The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Swimming Pool (Like a Pro)

skimmer in pool

As a pool owner, we know you wear your crystal clear water and spotless tiles like a badge of honor — and you should! Cleaning a pool is hard work, but it pays off in the end.

While nothing can beat the expertise and touch of ASP - America's Swimming Pool Company’s pool cleaning services, this blog is here to teach you to clean like the pros!

The 3 Cs of Pool Maintenance

We base our pool maintenance on three crucial components: circulation, cleaning, and chemistry.


What Is Pool Circulation?

Your pool’s water should never be stagnant. Stagnant water attracts all sorts of problems like pests and algae growth. Pool circulation involves the constant movement of water, keeping things flowing and clean.

How to Improve Pool Circulation

You can improve the circulation of your pool in several ways:

Angle Pool Jets Correctly

Pool jets can be a huge asset when it comes to circulation when positioned correctly. Your jets should all be pointed down at a 45-degree angle and away from the pump in order to create a consistent flow of water.

Run Pool Pump for Ideal Amount of Time for Your Pool

Your pump is responsible for bringing in water, filtering it, and pushing it back out into the pool.

As a rule of thumb, most pool pumps need 8-12 hours of run time per day, especially in the swim season. If your pool has circulation problems, more running time may be required. Having a pool professional’s assessment of your circulation may be a good call to make.

Most pumps have a timer to help with this scheduling. If your pump does not have one, however, we recommend investing in one to make your cleaning schedule easier.

Brush Dead Spots Regularly

Steps, ladders, beneath the skimmer, and other hard-to-reach areas are known as “dead spots”. These areas often experience less circulation, so it’s important to give them an extra brush every so often to clear away any debris or algae.

Check for Clogs in Filter & Skimmer Basket

A clog can cause a serious disruption in your pool’s circulation. Keep an eye on your filter and skimmer basket, removing clogs as they appear.

Look Into a Variable-Speed Pump

If you’re concerned about the cost of running your pool pump for 8-12 hours a day, consider installing a variable-speed pump. These pumps run at a lower speed, increasing efficiency and lowering energy usage.


The next C in our pool maintenance journey is cleaning.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Pool

While the answer to this question may seem obvious, it’s important for pool owners to understand the severity of what can happen if a pool goes uncleaned for a period of time. If your pump, filter, skimmer, jets, and other elements become too dirty to function properly, the state of your pool will begin to deteriorate.

As a result, you could experience expensive breakdowns, discoloration, damages, and even health risks.

Three Essential Pool Cleaning Tasks

To keep these things from happening, it’s important that you commit to these three cleaning tasks:

  • Skimming. Scoop away bugs and debris to keep them out of your filter and avoid clogs.
  • Brushing. Brush the walls and floor of your pool to loosen up debris and algae. Keep in mind that not all algae growth is visible, so it’s important to hit every nook and cranny of the pool.
  • Vacuuming. Vacuum up all that loosened debris to remove it from your pool for good.

Use the Right Pool Cleaning Tools & Supplies

Cleaning your pool thoroughly is one thing, but using the proper tools is just as important. Do your research and choose tools that work for each task to make your job easier and for more effective cleaning.


Finally, let’s look at chemistry, the third pool maintenance C.

Why Is Pool Testing Important?

The right chemical balance is essential in order to have a clean, healthy, and safe pool. Regularly testing your pool’s water will keep you aware of chemical levels, allowing you to adjust as needed.

Correctly balanced pool water:

  • Keeps your pool safe and functional.
  • Allows equipment to run smoothly.
  • Protects the pool equipment and pool surface.
  • Prevents algae growth.
  • Keeps water sanitized.
  • Avoids skin and eye irritation.

What Is Pool Shocking?

Pool shocking is the process of increasing the chlorine levels in your water in order to kill algae and bacteria. There are several different types of pool shocking products, so be sure to do your research ahead of time and choose the one that is right for your situation.

Pool Cleaning Tools

Let’s take a closer look at the tools you will need in order to properly clean your pool.

