very quickly, becoming visible in a matter of hours. Essentially, algae is the reason the water turns green. It’s not recommended to swim in a pool with algae, even if there’s only a small amount present. The harmful bacteria in algae can present health risks like fevers or skin irritation.

To prevent algae from forming, you need to keep your pool balanced and clean. Vacuuming is an essential part of proper pool maintenance. It will keep it looking great and available for swimming.

How Does a Pool Vacuum Work?

Pool cleaners work similarly to a standard vacuum; they use suction to collect debris and dirt. Instead of sucking in air though, they suck in water. From here, they’ll filter the dirt out and release clean water.

The exact mechanics of the vacuum depend on the type of pool vacuum you’re using. Manual vacuums for instance, operate much differently than robotic ones. Understanding how different types work will help you determine which is best for your pool and your budget.

Types of Pool Vacuums

Your pool vacuum choice is based on the amount of time and money you’re able to invest in keeping your swimming pool clean. There are two main types of vacuums: manual and automatic.

Manuals are considerably cheaper than automatic vacuums but require more time and effort. When using a manual vacuum, you’ll need to clean the pool yourself. Many pool owners share that it causes fatigue and strain to their backs.

For automatic vacuums, there are a few varieties: side suction, side pressure, and robotic. They all operate distinctly which we’ll go over in this guide. However, they’re popular options because they require significantly less of your attention and time to clean. You can leave an automatic vacuum completely unattended while it cleans your pool. Sounds nice, right?

The biggest disadvantage is they’re more costly when compared to manual vacuums.

Let’s explore each type of vacuum more in depth.

Manual Vacuum

Manual Pool Vacuum

Manual vacuum cleaners are the original and most common type of pool vacuum. They are the most affordable and most straightforward to operate.

They consist of a vacuum head, a vacuum hose and a telescopic pole. The hose is connected to and powered by the pool’s water pump.

The pump sucks up water through the vacuum head and hose into the skimmer. Then, a filter collects debris and dirt. Lastly, the pool’s pump pushes the filtered water back into the pool.

To hook up a manual vacuum cleaner, start by attaching the vacuum head to one end of a telescopic pole. You will likely already have a telescopic pole. They usually have a skimmer net or brush attached to it. Most manual pool vacuum heads are a universal fit.

Next, attach one end of the hose to the head of the vacuum. The vacuum head should have clear places to insert the telescopic pole and the hose. Insert the end into the water with the pole and make sure the other end of the hole is out of the water.

Read our guide for more information on how to vacuum a pool manually.

Then, attach the open end of the hose to the water intake nozzle. This has many names and you may be familiar with calling it the skimmer plate or vacuum plate. It is on the inside wall where water enters the pool. Remove the skimmer basket before doing so.

Once you attach the hose there, it will send water through it. Air bubbles will exit through the vacuum head and once all the air is out of the hose, suction will be created.

Switch the filter nozzle to intake mode and you may begin vacuuming. Using the telescopic pole, push and pull the head against the walls and floor and you will see dirt being sucked up.

The dirt and debris will be collected in the pool’s filtration system. Therefore, you will need to clean out the skimmer and backwash the filters after each vacuum.

Suction Side Vacuum

Suction Side Vacuum

One type of automatic pool vacuum cleaner is the suction side. It’s the most common type of automatic pool vacuum and largely operates the same way a manual vacuum does. It also uses your pool’s water pump to power it.

What’s the main difference between a suction side vacuum and a manual version? Instead of you pushing the vacuum head with a telescopic pool, it moves around the pool on its own. It uses the suction from the pool pump to propel itself through the water.

Of automatic pool cleaners, suction side vacuums are the most affordable. They’re simple to install and operate. Suction side vacuums are best for finer and smaller debris and may have difficulties with large debris.

Moreover, some suction side models are equipped with their own filter bag. If not, you will need to clean out the skimmer and filters after each use, like a manual vacuum.

Suction side pool vacuum cleaners do not need to run constantly; a few hours each day will be effective. Many people choose to keep automatic vacuums in the pool whenever the pump is on to optimize cleanliness. They’re installed the same way as manual vacuums but without the telescopic pole.

