How to Keep a Pool Clean

Since we are swimming pool owners, we always want our swimming pool as clean as possible.  Just what do we do to accomplish this?

Dirt and Debris

We inevitably will get dirt and debris in our swimming pool.  Especially if we have trees around the pool.  Sometimes the neighbors have trees that get junk into our swimming pool water.  Whatever the case, we need to get it out.  Not only is it unsightly, but anything organic turns into food for algae known as phosphates.

We need a good pool net to be able to scoop out as much debris as possible.  Pool nets come in many shapes and sizes.  Some are called “skimmers” which are a flat net, good for skimming the surface of our pools.  What gets the debris off of the top and the bottom are nets with a deeper basket.  These types of nets are known as pool rakes.  

Attach your pool net to your telescopic pole and go back and forth in the water, scooping up the leaves and such.  To get the bottom stuff, we create turbulence, causing the leaves to float, allowing us to be able to grab them with our net.

Vacuuming the pool is another important aspect of removing debris.  There are 3 ways to vacuum your swimming pool

  1. Manual Vacuum
  2. Battery powered vacuums’
  3. Automatic Pool Cleaners

Pro Tip:  All manners of vacuuming are designed to keep a clean swimming pool clean.  Larger debris must first be scooped out to avoid a clog in your line.

Manual vacuums require a pool hose, a pool vacuum head and your telescopic pole.  Attach the vacuum head to your pool hose and pole.  You plug it in to your skimmer or designated suction line.  Turn on the equipment and vacuum away.  The debris gets caught in you pool filter.

Battery powered vacuums are like dust busters for the water.  They come in a variety of sizes.  When I say “size” I am really referring to the canister, which determines how much debris it can capture before needing to be emptied.  The debris gets caught in the canister.

Automatic pool cleaners are my vacuum method of choice.  They come in 3 types.

  1. Pressure side
  2. Suction side
  3. Robotic

A pressure side cleaner requires a special pressure line and its own pump.  The pump pushes the cleaner around your swimming pool.  This can get expensive as it needs a pump to operate.  Especially if you live in a region where electricity is expensive.  Pressure side cleaners contain a net.  This is where the debris gets captured.

A suction cleaner attaches to your skimmer or designated suction line.  It comes with individual hose lengths, which attach to a cleaner head.  When the pump comes on, the cleaner moves around sucking up dirt and debris.  The debris is then captured in your pool filter.  

My favorite type of automatic pool cleaners are robotic cleaners.  They are completely independent from your pump and filter and also completely self contained.  This eliminates extra strain on your pump and filter and do not require their own pump.  Nope.  They plug into a standard 110v outlet.  They contain a canister which can easily be removed and emptied.  Looking for a good robotic for your pool?  Check these out. They even make one for above ground pools. These type of cleaners have a certain cycle time which will clean your pool floor and walls in just a few hours.

Water Chemistry

Having balanced water chemistry does not only make your pool look clean, but it also keeps the water safe for you and your family.  It also prevents any potential damage to your plumbing, equipment and your swimming pool’s surface.  It is important to test your water before adding any chemicals.  Always read and follow any chemical instructions and wear the proper safety gear.

Some things we check for are sanitizer levels, pH and alkalinity, cyanuric acid, calcium hardness and salt or total dissolved solids (depending on what type of system you have).  Test the water and make any necessary adjustments to get each field back into range.

Pro Tip:  Only add chemicals when the pool pump is running and allow adequate circulation time after you add any chemicals.

This article explains how to chlorinate your water properly.


Running our pool pump the proper amount of hours is a factor in keeping a swimming pool clean.  Chemicals only mix and work when the water is moving.  We need the pump to run long enough to allow for the amount of water in the pool’s equal amount to pass through the pool filter.  This is known as a turnover.  Many of you may exclaim, “But it is so expensive to run my pool pump!”.  If you have a single speed pump, you are right.  After your air conditioner, a pool pump is the most expensive thing to operate.  This is why many people are turning to the newer technology of a variable speed pump.  Find some high quality, American made, energy saving, variable speed pool pumps here.  


Along with a swimming pool pump, every swimming pool has a pool filter.  Pool filters come in 3 different types.

  1. Diatomaceous Earth
  2. Cartridge
  3. Sand

Sand filters only need to have the sand changed every 2-3 years.  But they need to be backwashed when the pressure gets to be 8-10 psi above your clean starting pressure.

DE filters follow this same rule.  Cartridge filters require the cartridge(s) be removed and hosed off when needed.

What does a filter have to do with a clean pool?  Well, your filter catches all the dirt and debris in the water.  If it is clogged or has broken elements, it can’t do it’s job.  Your water may look murky or cloudy.  A dirty filter impedes proper circulation, which we just talked about the importance of.  Keep an eye on that filter pressure gauge, folks!

We have now seen how all of these individual elements can leave us with a clean and safe swimming pool by working together.  See you poolside!

Related articles:

Sand in Your Pool? Here’s Why—And How to Fix It

How to Properly Chlorinate Your Pool—In Three Easy Steps