8 Pool Cleaning Tips You Need To Try This Summer

Lauren Murphy
Written by Lauren Murphy
Updated July 28, 2021
Pool being skimmed
Herraez - stock.adobe.com

These pool cleaning tips and tricks, some involving products you probably already have in your pantry, can help you keep your pool pristine all summer long

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Nothing is better than plunging into the pool to cool off, especially during the dog days of summer. However, pools can cost a pretty penny to maintain and to keep in tip-top swimming shape. Thankfully, there are numerous time- and money-saving pool cleaning tips out there to keep your pool looking as good as new.

1. Combat Sunscreen Buildup With a Tennis Ball

A freshly cleaned pool and a hot summer day are perfect complements. But like oil and water, sunscreen and pool water don’t mix. The sunscreen you slather on your kids before each and every pool session builds up on your pool’s surface and makes for a less than enjoyable day in the sun. 

To get rid of the oil, toss a tennis ball in the pool. The fuzzy yellow fibers absorb oil. Since the tennis ball is buoyant, it remains in the perfect place to gather up the oil, allowing you to shift your focus to your cannonball form.

2. Skim Regularly

To keep your pool consistently clean, make skimming part of your daily routine. You can buy an automated skimmer to keep your pool clean, but those can be expensive. If fancy pool gadgets aren’t in your budget, make sure you have a manual pool skimmer in your toolkit and make it a point to skim regularly.While pool skimmers are essential, even they have their limits. When presented with pool debris too fine to be collected by your trusty skimmer, add a pair of pantyhose around the frame. The fine mesh captures all of the tiny debris your skimmer misses.

This trick will also work on your mechanical skimmer. Cover the basket of the skimmer with pantyhose the same way you would replace a bag in a wastebasket. Check your skimmer often to ensure it's working effectively.

3. Use a Sock to Distribute Chemicals

Pool chemistry is a constant balancing act. Take, for instance, your pool stabilizer. The correct dose keeps the chlorine in your pool from being neutralized by ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. Too much, and it can create a cloudy pool.

Cyanuric acid (CYA), commonly known as pool stabilizer, attaches to chlorine and protects it from rapidly breaking down due to UV light. 

Because the CYA, or any similar pool-stabilizing products, usually come in a concentrated tablet or powder, their dispersion throughout the pool may lead to cloudy water. The solution? Add stabilizer to a thick hiking sock. The sock will help to evenly distribute the quickly dissolving stabilizer.

4. Add Bug-Repelling Plants

Everyone loves a day at the pool, even insects. It is a real pain to constantly skim out bugs from your swimming pool or be pestered by them while you're relaxing poolside. But instead of spraying pesticides or riding the summer out indoors, add plants to help keep mosquitoes away and flies deterred.

Lemon balm is an excellent bug deterrent. Plant it all around your pool for a natural bug repellent that will keep those pesky insects away. Bonus—the lemony flavor that bugs hate is a culinary delight for humans. Say so long to bugs and hello to a refreshing glass of lemon balm iced tea. The same goes for adding lemon juice to keep frogs out of your pool.

5. Locate Leaks

Pool leaks can cause your water bill to skyrocket and damage your pool’s construction. Keep a close eye on your pool’s water level to identify any leaks. Another option is to try this cheap and easy leak-detecting hack using an item that you likely already have in your pantry.

Traditionally used to give cookies and cakes a boost of color, food coloring is also a handy pool leak detector. Just add a few drops near a suspected leak. The movement of the color will demonstrate water flow and alert you to a leak or crack. You can use this leak detecting method on both concrete and vinyl pools.

Man testing ph levels of pool
strannik9211 - stock.adobe.com

6. Balance pH

Not only does balancing the pH level keep your pool water clean, but it also helps to protect its mechanical components, like the heater and pump. Maintaining pH is an important practice that will save you money in the long run. But store-bought pool cleaning chemicals can be pricey. Luckily, there are household remedies that are much lower in cost but still effective. 

Just as you can use baking soda to adjust the pH in your homemade chocolate chip cookies, you can use it to do the same job in your pool. You can sprinkle it directly into your pool water. Add 1.5 pounds of baking soda per 10,000 gallons of water to raise alkalinity by about 10 parts per million (ppm). If you're new to adding pool chemicals, start by adding only one-half or three-fourths of the recommended amount.

7. Scrub Well

Algae can stick to the walls of your pool and leave stains if left untreated. If your pool walls are slick and slippery, that indicates that it’s time for a scrub. Scrub your pool walls weekly to keep them in pristine condition. Alternatively, use a robotic cleaner to stay on top of things.

Regular brushing can also prevent and remove stains. Stubborn stains may require some extra cleaning power. Use Vitamin C tablets or lemon juice to clean stains for a cheap and easy cleaning solution. You can also combine the lemon juice with white vinegar for some extra cleaning power, but don’t leave it on too long, or it could cause damage after it eats away the grime.

8. Establish a Routine

While DIY pool cleaning tips can get your pool looking good in a pinch, they’re no substitute for routine pool maintenance. The best tip you can follow to keep your pool in tip-top shape is to routinely maintain it yourself or hire a local pool maintenance company.

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