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There’s nothing like the allure of taking a dip in an inground pool on a hot day, not to mention the distinction of being the coolest house on the block with your ability to host poolside hangs. Even if you’re keeping this summertime luxury to yourself, that water is just an invitation to good times all through the season. You know what’s not a good time? Cleaning the pool.
Okay, show of hands—when was the last time you give your pool a thorough clean? Unless you want to spend time blowing up an inflatable pool (no judgement, we have our favorites), or just swim in dirty, algae-filled water (not recommended), you’ll have to invest at least a little time in proper pool maintenance. But keeping your pool sparkling clean is simple with the right tools in hand.
The best pool cleaning supplies help you wipe out common contaminants like dirt, debris, and algae from your water, as well as stop mold from building up on your pool walls. You’ll need to hit your pool from a couple different angles: first off, using sanitizing chemicals like chlorine to help keep your water, walls, and floor clean. Skimming the top of your pool also stops leaves and bugs from sinking to the bottom. Brushing the walls and floor regularly keeps algae and dirty buildup at bay.
That may sound like a lot already, but one way to alleviate the cleaning pressure is by investing in a good pool vacuum and robotic pool cleaner for heavy-duty maintenance. Look, you can’t just hose down a pool, but with the proper equipment, you can get back in the water and back to enjoying the summer in no time. Here are the best tools for brushing, skimming, vacuuming, and everything in between to get a squeaky-clean pool.
1. Chlorine Tablets
One of the best sanitizers for any swimming pool is chlorine, and it’s a highly-effective way to not only keep your water clean and clear, but the walls, floor, and surrounding area, too. Just toss a 3-inch tablet in your skimmer basket, floater, or automatic chlorinator and let the bacteria and algae-killing power get to work, while you kick back poolside with a cold one.
HTH Super Chlorinating tablets are some of the best around, and just one tablet treats 10,000 gallons of water, and keeps working for up to a week. Since these tablets release chlorine slowly, make sure you’re running your filter for at least 8 hours and these sun-protected tablets can’t be beat.
2. Telescopic Pole
Like a good camping multitool, or Swiss Army knife, telescopic poles are a versatile tool everyone should have in their pool-cleaning arsenal. With just one pole, you can switch out adjustable attachment and boom—it instantly turns into a pool skimmer, brush, or manual vacuum. While you’ll have to put in some elbow grease, if you’re looking for a quick, daily touch-up to your pool, this is essential.
We like Vikii’s professional-grade pole because not only can you extend it from six to 16 feet to get all those hard-to-reach angles, it’s made from a durable aluminum alloy to assure you’ll be able to use it for many summers to come. Two anti-slip knobs keep the pole from over-extending while you clean, and risk losing all those leaves back to the bottom of the pool. While the attachments come separately, this pole is for those of you who know that if you want a pool cleaned right, you’ll have to skim it yourself.
3. Skimmer Net
So you’ve got the telescopic pole, you’ve rolled up your sleeves—now what? A skimmer net lets you scoop up all the debris that’s floating on top of the surface with the potential to fall to the bottom and gunk up your pool floor (think leaves, bugs, sticks, etc). To prevent too much work for your vacuum (we’ll get to that a little later), you should ideally be skimming your pool daily.
There are two types of nets you can use: a flat skimmer for a quick surface clean if you just want to shake off a couple leaves, and bag skimmer. We prefer heavy-duty bag skimmer nets like this one from FibroPool, because they’ll allow you to hold and collect more debris in one go. It comes with a dual-layer mesh that picks up even the tiniest of gross bugs, made from a special polymer blend and a tough frame that’s built to last. If you don’t want to be replacing your skimmer attachment every year, this is the pick for you.
4. Pool Brush
Now it’s time to scrub the pool walls and floor, to remove any lingering dirt and brush away algae before it can take over your pool. Before you choose the right pool brush for you, you’ll actually have to think about the surface of your pool, and what material it’s made of. If you have fiberglass, painted concrete or vinyl walls, use a brush with nylon bristles. You can use stainless steel bristles on unpainted concrete and gunite.
Because your brush is going to be exposed to a lot of pool chemicals (getting the walls, corners, and ladders at least twice a week), durability is always key here. But strength is also the name of the game since you don’t want your arms noodling out after a few minutes—in comes the Wall Whale. The unique added “tail” on the brush actually creates 10 times the force of a normal brush on the upstroke, according to the brand. That means you can brush down every nook and cranny of your pool in about five minutes. Its nylon bristles will also be one of your best defenses against algae.
5. Vacuum Head and Hose
Break out the, you guessed it, telescopic pole, because it’s time to vacuum your pool to really finish off that clean. Ideally, you should be vacuuming your pool about every other day, but while automatic pool cleaners can save you precious time, using a manual vacuum head can help you maneuver into hard-to-reach-spaces. They’re also good for spot-cleaning areas if you catch a potential debris build-up before it warrants a deeper clean.
Swimline (yes, the same creator of the famous giant swan pool float), makes a pretty solid weighted triangle vacuum head. The weights on the bottom help to keep it in place while you’re vacuuming tough spots, and the shape is ideal for cleaning pool corners thoroughly. Angled brushes help pick up debris quick, giving you more time to actually enjoy a dip. If you’re looking for something even more flexible, we recommend this vacuum head for its design.
But of course, you’ll want a hose to work in tandem with your vacuum head. This well-designed hose is UV and chemical resistant, flexible, and compatible with most standard pool vacuum heads and telescopic poles, so you can get the most out of your manual vacuuming sesh. Just connect the swivel cuff end directly into the vacuum head, and the other end to the skimmer, and you’re ready to go.
6. Robotic Pool Cleaner
Like a Roomba for your pool, these kinds of robots (also called automatic pool cleaners) are devices that drive around underwater vacuuming up debris hands-free while you lounge poolside. For their price tag, they save you a lot of time and effort. Even though some might not cover both the pool floor and your walls, it still beats the hassle of having to scoop up leaves yourself. Some even come with similar vacuum smart features like customized cleaning modes and cleaning schedules, too.
The Dolphin Nautilus CC Plus is a powerful workhorse of a pool cleaner—unlike pressure and suction cleaners, this model is more energy efficient because you don’t have to rely on an external power source. With its own power supply (and no vacuum lines or skimmers in sight), the Dolphin Nautilus easily cleans pools up to 50 feet long in just two hours. With “CleverClean” technology, you won’t have to mess with any controls, since it scans and maps out the pool floor so you get the most thorough clean possible (bonus: it also climbs walls).
What stands out especially is the Nautilus CC Plus’ own filtration system—sure, the dual scrubbing brushes can catch all the regular debris like bugs, leaves, etc, but it’s the finer filters that will vacuum smaller dust particles you can’t even see. An easy-access hatch also makes switching out the filters a breeze. It might not have the most smart features, but you’ll relax a little bit more during your swim in your clear, clean pool knowing that the Nautilus CC Plus has got your back.