As a reminder, always remove your automatic vacuum before adding chemicals, especially shock, as it can damage it.

Pressure Side Vacuum Cleaners

Pressure Side Pool Vac

The second type of automatic vacuum cleaner is called a pressure side or booster pump vacuum. They are attached to the return side (the pressure side) of your pool’s water pump.  Essentially, they attach to the pool jet and use the water passing through to propel them.

Pressure side cleaners are equipped with their own filter bag so you don’t have to clean out the skimmer or backwash your filters after each vacuum. They’re generally more costly than suction side vacuum cleaners because you need to purchase a booster pump to operate them properly. Many pool owners talk highly of pressure side cleaners since they reduce wear and tear on their water pump compared to other vacuums.

One slight disadvantage of pressure side vacuum cleaners is that most pools are plumbed to be compatible with suction vacuums or pressure vacuums, but not both. Therefore, if you want to install a pressure side, you may need to install additional plumbing.

The installation process can be lengthy and unless this project is in your wheelhouse, professional help is encouraged. This installation will add a booster pump to your existing pool pump system and a cleaning line. The booster pump will connect to and power a dedicated cleaner line which will then send water to the vacuum.

Once the proper plumbing is in place, attach the vacuum hose to the connection port for the dedicated cleaner line. Pressure side vacuums have wheels and the RPM of the wheels is used to calculate the right amount of pressure. Proper functioning pressure will create 28 to 32 RPMs.

Depending on the size of your pool and how frequently it is cleaned, a pressure side vacuum should take about 1 to 3 hours to do a thorough job.

Robot Vacuum

Pool Robot

Robotic vacuums are the least time-consuming and require the least effort of all pool vacuums. That being said, they are the most expensive option. As the newest option for pool vacuums, they are completely self- contained. Therefore, they have their own power source, filtration system, and filter bag.

Robot pool vacuum cleaners have a small electric motor as their power supply. It does not hook up to your pool’s pump, only a standard outlet with a grounding port. Some models use a rechargeable, wireless battery versus an outlet plug-in. This is more energy efficient than other pool vacuums and puts no strain on your pool equipment. It’s best to turn off your pool’s water pump while the robotic vacuum is cleaning.

Moreover, robotic vacuums are compatible with all pool types and require no in-depth installation or integration into your pool’s plumbing. They have a few parts that allow them to function autonomously, including:

  • Power Supply: typically 110 volts of electrical supply.
  • Transformer: this controls the amount of suction power.
  • Filtration System: the internal system collects dirt and debris in the vacuum. It will need to be cleaned out periodically depending on the size of the collection bag and how dirty the pool is.
  • Remote Control: robot vacuums are controlled using a remote with various functions depending on the model. Many include: on and off, speed, mode setting, and timer.

Robotic vacuums are best for daily maintenance. They achieve a high standard of cleaning and are ideal options to keep your water looking its best every day.

Final Thoughts

A clear blue pool requires a lot of cleaning and knowledge to keep the water chemistry in balance. You have to keep debris out, manage the water filtration system, and clean the floor and walls with scrub brushes and a pool vacuum.

An effective way of doing this is by investing in a pool vacuum. Since they don’t all work the same, you need to decide which type is best for your needs. However, after this guide, you should have a better understanding of how each works and the right one for you.

The most important takeaway for choosing a swimming pool vacuum is that any vacuum is better than none. Invest in a quality pool vacuum cleaner and enjoy all the benefits it’ll bring!

It always seems like pool maintenance is a never-ending job. We vacuum it weekly for sparkling clean water only to find it’s dirty a few days later. This can quickly turn into a chore, regardless of the pool that you have.

Swimming in dirty water is not only unhygienic, but it stirs up the particles, making the cleaning process more tedious. To keep your water from getting dirty, you need to understand why it gets dirty in the first place and ways to successfully remove dirt from the water.

Make your cleaning efforts worth it by learning the secret to fresh swimming water year-round.

Why Is There Dirt in My Pool?

Why Is There Dirt in My Pool?

Pools get dirty fast for a number of reasons.

That’s why, when you commit to a pool, you’re also agreeing to the maintenance it requires. For many it’s a learning curve – you have to get up to date on how your pool works and where chlorine and pH levels need to be.

