How to Clean & Vacuum an Above Ground Pool

Regular cleaning is one of the most important parts of maintaining and caring for your above ground swimming pool. If you get yourself into a daily and weekly cleaning schedule early on in your above ground pool ownership, you’ll be more likely to stick with it and help your pool last.

Regular cleaning and vacuuming your above ground pool will:

  • Keep the water clean.
  • Prevent algae build up.
  • Prolong your filter’s life.
  • Save you money on chemicals.

How to Clean Your Above Ground Pool

How to clean and vacuum your above ground pool:

  1. Clean out your skimmer basket if it’s full.
  2. Start with the pole skimmer to remove all leaves, debris, and bugs from the surface of the water.
  3. Use the skimmer to remove any larger debris that have fallen to the bottom of the pool as well.
  4. Grab your pool brush or affix the brush attachment to your pole.
    • Starting near the top of your pool’s liner, begin scrubbing.
    • Work your way all around the pool towards the bottom.
    • Try to hit every spot. Your aim is to break up any organic matter that’s trying to form on your pool walls.
    • Use back and forth along with circular motions to make sure you loosen all the gunk – even the invisible stuff.
  5. Hook up your vacuum attachments and work your way all around the pool.
    • Attach the hose to your water return inlet so that the water pushes all the air out of the vacuum.
    • Connect your vacuum to the filter/suction connection.
    • Keep the vacuum submerged and work your way around the entire pool.

That’s all there is to it! Be sure to check the instructions that came with your vacuum for any specific set up instructions, but most pool vacuums are pretty intuitive.

Supplies Needed to Clean the Pool

A good cleaning routine requires the following:

  • Pole extension.
  • A pool skimmer.
  • Handheld or pole pool brush.
  • Pool vacuum (automatic or manual).

A typically pool cleaning routine will usually follow the order of that list: 1) skim, 2) brush, 3) vacuum.

If you plan to do a deep clean of your pool, which is recommended at least bi-monthly, you should also remove and clean your pool’s ladder/steps and any other equipment like volleyball nets or water basketball hoops.

Testing Pool Chemicals

After you’ve cleaned and vacuumed your pool, it’s a great time to test and adjust your pool’s chemicals. If you add chemicals without cleaning the pool first, you’re really just wasting money in the long run. Chlorine works to neutralize organic matter and bacteria in the water – the more stuff in your pool, the quicker the chlorine is going to be used up, and the more you’ll need to add more chemicals. So stay on top of your pool’s cleaning and maintenance!

Again, creating a regularly scheduled cleaning, testing, and maintenance routine will keep you pool safe and swim-ready all summer long for many summers to come. It won’t take a lot of time, and with the right equipment, it’s really easy to do.

How to Clear a Cloudy Pool

Cloudy water in your above ground pool can be unhealthy and unsafe. Cloudy water can be a sign of contaminated, dirty water and it can be a safety hazard if you can’t see people having trouble swimming.

There are a number of reasons why your above ground pool can become cloudy, including:

  • Environmental factors: animals, birds, trees, plants, weather, people in the pool can all contribute to a cloudy pool.
  • Pool filter issues: If your pool’s filter is not running properly or not running long enough, the water in the pool can become cloudy due to poor circulation.
  • Pool chemical issues: an improper balance of your pool’s chemicals can also lead to cloudy water.

To fix a cloudy above ground pool, you can try:

  • Using a water clarifier: A water clarifier works by grabbing and collecting tiny particles that can make your pool cloudy. Water clarifiers can be used regularly as part of your normal maintenance routine.
  • Using Pool Floc: Pool floc, or flocculant, is a fast method for clearing a cloudy pool. Pool floc works by forcing contaminants to the bottom of the pool, which can then be vacuumed out.
  • Using a pool vacuum: Since most above ground pools lack a bottom drain/filter, it’s important to vacuum your pool reguarly. This removes particles, debris, and contaminants that can’t be collected by the pool’s top filter.

How to Get Algae out of an Above Ground Pool

If conditions in your pool become too dirty, you may develop a bloom of algae.

Algae build up can turn your pool water green or other unpleasant colors, and can cause issues with your pump and filter system if left untreated.

Preventing algae in your pool in the first place starts with having a good cleaning and maintenance schedule in place, that includes:

  • Scrubbing down the walls.
  • Running the pump and filter.
  • Skimming out debris.
  • Vacuum out dirt and particles.
  • Testing the water and adding pool chemicals.
  • Cleaning your filter.

If a noticeable amount of algae has bloomed in your pool, you can use products like algaecide, pool shock, and pool sanitizers.

These products work quickly without the need for using a vacuum and can help prevent future algae blooms.

How Clean Small Above Ground Pools Without a Filter

If your above ground pool is small or designed for kids, it may lack a filtration system. The design of many of these types of small pools make it impractical to install a filter anyway.

If the pool is small enough, you can simply drain the water, clean and scrub the sides and bottom, and fill it up again.

However, some small pools still contain a considerable amount of water. Draining it regularly can be wasteful, expensive, and cause problems in your yard. If you like to keep the pool up all summer, you’ll want to make sure the water is safe and clean.

To keep your small above ground pool clean without a filter system, you should:

  • Install a pool cover when it’s not in use.
  • Scrub and clean the sides with a brush or sponge and pool cleaning agent at least once a week.
  • Use a skimmer net to scoop out any debris, bugs, and particles that get into the pool.
  • Use pool chemicals and test the water regularly, assuming the pool is large enough.
    • Refer to the pool chemical recommendations for how much to add for a given pool size.

How to Keep the Bottom of an Above Ground Pool Clean

In-ground pools typically feature bottom filters that can help keep the entire pool clean.

Given the way they’re made, above ground pools typically lack a bottom filter. If you don’t properly maintain it, dirt and debris and collect at the bottom of the pool leading to dirty, cloudy water and other problems.

How to clean the bottom of an above ground pool:

  • Use a pool vacuum to suction out the bottom.
    • You’ll have the option between manual vacuums that allow you to hook it up when you need it and automatic vacuums that work in conjunction with the pool’s pump and filtration system.
  • Scrub down the walls and bottom periodically.
  • Run the pump and filter regularly.
  • Use the pool regularly.
    • Regular use of your above ground pool will help to circulate the water and get dirt and debris on the bottom into the filter system.

How to Clean an Above Ground Pool Liner After Draining

If you live somewhere where you need to drain your above ground pool in the winter, you’ll want to clean the pool liner before you put it away.

Above ground pool liners are typically made of a vinyl material, which make then very easy to clean.

To clean your pool liner:

  • Drain the water from the pool.
  • Apply cleaning solution (bleach, alkaline cleaner, liner cleaner, soap, etc.) to the liner and your scrubber, wipe cloth, or brush.
  • Scrub down the liner with the cleaning solution.
    • Apply gentle, even pressure to avoid damaging the liner.
  • Remove all the cleaning solution from the liner and allow it to dry completely before storing it.

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