We are reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Let’s face it. When was the last time you cleaned the pool thoroughly?

Could it possibly be that a basic cleaning is due again?

Sure, cleaning a pool is not nearly as much fun as swimming in it, but still, only a clean, well-maintained and hygienically clean pool is a place of retreat and relaxation.

With many pool owners, and with us as well, we have observed that from time to time the thoroughness of cleaning diminishes. If you clean the pool the same way day after day, week after week, month after month, one day the pool will be too dirty to swim in.

Then your only option is to run the pool water through the sprinkler.

Pool cleaning is one of the basics of pool maintenance, along with water circulation and pool chemistry.

But don’t worry. Equipped with the right accessories and a pinch of diligence, you’ll have your pool clean again in no time.

Take our instructions and work through them step by step. And soon you’ll be able to enjoy your clean pool again.

The following tips apply to people who want to clean their above-ground pool, but also to owners of inground concrete swimming pools.

Why do you need to clean the pool?

We can literally hear your synapses working here. You’re probably wondering why you even have to bother with the subject.

Probably no one likes to scrub the walls of the swimming pool or disinfect the pool water. The question has its natural justification, so here is the answer.

With a pool, it behaves in a way like with a shower. There, too, you use shampoo or soap when you shower. In themselves, both are cleaning agents. However, you use them to clean your body and not primarily the tiles, the glass or the walls of the shower.

What happens now, everyone has already observed. After one, a lot of unappetizing deposits form. And if the shower walls remain wet for a long time, mold can form. If you don’t clean the shower even then, you’ll soon be showering in a jungle, and that’s no fun for anyone.

When it comes to the pool, there are many things, that could happen, that will not be in your interest. Foaming, change of color of the pool water, or a stinky smell are definitely on the list.

Pool chemicals such as chlorine, bromine and other disinfectants keep the pool water clean and to a certain degree, also keep the pool floor and walls clean. However, the chemicals do not help with leaves, pollen or insects in the pool water. Likewise, walls and the pool floor don’t stay clean just by using chemicals.

In addition to using pool chemicals, thorough cleaning is absolutely necessary. For ongoing pool cleanliness, these measures must be performed regularly.

5 Important devices for pool cleaning

Before we start cleaning, you need to make sure that you have all the necessary tools at hand. With the right equipment, pool cleaning is much easier, goes faster and the result is also better.

For now, you’d better take a little inventory. Besides just having the tools, the condition of the equipment is also important. Cracks, breaks or signs of disintegration that can be caused by pool chemicals are signs that you’d better replace that particular piece of equipment. Equipped with a list of existing and intact cleaning equipment, you can now move on to the equipment you need for pool cleaning.

1. Telescopic Pole

The telescoping pole is the pool owner’s Swiss Army knife. You can attach all sorts of things to the end of a telescoping pole. Most often, you will use the pole to attach a landing net, pool vacuum or brushes to it.

The big advantage of a telescopic pole compared to a regular pole is that it can be adjusted to different lengths. For the average pool, we recommend telescopic poles with a maximum length of 3 to 5 meters. With this length, you can clean the walls and bottom of the pool without major contortions.

Recommended
Greenerever 12 Foot (3.6m) Swimming
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

2. Landing Net

The pool landing net is the tool you will probably use most often. The landing net should either come with an extendable pole or be able to be attached to a telescopic pole. Such a landing net is used to fish out leaves, insects, hair and other debris from the water.

There are two different types of landing nets. On the one hand there are the landing nets with a flat net and on the other hand there are landing nets with net pockets. From childhood we all remember the effect of wet things in a landing net with a bag.

When emptying, the wet load simply always swings too far. Even back then, that was no fun. With pool maintenance and with all the dirt in the net, you certainly don’t want to do that to yourself. We therefore advise a model with a flat net.

If you don’t have a decent landing net yet, you should take a look at the following pool landing net. We are very enthusiastic about this pool landing net:

Recommended
Feadem Pool Skimmer Strong Grade
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

With a landing net, you stop the problem before it even happens by removing debris before it can even sink to the bottom of the pool. As a result, cleaning and vacuuming the bottom is also easier.

3. (Manual) Pool Vacuum Cleaner

Telescopic pole is already on your list? Perfect, then add the pool vacuum cleaner as well. Such a pool vacuum consists of a suction head and a suction hose. Make sure that the hose is long enough to reach every little corner of your pool.

Recommended
Swimline Weighted Flex Vacuum Head,
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Vacuum the bottom of your pool every few days. In special circumstances such as after a heavy rainstorm, intense pool use, lots of leaves, foliage or generally lots of debris in the pool an unscheduled cleaning is appropriate.

Manual pool vacuums serve their purpose, but they are not very convenient. Therefore, we recommend that you invest in a pool robot instead, which will clean the pool all by itself. This will make your life much easier.