Even then, understanding how they work is only half the battle. You need to keep it clean by preventing dirt from getting in. There are a few reasons your pool is so dirty, with dirt being a main one. Here’s how it’s making its way into your water:

  • Swimmers. Every time someone swims in your pool, you can expect some dirt being brought in. If you’ve got small children who love to run around in the yard and then cannonball into the water, you’ve found the culprit!
  • Wind. Unless you’ve got a pool cover, wind is going to blow over dirt and debris into the water. Normally, dirt sinks to the bottom of the pool, dodging the pool’s filtration system. This means it’ll just sit there until it’s vacuumed out.
  • Rain. Believe it or not, rainwater collects dirt from the air on its way down to the ground. This, along with things like bird droppings, will cause your pool to become dirty.

Note: Even with a great filtration system and proper chemicals in your water, the bottom of the pool will collect debris over time. The only way to remove this dirt is with a pool vacuum.

Is a Little Dirt in My Pool Okay?

Is a Little Dirt in My Pool Okay?

Dirt is a contaminant that will throw off chlorine levels. Therefore, even the smallest specks of dirt need to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Dirty water will require more chlorine as the chemistry will become unbalanced. The chlorine views dirt as a pollutant and will work to sanitize it. Afterward, you’ll have to restore the water levels.

This can be minimized by removing dirt frequently. A great solution to this problem is investing in a pool vacuum cleaner.

How to Remove Dirt From Your Pool

How to Remove Dirt From Your Pool

Removing dirt may seem like a never-ending job, but there are a few ways to maintain the cleanliness of your water. For starters, be consistent and don’t cut corners.

Here’s how to remove dirt from your water:

1. Brush Your Pool

Although most dirt sinks, it can also stick to the walls. Therefore, brushing your pool once a week will remove stubborn dirt and debris.

When selecting a brush, keep in mind the finish of your pool. For fiberglass or vinyl materials, a soft-bristled brush will be best. For plaster or concrete, steel bristled brushes are recommended.

Pool brushes are great tools to scrub the floor, walls, and stairs of a pool. They’re affordable and remove not only dirt, but algae and anything else stuck to the walls.

After brushing the walls, let it sit for a while so the sediment settles. Once settled, brush the floor gently to sweep debris into one big pile. From there, use a vacuum to remove the dirt.

2. Run Your Pump Longer

Most pools need to run for around 6 to 8 hours a day to complete a sanitation cycle. Once the pump is off, the dirt will no longer be circulating in the water. It will settle to the bottom.

Running the pump for a longer period will filter out any dirt that floats around before it settles.

3. Backwash The Pool and Filtration System

The pool pump is the heart of your pool’s system. It pulls water to heat, treat, and filter it. In return, it pumps out cleaner and healthier swimming water. However, it sometimes doesn’t matter how long you keep it running. Stubborn debris will get stuck inside and be left unaffected by the filtration cycle.

Therefore, you should clean the filter weekly. A simple way to clean your pool filter, depending on the type you have, is to rinse it with a firm stream of water.

Backwash your pool once or twice a week to avoid contaminants making their way back into your pool. Backwashing changes the flow of the water through your filter system, flushing it through a waste line. The water and contaminants are then released outside the pool.

4. Balance the pH Levels

Check your pool’s pH levels two to three times a week to see if anything seems off. Low pH levels may cause deterioration of your pool. Levels that are too high can cause skin irritation and cloudy water.

Stop by your local pool supply store and grab a pH tester to conduct an analysis.

5. Use a Pool Vacuum

Use a manual or automatic vacuum to suck up the dirt from the pool’s floor. There are three main types of vacuums you should consider. These include:

  • Manual
  • Automatic
  • Robotic

Manual pool vacuums are the least expensive of the three. They are also the most labor-intensive since you’ll be left doing the work. Automatic pool cleaners are hooked up similarly to manual models, except they move around the pool on their own.

And finally, robotic pool cleaners do all the work themselves! All you have to do is press a button, and they’ll work diligently to free the walls, floor, and stairs of your pool from dirt. While they’re a bigger investment, there are several benefits to investing in a robotic vacuum. Once you have one, you’ll never go back to your previous models.