Telescopic Pole

The end of this tool allows for the attachment of tools meant for different pool cleaning tasks. This includes skimmer nets and brushes. The telescopic pole can be extended or shortened to different lengths as needed.

Pool Skimmer

The skimmer net you’ve attached to your telescopic pole is essential for debris removal. Whether you choose a leaf rake or a skim net, this piece of equipment should absolutely be in your toolkit.

Pool Brush

A pool brush allows you to brush away any growth on your pool walls, floors, steps, and ladders. This can also be found in the form of an attachment that can be used with your telescopic pole.

Manual Pool Vacuum

A manual pool vacuum gives you the chance to concentrate your vacuuming efforts on those hard-to-reach areas, ensuring that you reach every inch of your pool on cleaning days.

Automatic Pool Cleaner

If you prefer to automate your cleaning process a bit, an automatic pool cleaner is a great option. This machine travels around the floor of your pool on its own, sucking up debris as it goes.

Pool Cleaning Chemicals

When it comes time to look at the chemical balance of your pool, there are several products you’ll want to have on hand.

Reminder: when working with chemicals, exercise extreme caution. Utilize proper protective equipment, including gloves and eye protection, and always read and follow instructions on the packaging carefully.

Pool Water Testing

Remember, regular water testing is crucial for the health, safety, cleanliness, and function of your pool.

Pool pH Balancing

pH measures how acidic or basic your water is. Low pH levels lead to corrosive water, while high pH levels lead to cloudy water and scaly buildup on equipment. For these reasons, your pH should measure right in the middle of the acidic and basic levels — or 7.2-7.8.

Pool Alkalinity Balancing

Your alkalinity levels indicate your pool water’s ability to resist a change in pH levels. If something enters the pool and threatens to cause a pH imbalance, alkaline materials in the water help to keep the pH in the proper range.

Your total alkalinity should be at 80-120 PPM.

Pool Calcium Hardness

Calcium measures how hard or soft the water is. If the calcium is too low, it can cause etching of the pool surface or pitting on your concrete deck. If it is too high, it can cause cloudy water, scale, and heater inefficiency. The recommended Calcium level is between 200-200 ppm.

Pool Sanitizer

No one wants to swim in a bacteria-ridden pool! Sanitizers like chlorine help kill germs and bacteria, keeping your water clean and safe. The recommended chlorine levels lie between 1.0 and 3.0 PPM.

Pool Shock

There are several options on the market that will help shock your pool, raising the chemical levels in order to kill algae and other unwanted bacteria. Depending on the type of algae on your hands, different products and dosages are recommended.

For example, we recommend treating yellow algae with 3LB of Calcium Hypochlorite for every 10,000 gallons of pool water.

Speak to your ASP pool technician to find the perfect treatment for your pool.

How Often to Perform Pool Cleaning Tasks

How regularly should you be cleaning your pool? Let’s break it down by each individual task:

How Often Should You Skim the Surface?

Try to use your skimmer net every day. New leaves, sticks, bugs, and debris land in your pool each day, and the longer you put off skimming them away, the more build-up there will be. The added debris will also increase the likelihood of a filter clog.

How Often Should You Brush the Walls?

It’s a good idea to take a brush to your walls, floor, and steps one to two times a week. This will free up anything that has settled or begun to grow on these surfaces. Once detached from the walls, this debris can be filtered out of your water.

How Frequently Should You Vacuum the Pool?

We recommend vacuuming your pool a couple of times a week to get rid of any settlement. However, if you notice a pile of debris or an increase in build-up, change your vacuuming routine to every other day.

How Often Do You Need to Clean the Filter?

Your filter sees a lot of debris, making it susceptible to clogs which can cause quite a disruption to your cleaning schedule. Try to check your filter every week, keeping an eye out for clogs and emptying and cleaning it as needed.

How Often Should You Clean the Skimmer Basket?

Clean out your skimmer basket at least once a week to make room for the next round of debris to be picked up! Rinsing it off will also help get rid of lingering bacteria and germs, keeping them from contaminating your pool.

How Often Should You Test Pool Water?

We all know how important it is to have properly balanced water. As such, you should be testing your pool water every week. This will allow you to adjust as needed, keeping everything balanced, clean, and safe.

