How To Clean A Pool That Has Been Sitting

To clean a pool that has been sitting, first remove any debris, then brush the pool walls and floor, vacuum the pool, and finally balance the water chemistry. Having a sparkling clean pool is a dream for any pool owner.

However, if your pool has been sitting unused for a while, it may require some extra attention and maintenance to bring it back to its pristine condition. Neglected pools can accumulate dirt, leaves, and other debris, making them uninviting and potentially unsafe for swimming.

In this article, we will guide you on how to clean a pool that has been sitting. By following a few simple steps, you can have your pool looking clean, clear, and ready for hours of enjoyment in no time. So, let’s dive in and get your pool back in shape!

Understanding The Importance Of Regular Pool Maintenance

Regular pool maintenance is crucial to keeping your pool clean, safe, and ready for swimming. Neglecting pool maintenance can have detrimental effects on the condition of your pool and can even lead to costly repairs. In this section, we will explore the importance of regular pool maintenance and why a neglected pool requires special cleaning measures.

The Detrimental Effects Of Neglecting Pool Maintenance

  • Algae growth: Without regular maintenance, your pool water can become a breeding ground for unsightly and slippery algae. Algae can quickly spread and turn your once sparkling pool into a green and murky mess.
  • Bacterial buildup: Neglected pools can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, such as e. coli and giardia. These bacteria can cause serious health issues for swimmers, including stomach and intestinal problems.
  • Damage to pool equipment: Without proper care, pool equipment such as pumps and filters can become clogged with debris, reducing their effectiveness and potentially causing them to break down. This can lead to costly repairs or even the need to replace equipment altogether.
  • Decreased water quality: Neglected pools can accumulate debris and contaminants, leading to poor water quality. This can result in cloudy water, unpleasant odors, and an increased risk of skin and eye irritation for swimmers.

Why A Neglected Pool Requires Special Cleaning Measures

  • Heavy debris removal: Neglected pools often have a significant buildup of leaves, dirt, and other debris. Special cleaning measures, such as using a pool skimmer or vacuuming the pool floor, may be required to remove this debris effectively.
  • Extra chemical treatments: Neglected pools may have imbalanced ph levels and low sanitizer levels, making it necessary to use extra chemicals to restore proper water chemistry. This may involve shocking the pool and adding additional chemicals to achieve a balanced and safe swimming environment.
  • Deep cleaning: Neglected pools typically require a thorough cleaning to remove algae, bacteria, and built-up dirt from the pool walls, floor, and waterline. This may involve scrubbing the pool surfaces, using specialized cleaning products, and performing a thorough backwash of the pool filter.

By understanding the detrimental effects of neglecting pool maintenance and the need for special cleaning measures, you can ensure that your pool stays clean, safe, and ready for swimming all year round. Regular maintenance not only prolongs the lifespan of your pool but also provides a pleasant and enjoyable swimming experience for you and your family.

So, don’t underestimate the importance of regular pool maintenance and stay on top of your pool cleaning routine for a sparkling oasis in your backyard.

Assessing The Condition Of Your Neglected Pool

Neglected pools can be quite a challenge to clean, but with the right approach, you can have yours sparkling again in no time. Assessing the condition of your neglected pool is the first step towards understanding the work ahead. By identifying visible signs of neglect and assessing water quality and chemical imbalance, you can effectively plan your pool cleaning strategy.

Identifying Visible Signs Of Neglect

  • Look for debris: The presence of leaves, sticks, and other debris is a clear indication of neglect. These can clog the pool filters and affect water circulation.
  • Check for algae growth: Neglected pools often harbor algae growth, which can turn the water green or cloudy. Algae can also make the pool slippery and unsafe for swimming.
  • Examine the pool lining: Cracks, stains, or discoloration on the pool lining are signs of neglect. These issues may require repairs or resurfacing before you can start cleaning.

