How to Clean Dirt From The Bottom of Your Pool (7 Easy Steps)

Cleaning the pool floor is important to keep the water crystal clear. But how can you clean the pool floor to avoid cloudiness?

The pool floor is scrubbed with a pool brush and vacuumed with a hydraulic pool vacuum. As an alternative, you can use an automatic floor vacuum cleaner or, in large pools, an electric pool robot to clean the pool floor.

In this article, you will find a helpful step-by-step guide on how to clean the bottom of your pool. I will also give you tips on minimizing dirt in your pool.

Clean the pool bottom in 7 steps

Especially in spring, when the new pool season starts, the pool must get a complete cleaning.

Above all, this includes cleaning the bottom of your pool.

But even in the middle of summer, the floor in the pool must be cleaned regularly so that the pool water does not become cloudy.

The following instructions explain how to clean the pool floor properly. Follow the straightforward advice, and you will have clean water in the pool in the long term.

1. Check the water level in your pool

Before the actual cleaning of the pool floor can begin, the water level in the pool must first be checked and, if necessary, corrected.

It is natural for the pool to lose some amount of water through pool cleaning and evaporation.

If the water level in the pool is below the optimal level, then start refilling with water. This will avoid problems with the pool pump.

Don’t worry: You don’t have to wait for the water level to return to normal to start cleaning the pool.

Place the water hose over the edge of the pool (crown) and let it ripple so that you don’t forget to close the water later.

2. Basic cleaning with a pool brush

In the next step, the pool is cleaned with a classic pool brush.

The brush removes deposits such as algae and other bacteria from the pool edge to not spread to the bottom of the pool.

The pool brush belongs in every pool maintenance set. If you don’t have one yet, I recommend the following model.

If you have pool stairs or a ladder in your pool, these must also be scrubbed with a brush.

The stairs in the pool could also be cleaned with a pool vacuum, but experience has shown that a brush is better suited to picking up the dirt in every corner.

Your entire workforce is required here – be thorough with the pool brush so that the pool water stays clean longer.

3. Clean the water surface with a pool net

After the pool has been scrubbed, the floating dirt must be removed with a pool net.

This is important so that the dirt does not sink to the pool floor.

Hold the net along the edge to remove the loosened dirt and other substances such as leaves or insects.

A fine-meshed landing net is best suited for this.

When you have cleaned the edge of the pool and the rest of the surface in your pool with the landing net, all you have to do is clean the skimmer.

Remove the skimmer basket and empty it before you clean the floor in the basin with a pool vacuum in the next step.

This is important so that the suction performance of the pool vacuum is not reduced.

4. Connect the pool vacuum

Now go with the pool hose and vacuum cleaner to the appropriate point for the connection – this is often the skimmer or a different location in your pool.

You don’t have a vacuum cleaner for your swimming pool? I recommend the Intex pool vacuum set or the Bestway models.

How to connect the pool vacuum, I explain here:

  1. Clamp a long telescopic rod to the pool vacuum cleaner.
  2. Now one end of the pool hose is attached to the vacuum cleaner.
  3. The pool hose and suction cup must be held underwater to ventilate it in the next step.
  4. After the venting process has been completed, the open end of the pool hose is passed through the flap of the skimmer and inserted into the suction tube.
  5. The filter system is switched to a manual mode not to interrupt the process.
  6. The multi-valve on the sand filter system is now set to filtration (12 o’clock position).
  7. If there is a floor drain, it is closed to increase the suction on the vacuum cleaner.

I want to mention here that the return flow in your swimming pool always remains open when vacuuming – this is the pipe with the sight glass that leads away from the multi-valve to your pool.

The next step explains how to clean the pool floor with a vacuum cleaner.

5. Clean the pool floor with the pool vacuum

If you clean the floor in your swimming pool with a pool vacuum, the ideal technique is crucial.

Which technique is correct is determined by the nature of the pool.

Vacuuming a square pool:

If the floor and the walls form a right angle, the following suction technique is ideal.