How Often Should You Balance Alkalinity & pH?

As you test your water every week, you’ll get an idea of how often your alkalinity and pH levels should be adjusted. Remember to keep them in the correct ranges:

  • pH: 7.2-7.8
  • Total Alkalinity: 80-120 PPM

How Often Should You Add Pool Sanitizer?

You will likely want to add a sanitizer to your pool every one to two weeks as needed. Keep a close eye on chlorine levels and adjust as needed!

How Often Should You Shock Your Pool?

In order to keep up with proper water levels and balances, we recommend shocking your pool every two weeks. In addition to killing existing bacteria and algae, shocking will help prevent them from growing.

Addressing Specific Problems

If you have a specific pool issue on your hands, you need a more targeted approach to pool cleaning. These solutions, along with the help and advice of a pool professional, will help you address your issue.

What to Do If Your Water Is Cloudy

If you can’t see the floor of your pool in the shallow end, that’s a problem. Swimming in cloudy water is not ideal — but what is it that is causing this haziness?

Reasons It May Be Cloudy

Murky, cloudy water could be caused by a variety of issues. Your water could be reacting to a lack of circulation, a broken filter, or an imbalance of chemicals.

How to Fix

Begin by checking your filter, as it may be clogged or broken. If so, clear the clog, or call a professional to come and make the necessary repairs. If the cloudy water seems to be due to a lack of circulation, check the pool pump and jets and resolve any issues they might have.

Finally, check your water levels. If the chemicals are out of balance, adjust as needed. Shocking your pool could also help restore your water’s levels, making it crystal clear and clean once again!

What to Do If There’s Algae In Your Pool

No pool owner ever wants to deal with an algae problem — but they can happen if you’re not careful. In addition to being a murky eyesore, algae can also cause a lot of issues for your pool if not properly killed.

Reasons There’s Algae Growth

Algae typically begins to grow and spread in pools with poor circulation, water imbalances, or broken equipment. It can also take over a pool if brought in on contaminated objects like bathing suits and pool toys that have spent time in a pool or river.

How to Fix

There are three main types of pool algae: green, yellow, and black. Green is the most common and often the easiest to kill. Yellow algae are slow to spread and more stubborn and hard to get rid of. Black algae is a pool owner’s worst nightmare. If you notice black spots of algae across your pool, consult with a pool professional as soon as possible.

In order to remove algae from your pool, you will need to go through an extensive cleaning process. This involves brushing, scraping, vacuuming, shocking, and adding algaecide to your pool as many times as it takes for total eradication.

Read More: Pool Algae and How to Kill Any Type and/or Color

Algae growth should be taken seriously, as it can severely damage your pool and equipment as well as impact your health. If you have a case of algae on your hands, we encourage you to take action as soon as possible.

What to Do If Your Pool Water Has Changed Color (Not from Algae)

There are cases in which your pool water changes color due to something other than algae. An increase in different types of minerals present in your water could be to blame.

Types of Mineral Buildup & Associated Water Colors

If your water is a greenish color, but there are no algae in sight, it may be due to an increase in copper. Red-tinted water is a sign that the iron levels in your water are higher than usual. And a higher presence of manganese will turn the water purple or black.

How to Fix

You can identify the cause of your water’s color changes with the help of a test kit. This kit will also help you find the correct chemicals to restore balance and clarity to your water.

Professional Pool Cleaning Services

Now that you have an understanding of all that goes into cleaning your pool like a professional, you know that it is a lot of work! From completing cleaning duties every day to the frequent balancing of chemicals, keeping a pool properly maintained is no small task.

If you’re ready to hand off cleaning duties to an experienced team, contact your local ASP - America's Swimming Pool Company team today. We’re here to help you maintain a clean and safe pool year-round. If you’re looking for more information, or are in need of regular pool cleaning, maintenance, or an inspection, check out our services, or give us a call at (866) 253-0455 today!

Disclosure: While basic pool care is encouraged for swimming pool owners, it is highly recommended you consult with a professional pool service like America's Swimming Pool Co. for any issues like pool algae that arise.