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Pool Cleaning Guide – When and How to Clean the Swimming Pool

A luxurious addition to any home, one that will benefit all household members through its fun nature, the pool is something we all dream of having. Once you do become a pool owner, though, you must keep in mind one thing – a clean pool is a safe pool to swim in!

The biggest mistake you can make from your position as a pool owner is to neglect cleaning chores as this won’t only put you at risk of developing a series of health issues, but it will eventually end up costing you cash as the equipment will degrade or get damaged. These are easily avoidable repercussions if you merely follow the guidelines we will provide here regarding pool care, chores that come naturally with ownership of this fun addition.

Haven’t gotten around to installing a pool yet, but you are set on it? To ease your search, look here at the best above ground pools to find selections that fit all budgets, size preferences, and more.

What Equipment Should You Stock Up On?

  • Telescopic pole: An extendable rod that you connect other cleaning equipment to. Standard models measure 8’ when retracted and 16’ when fully extended. It offers you the reach you require to brush or skim the pool during cleaning.
  • Skimmer net: It is utilized to amass debris from the water, regardless of the gunk’s size. Generally, there are two types of skimmer nets available – flat and bag. Flat skimmers work for routine cleaning as the debris is easy to shake off of them, while bag skimmers can hold a much larger quantity of dirt, but are a bit tougher to empty.
  • With the Solar Breeze NX automatic pool skimmer, you won’t have to skim the water yourself anymore. Just put it in the pool, turn it on, and let this smart robot do all the work for you!

  • Manual vacuum: It attaches to the pole and attaches to a vacuum hose that connects to the pool’s filter tank suction port. Its role is to suck out all the dirt that settles on the surfaces.
  • Brush: It attaches to the telescopic pole. Its purpose is to scrub the floor, walls, and ladders to remove moss and dirt from these surfaces.
  • Automatic pool cleaner: It is an automatic device that goes over surfaces and gathers gunk encountered in its path. There are three types you will encounter, more precisely robotic pool cleaners, suction side cleaners, and pressure-side cleaners, each with a distinct type of functioning manner but with a generally similar result. What makes this hefty acquisition worthwhile is that it guarantees full pool cleaning.
  • pH tester: To uphold water balance, you first have to discover the pH. This is where the tester comes in, in a matter of seconds or minutes providing you with answers regarding the pH level of the water sample that you utilize it on.
  • More reliable than the classic test strips, digital pool water testers grant a modern means to keep water chemistry and stats in check.

Pool Cleaning – Schedule and Proceedings

Make sure to abide by the following procedures and the periodicity at which you must follow through with each of them to guarantee the water you swim in does not harbor bacteria or algae development, and to be kept safe from issues like rashes, eye and skin infections, and digestive problems.

Basic Upkeep Explained

A sheltered pool that you have indoors won’t need as much cleaning as an in-ground or above-ground pool that you have set up outdoors. Here, we will supply you with guidance for cleaning outdoor pools as these are the most common and require the most extensive and frequent attention. So, to keep the pool clean, the basic duties you have to execute include:

  • Brush sediments from surfaces: On a weekly basis, use a brush attached to a telescoping pole to scour the walls, floor, and steps. This way, any sediments stuck on the surfaces are freed and flow toward the main drain for the filter system to remove them.
  • Instead of manually brushing the pool every week, let the Dolphin Quantum robotic pool cleaner handle the task for you. Fitted with SmartNav 2.0 for scanning and the PowerJet 3D Mobility technology for smooth rolling without obstacles getting in its way, it ensures there won’t be any muck on the surfaces once it finishes the cleaning cycle.

  • Skim leaves and large-size debris: Skim the water daily to remove gunk and impede more serious contamination. Using a skimmer that you attach to a telescopic pole, or with an automatic skimmer like the Solar Breeze NX, get out leaves, insects, twigs, and anything else that might have fallen in the water.
  • Install a solar pool cover that you set in place whenever you don’t use the pool to impede debris from dropping into the water as much as it normally does.

  • Clean the skimmers: Every day, you must check to see if large debris is stuck in the pool skimmers and get anything trapped there out. Make sure that the water level is midway up the skimmer as well. If water levels rise because of rainfall, empty as much water as needed to restore the proper water level.
  • Test water chemistry: We will cover this subject in detail in the following. Generally, testing is necessitated either once every few days, weekly, monthly, or once every few months, reliant on the water balance aspect you intend to check.
  • Check the filter for gunk: Do it every week. If you have a D.E. filter, backwash it every 1-2 weeks. In case you have a sand filter, backwash monthly. Exact directions for cleaning the filters are always provided with the manual, so feel free to check there.
  • Use the pump: Preferably, you should run the pump daily to maximize chemical effectiveness for water balance upkeep. There are guidelines provided for each pump model. Check these guidelines and follow them closely.

How to Circulate Pool Water

Question: How often is it needed?
Answer: For proper upkeep of the filter system, perform water circulation every day, or at least once every 2-3 days. Operate the pump for 8 to 12 hours to ensure proper circulation ensues during the shock process.

The pool circulation system draws water through the skimmers and drains it via the centrifugal pump. As the water passes and gets skimmed, a basket retains the large-size gunk in it. There is a filter set in place too, the pressure that the impeller makes to force the water through it so that any remaining gunk won’t pass.

To assist the pool circulation system, get rid of gunk ASAP when it falls into the water, clean the pool regularly, and set the return jets to spin the water in a circular motion that pushes it towards the skimmers. If you maintain this system well, it guarantees pristine water as algae and bacteria growth are prevented. Moreover, proper circulation ensures good mixing and dispersing of the chemicals used for water balance through the system.

