How to Clean The Surface in a Filled or Empty Above Ground Pool

Cleaning the surfaces in your pool is important to prevent cloudiness. But how and with what agents can you best clean the pool surface?

You can clean the pool surface in the filled and the emptied pool. For this, you need a pool brush, a pool net, a little hydrochloric acid, and your skimmer. Depending on the type of pollution, a different cleaning method is necessary for your pool.

In this article, I will explain how to clean the pool surface in a filled swimming pool. Alternatively, I also explain how to clean the surface in an empty pool.

Clean the pool surface in a filled pool

You don’t necessarily have to empty the water in the pool to clean the surfaces.

With these instructions, you can clean the pool surface without draining the water first.

  1. Check the water level in the pool and add fresh water if necessary so that the pump does not suck in air.
  2. Next, take a regular pool brush and scrub the pool walls to loosen algae and other debris.
  3. The loosened dirt is then removed from the pool with a pool net.
  4. Now connect the pool vacuum. Ensure that the pool hose is completely vented before connecting the pool vacuum to the skimmer.
  5. Set the multi-valve of the sand filter system to filtration and vacuum the entire pool floor while overlapping.
  6. After cleaning the pool floor, the filter system must be backwashed and then rinsed.
  7. Also, empty the skimmer basket and the basket in the pool pump.
  8. Finally, check the parameters in the pool water and, if necessary, optimize the pH level with a pH lifter or pH reducer.

If you have local algae growth, the areas are sprinkled with chlorine granulate and then removed with the pool brush.

Pool cleaning can be easier with an automatic pool vacuum cleaner or pool robot. These pool cleaners are used regularly to keep the pool surfaces permanently clean.

Tip: Do you need detailed instructions on how to clean the pool floor? In my blog article, the individual steps are explained more extensively and in detail.

Empty the swimming pool to clean the walls and the floor

Usually, a pool is not drained to clean the surfaces.

With the proper pool maintenance, it is no problem to clean even extremely cloudy pool water.

But in some cases – such as wintering the pool – the pool is emptied and cleaned so that you can start the new pool season in spring without worrying.

But before you start emptying a pool, you should consider a few points:

  • The chlorine in the pool water must be neutralized before emptying and probably must not be discharged into the sewer system.
  • Contact your local authority and ask how the pool water can be drained.
  • When draining the pool in the garden, the absorption capacity of the soil must be checked to prevent flooding.

Tip: It is best to use several hoses to dry out your pool. The hoses are placed in different locations in your garden to achieve consistent infiltration.

In the following, I will explain how to clean the pool surface in an empty pool:

  1. Set the sand filter system to the emptying position or use a pool vacuum to empty the pool even at the deepest point. However, I recommend a dirty water pump to dry out the pool and save time.
  2. Plug the floor drain (if you have one) with a plug to prevent the chemicals from flowing out.
  3. Put on a respirator, rubber gloves, and protective goggles for your protection.
  4. Then the appropriate pool cleaning agent is applied to the pool surface and scrubbed with a brush.
  5. Collect the contaminated wastewater in a bucket and ask the local authority (environmental agency or sewage treatment plant) how you should get rid of the wastewater.

It is best to wear old clothes when cleaning the pool, as acid splashes happen.

If there is irreparable damage to the tiling or the liners, then you can save yourself the need to clean the pool. These cannot be eliminated with manual cleaning.

So check the pool for damage beforehand before you start cleaning the pool.

How to get rid of limescale in your pool?

Limescale in your pool can be removed in the filled and the emptied pool basin.

I have explained both methods above, but a slight difference is necessary for limescale cleaning in a filled pool.

Follow the instructions described above to clean the limescale deposits in an empty pool.

Here is a detailed explanation of how limescale deposits can be removed from the pool surface in the filled pool:

  1. Turn off the pool pump before cleaning the limescale to avoid splashing.
  2.  Wear a respirator, rubber gloves, and safety glasses to protect yourself from the acid.
  3. Then pour 25 m³/10 liters of hydrochloric acid (pH minus) undiluted at various points into the pool.
  4. The acid must now act in the pool for about 30 minutes before the pH level is checked. The pH level must be well below 7.0 – if necessary, add more acid.
  5. Let the pool sit for a day so the acid will slowly dissolve the limescale.
  6. The entire pool basin is scrubbed with a basin brush the next day – it is best to start with the walls.
  7. When you’re done, wait for about 1 hour for the limescale to sink to the pool floor. Then the pool floor is vacuumed with a pool vacuum.
  8. Do not restart the pool pump until the next day and scrub the entire pool again with the pool brush.
  9. Finally, the parameters in the pool water are tested and optimized again. The pH level should be between 7.2 and 7.6.

It should be mentioned that cleaning the pool surface is much easier and more environmentally friendly in a filled swimming pool.

I wrote in my other blog post more about lime cleaning in the pool. Click the link to view the article.

Clean pool water surface

In this post, I already explained in detail how to clean the pool surface so that the water stays clean.

I want to address separately how you should clean the pool water surface.

Remember: Any dirt floating on the water’s surface will eventually land on the pool floor and lead to more significant problems with the water balance.

That is why cleaning the water’s surface in the pool is essential.

Below, I have selected a few known problems in the pool and created an exact pool cleaning plan.

Remove needles and leaves from the pool

Foliage leaves are removed from the water’s surface with a simple pool net. You should also remove the leaves from the pool floor with the landing net.

You could also filter out the leaves in the pool with the pump, but that would be much more time-consuming because you would constantly have to empty the pump basket.

If I had a problem with many needles in the pool, I would improvise a little. Especially after a storm, many needle leaves can end up in the pool, and working with the pool net would take a long time.

  1. First, remove the accumulated needles from the water’s surface with a pool net.
  2. Install an extra adapter above the skimmer to catch the needles and prevent the basket in the pump from clogging.
  3. Then start the circulation in the pool to remove most of the dirt from the water surface.
  4. Then the floor in the pool can be cleaned with a pool vacuum.

If the adapter is not installed on the skimmer, you may have to constantly interrupt the suction process to clean the small pump basket.

Clean the grease film in your pool

The grease film or edge of grease in the pool always occurs when bathers forget to use the garden shower.

Sun creams and other skincare products end up in the pool water and form the greasy film in the pool.

The pool film on the water surface must be removed with a pool skimmer.

It would be best to scrub the waterline with a special pool cleaner or a little ammonia to remove the grease residue on the edge of your pool.

Tip: The constant formation of edges in the swimming pool can be prevented by optimizing the skimming. To do this, partially close the floor drain or check the suction effect from the skimmer.

What to do against insects in your pool

Insects have no business in the pool water, but preventing insects from ending up in the pool will be hard.

If you have not installed support for insects to get out of the pool, most of them will float motionless from the water’s surface and later sink to the bottom of the pool.

These insects in the pool should be eliminated with the help of the skimmer.

Ideally, the skimmer has a flap so that swimming water insects do not swim back into the water.

Should you occasionally shock your pool?

I generally don’t recommend an occasional pool shock because none is necessary with a proper pool maintenance plan.

However, many pool experts occasionally recommend the chlorine shock to remove chloramines and other contaminants from the pool water.

Please take a look at my helpful pool maintenance plan, and you don’t have to pollute your pool water with extra chlorine.

Do you have any further questions about cleaning your pool surface?

Contact me at @contactswimfool on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Pinterest. I will personally help you with your request.

Have fun cleaning your pool surface!

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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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