Recommended
YAGENICE Intelligent Pool Cleaning
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

3. Pool Brush

It’s time for the telescopic pole again. However, this time you attach a pool brush as an attachment. This way, you can reach all the walls and the entire bottom of the pool with the brush and effectively remove dirt and other foreign objects like algae.

Depending on the type of swimming pool you have, you should go for a different type of brush.

  • Vinyl, painted concrete, fiberglass: use a pool brush with nylon bristles.
  • Unpainted concrete: use a pool brush with stainless steel bristles.

For the (lucky) owners of a concrete pool, the following pool brush with stainless steel bristles is best. This brush will help you get rid of even stubbornly stuck dirt:

Recommended
Poolmaster 20183, 18 Inch, 18-Inch
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

The reason is that while stainless steel bristles are better at removing stubborn dirt or algae, they can damage the paint on the concrete or vinyl pool liner. Therefore, always rely on nylon bristles for delicate surfaces.

Here, feel free to invest some money for a sturdy pool brush. The stress of frequent use and pool chemicals take a toll on brushes. In our experience, high-quality pool brushes stand up to it longer.

A pool should be brushed approximately once or twice a week. Critical places to pay special attention to are corners of the pool, the braces of ladders and all crevices. These are the places where algae like to hang out. When brushing, you loosen the algae from the walls so that the chlorine (for example, in the form of chlorine tablets) or other disinfectants can kill the algae cells.

Algae infestation cannot always be eliminated with a pool brush alone. To fight algae, you need (in addition to a balanced pool chemistry) in any case other pool chemicals.

In the best case, algae will not even appear in the pool because you have already taken preventive measures so that your pool is not interesting for algae in the first place. For example, too high a nitrate level can play a part in this.

Besides a proper and regular pool maintenance, the best tip is that you always wash or disinfect the pool equipment, swimming things, toys, air mattresses and co after bathing in other waters before you go swimming with them in the pool. In this way, algae will not be introduced in the first place.

For disinfection, it is best to use a strong chlorine-based detergent.

We were particularly convinced by this chlorine-based cleaning agent:

Recommended
Amazing Whip It Cleaner, Multi
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

The type of algae also has an effect on the appropriate actions to combat it. Green algae make for green pool water and are among the most common representatives that pool owners have to deal with, yellow algae, on the other hand, are often mistaken for sand and are already a bit more stubborn, but black algae put a crown on it. With black algae in the pool, you really have to pull out all the stops to get rid of it.

5. Pool Robots And Automatic Pool Cleaners

Pool robots are by far the coolest invention for pool owners in recent years. A pool robot, or fully automatic pool cleaners, are self-contained systems that drive around the pool on their own, cleaning the pool while you leisurely relax on a lounger with a cocktail.

Recommended
YAGENICE Intelligent Pool Cleaning
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

The only disadvantage of these fantastic helpers is the relatively high purchase price, although at this point we must distinguish. In fact, besides pool robots, there are two different types of automatic pool cleaners.

Suction side as well as pressure side pool cleaners are cheaper alternatives to pool robots. In both variants, these automatic pool cleaners will be connected to the filter pump and in this way will be operated by water pressure.

This may mean that you need a more powerful pool pump. In our experience, the cleaning result with these two alternatives is also worse than with pool robots.

A suction-side pool cleaner connects to the skimmer, moves through the pool on its own, sucking debris and dirt from the bottom of the pool and directing it into the filtration system. On a tight budget, suction side pool cleaners are the way to go; at least if your filter pump can handle it.

Recommended
(2022 Upgrade) AIPER Cordless
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Pressure side pool cleaners, on the other hand, are connected to the return jets and driven by the water pressure they move through the pool. The outflowing water pushes debris into a mesh bag. Their job is simply to empty the bag when the pool is clean again.

In summary, suction-side and pressure-side pool cleaners (as long as the existing filter system can apply the necessary pressure) are cheaper than pool robots, but in return they provide a poorer cleaning performance.

A further disadvantage of these two alternatives is also that the filter pump must always be running, while pool cleaning robots are independent of this because they are connected exclusively to electricity.

The routine: cleaning a pool step by step

Pool owners need to clean their pool regularly during the pool season to ensure clean water and therefore safe swimming. With the following step-by-step instructions, we provide you with a guide for the routine during pool season. Work through these steps diligently and regularly to avoid pool problems.

Step 1: Remove leaves and debris

First, remove leaves, insects, pollen and other debris floating on the surface of the pool with a landing net. The benefit of doing this is that you remove debris before it can sink to the bottom. This way, you avoid stains and debris on the bottom of the pool.

Recommended
Feadem Pool Skimmer Strong Grade
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Step 2: Brush the bottom and walls

Armed with a suitable pool brush, it is now time to brush the dirt off the walls and bottom of the pool. If the buildup is particularly intense, you should start with the most polluted areas, as dislodged sediment will make it harder to see. If the pool is very dirty or has an algae infestation, you will need to alternate between vacuuming and brushing more frequently.

