Keep Your Pool or Hot Tub Free of Debris in 5 Easy Steps

Keep Your Pool or Hot Tub Free of Debris in 5 Easy Steps

Learn more about pHin, the Smart Water Care solution for pools and hot tubs.

Unless your pool or hot tub remains covered 24/7, it is sure to attract debris. Owners must deal with a wide variety of debris, including bugs, twigs, leaves, and even the occasional unlucky critter that wanders into the water and never finds its way out. Recognize that debris represents more than a cosmetic issue. Leaving it unchecked may damage the pool or hot tub itself as well as its equipment. A mere time investment of 10 to 45 minutes each week can keep your pool or hot tub clean and healthy.

Why Is It Important?

Even though your pool or hot tub's skimmer and filtration system clear smaller items from the pool, the process takes time. Every moment organic matter spends in your pool promotes algae and bacteria growth. What's more, debris may cause buildup and clogging in the filtration system, possibly damaging your equipment.

Builders know this; it's why they typically construct pools and hot tubs away from trees. Of course, even with these precautions, debris finds its way in. This does not mean you must maintain constant vigilance, skimmer in one hand and pool brush in the other. Depending on the time of the year, 10 - 45 minutes every week helps keep the water clean and free of debris.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Even if you employ a professional pool technician to maintain your pool or hot tub, you need some basic tools to perform regular maintenance. A skimmer or pool net removes debris from the water's surface. An 18-inch, nylon pool brush keeps the walls and tiles clear of debris while allowing you to scrub away algae spores. Finally, a vacuum removes debris that's absorbed enough water to settle to the floor. You can use a pole vacuum or buy a robot model that operates whenever the system runs. Of course, with the robot model, you can avoid vacuuming the pool, but not the other steps.

Step 2: Get the Net

Commonly called "skimming," this task requires a hand skimmer or net to remove surface debris such as bugs and leaves. Doing this chore regularly (up to a couple times a week) clears away debris before it accumulates or has the chance to sink to the bottom. Some people also prefer to skim before and after swimming or soaking; first, to remove debris before jumping in, and second, to remove any debris introduced into the water via swimmers.

Skimming only takes a few minutes, but it goes a long way toward keeping your pool or hot tub clean. No hard and fast rule exists regarding skimming before or after you brush and vacuum. Choose the method that works best for you and your pool.

Step 3: Brush

You may feel that vacuuming is enough, but a good scrub with a nylon pool brush is essential to maintain a clean, healthy pool or hot tub. The vacuum does not remove all the debris on the walls, steps, and floor, nor can it scrub away algae spores.

While you may skim at any time, always brush before using the vacuum and make sure the pump is operating before you begin. Start at the top of the tile line and brush straight down, toward the main drain, using a slow, steady motion.

Work your way completely around, including the stairs and swimout. Once you complete brushing the walls, brush the floor, always working toward the main drain. This helps pull the debris into the filter. Brushing the entire interior surface on a weekly basis helps prevent biofilms from gaining ground. Biofilms can create a huge sanitizer demand, less filter efficiency, and it’s unsightly, especially the pink-pigmented variety.   

Even if you have a robotic pool vacuum, you should brush at least once a week to help keep algae and biofilms at bay. Although automatic cleaners and vacuuming do a good job, disrupting the surface by brushing is critical to preventing the recurrence of undesirable substances.

Step 4: Vacuum

A manual vacuum includes the vacuum head, a flexible hose, and a telescopic pole. Typically, you use the same pole used for the brush, and possibly even the net, as each attachment includes a simple disconnect mechanism.

As with brushing, you obtain the best results by using slow, steady movements. Moving too quickly causes debris to float out of the vacuum's path. Of course, unless the pump is running, vacuuming does nothing more than provide a low impact workout for your upper body.

Follow the same path around as you did when brushing, vacuuming the walls, steps, and floor. Vacuum at least twice each week. It takes approximately 10 minutes to properly brush and vacuum your pool or hot tub (unless it is very large).

Step 5: Check Your Equipment

Once you finish skimming, brushing, and vacuuming, empty the skimmer and pump baskets. If you removed a good deal of debris, check the filter as well. Finally, look at the filter pressure to determine whether it is time to backwash or perform a cartridge cleaning.


Following a weekly maintenance schedule keeps your pool or hot tub clean, clear, and healthy. However, if your area had a recent storm or experienced extra windy conditions, get out there to perform a quick check and remove any debris.

If you're looking for an easy way to ensure the water in your pool or hot tub stays balanced no matter what time of year it is, consider a pHin smart monitor. This little device constantly monitors your water and automatically sends you exactly what you need to keep the water in your pool or hot tub healthy. If you're looking for someone to service your equipment, Pool Service on Demand instantly connects you to local, qualified pool techs.

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