Assessing Water Quality And Chemical Imbalance

  • Test the water ph: Neglected pools often have imbalanced ph levels. Use a pool testing kit to check the water ph and determine if it falls within the recommended range of 7.2 to 7.8.
  • Measure chlorine levels: Chlorine is crucial for maintaining a healthy pool. Low chlorine levels indicate neglect and can lead to the growth of bacteria and algae. Test the chlorine levels and adjust accordingly.
  • Check for other imbalances: Neglected pools may have imbalances in alkalinity, calcium hardness, or stabilizer levels. These imbalances can affect water clarity and overall pool health. Use appropriate test kits to assess the levels and make any necessary adjustments.

Assessing the condition of your neglected pool is essential to determine the extent of cleaning and maintenance required. By identifying visible signs of neglect and assessing water quality and chemical imbalance, you can pave the way for a successful pool cleaning process.

Preparing Your Tools And Equipment

Cleaning a pool that has been sitting unused for a while can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and equipment, it can be a breeze. In this section, we will focus on preparing your tools and equipment for the cleaning process.

Essential Tools For Pool Cleaning

To effectively clean your pool, you’ll need to gather a few essential tools. Here are the key tools you should have on hand:

  • Pool skimmer: This tool is used to remove debris, such as leaves and bugs, from the water’s surface. It has a net attached to a long pole, allowing you to reach all areas of the pool.
  • Pool brush: A pool brush is used to scrub the walls and floor of the pool. It helps remove algae and other build-up, leaving your pool sparkling clean. Choose a brush with bristles suitable for your pool’s surface, whether it’s concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass.
  • Pool vacuum: A pool vacuum is essential for removing dirt and debris that have settled on the bottom of the pool. There are different types of pool vacuums available, including manual, automatic, and robotic vacuums. Choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.
  • Pool test kit: A pool test kit is necessary to measure the chemical levels in your pool, including chlorine, ph, and alkalinity. Maintaining proper chemical balance is crucial for keeping your pool clean and safe for swimming.

How To Ensure Your Equipment Is In Good Working Condition

Before you start the cleaning process, it’s important to ensure that your pool cleaning equipment is in good working condition. Here are a few tips to help you with that:

  • Check for any damage or wear and tear on the tools. Replace any broken or damaged parts to ensure they function properly.
  • Clean and rinse your tools to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated during storage. This will also help prevent the transfer of contaminants into the pool.
  • Test your pool vacuum and make sure it is sucking up debris effectively. Check the hoses and connections for any leaks or blockages.
  • Calibrate your pool test kit to ensure accurate readings. Follow the instructions provided with the kit to perform the calibration process correctly.

By having the right tools and ensuring they are in good working condition, you are one step closer to having a clean and inviting pool. In the next section, we will discuss the steps to take in order to effectively clean a pool that has been sitting for a while.

So, let’s dive in!

Draining And Removing Debris From The Pool

When it comes to cleaning a pool that has been sitting for a while, draining and removing debris should be your first step. This is crucial to ensure an effective cleaning process and to prevent further contamination. Here are the proper steps to drain the pool effectively and remove leaves, twigs, and other debris from the pool floor:

Proper Steps To Drain The Pool Effectively:

  • Turn off the pool’s filtration system to avoid any potential damage during the draining process.
  • Locate the drain valve or plug at the bottom of the pool and attach a garden hose to it. Make sure to position the other end of the hose in a suitable area where the water can freely flow.
  • Open the drain valve or remove the plug, allowing the water to start draining out. Keep in mind that larger pools may take a significant amount of time to drain completely, so be patient.
  • While the pool is draining, you can take this opportunity to prepare for the debris removal process. Gather a pool skimmer, net, or vacuum, depending on the amount of debris and your preferred cleaning method.

