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?
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?
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
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 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
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.
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.
About the Author
Stefan Schulz is the founder and owner of PV Pool Cleaner. He spent his college years working at Niagara Pools and Spas, one of the largest Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Dealers in the Eastern United States.
Today, he utilizes his background, experience as a pool owner, and the resources of his digital marketing agency, Orpical Group, to generate informative and engaging content for pool owners everywhere.