How to Clean a Pool

How to Clean a Pool ~ Every pool owner can familiarize themselves with the importance of having a lovely, crystal-clear pool always.

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However, pollution, insufficient amounts of chlorine and algae may hamper it all. But, within just a matter of 24 hours, you can achieve a clean shining pool, which otherwise seems to be a nearly impossible task.

What’s even more amazing is that it doesn’t call for a complicated process, instead, you can restore the pool to the kind of freshness and clear water you want in a complete DIY deal!


Whether your house features an in-ground swimming pool or an above the ground one, some of the most common problems it comes across is an algae buildup, dirt and other contamination that one simply can’t escape.

While going for professional cleaning in an expensive deal, getting it done by yourself can sometimes take many days if not done correctly.

Below is a detailed step-by-step process to restore the swimming pool back to a beautiful crystal-clear state in 24 hours.

Adjust the Pool Chemical Levels

Checking this includes ensuring that the pH levels, the balance chemicals, and the chlorine levels are all within range.

Before going for any actual cleaning steps, it’s a must to adjust the water’s pH and alkalinity levels.

You can get it done using Alkalinity Plus and pH and pH minus because the chemical levels of the water need to be in a specific range to make the water clear by witnessing a hundred percent efficient action of favorable chemicals that you’ll add later during the process.

Once you use any acid/alkali medium, the chemical levels of the pool should be between 7.2 -7.6.

There are a lot of products, including cheap test strips and fancy test kits available out there to get the levels monitored. Add at least a gallon of muriatic acid at a time if you find the levels to be too high, or you can also use a prepared pH reducer.

Bringing the pH levels down will reduce the cloudiness of the water in the next stages. To affect the chemical adjustments, let the pool pump run for about 3 hours.

Another chemical that must be tested is CYA i.e. cyanuric acid. Working more like sunscreen for the chlorine, CYA can be tested using dedicated test kits too.

If CYA is less than 30 ppm, the sunlight will break down the chlorine that’s needed to reduce the algae. If the levels of CYA are found to be excessively high, one may also have to empty the pool and replace it with fresh water.

Remove All Debris

When it comes to removing the debris from the top surface, you start by skimming it with a regular skimmer net on the telescopic pole.

But for the bottom and the large debris that lies there, you can’t consider going for a skimmer. A skimmer will only stir up the water, thereby worsening the condition even more.

So, check the bottom of the pool for large debris, further removing it using a leaf net as carefully as possible while making sure you don’t stir the water up.

Removal of the debris works wonders for taking away the food source of all bacteria and algae.

Although, it may be a bit difficult to check for the bottom of the water is largely cloudy, going for the process until you have got enough debris captured in the net will work great.

It’s essential to get this stage done so you can treat the water with chlorine in the next step. Otherwise, all the action of the chlorine is directed towards the debris instead of cleaning the water itself.

Eliminating this distraction for the chlorine will not only make the chemical much more effective but also speed up the task of pool cleaning on a larger level.

However, if you can’t see beyond 7-8 inches below the surface of the water, or can’t figure out the debris at the bottom, do not go for any vacuuming.

Doing so can risk clogging or even damage the filter, the plumbing pipes, and the skimmer. In such a case, taking the assistance of a professional is better, going for draining and acid-washing of the pool.

Shock the Pool Water

Shocking the pool water is actually increasing the amount of chlorine a few times than the regular. If there’s algae buildup, then make sure you add an algaecide to the pool and run the pool pump for an hour.

This will swell up the algae and bacteria cells enough so that the action of chlorine can eliminate them. After that, shock the pool with about 4 times the usual – for example, go for 4 pounds of chlorine if otherwise using a pound.

This is going to significantly speed up the cleaning process.

You can either go for a powder shock or add liquid chlorine to the pool. After the pH of the water is adjusted to 7.2 or below, it’s time to add granular chlorine if you choose to go for a powder shock.

Make sure you toss the granules out over the water evenly. However, picking a powder shock requires to add more water to the pool, i.e. every pound of granules calls for adding about 5 gallons of water.

Next, you stir the water until all the granules dissolve otherwise they can damage the bottom of the pool by sinking down.

Liquid chlorine is comparatively, an easier alternative as you simply pour it into the water. Although, you must make sure that it’s spread around and not just poured at one spot.

Walking around the perimeter of the pool to toss the liquid it will get the chlorine throughout the water. Keep the pool filter running and it will evenly distribute the chemical throughout the water.

Clean the filtration system too by adding liquid chlorine to the same.

It is advised to keep the filter and the pump running from this step until the water is completely clear. After an hour, test the chlorine again, and it’s all going good if it’s equal to or above shock level.

