How to Clean a Pool Finish

Sparkling pools are inviting and people love to spend time in them, but when the finish isn’t pristine, it can put a damper on things. That’s one reason why keeping your pool finish clean should be a regular part of your pool maintenance routine.

Brushing, scrubbing, and vacuuming your pool finish weekly can go a long way in keeping it pristine. However, sometimes you need to do some extra cleaning. In this guide, we cover some of the ways to give your finish that extra shine whether you have a concrete, fiberglass, or vinyl pool.

Consult with a Pool Professional

Remember, no matter what kind of finish your pool has, it’s a good idea to consult a pool technician about the best ways to clean your pool to prevent any unintended damage to your finish.

Prevention Is Key

Maintaining proper pool water chemistry is an important part of protecting your pool’s finish. Some stains and discolorations are caused by decaying organic matter such as fallen debris left in the pool for too long or by unbalanced pool chemistry. By keeping your pool well-maintained, you will ensure the health and beauty of your pool’s finish.

How to Clean a Concrete Pool Finish

Many residential in-ground swimming pools are made from concrete, even if the pools have a nice pebble or quartz finish on top. Here are the best ways to maintain and clean a concrete pool finish.

Scrub with Muriatic Acid

If you see stains along the visible part of the pool’s finish, you can create your own scrubbing solution by combining muriatic acid and water. Apply it with a stiff scrub brush to remove some of the more stubborn stains along the top and sides of your pool. You can buy muriatic acid at a local pool store. For stains near the tile line, you do not have to drain your pool, but if the stains are under the waterline, you will.

Stain Removers

For pools with noticeable staining, you will find various stain removers available for purchase. Typically, it’s best to know what caused the staining before choosing and applying the remover. Some removers can be poured into the water while others should be applied directly to the stain. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions on the product that you use.

Drain and Scrub or Power Wash

For serious or widespread stains on your pool’s finish, you may need to drain the pool to scrub or power-wash it. If you choose to power-wash your pool, you can easily rent one at your local equipment store. If you plan to drain your pool and scrub away the stains, you can make a solution of bleach and water. But remember, not all scrubbing solutions can be used on all surfaces so be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a pool store, or your service technician before using one on your pool’s finish.

Acid Washing Your Pool

If your pool’s finish has deep stains, you should consider an acid wash. After draining your swimming pool, change into protective clothing including boots, gloves, and goggles. Then, combine some muriatic acid and water into an acid washing device. Next, spray the pool wall with hose water until it is saturated and then apply the acid mixture to the wall for about 30 seconds. Finally, scrub the pool and wash off the mixture. You’ll need to rinse it thoroughly before filling it again with water. You may have to utilize soda ash in your pool water to raise the pH level and neutralize the acidity in your water.

This can be a particularly labor-intensive process. Many homeowners prefer to hire a professional to take care of the job for them.

Pro Tip

Iron or copper stains are the most common. Iron stains look brown and come from pool equipment and chemicals that you use to maintain your pool. Copper stains vary in color from blue and green to black and purple. Copper stains can be much more difficult to remove.

How to Clean a Fiberglass Pool Finish

If you have a fiberglass pool, you should approach the process differently.

Start by vacuuming your fiberglass pool thoroughly to move any debris that could scratch your pool finish during the cleaning. Then, use gentle cleaning products designed specifically for fiberglass pools. (Abrasive cleaners formulated for concrete finishes can remove the gel-coat from your fiberglass pool and cause serious damage.) The chemicals in fiberglass pool cleaners often feature vitamin C or ascorbic acid to remove the stain. You can buy apply the cleaner using a soft sponge or a piece of fabric.

How to Clean a Vinyl Pool Finish

Vinyl pools require extra care because if you brush it too aggressively or use the wrong chemicals on it, you can tear a hole in the liner. Pool stores sell alkaline-based cleaners specifically made for vinyl pools that can be sprayed directly on the stains. Depending on where the stain is, you may need to drain the pool before applying the cleaning solution.

Keep Your Head Above Water When It Comes to Pool Staining

There are certain times of the year when pool stains are more common. For instance, during seasons when leaves fall into your pool, the organic matter can leave behind stains. Also, an improperly winterized pool can cause stains on your pool finish. During these periods, take extra care to keep your pool finish clean and you will avoid having to clean stubborn stains!

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