Removing Leaves, Twigs, And Other Debris From The Pool Floor:

  • Start by using a pool skimmer or net to skim off any large floating debris on the surface of the water. This will make it easier to see and access the debris on the pool floor.
  • Carefully maneuver the skimmer or net along the pool floor, collecting leaves, twigs, and other visible debris. Try to remove as much debris as possible to ensure a cleaner pool.
  • For smaller debris or hard-to-reach areas, you can use a pool vacuum. Attach the vacuum head to a telescopic pole, and then connect the vacuum hose to the vacuum head. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to properly set up and operate the vacuum.
  • Slowly move the vacuum head across the pool floor, paying attention to areas with concentrated debris. The vacuum will suck up the debris and collect it in the attached filter bag or basket.
  • Once you have thoroughly skimmed and vacuumed the pool, it’s time to dispose of the collected debris. Empty the contents of the skimmer, net, or vacuum filter bag into a trash bag or compost pile.
  • After draining and removing debris from the pool, you can proceed with the cleaning and maintenance process, such as scrubbing the pool walls and floor, checking the filtration system, and balancing the water chemistry.

Remember, keeping your pool clean and free from debris not only enhances its appearance but also ensures a safe and enjoyable swimming experience. By following these steps to properly drain and remove debris from your pool, you’ll be on your way to a sparkling clean oasis in no time.

Restoring The Pool Water’S Balance

Cleaning a neglected pool requires more than just a quick skim and a vacuum. If your pool has been sitting unused for a while, the water’s balance is likely to be completely off. This can lead to murky, unappealing water that can also pose health risks.

To restore the pool water’s balance, there are a few key steps you need to take. Testing and adjusting ph levels, and balancing the pool’s alkalinity and chlorine levels are crucial. ###

Testing And Adjusting Ph Levels:

  • Start by using a pool testing kit to measure the ph level of the water.
  • The ideal ph level for a pool is between 7.2 and 7.6. If the ph level is too low (acidic), you’ll need to raise it. If it’s too high (alkaline), you’ll need to lower it.
  • Adjust the ph level by adding either ph increaser or ph reducer, depending on whether the ph is too low or too high.
  • Test the ph level again after adding the necessary chemicals, as it may take some time for the adjustment to take effect.
  • Continue monitoring the ph levels regularly to ensure they stay within the recommended range.

Balancing The Pool’S Alkalinity And Chlorine Levels:

  • Once the ph level is balanced, it’s time to address the alkalinity levels. Alkalinity acts as a buffer, helping to stabilize the ph level.
  • Test the alkalinity using a pool testing kit. The ideal alkalinity range is between 80 and 120 parts per million (ppm).
  • If the alkalinity levels are too low, you can increase them by adding baking soda or an alkalinity increaser.
  • On the other hand, if the alkalinity levels are too high, you can lower them using muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate.
  • After adjusting the alkalinity levels, it’s essential to maintain proper chlorine levels. Chlorine is crucial for killing bacteria and keeping the water clean and safe.
  • Test the chlorine levels using a pool testing kit. The ideal range for chlorine is between 1 to 3 ppm.
  • Add chlorine tablets or liquid chlorine to maintain the recommended levels. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Regularly test and adjust the chlorine levels to keep the pool water sanitized and ready for use.

By testing and adjusting the ph levels, as well as balancing the pool’s alkalinity and chlorine levels, you can restore the water’s balance and ensure a clean, inviting pool. Remember to regularly test the water and make any necessary adjustments to maintain the water in its ideal condition.

Let’s dive into the next section to learn more about cleaning techniques for a neglected pool.

Cleaning The Pool Walls And Tiles

Effective Techniques For Removing Algae And Stains

Maintaining the cleanliness of your pool is not only essential for ensuring a safe swimming environment but also for preserving the aesthetics of the pool area. One common issue that pool owners might encounter after a period of neglect is the growth of algae and stubborn stains on the pool walls and tiles.