How to Prevent Dirt in Your Pool

How to Prevent Dirt in Your Pool

You now understand how to remove dirt from your water. Now, let’s go over ways to prevent it from coming back. While you’ll always have some dirt in your pool, there are preventative measures you can take to minimize the amount that goes in.

1. Use a Pool Cover

A cover is the best way to keep debris out of the water while it’s not being used. A few types of covers are:

  • Winter cover: Protects the pool during the months it’s not being used. Lasts between 1 and 3 seasons.
  • Safety cover: Available in solid vinyl or mesh, it’s almost like a big trampoline over your pool. It’s tied down to your pool deck with straps. Although these can become pricey, they last a long time.
  • Solar cover: These are nice if you want to save on your heating bill. The cover almost looks like a big sheet of bubble wrap and works to keep heat from escaping the water.

2. Check Your Filter

As mentioned, don’t forget to check your filter weekly. Debris can be stored in there, and it’s important to regularly monitor and clean it out, so it doesn’t become clogged or damaged. If there’s damage, it’s time for a replacement.

3. Shower Before Entering

Pre-cleaning your body will help stop the transfer of pollutants into the water. Showering will also remove oils on your skin which can contribute to the creation of chloramines.

It may be awkward to ask your guests to shower before entering. Plus, you probably don’t want them using the shower in your home. In cases like these, having an outdoor rinsing station or foot washing station will help prevent dirt from entering the water.

4. Keep the Right Products Around

Part of cleaning your pool is maintaining the proper pH and chlorine levels. Below are a few of those products you should make sure you have on hand.

  • Chlorine. This will be your pools best friend. It kills any bacteria that makes its way into your water. Regularly perform tests to check chlorine levels as you won’t want them to drop. Double-check if your pool hopper has chlorine tablets and, if not, manually add chlorine when needed.
  • Algaecide. Algae multiply so fast making it hard to keep up with. Releasing algaecide into your pool water kills the algae and prevents future growth. It interrupts the life process of algae and stops photosynthesis. Without algae growing in your pool, you’ll notice the difference in time between you have to clean it again.

Conclusion

Don’t let dirty water keep you from swimming. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a pool with minimal dirt!

Along with cleaning the water weekly, you want to consider preventative measures to keep it clean. These include using a cover, checking your filter, showering before entering, and keeping the right products around.

Happy swimming!

Keeping your swimming pool clean is an uphill task because many things cause the water to get dirty. To keep your pool clean, you must focus on physical aspects such as vacuuming and filtration and water chemistry aspects like chlorine or salt content and pH balance.

The first step in keeping your pool clean is to reduce the number of contaminants and dirt getting into the pool. You also have to learn what causes the pool to get dirty so you can deal with it.

Follow this guide so you can spend less time worrying about your pool and more time enjoying it!

The Location of the Pool

Pool Location

The environment around the pool plays a big role in keeping it clean. For example, if your space is paved and has a solid fence all around it, it will stay cleaner longer than one with no fence or paving. Chlorine treatments will work hard to break down contaminants, but constant contaminants will leave you needing constant treatments.

Water is also likely to get dirty faster if the garden beds around it are bare with no ground cover or mulch.

Below are some environmental factors which may be causing your pool to get dirty faster.

Wind-Blown Debris and Dirt

If you live in a dry environment like the desert, your water will get dirty faster no matter how you protect it. This is because wind can transport contaminants from faraway places and deposit them where you swim. Debris and dirt get suspended in the air and can be transported over hundreds, if not thousands, of miles. Constructing a solid fence around the water can prevent some of these particles from reaching the water. The only way around this is to have a cover.

Dust and debris can also be an issue, even if you don’t live in a desert environment. If there’s no rain, dust can be generated on the ground if it’s bare and dry. In dry weather, dust will come from the soil surface and garden beds that are not planted. To prevent this, make sure your gardens are planted and mulched properly. Watering is necessary during dry seasons to prevent dust formation.

Grass Clippings and Tree Leaves

If you have trees and shrubs planted around the pool to provide shade, they’ll also be among the causes of your water getting dirty. While these trees may help prevent debris and dust from settling in your pool, they are also known to lose leaves that can fall into the water.

