How To Clean An Inflatable Pool – A Beginners Guide

Written By: Jennifer Fielding

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Since most inflatable pools don’t come with a helpful pump and filter, they tend to get dirty faster than a regular pool. The water can turn cloudy, or an odd shade of green. And you might notice some slimy residue building up. Nobody wants to be swimming around in slimy, bacteria-filled water.

inflatable pool with water

Larger pools can be cleaned with chemicals – chlorine and pH balancers – but that’s overkill for smaller pools. Instead, it makes sense to clean them without the expensive and harsh chemicals getting involved.

Follow this guide to learn everything you need to know about cleaning an inflatable pool.

How Do You Clean An Inflatable Pool?

You can clean an inflatable pool while you use it with chlorine and pH balancers, using a net to skim the surface. Otherwise, drain the pool and then gently scrub it with a soft sponge and soapy water, or a special pool cleaner. It must then be dried fully before storage.

If you aren’t storing the pool then you only need to try the outside of the pool, but it’s still really important you do this. Any water trapped in folds, especially if it’s warm water, could cause mildew and bacteria to grow.

What Are The Steps Of Cleaning An Inflatable Pool Without Chemicals?

1. Drain The Water

As soon as you notice that the water is turning cloudy or green, it’s time to drain it. You can’t properly clean the pool with the water left in it.

You can use the drain plug at the bottom of your inflatable pool to drain the water. If yours doesn’t have a drain plug, you can deflate the pool a bit to help drain it, or use a siphon hose.

Read more: How To Drain An Inflatable Pool

2. Scrub The Lining of The Pool Using Soapy Water

Using warm water with a few drops of liquid detergent, and a soft sponge, get to work scrubbing the sides of the pool.

Even where you can’t see any visible marks, you should give it a good clean. Pay particular attention to where the waterline was, as that’s where most of the grime will have accumulated.

3. Use A Special Cleaner

For a particularly dirty pool, you might want to use a mild chemical cleaner. These are designed to help remove tough grime and grease, without damaging the lining.

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Is your pool moldy? Find out how to remove mold from an inflatable pool.

4. Rinse the Pool

When you are satisfied that all the dirt, grime, and slime have been scrubbed off, use clean water to rinse off the soap and the cleaning solutions.

You should do several rounds of rinsing just to make sure all the soap and cleaner have been wiped off all corners of the pool. A hose is a good tool here. You could use a pressure washer too, as long as it’s not on the strongest setting – otherwise it might be powerful enough to damage the lining.

5. Dry The Pool

When the water is all drained out, make sure that the pool’s surface is as dry as possible – inside and out. You could use a rug or a cloth to wipe out the wetness that has been left behind. This will mop up any last cleaner left behind, and make sure the outside doesn’t have trapped water that could grow mildew.

6. Refill With Fresh Water, Or Store Away

When you’re happy that the pool is clean and dry, you can now refill it with water, or store it away. If it still looks a bit dirty, go back to step 3 and try using the pool cleaner again.

How Can You Use Chemicals Safely In An Inflatable Pool?

You can use chlorine in inflatable pools – as long as you dilute it to the safe level, it won’t damage the inflatable lining or be a risk to your health. If you intend to use chlorine, you’ll also need a skimmer to remove any debris from the pool.

Draining water from large inflatable pools to clean it can be costly, plus you might not easily be able to direct it down into the sewer – so you could end up flooding your garden and killing the grass.

With large pools, it’s better to use chlorine to keep it clean, along with a pH balancer so that the water doesn’t become too acidic for you to swim in.

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Using chlorine is really simple, provided you follow the instructions. If you don’t dilute it enough, you could damage your skin. Dilute it too much and it won’t be effective. You normally want to use 1 part of chlorine for 100 parts of water.

Because you won’t be draining the water completely, it will still end up dirty because debris will land in the water and stay there. So if you’re using chlorine, make sure you also pick up a skimming net.

How Often Should You Change Inflatable Pool Water?

If you’re not using chemicals to clean the water in your inflatable pool, then you’ll want to change it every few days, probably up to a week at the most. Even chlorine-treated pools should be drained and refilled every 2-3 months.

Leaving pool water for any longer is likely to result in a build up of bacteria. Yes, chlorine will kill most of it, but it’s best to freshen up the water completely and start again at least four times a year, as the chlorine will be more effective in fresh water.

Read more: How Long Can You Leave Water in an Inflatable Pool?

What Is The Importance Of Cleaning An Inflatable Pool?

There are a number of reasons why you should keep your inflatable pool clean, but the most important is just your own comfort. Swimming or relaxing in clean, clear water is much better than having to deal with floating dirt and debris, or water that’s a bit slimy and leaves you feeling dirty.

It can also be bad for your health, particularly if you accidentally swallow some. Cleaning the pool makes sure the water stays safe for you, and you won’t end up with infected eyes or even diarrhea.

Finally, water that is full of grime can, over time, stain and ultimately damage the lining of an inflatable pool. Cleaning it keeps it intact so that it lasts longer – provided you don’t use harsh chemicals or rough scourers.

a clean inflatable pool

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Essential Tools In Cleaning An Inflatable Pool?

To clean an inflatable pool, you’ll need a soft sponge and some liquid detergent. You might want some pool cleaner too, depending on how dirty the pool is. A hose is a useful tool for rinsing the pool once you’ve scribbed it.

How To Keep A Kiddie Pool Clean Without Chemicals?

Cleaning a kiddie pool without risking chemicals for their sensitive skin just means you need to drain it every few days, scrub it with water mixed with a little liquid detergent, and then re-fill it using fresh water.

Final Words

If you own or are planning to buy an inflatable pool, it’s important to keep it as clean as possible. Dirty water isn’t just unpleasant, it can be infectious.

Chemical cleaning makes sense for larger pools, but for smaller ones it’s easier and less abrasive to just drain the pool, clean the sides and start fresh.

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Jennifer Fielding

Jennifer Fielding is your go-to expert on all things inflatable, from pools to tents and beyond. A former owner of Deluxe Hot Tub Hire Ltd., she's experienced the ups and downs of inflatables firsthand. Nowadays, she writes practical guides on maintaining and enjoying inflatables. A mom of young enthusiasts, her family's favorite outing is the inflatable fun park!

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