Step 3: Vacuuming

Go over the bottom of the pool with a pool vacuum to suck up the debris. You can make this part of the maintenance routine much easier using a robotic pool cleaner or an automatic pool cleaner.

With pool robots and with pressure-side pool cleaners, your task is simply to place the respective device in the pool and, at the end of the cleaning, empty the bag in which the dirt was collected.

Note: However, in case of algae infestation, you should refrain from using a robot or any other automatic solution. Algae tend to serve as a chauffeur for these little fellows, spreading them throughout the pool rather than killing them off.

Step 4: Clean the skimmer

You should clean the skimmer weekly or as needed. Remove debris from the skimmer and empty the skimmer basket. Only when you keep the skimmer free of debris can the skimmer operate at maximum efficiency.

Step 5: Check the water circuit

Your pool’s filtration system is the foundation of a pool that is a pleasure to swim in. We recommend that you keep your filtration pump working for at least 8 hours a day, or long enough to circulate at least twice the pool’s volume each day.

The pool water circuit includes the skimmer, the pump, the filter, the respective filter media and the return jets. Periodically as part of your routine, make sure everything is working and that the pool water is being properly filtered.

Step 6: Check the filter

Most often, cartridge or sand filter systems are used. Check the particular filter system according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For example, for a sand filter system, you need to check the filter pressure of the sand filter system. If the value exceeds the measured pressure by 10 psi (~ 1 bar) after the last backwash, it is time for the next cleaning.

The service life of the sand of a filter system depends on the filter sand used and is on average about 5 years. Only after this time or when the filter performance of the system decreases, you need to change the sand of the sand filter system, until then a backwashing of the filter is often sufficient.

Step 7: Perform shock chlorination

A weekly shock chlorination of the pool will rid the pool of all algae, dirt, bacteria and other organic debris. Shocking the pool is also important to avoid the “chlorine smell.” In fact, the well-known smell is not caused by chlorine, but by chloramines.

Chloramines are formed when chlorine has a disinfecting effect by combining with foreign particles. If the chlorine content is high enough during shock chlorination, the chloramines are decomposed and the swimming pool is odorless and does not cause irritation to the skin and eyes.

Recommended
HTH Pool Care Shock Advanced,
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Answers to common pool cleaning questions 

Pool maintenance is not always easy, but for the end we want to give you some answers to the most common questions about pool cleaning.

When should a basic pool cleaning take place?

When the pool is put into service in the spring, it is time for a basic pool cleaning. While most pool manufacturers recommend winterizing the pool with the water, they then drain it in the spring.
Using a landing net and pool brush, first take care of any gross debris. Then treat the pool walls and bottom with pool edge cleaner. To do this, simply apply the special cleaner to your pool brush and then use it to scrub down the walls of the swimming pool.

Can you take preventive measures for an uncomplicated basic cleaning in spring?

If you don’t want any surprises in the spring, you should properly winterize your pool. This includes a proper basic cleaning of the pool, balancing the pool chemistry, adding winterizing agent (which also contains algaecide), removing and storing all pool accessories, and covering the pool with a pool tarp.

How often to clean pool to always have clean water?

How often the pool should be cleaned depends on several factors. Under normal circumstances, pool cleaning is recommended once a week.
However, if the pool water is particularly affected by foreign objects or high temperatures, cleaning could be twice a week.

Can you make pool cleaning easier for yourself?

You can also make pool cleaning much easier on yourself by taking preventative measures to keep contaminants and foreign objects, such as algae, out in the first place. Balanced pool chemistry plays an important role in this. Pay particular attention to pool pH and the concentration of disinfectant (usually chlorine or bromine). The use of algaecide is also important, as this agent prevents algae infestation in advance.
Probably the simplest measure to make your work easier when cleaning the pool is to buy a pool cover. When the pool is not in use, simply pull the cover over the pool. This way, you will prevent leaves and other debris from getting into the pool water. Insects and other animals are also kept away.

Final tips on pool cleaning

One problem with filtration systems is that they cannot capture the smallest particles. As a result, these particles multiply over time and cloud the water. If you have problems with cloudy water, you usually have to use flocculants. These agents bind the small particles and make them big enough for the filter system.

The pool environment is an often underestimated factor. For example, if there is a lot of foliage on the lawn, it will quickly blow into the pool. If the tiles or wooden panels around the pool are dirty, dirt will also be carried into the pool water. Consequently, you should not neglect the area around the swimming pool.

With the presented pool cleaning equipment and instructions, you will be well prepared for the next seasons (and of course for the next pool parties), because with our tips your pool will always be clean, free from algae, hygienically clean and just waiting for you…

Larry has been a true water rat since childhood. Pure pleasure turned into a passion. That's why he is the first point of contact for friends and acquaintances when it comes to pool-related problems. He is an integral part of the PoolHandbook editorial team.