No matter how far the trees are from the edge, the wind can still blow them into the water. And the leaves will also carry the dust they have collected over the months. The water will wash off the dust from the leaves and deposit it into the water.

If you don’t remove the leaves promptly, they will rot and get deposited at the bottom of your swimming spot.

Another way you can get your water dirty is when you cut the grass around it. Some grass clippings will inevitably find their way into the pool, especially when you cut the grass close to the pool. However, these grass clippings can also carry dust into the pool, so you should try as much as possible to avoid them being blown or thrown into the water.

After mowing the grass around your pool, you should rake the cut grass as soon as possible. Even if you thoroughly rake the grass, some tiny grass cuttings will still stick to swimmers’ feet when they walk on the grass. The swimmers will eventually wash off these grass cuttings into the water.

Also, remember that if you use chemical fertilizers on the grass, these chemicals will also end up in your pool. It’s advisable to use organic fertilizer for the grass and trees around the pool.

Pool Users

Swimmers and the accessories they use also cause contamination. Swimming accessories include inflatable floaters and boats, swimsuits, and jewelry. The equipment you use to keep your water and lining clean may also transmit contaminants into your swimming space.

Other ways swimmers contribute to dirtying the water include the sunblock, makeup, lotions, and other chemicals swimmers use on their bodies. Then there’s also perspiration, dirt, bacteria, skin cells, body fats, and other contaminants that the human body deposits into the water. Even though these contaminants are released in small quantities by each swimmer, they usually build up to significant levels.

One way to limit contaminants from the human body is to install a shower close by and encourage people to use it before entering the water. Also, you can have a foot bath and a trap for swimmers to clean their feet before jumping in. If your space is open to kids, you can teach them proper etiquette by teaching them how to use the foot bath and modeling for them when they should use it.

Some kids consider it great fun to urinate or even defecate in the water. Remind the children that water with urine or poo is not good for their health and should not enter their mouths, ears, or eyes. You can also encourage them to go to the bathroom before getting in the water.

Poor Filtration

Poor Filtration

The pool filter itself may not add dirt to the water unless it’s dirty. If the filter isn’t working properly, you’ll see dirt reappearing at the pool’s bottom even after vacuuming it. If your pool filter isn’t clean, it won’t work adequately, and your pool will always be dirty. You need to clean the filter once in a while, freshening it up and ensuring the sand is sharp (if it’s a sand filter).

Remember that the filer works many hours in a day, trapping and storing dirt and other debris. These particles can clog it and may eventually damage it. To ensure the filter works properly and is always in good shape, keep monitoring it and back-washing it regularly to detoxify and flush it.

How to Keep Your Pool from Getting Dirty

Now that you know what dirties your pool, it’s easier to devise ways of protecting it against contaminants. Some of these preventive measures include:

Using a Pool Cover

A pool cover can protect the water from nearly all that causes your water to get dirty, except those from the human body. For example, the cover can prevent dust, birds’ droppings, leaves, and other debris from falling into the water.

Pool Vacuums

Vacuuming your pool is the best way to keep it clean. You can start by brushing the wall to loosen the dirt so it can sink to the bottom to be vacuumed. The floating dirt can also be filtered. You can choose an automatic or manual vacuum to suck all the debris from the bottom of your pool. The vacuum you use should have a head that’s safe for the finish on your pool. Otherwise, it may poke a hole in your pool floor or wall.

Running the Pump

Allow your pump to run for at least eight hours a day to ensure your pool is properly sanitized. The pump will filter out all the dirt that floats around before it settles at the pool’s bottom.

Enforce Showering

It’s advisable to install an external shower where swimmers can clean themselves before entering the pool. You can make it a rule that all swimmers must shower before swimming. This will protect water against all contaminants from the human body. Also, train the kids to use the pool to keep it clean.

Read our detailed post for more information on how to keep your pool from getting dirty.

Enjoy Your Crystal Clear Water

Understanding what makes the pool dirty is the first step in keeping your pool clean. A clean place to swim will ensure all your guests are safe and healthy. Make sure you take the steps discussed above to keep your water clean for everyone to enjoy.