How to Clean Mold off Inflatable Pools

Written By: Jen

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If there’s one thing I dislike about inflatable pools, it’s the fact that they need to be cleaned regularly. If you leave them sitting stagnant for too long, you’ll be met with weird creatures swimming on the surface of the water, algae build-up, and worse: mold. 

inflatable pool with water

Luckily, cleaning inflatable pools is a fairly easy process. With the right cleaning products, it shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes to complete. 

Read on to know how to clean mold off inflatable pools in six easy-to-follow steps.

Let’s dive right in! 

How to Clean Mold off Inflatable Pools

Inhaling and touching mold spores can cause mild-to-severe allergic reactions, such as skin rash, eye irritation, runny nose, and sneezing. It can also cause an asthma attack in some people. The longer you leave the mold on the pool, the more it’ll affect your health. 

Here’s how to thoroughly remove mold off an inflatable pool in under 30 minutes!

You’ll Need: 

  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable mask 
  • Goggles (optional but recommended) 
  • Sizable bucket 
  • Hose 
  • Bleach
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar 
  • Clean cloth 
  • Sponge  

Step 1: Drain the Water 

First and foremost, drain all the water from the pool. You can do this by unplugging the drain plug or letting it flow out of the valve and onto your garden. Just ensure the water’s chlorine level doesn’t exceed 10 PPM (Parts per Million) as this may damage and even kill the plants in your yard. 

You can test the water’s chlorine level with a water tester strip. If it’s above 10 PPM, let the chlorine levels drop to 3 PPM for a few days.  

inflatable pool drain plug

Step 2: Prepare the Cleaning Solution 

Once you’ve drained the inflatable pool, you can now start the demolding process. 

In a large bowl, mix a quarter cup of bleach, half cup of water, and half cup of baking soda. You need to create a loose, smooth paste that has the consistency of light pancake batter. 

If you’re not a big fan of bleach or don’t have it available, you can instead use one cup of water with one cup of pure vinegar. With it, mix several drops of dishwashing liquid. 

Mix your solution of choice with a long stick or spoon.

homemade pool cleaning solution

Step 3: Start Scrubbing 

With your gloves, goggles, and mask on, dip a sponge into the cleaning mixture you’ve prepared beforehand and start scrubbing off the mold. 

Make sure you’re using the soft end of the sponge to prevent accidental punctures. 

Be thorough when scrubbing off the mold; get every nook and cranny, every edge and crease. Don’t forget the lining, either! 

Apply some pressure if necessary, but don’t be too aggressive lest you damage the surface of the pool. 

Let the cleaning solution sit in the pool for at least five minutes before moving on to the next step. This gives the bleach/vinegar the opportunity to weaken and kill the mold spores. 

cleaning the inflatable pool

Step 4: More Scrubbing 

After letting the solution sit for five minutes at least, scrub the pool a second time just to be safe. 

Go over the same spots you’ve already cleaned before, making sure the mold and dirt are completely removed. 

Use a toothbrush around hard-to-reach areas and crevices. 

Step 5: Rinse With Water

Place the inflatable pool upright against a wall, with the front of the pool facing you. 

Then, with the help of a garden hose, rinse the pool with water. 

Grab a clean damp towel and wipe away the remaining cleaning solution. 

Once done, rinse the pool again. And that’s it! You’ve successfully cleaned mold off an inflatable pool. 

Step 6: Let It Dry Completely 

Let the pool dry out under the sun for at least two hours. If you don’t have two hours, dry it with a clean towel before deflating and storing it away

If you’re planning to use the pool straight after, fill it up with water and add the right amount of pool chemicals to prevent the growth of mold. 

For every 10 gallons of water, add about 1/4 tsp of chlorine. For large inflatable pools, add 2 1/2 tsp for every 100 gallons.  

How to Prevent the Growth of Mold on Inflatable Pools 

As they say, prevention is better than cure! Prevent or at least reduce the growth of mold by following these tips: 

  1. If your inflatable pool is larger than average, consider investing in a filter pump. A filter pump filters and removes dirt, debris, and even bacteria. The filtered water will then return to your pool or go through other equipment like heaters.

  2. Use a pool vacuum to prevent the accumulation of dirt from the bottom of the pool. 

  3. After using the pool, cover it with a pool cover. The pool cover keeps the water clean and prevents algae from growing due to sunlight exposure. 

  4. Regularly check the chlorine levels of your pool. The pool’s chlorine level should fall between 1 and 3 PPM, and not exceed 8 PPM. Add about 4 grams of chlorine per 1000 liters of water every day. 

  5. Change the water in the inflatable pool every two weeks at least. If you’re not adding chlorine, drain the pool every other day to prevent the spread of germs due to stagnant water. 

  6. Regularly skim debris and dirt off the surface of the pool. Use a handheld net for best results. 

  7. Place an oil-attracting sponge in the pool every three days. Once the sponge has soaked up the sunscreen and oil from the water, squeeze it out and flip it over. 

  8. Create a foot-washing station at the end of the pool using a hose and a container of fresh water. This prevents dirt, grass, and other stuff from transferring into the pool when someone re-enters it. 
inflatable pool with filter pump
Filter Pump


Does bleach damage the surface of an inflatable pool?

No, bleach doesn’t damage inflatable pools, especially when diluted. This is because most inflatable pools are made of a synthetic polymer called PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). PVC is resistant to most chemicals, even harsh drain openers. 

What are some alternatives to chlorine?

Whether you’re allergic to chlorine or simply don’t like using it, there are a ton of alternatives to keep your pool water mold- and bacteria-free. 

Ozonators, bromine, and ionizers are good alternatives, though they still contain a bit of chlorine so they’re not suitable for those with chlorine allergies. PHMB doesn’t have chlorine, and though just as effective, it does cost a bit more than regular chlorine. 

You can also use baking soda and saltwater pool sanitizers. The salt level recommendation is usually given by the manufacturers. As for baking soda, use about 1.5 pounds of baking soda per 10,000 gallons of water.


There you have it, my guide on how to clean mold off inflatable pools! 

As you can see, cleaning mold off an inflatable pool is a relatively straightforward process. All you really need is some bleach (or vinegar, if you don’t have bleach), some soap, and a lot of elbow grease! 

After cleaning the pool, make sure to add the required amount of chlorine to prevent the growth of mold. Also, maintain the water cleanliness by regularly skimming debris and dirt off the surface of the pool. 

Good luck! 

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Jen is your go-to expert on all things inflatable, from pools to tents and beyond. A former hot tub rental company owner, 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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