Fortunately, there are effective techniques you can employ to tackle these problems and restore your pool to its pristine condition. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Algae removal
  • Brush the pool walls and tiles vigorously to dislodge algae buildup.
  • Use a pool vacuum or a manual vac head attachment to remove the dislodged algae.
  • Shock your pool with an appropriate amount of chlorine to inhibit algae growth.
  • Consider using algaecide products or natural alternatives, such as baking soda, to further combat algae growth.
  • Stain removal
  • Identify the type of stain to determine the most suitable treatment method.
  • For rust stains, try using a specialized pool stain remover or a mixture of vinegar and water.
  • Calcium stains can be challenging to remove, but a diluted mixture of muriatic acid and water can be effective. Remember to handle this acid with extreme caution and wear protective equipment.
  • For organic stains like leaves or grass, a pool brush and mild detergent can help eliminate the discoloration.
  • In some cases, particularly for stubborn or deep-rooted stains, professional help may be required.
  • Preventive measures
  • Regularly scrub the pool walls and tiles to prevent algae and stain buildup.
  • Maintain the pool’s chemical balance through regular water testing and appropriate chemical treatments.
  • Install a pool cover when the pool is not in use to minimize debris accumulation.
  • Clean pool equipment and accessories regularly to prevent any potential contamination.

By following these effective techniques for removing algae and stains, you can successfully restore the cleanliness and beauty of your pool walls and tiles. Remember, consistent maintenance is the key to ensuring a pristine and inviting swimming environment for you and your loved ones.

Cleaning The Pool Filter And Pump

Understanding The Importance Of A Clean Filter

Ensuring that your pool filter is clean is crucial for maintaining a clean and healthy pool environment. The filter is responsible for removing debris, dirt, and other impurities from the water, allowing you to enjoy a crystal-clear swimming experience. Here are the key reasons why a clean filter is of utmost importance:

  • Efficient filtration: A clean filter performs at its best, allowing water to flow through it unhindered. This ensures effective filtration and helps to maintain the water’s clarity by removing any visible particles or contaminants.
  • Extended lifespan: Regularly cleaning the pool filter extends its lifespan. When the filter is clogged with debris, it exerts unnecessary pressure on the system, leading to wear and tear. By keeping it clean, you can avoid costly repairs or replacements in the long run.
  • Optimal water circulation: A clean filter facilitates proper water circulation throughout the pool. This not only helps distribute chemicals evenly but also prevents the formation of stagnant areas where bacteria or algae can thrive.
  • Energy efficiency: A clean filter requires less energy to operate efficiently. By reducing the strain on the pool pump, it helps maintain optimal energy consumption, leading to lower utility bills.

Step-By-Step Guide To Cleaning The Pool Filter And Pump

Cleaning the pool filter and pump is an essential maintenance task that should be performed regularly to keep your pool in top condition. Follow these simple steps to ensure a thorough cleaning process:

  • Turn off the pool pump: Before starting any maintenance, turn off the pool pump to avoid accidents and reduce the risk of damaging the equipment.
  • Access the filter and pump: Depending on your pool setup, locate the filter and pump system. This might require removing the pump lid or accessing a dedicated filter compartment.
  • Clean or replace the filter element: Depending on the type of filter you have (e.g., sand, cartridge, or de filter), remove the filter element and inspect it for any visible debris or damage. Clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions or replace it if necessary.
  • Remove debris from filter housing: While the filter element is removed, take the opportunity to clear any debris or leaves from the housing. This helps prevent clogging and improves the overall efficiency of the system.
  • Clean the pump strainer basket: Locate the pump strainer basket and remove any debris or leaves that may have accumulated. This ensures proper water flow and prevents blockages that could affect the pump’s performance.
  • Inspect o-rings and gaskets: Check the o-rings and gaskets on the filter and pump system for any signs of wear or damage. If needed, lubricate them with a suitable lubricant to maintain proper sealing.
  • Reassemble and test: Once you have completed the cleaning process, reassemble the filter and pump system, ensuring all components are securely in place. Turn on the pool pump and verify that it is running smoothly without any unusual noises or leaks.
  • Regular maintenance schedule: To keep your pool in pristine condition, establish a regular maintenance schedule to clean the filter and pump. This may vary depending on factors such as pool usage and environmental conditions.

Remember, a clean filter and pump are the backbone of a well-maintained pool. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy a clean and inviting swimming pool all season long. So, roll up your sleeves and dive into the task of cleaning your pool filter and pump for a sparkling pool that’s ready for fun!

