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Cleaning Pool Stains

man washing pool

Cleaning pool stains can be a real chore. However, you can save a lot of money by doing the job yourself.

About Pool Cleaning

When it comes to heavy pool cleaning most people hire professionals to do the dirty work. This is especially true when it comes to removing unsightly stains from a pool's floor and walls. However, depending on the type and severity of the stain, pool owners can often get the job done themselves.

The key to successful stain removal is identifying the type of stain and knowing what types of materials were used to construct your pool. Once you determine those two things, you can purchase the proper cleaning products and execute the correct cleaning method.

Methods for Cleaning Pool Stains

Most pool stains are caused by improper water balance or by foreign substances getting into the water, such as metal objects and fertilizers. At some point all pool owners experience some type of stain. Fortunately, there are a number of methods that can be used to alleviate the problem.

Acid Wash

When it comes to cleaning pool stains, this method is often the last resort. Acid wash is known as the granddaddy of pool stain removal because it is so labor intensive. In order to acid wash your pool you have to drain it first. Given how much time and energy is involved with this type of stain removal process, you don't want to choose it unless your pool has turned into a black lagoon of sorts. This can happen if the pool has been neglected for a while and algae has completely taken over.

Acid wash will help remove extensive algae stains from plastered pools. The acid strips a tiny layer of plaster from the pool and exposes fresh plaster underneath. This type of thorough cleaning is advised for swampy pools. It also helps rid pools of mineral stains, chlorine stains and dirt stains. However, because acid is such a powerful cleaning method it is not advisable to make it an annual custom. Doing so will accelerate the need for re-plastering your pool.

In addition, if you plan to acid wash your pool yourself, then you need to prepare accordingly. Acid is a dangerous substance, so you will need to wear protective clothing and a breathing apparatus during the acid wash. You will also have to make sure the water is pumped to a storm drain in order to protect the environment.


If your pool is vinyl lined, then acid wash is not an option to get rid of excessive slime and algae. You will have to use pool detergent, conditioners and a lot of elbow grease to remove pool stains.

Metal Trap

Standard stains caused by metals can be treated with ascorbic acid. However, if you have tough metal stains in your pool you might consider using the Metal Trap cleaning regimen. Metal Trap is a filter that removes copper and iron from your water and prevents stains. Removing metals, as the pool fills, is the best way to protect against orange stains.

Vitamin C

If you are cleaning pool stains caused by rust, then you might consider using Vitamin C. Simply place some ascorbic acid on the stain, shut off the filter and leave in place for 15 minutes. Next, place a handful of 500 mg Vitamin C tablets, in a white sock and drop it on the stain. Slowly move the sock around with a pole until the stain is gone.


If one stain removal method does not work, then keep trying until you find one that does. For example, if adding a half-pound of pH reducer powder to a white sock, shutting off the filter, and dropping it onto the stain, doesn't help remove fertilizer stains, then consider boosting your chlorine level. If you run out of options, then consider calling in the professionals. However, in most cases, the right cleaning products and a bit of hard labor will successfully remove pool stains.

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Cleaning Pool Stains