Note: The circulation system works smoother in a circular-shaped pool than it does in a rectangle- or odd-shaped pool.

How to Handle Pool Water Chemistry

Question: How often is it necessary?
Answer: Weather conditions and frequency of use impact the rate at which you should test water balance. However, generally, it is advised to check the pH and chlorine levels 2-3 times per week, calcium hardness and TDS every month, metals every 3-4 months, and salt levels (if you have a salt chlorination system installed) should be tested as instructed in the accompanying manual.

The role of these chemicals is to keep the pool safe for use by reducing residual buildup and impeding the growth of moss and bacteria. Regularly test the water as often as we recommended previously using specialty strips or digital pool water testers, the latter being more convenient due to their more modern and accurate readings.

After you test the water, you get an idea of what you need to add or reduce to balance water chemistry. Estimate the quantity of chemicals that need to be added pursuant to pool shape and size. Some of the additives that you are likely going to work with include chlorine, algaecide, clarifier, flocculants, metal sequestrant, and other chemicals and sanitizers.

  • pH: It should stay from 7.2 and 7.8. If levels are higher, use hydrochloric acid to lower them. In case pH is lower, use sodium carbonate to bring it back to normal.
  • Alkalinity: Ideally, the pH tends to be more alkaline rather than acidic. But beware that too much alkalinity ends up hurting your skin and eyes. The alkalinity level should stay between 80 PPM and 120 PPM. If it is lower, either shock the pool or add sodium bicarbonate. If levels are higher, use muriatic acid to normalize them.
  • Calcium hardness: Must be maintained as it is essential to pool plumbing, gear operation, and water cleanliness. Ideally, it should be from 200 PPM to 400 PPM. Higher levels cause cloudy water, piping buildup, and filter clogging. In contrast, lower levels cause pool surfaces to break down faster than they should. To adjust calcium hardness, you must use calcium chloride.
  • Sanitizers: There are several options to pick from. What most pool owners turn to is chlorine, either in tablet or granule form. Granules are mostly used in shock treatment as they disperse quickly, whereas, tablets distribute slower but better in the water. Chlorine has the purpose of killing germs. Another option for sanitizing the water is to use biguanide, a chlorine and bromine-free substance that attaches to cell membranes and destroys them. Bromine is another viable solution as it disinfects the water without being destabilized by high temperatures.

Water Shock Procedure Explained

Question: How often is it necessary?
Answer: To make sure that algae growth won’t occur and chlorine levels are always kept in check, your best course of action is to shock the pool every 1-2 weeks.

Chloramine forms when chlorine mixed with sweat and other similar contaminants in the water, creating a more considerable molecule that causes itchy and dry skin, irritates the eyes, and can even cause digestive problems when ingested. When you shock the pool, either using chlorine or non-chlorine chemicals, you raise free chlorine levels to prevent issues like algae and bacteria growth and to eradicate chloramines. For the procedure, you can use calcium hypochlorite, lithium hypochlorite, or Dichlor.

How to proceed:

  • First off, to make sure that you will do a good job, aim to have free chlorine levels at least 10 times bigger than chloramine levels.
  • Test the water to assess the free and total chlorine levels. Now, you can figure out the combined chlorine level that must be added.
  • Calculate the optimal amount of shock using the guidelines on the shocking chemical product packaging as guidance. Add the shock to a 5-gallon bucket of water.
  • Turn on the pump, dump the shock solution in the water, and wait 8-12 hours for the water and solution to mix just right.
  • When the time passes, check chlorine levels to confirm they are in check.

Is It Feasible to Salvage a Pool that Is Very Dirty?

If you haven’t used or cleaned the pool for several months, it is probably full of debris. Chances are that green or black algae have developed in it by this point too. While it does take more labor to clean it, this doesn’t mean that it is an impossible task. What you should do in this demanding situation is:

  • Use a deep leaf net to remove all the gunk from the water’s surface.
  • Check the pH level and adjust chemicals accordingly. It will take a few days to follow through with this part because of the advanced existing issues with water purity and clarity.
  • Now, you can proceed to shock the pool. This will take several days as well as you must repeat the process as many times as needed until the water becomes clear and wait 24 hours between shock treatments.
  • Let the filter run overnight to clear out any dirt and bacteria. Do this for a few days. Make sure that you also backwash the filter multiple times per day so that it won’t clog.
  • Now that water chemistry is in check, you can see the floor. Brush and vacuum all the surfaces thoroughly to eliminate all debris and gunk, or let a heavy-duty automatic cleaner do all the labor instead.


Installing a pool implies fun times in the long-run, but as you can see, it requires quite extensive upkeep. While the pool cleaning chores are indeed many, you can considerably reduce your efforts and time spent on them by using an automated pool cleaner that tends to regular maintenance independently. This way, you only have to take care of chemistry balance and the occasional pool shocking rather than have to slave every few days skimming and brushing the pool.

Nevertheless, whatever option you prefer, what is important is to abide by the guidelines provided here to keep the pool water free of bacteria, moss, and other contaminants that can lead to infections and irritations.

Found this article useful? Then read here about solving black algae growth-related issues to know what actions you must take to redeem your pool if you ever have this problem.

Braden Ewing
Braden Ewing
Braden is the editor-in-chief at, as well as the oldest member of the team. He has previous experience in sales as he worked at a local electronics store. While there, Brandon first encountered robotic devices for household use and become passionate about the subject. Since joining the team, he provided expertise regarding the latest technologies in the domain of automated cleaners, conducting proper research at all times to provide users with content that is relevant.

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