Pool Hygiene: How to Keep Your Above Ground Pool Clean

Pool hygiene is an important cornerstone for keeping the water in your pool clean. But which bathing rules apply in the pool, and what resources do you need?

The water in the pool remains hygienically clean and lasts longer if you clean your body under the garden shower before entering the pool to wash off colloidal substances such as sun creams and perfumes. Furthermore, pets are prohibited in the pool, and swimming is only permitted in swimwear.

In this article, you will find hygiene instructions and bathing rules for your pool to maintain the water balance and prevent cloudiness.

Bathing rules and hygiene instructions in the pool

You can stick to the general swimming and bathing rules when using private pools and whirlpools.

The observance of the bathing rules serves the pool’s cleanliness and safety.

In addition, the following tips can help reduce the use of pool chemicals and thus lower pool maintenance costs.

#1 Body cleansing with the garden shower

Before entering a pool, your body should be thoroughly cleaned.

This process is used to wash away grease, sunscreens, perfumes, and other colloidal particles that can later lead to milky pool water.

A practical solar garden shower can help to ensure that bathing rule.

If users do not wash properly – before jumping into the pool – and the pool pump run times are too short, this leads to the formation of a fat film.

Trust me: Cleaning a fat film in the pool is anything but easy.

You may encounter resistance to this rule, but as a pool operator, it is your responsibility to maintain the quality of the water.

Tip: Before jumping into the cold water, it is healthy to cool off beforehand. That works wonderfully with the garden shower.

#2 Avoid soaps and brushes in the pool

Soaps and other toiletries should not be used in the pool under any circumstances.

These substances would lead to an imbalance in the water balance and consequently cloud the pool water.

But we’re not just talking about the direct use of soaps in the pool.

Soaps used outside – under the garden shower – are also harmful, as soap residues are always brought in.

As a solution, I recommend a special shower gel for swimmers.

Tip: Always wash off sun creams and other skincare products before jumping into the pool.

But brushing your hair is also prohibited in terms of pool hygiene.

Hair residues clog the pool pump unnecessarily and can lead to expensive damage.

You can read more about this topic on my blog – Problems with the pool pump. Just click on the link.

#3 Don’t swim with an infection or open wound

Do not let anyone swim in the pool if they have an infection or an open wound.

This would primarily contaminate the water and pose a safety risk to other bathers.

But the pool water is also a danger for the person concerned.

The pool contains germs, legionella, and other bacteria that worsen the wound. Source.

Tip: It’s best to wait before you get back into the pool and use a waterproof plaster, even for minor cuts.

#4 Wear the right swimwear in your pool

For hygienic reasons, swimming in the pool should only be carried out in suitable swimwear.

That means: Bathing is forbidden in street clothes!

The pool is not a washing machine, and using it with street clothes leads to mustard algae and other bacteria.

The pool water would quickly become cloudy, and in order to eliminate this, there would be extra costs due to the use of pool chemicals.

Tip: Swimwear used in the lake or pond should be washed beforehand to prevent the dangerous blue-green algae from being brought in.

#5 Use the bathroom before taking a dip in your pool

It should go without saying, but it should be mentioned that a toilet should be used before entering the pool.

In particular, with small children, it is important to ensure that they do not do their business in pool water.

Why is this so important for pool hygiene?

Urine and sweat react with the chlorine, and harmful chloramines are formed.

The result is, your pool gets the typical pool smell, and the risk of cancer increases.

Tip: The use of sufficient free chlorine eliminates the chloramines. You can find more about chlorine in my blog.

#6 Exclude pets in the pool

This is not discrimination against pets, but the fact is: Pets have no place in the pool.

Animals can bring various foreign substances – from saliva to urine and feces – into the pool and lead to poor pool water quality.

It’s best to keep man’s best friend waiting outside the pool.

If the animal tries to get into the pool itself, an alternative must be created – this works best with a pool for dogs.

Tip: Move the dog pool a little further away so that no splashes end up in your swimming pool.

#7 Don’t use a pool that is cloudy or has a noticeable smell

Occasionally I am asked whether you can swim in a cloudy pool.

The basic rule says: Bathing in a cloudy pool or a pool with a noticeable smell should be strictly prohibited.

If the pool water is milky or has a noticeable smell, it calls for immediate pool cleaning.

The pool has to be clean and clear, and if it isn’t, this can have health consequences for all bathers.

In the case of a short-term pool party, you can use a clarifier to remove the cloudiness if necessary.

Before using it, you should know that the clarifier is only a short-term solution in the pool.

The problem has to be corrected later to avoid long-term consequences.

I recommend my guide for the pool shock. Follow the link to read my free guide.

Hygiene tips for large paddling pools and swimming pools

Compliance with the bathing rules is not the only way to ensure hygiene in your pool.

The following water treatment tips can significantly improve the quality of pool water.

#1 Measure and optimize the pH level in your pool

A parameter that should not be neglected in pool maintenance under any circumstances is the pH level.

