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10 Common Pool Cleaning Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Maintaining a clean and healthy swimming pool is not just about using the right tools; it’s also about avoiding common mistakes that can undermine your pool’s condition and safety. Here are ten frequent pool cleaning errors, along with tips on how to avoid them to keep your pool in top shape.

1. Ignoring Pool Chemistry

One of the most critical aspects of pool maintenance is managing the water chemistry. Incorrect pH, chlorine levels, and alkalinity can lead to algae growth and unsanitary conditions.

How to Avoid: Regularly test your pool water using a reliable testing kit. Adjust the chemicals according to the manufacturer’s instructions to maintain proper balance.

2. Not Brushing the Pool Walls and Floor

Relying solely on automatic pool cleaners or vacuums can leave behind algae and bacteria, which cling to the walls and floor.

How to Avoid: Manually brush your pool walls and floor weekly, even if you use an automatic cleaner, to prevent algae buildup and ensure a thorough clean.

3. Overlooking Filter Maintenance

The filter is a central component of keeping your pool clean. Neglecting it can lead to poor water quality and circulation issues.

How to Avoid: Clean and backwash your pool filters regularly, according to the type of filter you have (sand, cartridge, or diatomaceous earth). Replace filter media as recommended.

4. Running the Pool Pump Inadequately

Running the pool pump too little can lead to inadequate water circulation and filtration, causing dirty and stagnant water.

How to Avoid: Run your pool pump for at least 8 hours a day to ensure complete water turnover and proper filtration.

5. Not Cleaning the Skimmer and Pump Baskets

Failing to clean these baskets can restrict water flow, stressing your pump and leading to potentially costly repairs.

How to Avoid: Check and clean the skimmer and pump baskets weekly or more frequently during heavy use or after storms.

6. Using the Wrong Pool Cleaner Type

Using a pool cleaner that’s unsuitable for your pool type or size can be inefficient and cause areas to be missed.

How to Avoid: Choose the best pool cleaner that matches your pool’s specifications. Consider factors like pool size, shape, and type of debris when selecting between manual, suction-side, pressure-side, or robotic cleaners.

7. Improper Handling of Pool Chemicals

Mishandling pool chemicals can cause dangerous reactions and compromise your pool’s safety.

How to Avoid: Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for storing and mixing chemicals. Never mix different chemicals together and store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

8. Neglecting to Cover the Pool

Leaving your pool uncovered can lead to debris accumulation and increased evaporation, which alters water chemistry.

How to Avoid: Use a pool cover whenever the pool is not in use. This helps keep out debris, save on heating costs, and reduce water evaporation.

9. Forgetting to Winterize or Summarize the Pool

Failing to prepare your pool for the off-season or warm season can lead to a variety of maintenance issues, including algae growth and equipment damage.

How to Avoid: Properly winterize your pool by balancing the chemicals, lowering the water level, and protecting the equipment. Reverse the process in the spring with a thorough cleaning and system check before use.

10. Ignoring Professional Maintenance

While DIY pool maintenance can be effective, there are times when professional help is necessary, especially when dealing with complex issues like leaks or equipment failures.

How to Avoid: Schedule an annual service check with a pool professional to ensure all equipment is in good working condition and to address any potential issues before they become major problems.


Avoiding these common pool cleaning mistakes will help ensure your pool remains a pristine and healthy environment for everyone to enjoy. Regular maintenance, proper chemical handling, and understanding the needs of your specific pool type are crucial for effective pool care. By taking these steps, you can enjoy a clean and inviting pool all season long.

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