Identifying Pool Stains and Removing Them Effectively

Updated May 18, 2021
Cleaning the pool

Cleaning your pool isn't the easiest task out there. However, it doesn't always require a professional. Learn how to clean different types of pools of organic and metal stains.

What Are Pool Stains?

Before you can go about cleaning your swimming pool of stains, you need to know the type of stain it is. This helps to make sure you use the best method for vanishing it and getting swimming. The main types of pool stains include:

  • Metal stains - orange, brown, and purple stains from iron, manganese, rust, and copper that gets into the water
  • Organic stains - brown and green stains from dirt, bugs, algae, mold, etc.

Now that you know the basic types of stains check out how to clean different pool types of these stains.

How to Clean Plaster Pool Stains

When it comes to removing metal and organic stains from your plaster pool, there are a few different methods you can try. For these methods, you need:

  • Scotch Brite pad or fine wet/dry sandpaper
  • Acid wash
  • Application brush
  • Safety equipment

Buff the Stain Away

For the least invasive method, you need to get into the pool. Additionally, this is only good for relatively small areas of stain. This works for both metal and organic stains.

  1. Grab a Scotch Brite pad.
  2. Sand off the stain.
  3. Apply a fair amount of elbow grease to completely remove the stain.

You can also try wet/dry sandpaper for this method.

Acid Wash

When it comes to cleaning pool stains, this method is often the last resort. An acid wash will help remove extensive algae stains from plastered pools. It also helps rid pools of mineral stains, chlorine stains, and dirt stains. 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.

  1. Drain the pool.
  2. Scrub the sides.
  3. Apply the acid wash per the instructions on the container for the application and rinse.
  4. Refill the pool.

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.

Man cleaning the tiled floor of swimming-pool

Cleaning Stains From a Vinyl Liner

When it comes to a vinyl pool liner, you will take different steps to get rid of organic stains and metal stains on the liner. To get started, you need:

  • Soft bristle brush
  • Pool vacuum
  • Pool detergent or stain remover
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Metal trap

Cleaning Organic Stains With Stain Remover

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.

  1. Remove all organic matter from the pool.
  2. Brush the sides and bottom with a pool brush.
  3. Apply cleaner to the stain per the instructions on the bottle.
  4. Scrub the area thoroughly.
  5. Test water and shock pool accordingly to kill any remaining matter.
    Dirty Swimming Pool

Cleaning Metal Stains in Vinyl Lined Pools

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.

  1. Check the metal level in your water.
  2. Remove equipment causing the metal stain.
  3. Add ascorbic acid to the pool per the recommendations on the container.
  4. Set your filter to the recommended setting and allow the cleaner to work.
  5. Check to see if stains are gone.
  6. Repeat as necessary.

Remove Stains From Pool Tiles

When it comes to removing organic and metal stains, you need to use two different methods to eliminate the stains. Organic stains can be easily removed with a bit of elbow grease, while metal stains take chemicals. To clean your tile pool, you need:

  • Cleaning brush
  • Pumice stone
  • Skimmer or filter for removing large matter
  • Pool vacuum
  • Chlorine pool shock
  • Commercial tile cleaner

Cleaning Organic Stains From Tile Pool

When it comes to cleaning organic stains like algae on the waterline or on the bottom of the pool, grab some pool shock and a bristle brush.

  1. Remove any large debris from the pool.
  2. Check the water levels.
  3. Shock the pool.
  4. Use a long brush to scrub the pool and vacuum.
  5. Wait for the recommended amount of time.
  6. When safe, you can get in the water for stubborn stains and scrub them gently with the pumice stone.

Removing Metal Stains From Tile Pool

When it comes to removing metal and calcium deposits from your pool, reach for a commercial tile cleaner.

  1. Clean the pool and remove any equipment causing stains.
  2. Apply the cleaner per the instructions on the package.
  3. Scrub the area.
  4. Repeat as needed to remove the stain.

When using any pool cleaner, make sure to use the proper safety precautions.

Green Algae Grunge before Cleaning Tiled Swimming Pool

Contact a Professional

If you are having trouble removing a stain on the bottom of your pool or water line stains and you've tried every method out there, then it might be time to call a professional. A pool professional can help you figure out where the stains are coming from and balance your pool. Additionally, pool chemicals like chlorine and acids can be dangerous, so it's important to always use extreme caution.

How to Clean Your Pool

When it comes to how to clean the bottom of your pool or how to remove pool stains, there are a few different methods depending on the type of pool you have. With the knowledge at the ready, you can try out these different pool stain cleaning methods.

Identifying Pool Stains and Removing Them Effectively