  1. First, drive along the edges once around the entire pool.
  2. Now start at a corner and move the pool vacuum cleaner lightly over the middle of the swimming pool.
  3. The suction always overlaps to avoid streaking.
  4. Repeat the process until one side of the floor in your pool has been cleaned. Then, repeat the procedure on the other side of your pool.

A round pool requires a different technique for vacuuming the pool floor.

To do this, you drive lane by lane around the pool until the floor in your pool has been completely cleaned.

Extra tip: It is important – regardless of the shape of the pool – that you always vacuum while overlapping. In addition, you should guide the vacuum cleaner slowly so that no clouds form on the suction head.

6. Clean the pool pump after cleaning the floor

When you have finished cleaning the pool floor, you have to go to your pool room again and set the operating switch to zero.

Then close all pipes in the swimming pool, including the skimmer, the return, and the floor connection.

Also, set the multi-valve to closed (4 o’clock position) and only then open the cover of the pool pump to clean the filter.

Once the sieve has been cleaned, put it back and close the pool pump with the lid – make sure that no dirt particles adhere to the seal to prevent the pool pump from leaking.

Now you can go back to the regular operation of your pool.

To do this, all valves are opened, and the multi-valve of the sand filter system is set to the 12 o’clock position (filtration).

7. Backwashing and rinsing of the filter system

Now start the pool pump again and backwash the sand filter system.

In my blog article, I explain how you should flush the sand filter system. Just follow the link.

Here’s a rough explanation you can stick to:

  1. The pool pump is initially switched off.
  2. The multi-valve is moved to the 6 o’clock position (flushing).
  3. Turn the pump on again and wait until the sight glass in the pool pump has clean water.
  4. Then the pool pump is switched off again, and the multi-valve is set to rinse.
  5. Now start the pool pump. The rinsing must continue until the water in the sight glass is clear.
  6. Finally, the multi-valve of the sand filter system is set back to filtration (12 o’clock position).
  7. Regular operation is initiated again when the operating switch of the pool pump is set to automatic mode (position II).

If you use a cartridge filter, rinse it off with a garden hose.

The backwashing and rinsing of the filter system are important so that the filtration remains high and cloudy pool water is prevented.

Now you can disconnect the hose from the teat and get everything out of the water.

Tip: Put the vacuum cleaner and the hose in a shady place and not directly in the sun so that they are stored dry.

8. Check parameters in your pool water

Before we finally test the parameters in our pool water, we check again that all valves are open and that the sand filter system has been set to filtration.

If the garden hose was placed over the pool crown to refill water in the bathroom, it might now have to be switched off.

The parameters in the water are always measured at the end of each pool cleaning.

I recommend the following electronic water tester because it determines the parameters precisely.

In a separate blog article, I explain which other measuring methods can test the water in your pool. To do this, click on the link.

The following parameters are particularly important for maintaining the water balance.

  • The pH level in the water should be 7.2 to 7.6.
  • The alkalinity (acid capacity) is ideally between 80 – 120 ppm.
  • The pool calcium hardness is optimal at 300 ppm – alternatively between 200 and 400 ppm.

How to optimize the parameters in the pool, I explain in detail in my blog. 

Use the search function or read through my free guide to pool chemistry.

Automatic pool vacuums make cleaning the pool floor easier

Cleaning the pool floor with a vacuum cleaner is thorough with the proper technique but can be pretty exhausting in the long run.

This is not a problem for many pool owners in small above-ground pools, but a classic pool vacuum is not always recommended, especially for older people.

What if you have to clean a large concrete pool?

Automatic pool vacuum cleaners are used for this purpose.

Filter-dependent automatic pool vacuum:

The automatic pool vacuum cleaner is not connected to the skimmer like the classic vacuum cleaner but directly to the return flow of the pool via the pool hose.

This type of vacuum cleaner is also known as a filter-dependent pool bottom vacuum cleaner because the performance depends on the delivery rate of your pool pump.

Due to the inflowing water, the automatic pool vacuum is set in motion. At the same time, the robotic vacuum cleaner cleans the floor and sucks the dirt into an integrated filter system.

Electric pool vacuum robot:

Much more powerful and independent of the filter system in your pool are electric pool vacuum robots.