Addressing Any Structural Issues

If your pool has been sitting unused for a while, it’s important to address any structural issues before you begin the cleaning process. Neglecting to fix these issues can result in further damage and potentially more costly repairs down the line.

Here are some key steps to take:

Identifying And Repairing Cracks Or Leaks:

  • Thoroughly inspect the pool for any visible cracks or leaks.
  • Use a dye test to identify hidden leaks. Add a few drops of food coloring near suspicious areas and observe if the color gets drawn into the crack or leak.
  • Once identified, repair small cracks using a pool patch kit or epoxy filler. For larger cracks or structural damage, it’s best to consult a professional pool repair service.

Fixing Damaged Pool Equipment And Accessories:

  • Examine all pool equipment, such as pumps, filters, and heaters, for any signs of damage or wear.
  • Replace any malfunctioning or broken equipment with new ones to ensure proper functioning of the pool system.
  • Check the pool accessories, such as ladders, handrails, and diving boards, for any damage or loose parts. Fix or replace as needed to ensure safety and functionality.

Remember, addressing any structural issues is crucial to ensure the long-term health and usability of your pool. By identifying and repairing cracks or leaks, as well as fixing damaged equipment and accessories, you’ll be on your way to a clean and well-maintained pool that can be enjoyed for years to come.

Refilling And Rebalancing The Pool Water

After a pool has been sitting stagnant for a while, refilling and rebalancing the pool water is necessary to restore it to a clean and safe condition. This crucial step in the pool cleaning process ensures that the water is at the appropriate level and that its chemistry and clarity are maintained.

Here’s what you need to know:

Refilling The Pool To The Appropriate Water Level:

  • Start by checking the water level in the pool. If it has significantly dropped, you’ll need to refill it to the proper level.
  • Use a garden hose to slowly add water to the pool. This gradual process prevents splashing and potential damage to the pool interior.
  • Keep an eye on the water level as you refill it, ensuring that it reaches the recommended mark.
  • Once the pool has reached the appropriate water level, you can move on to the next step of rebalancing the water chemistry.

Final Adjustments To Water Chemistry And Clarity:

  • Test the pool water using a reliable water testing kit. This will provide you with important information about the chemical balance of the water.
  • Adjust the ph levels first. If the ph is too high or too low, use the appropriate chemicals to bring it back to the recommended range.
  • Next, check the chlorine levels. If they are too low, add the necessary amount of chlorine to achieve the desired level.
  • It’s important to also test and adjust the alkalinity and calcium hardness of the water as needed.
  • Monitor the clarity of the water, checking for any visual issues such as cloudiness or discoloration.
  • If the water looks cloudy, use a pool clarifier to improve its clarity. If there are any visible stains or algae growth, address them accordingly with the appropriate pool treatments.
  • Regularly test and adjust the water chemistry until you achieve the right balance, ensuring that it is safe and comfortable for swimming.

With the pool refilled to the appropriate level and the water chemistry and clarity properly balanced, you’re now ready to enjoy your sparkling clean pool. Regular maintenance and monitoring will help prevent future issues and keep your pool in optimal condition all season long.

Maintaining A Regular Cleaning Routine

The Importance Of Ongoing Pool Maintenance

Maintaining a regular cleaning routine for your pool is essential to ensure its longevity and to provide a safe swimming environment for you and your family. Neglecting pool maintenance can lead to a buildup of debris, algae growth, and imbalanced water chemistry.

To avoid these issues, follow these tips for keeping your pool clean and well-maintained.