Test the same every few hours, followed by adding more if needed until you witness crystal clear water, letting the pump run alongside.

According to research, the time after the sunset is the most favorable time of the day to begin shocking the pool. Going for the shock in sunlight will alter the chemical levels and can turn out to be troublesome instead of fruitful.

Once, you shock the water right the first time, you then advance to sand filtering.

Let the Sand Filter Run

All the contaminants that actually lead to dirtying up the pool water and bringing algae to life must be removed by the process of sand filtering and back-washing.

Make sure you don’t run the pool filter without going for back-washing. Back-washing the sand filter is easy and it’s also used by professional pool cleaner to get the whole task done.

The more one filters than backwash, the quicker is the clearing process of the water.

For filter back-washing when you are handling a DE Filter, you are going to need to add some more amount of DE to the skimmer. Run the filter for about a day and backwash the pool filter at least 4 times during that day to get it all done even faster.

DE filters are capable of clearing algae and cleaning the pool about 50% quicker than a regular sand filter.

Brush the Pool

Above ground, pools don’t necessarily call for brushing. However, for other pools, it’s a must to brush all the surfaces with algae clumped together in order to allow a better action of chlorine on the algae.

First of all, turn off the pool pump, allowing the algae to settle at the bottom. You’ll witness a visible difference after 24 hours of adding chlorine. All the algae will be dead and the water will retain its natural hue.

However, it might still look cloudy, so you keep the pump running. Next, you go for a thorough brushing of the walls, the pool ladders, and the stairs to dislodge all that stuck algae, thereby getting it filtered out with ease.


Once the remaining contaminants and algae in on the pool floor, all it takes is dipping an automatic pool cleaner in the water, getting rid of all the elements that the inbuilt filtration system may not be able to remove.

A manual pool vacuum can come handy to remove some major elements that sink to the bottom of the water until you see crystal clear water.

During the whole shock process, clean the pool filter and as well as the vacuum filter bags several times the day.

Check for Overnight Loss of Chlorine

Thorough brushing and vacuuming are followed by performing an overnight chlorine loss test as the sun and algae are both going to deplete the chemical. So test it after sundown and the next early morning before the sunrise.

Going for the cleaning process at the right hours gets the job done in 24 hours. Yet, if you find a major loss in the amount of free chlorine, keep the water at shock level for one more day.

When the levels of free chlorine remain the same or reduced less than a point, then you can allow the chemical to return to target levels.

Following the above steps are all it takes to transform the pool from dirty, algae-loaded and cloudy to beautifully clear in about 24 hours.

As a precaution, make sure no one uses the pool during the cleaning process or at least a day after the job is done.

Regular Maintenance

It’s wonderful that now you have cleaned up the pool water and it’s free of all unwanted elements.

To keep it that way, a little regular maintenance is going to come handy, including testing the water once a day, further stocking up on all the chemicals that may need to be adjusted according to the changing conditions.

Always keep the levels of free chlorine, pH and CYA in acceptable ranges. Investing in a quality chlorinating system like a floater, salt system or in-line works wonders to keep the right levels of chlorine in the water at all times.

Go for a nice brushing and vacuuming of the pool water once a week, cleaning the pool filter on a regular basis. Cleaning the filter twice a day delivers the most amazing results while replacing it if needed.

Important Factors

Unfortunately, there are times when shocking the pool water doesn’t give the desired results. If you witness a cloudy pool after the shocking process, you must get your filter checked.

Another factor that doesn’t kill bacteria and algae completely may be an overuse of stabilizers that make the free chlorine resist the sun’s ultraviolet rays. In such a case, it is best to dilute the water before the cleaning.

Sand filters may sometimes take a bit longer to get the cleaning done to perfection. A cartridge filter produces faster results, and if you still find failure, it may be due to a dirty cartridge filter.

Sometimes, not adding enough chlorine also hampers the cleaning process.

Make sure you add at least thrice the regular amount to achieve the best results. Lastly, not running the pump for enough long also proves to be the culprit at times, so make sure you follow the process for the right specified duration.


There’s no doubt in the statement that the pool is one of the most significant investments of the house.

Whether it’s an above ground pool or an in-ground one, it’s a deal worth thousands of dollars. And that’s why it calls for investing both times and care to keep it clean and well-maintained at all times.

Equipping it with the appropriate cleaning filters and devices is surely the best thing to do.

Plus, you have got the aforesaid amazing DIY pool cleaning process on hand that will get the task done if for some unavoidable reasons the water gets contaminated, thereby restoring your pool to new and fresh.

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