The pH level tells you whether the water is acidic, neutral, or alkaline.

If the ideal level of 7.2 – 7.6 in the pool water is not adhered to, different problems arise.

To prevent this, you have to measure the pH level in the pool every day.

The pH level can be checked with simple test strips.

When it comes to testing strips, measurement errors are always to be expected – feel free to measure a second time.

Depending on which pH level is measured, optimization is necessary:

Tip: If the pH level needs to be optimized, an electronic water tester is the better choice.

Before optimizing the pH level, it is necessary to measure and optimize the alkalinity in your pool.

You can read why the alkalinity (also known as acid capacity) is so important in my blog under the link.

Further essential parameters in the pool can be found in the table:

Parameter Level
Alkalinity 80 – 120 ppm
pH 7,2 – 7,6
Calcium hardness 200 – 400 ppm

Be sure to read on in the text because pool hygiene is made up of many parts.

#2 Use disinfectant in your pool

Optimizing the pH level is far from over.

For more hygiene in your pool, disinfectants must be used to kill algae and other bacteria.

These can include the following disinfectants:

  • Chlorine: When dosed correctly, this is an agent with strong oxidizing power.
  • Active oxygen: ideal for use in large and small pools.
  • Bromine: A weak alternative to chlorine.
  • Biguanide: A seldom-used disinfectant in private bathrooms.

I recommend using chlorine in your pool in compliance with the instructions for use.

Don’t want to use chlorine and other disinfectants when cleaning your pool?

Then I recommend my guide to pool maintenance without chlorine. Click on the link to view the article.

#3 Filter the pool water with a sand filter system

We have ensured the pool water balance by optimizing the pH level and using suitable disinfectants.

But what is still missing in your pool hygiene is the operation of a sand filter system.

The disinfectant can develop its full effect with sufficient pool water filtration and contribute to lasting water quality.

Ideally, the filter system runs 6 to 8 hours a day. During this time, the water in the pool should be circulated (filtered) at least once.

You can find more information about the running time of the pool pump under the link.

Tip: Alternatively, cartridge filters are used in small pools.

#4 Partial water changes and regular freshwater supply

It is not done with the initial filling of the pool.

Due to the natural evaporation in the pool and the usage of pool chemicals, a partial water change is necessary.

If the pool is not regularly supplied with fresh water, the pool pump could suck in air and be damaged in the worst-case scenario.

Another reason is that the proportion of chlorine stabilizers continues to increase when using di-chlorine or tri-chlorine. In the end, the disinfecting effect of the chlorine does not materialize.

There is nothing left to do but to empty a part of the pool water and refill it with fresh water to solve this problem.

This may be possible with a suitable submersible pool pump.

If the topic interests you further, read the article on the chlorine stabilizer.

Tip: With a sand filter system, a partial water change can take place via the drain position.

Important basic equipment for more hygiene in a swimming pool

Specific basic equipment is necessary for pool maintenance.

This includes the following equipment:

Pool brush and floor vacuum cleaner: The pool brush removes algae and other deposits in the pool to prevent cloudiness. The dirt is then removed from the floor with a pool vacuum.

Landing net and skimmer: The pool net is used to remove the accumulated dirt from the water’s surface. A surface skimmer facilitates cleaning on the surface.

Pool cover: The best way to keep your pool hygienic is to keep the dirt away. This works best with a suitable cover.

Ideally, a solar pool cover is used to heat the water additionally.

Hygiene tips for mini paddling pools

The same bathing rules apply to the paddling pool as to your large pool.

The only difference in pool maintenance is that you can regularly change the paddling pool’s water.

I also wrote an article on how the water in the paddling pool lasts longer.

Roughly, the maintenance of a paddling pool involves the following steps:

  1. Some chlorine or active oxygen is used to disinfect the water.
  2. The water balance is checked daily with test strips and, if necessary, optimized.
  3.  The floor in the paddling pool should be scrubbed daily with a pool brush.
  4. Ideally, a cartridge filter runs 4 to 6 hours a day to filter the water.
  5. The use of a flocculant improves the water quality.

My experience has shown that it is worth changing the water completely every 3 to 4 days in the paddling pool.

Before refilling, the floor is thoroughly scrubbed and rinsed with the brush.

Tips for more hygiene in the paddling pool:

  • The paddling pool should, if possible, always be covered in the evening to minimize dirt.
  • A foot bath in front of the paddling pool also helps to reduce the dirt in the water.
  • Any dirt is removed immediately with a fine-meshed net.

Do you have any further questions about pool hygiene?

Contact me at @contactswimfool on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Co – I’ll be happy to help you personally with your problem.

In this sense, have fun bathing in your hygienically perfect water.

Photo of author
Hi. I'm Max Berg. I've been in the pool industry since 2015 and have always felt drawn to water. I'm the author behind swimfool.com, where I share my years of experience in pool maintenance and give helpful tips on keeping a swimming pool or hot tub clean. My tips reduce the costs of water treatment and protect the environment.

Keep Reading