Tips For Keeping Your Pool Clean And Well-Maintained

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your pool are critical to keeping it in top condition. Here are some key tips to help you achieve this:

  • Skim the pool surface: Use a skimmer net to remove leaves, insects, and other debris floating on the water surface. Regular skimming prevents clogging of the pool filtration system and maintains clean water.
  • Vacuum the pool: Invest in an automatic pool cleaner or manually vacuum the pool to remove dirt and particles settled on the pool bottom. Vacuuming helps to eliminate any stubborn debris and prevent the buildup of algae.
  • Brush the pool walls and floor: Use a pool brush to scrub the walls and floor to dislodge any algae or dirt that may be clinging to the surfaces. This step helps in preventing algae growth and keeps the pool visually appealing.
  • Empty skimmer baskets and clean filters: Regularly clean out the skimmer baskets and ensure they are free from debris. Additionally, clean or backwash the pool filters according to the manufacturer’s guidelines to maintain proper water flow and filtration efficiency.
  • Test and balance the chemicals: Regularly test the pool water chemistry and adjust the chemical levels as needed. This includes maintaining appropriate levels of chlorine, ph, alkalinity, and calcium hardness to prevent algae growth, cloudy water, and skin irritation.
  • Shock the pool: Periodically shock the pool by adding a pool shock treatment to eliminate any contaminants, organic matter, or bacteria that may have built up over time. This step helps in maintaining clear and sanitary water.
  • Maintain water level: Ensure that the pool water level is neither too low nor too high. The water level should be at the halfway point of the skimmer mouth for optimal filtration and circulation.
  • Check and maintain equipment: Regularly inspect and maintain the pool equipment, including the pump, filter, heater, and valves. This helps to identify any issues early on and ensures proper functioning of the pool system.
  • Cover the pool when not in use: Use a pool cover to keep out debris, reduce evaporation, and maintain water temperature. A cover also acts as a safety precaution, especially if you have children or pets.
  • Schedule professional maintenance: Consider hiring a professional pool maintenance service to perform routine inspections, cleanings, and equipment maintenance. They have the expertise and experience to keep your pool in excellent condition.

By following these tips and maintaining a regular cleaning routine, you can enjoy a clean, inviting pool all season long. Keep in mind that consistency is key when it comes to pool maintenance, as it ensures the longevity and enjoyment of your pool for years to come.

Happy swimming!

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Clean A Pool That Has Been Sitting

How Long Can A Pool Sit Without Being Cleaned?

A pool can sit for a maximum of one to two weeks without being cleaned. After that, algae and bacteria can begin to grow, affecting the water quality and potentially posing health risks to swimmers.

What Happens If A Pool Is Not Cleaned?

If a pool is not cleaned regularly, the water can become cloudy, algae can grow, and bacterial levels can increase. This can lead to unpleasant odors, skin and eye irritations, and potential health hazards for swimmers.

Can You Swim In A Pool That Has Been Sitting For A While?

It is not recommended to swim in a pool that has been sitting for an extended period without being cleaned. The water may be contaminated with bacteria, algae, or other harmful substances that can cause health issues.

How Often Should A Pool Be Cleaned?

Pools should be cleaned and maintained regularly, ideally at least once a week. This includes removing debris, brushing and vacuuming the pool walls and floor, and checking and adjusting the chemical levels to ensure clean and safe swimming conditions.

What Are The Steps To Clean A Neglected Pool?

To clean a neglected pool, start by removing any debris from the surface and bottom using a skimmer or net. Brush the pool walls and floor, then vacuum the pool to remove any remaining dirt. Finally, balance the chemical levels and shock the pool with chlorine to kill any bacteria.


To summarize, cleaning a pool that has been sitting requires thorough steps to ensure proper maintenance and enjoyment. Regularly skimming and removing debris helps prevent buildup and extend the pool’s lifespan. Utilizing a pool vacuum and brushing the walls and floor regularly prevent algae growth and keep the water clear.

Monitoring and maintaining the pool’s chemical balance are crucial, as improper levels can lead to uncomfortable swimming conditions and equipment damage. Blindly adding chemicals without understanding the pool’s needs can be detrimental. Finally, addressing any necessary repairs promptly, such as leaks or cracked tiles, prevents further damage and costly repairs down the line.

By following these guidelines and investing time in proper cleaning and maintenance, a pool owner can enjoy crystal-clear water and extend the lifespan of their pool for years to come.

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