The pool robot operates via a long power cable or an integrated battery.

The pool robots with power cords have more power and are ideal for large pools, while the battery pool robots are more suitable for small and medium-sized swimming pools.

But with both pool robots, you can have your pool floor cleaned automatically, whereby the pool robot with cable can also clean the walls and even pool stairs.

When should you clean the pool floor?

When cleaning the pool, especially when cleaning the pool floor, you don’t wait until the pool water has become cloudy.

Nor should you wait until you feel a slippery layer under your feet – it is usually only a matter of time before the water tips, and the pool turns green.

Then when is the right time to clean the bottom of your pool?

Ideally, it would help to scrub the pool floor daily with a pool brush to prevent algae and other bacteria from settling.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to vacuum the pool every day with a floor vacuum.

It is sufficient to clean the pool floor every 2 to 3 days with a floor vacuum.

Except when there is a lot of bathing and the days get hot, I would recommend scrubbing the pool floor daily and vacuuming it in the evening.

The easiest way to do this is with a battery-operated pool vacuum.

Tip: If you want to go a step further with the question of how often you should clean your pool floor, then use the water temperature as a guide. From a water temperature of 23 °C, more mindfulness is required when maintaining your pool.

Causes of a dirty bottom in your pool

I have explained how you can clean the floor in the garden pool with a regular vacuum cleaner, which alternative pool cleaners are available, and how often you should clean your swimming pool.

But what are the exact causes of the pool floor getting dirty?

  • Algae: If the bottom of the swimming pool is dirty, it is often due to algae infestation. Algae infestation usually occurs when the pump’s filter running times are too short or when disinfectants such as chlorine do not work.
  •  Colloidal substances: Sun creams, perfumes, saliva, etc., are considered fine dirt that can contaminate your pool water.
  • Insects: Water magically attracts insects. If these bugs are not removed with the landing net in time, they will sink to the bottom and form a layer of dirt.
  • Sand: Sand ends on the pool floor due to a faulty sand filter system.

You now know the most common reasons why your pool floor gets dirty.

Based on the information obtained, we can minimize the amount of dirt entering the pool. Read more about this in the next chapter.

Prevent dirt on the pool floor

I have already explained to you where the pollution in the pool comes from.

Now you are probably wondering how to avoid the dirt.

Regular pool cleaning

If you want to increase the water quality in your pool and keep dirt away from the bottom, then take care of regular pool maintenance.

  • Control the filtration in your pool. Is the sand filter system set to filter, and does the system run for 6 to 8 hours a day?
  • Backwash every 10 to 14 days to clean the filter sand.
  • Ideally, measure the pH level daily (or at least twice a week) and check whether the pH level is between 7.2 – 7.6.
  • Remove leaves and floating insects from the water’s surface so that they don’t sink to the bottom.

You can find the ultimate pool maintenance plan for free in my blog. To do this, follow the link.

Use disinfectants in the swimming pool

Is there enough water care product such as chlorine, active oxygen, or algicide in your pool water?

The disinfectants kill existing algae and other bacteria. In addition, the use of chemistry inhibits the growth of algae in your pool.

You don’t have to use the algaecide, but I always recommend using a little of it as a contraceptive.

In my blog, you will find detailed articles on the listed water care products – use the search function on the page.

Use a pool cover to prevent dirt from entering

Much of the dirt that lands on the bottom of your pool is carried into your pool by the wind.

That is why you should always use a pool cover in the evening to minimize dirt entry. In addition, the cover minimizes heat loss in the pool.

To make it easier for you to assemble the pool cover, I recommend using a roll-up pool system.

Set up a garden shower and footbath in front of your pool

Bathers carry a lot of dirt into the pool if they do not take a shower before entering your pool.

Therefore, make it a rule that you have to go under the garden shower before using the pool – I recommend setting up a solar shower.

Even with a small footbath in front of your pool, you can ensure a clean pool – the footbath should be non-slip and offer enough space for large feet.

With this in mind, I hope you enjoy cleaning your pool floor!

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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.

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