Your pool is filthy—here's how to clean it

There's more to it than just chlorine.

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Your swimming pool may be the most disgusting thing you own. All that moisture can spawn algae, fungus, bacteria, and mosquitoes. And while most people think that all you need to do is add chlorine, that's like saying you don't need to clean your shower because it's exposed to soap every day. (Not to mention the smell of chlorine itself means your pool isn’t quite as clean as it should be—but more on that later.)

With proper maintenance, however, you can feel better the next time you go for a dip. We did our research on all the essentials you need to know about keeping your pool clean.

How often should I skim my pool?

You should skim your pool daily to keep debris from settling on the bottom or get this guy to do it.

You should skim your pool daily. Removing debris before it settles on the bottom of your pool nips the accumulation of grime in the bud. If you find yourself constantly removing bugs and leaves, you may need to trim some nearby trees, as they are often the source.

How do I prevent algae from growing?

Brushing the sides of your pool will help prevent algae from growing.

You should scrub the walls and ladders in your pool for algae around twice a week. If your pool is made of concrete or gunite, a stainless steel brush is probably your best bet. A nylon brush should be used with fiberglass and vinyl so you don’t create deep grooves.

Do I need to vacuum my pool?

Vacuuming your pool keeps the stuff you missed while skimming and brushing from destroying your pumps and filters. Pool vacuums come in manual and robotic forms.

Robot vacuums can suction debris off pool floors.

Robot cleaners have many tiers. They range from just cleaning the bottom of the pool to cleaning the sides, all the way up to the water line. Models like the Dolphin Nautilus make digital maps, can suction up leaves and dirt, and clean a 50-foot pool in two hours. The downside is that it costs well over $700.

Manual pool vacuums cost anywhere from $100 to $300, but they can be cumbersome and time-consuming to use. We’re a company that likes robots doing chores, yet we all know someone who likes to do things manually.

How do I maintain a pool filter?

Here's an example of DE filter. When the pressure gauge (orange dial) reaches 8-10 psi, it's time to backwash.

Regardless of whether you have a diatomaceous earth, sand, or cartridge filter, you should regularly check it and remove large debris. If you own a DE filter or a sand filter, you should also consider backwashing it, or reversing the flow of water through the filter to clear it out. The general rule of thumb is to backwash once the pressure gauge is 8-10 psi above the normal startup pressure. The backwash procedure depends on your valve setup.

How often should I test my pool’s chlorine levels?

You should check your chlorine levels before you use your pool.

When you smell the scent of chlorine, it means that the water is dirty. Generally, you should check your pool’s chemical levels as often as you use the pool. For example, if your family uses the pool daily, you should check the levels every single day. It only takes one accident to make the pool filthy.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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