How to Clean the Bottom of Your Pool Without a Vacuum

Cleaning the pool bottom without a vacuum: Use the filter first, then a brush, rake, dustpan, and chemicals to maintain a spotless pool efficiently.

how to clean bottom of pool without vacuum

Putting immense amounts of time, money, and resources into a swimming pool only to have the bottom stay dirty can be frustrating.

On top of that, pool vacuums can be expensive to purchase and maintain. Fortunately, there are various ways to clean the bottom of your pool without a vacuum.

We’ll cover a five-step plan that keeps your pool clean without breaking the bank. 

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Step 1: Using the Filter 

Intex FBA_29003E Type A or C Filter Cartridge for Pools, Three Pack, 3-Pack, Brown/A

The first step in cleaning the bottom of your pool without a vacuum is using your pool’s filter system. By running the filter first, you’ll eliminate a significant portion of the dirt on the bottom of your pool.

Before that, however, your filter system should be kept clean. If the filter is not cleaned regularly enough, dirt, filth, and debris build up in it, preventing it from working correctly. 

Moreover, most pool filters have settings allowing you to remove water from your pool, thus making it easier to clean. Use this setting to remove any water that may be dirty, preventing that grime from depositing at the bottom of your pool.

Your pool will also be easier to clean with less water; however, replace this water when done. 

Furthermore, you can lessen the workload on your filter with regular, consistent maintenance of your pool. A lower workload lets your filter work more efficiently while preventing the build-up mentioned above of debris that may stop it from working.

In addition, a more efficient filter allows you less time cleaning your pool bottom and more time enjoying your pool. 

Step 2: Using a Brush 

POOLAZA Pool Brush, 17.5" Pool Brushes for Cleaning Pool Walls, Premium Nylon Bristles Pool Brush Head with EZ Clip, Curved Ends High-Efficiency Pool Scrub Brush

The next step in cleaning the bottom of your pool without a vacuum is using a brush on the bottom of your pool. You should use a brush with a handle long enough to reach the bottom and ensure your brush is composed of suitable materials.

Using the right brush allows you to get the most cleaning power while preventing damage to your pool. 

Of course, different pool sidings and floor types will require brushes of other materials. For example, you should use a brush with soft rubber or nylon bristles on a pool with vinyl lining.

On the other hand, if your pool has concrete siding and flooring, you should use a stiffer brush made of stainless steel or another metal. 

Additionally, when using a brush to clean the bottom of your pool, pay attention to the sides.

Cleaning the sides keeps the dirt and debris from sinking to the bottom, thus reducing the amount of work needed for a spotless pool. Similarly, it would be best if you also cleaned the area around your pool. 

Step 3: Using a Rake 

The third step in cleaning the bottom of your pool without a vacuum is using a rake to gather large debris that your filtration system and brush can’t handle.

Some examples of this debris include rocks, sticks, leaves, branches, and other forms of large plant matter. Removing large items like this is necessary to prevent your filter from breaking. 

To use a rake to clean the bottom of your pool, grab a rake of suitable materials. Plastic is usually a safe bet since a metal rake will damage your floors and siding.

Get in the pool with it, and use the rake to gather all the large debris into one pile. Then, remove the pile by hand. From there, you can deal with the debris however you see fit. 

Step 4: Using a Dustpan 

The fourth step to clean the bottom of your pool without a vacuum is using a dustpan. Note that this step requires you to dive in with the dustpan physically.

First, grab a dustpan made of plastic or similar material that will not damage your pool’s bottom or siding. Then, dive in, and collect any sedentary dirt with the dustpan. 

Once you have a bunch of dirt and debris, carefully rise back to the surface with the dustpan. You will need to do this in a very slow and controlled manner to prevent the collected dirt from leaving the dustpan.

Any quick, sudden movements will cause the dirt to disperse back into the water, setting you back to square one. 

Step 5: Using Chemicals and Shocks 

Once most dirt and debris have been removed, the final step to cleaning the bottom of your pool without a vacuum is to prevent their return using chemicals and shocks.

Since some of these chemicals are potentially harmful to humans, use the proper safety equipment, such as safety goggles, gloves, and a mask, depending on the chemicals used. 

You will also need a bucket capable of holding several gallons of water; about five to six gallons should be enough, but this depends on the volume of your pool.

Mix chemicals such as shock and calcium hypochlorite with a bucket of five to six gallons of water. Then, pour the bucket’s contents over the dirtiest parts of your pool bottom. 

As long as your filter and pump run, the chemically treated water will circulate throughout your pool and remove any dirt, grime, or algae from the bottom surface.

This process will take several hours, with experts recommending at least eight to twelve hours for this process. Doing this at night, before going to bed, is an excellent idea for letting these chemicals work. 

Make sure your filter pump is running throughout the night, and keep it running if your water appears cloudy or the bottom still appears dirty after the chemical treatment.

If the bottom of your pool is still muddy due to algae, consider using an algaecide. They are generally simple to use, just run the filter and pour the algaecide in, then keep running the filter for 24 hours. 

The Importance of Keeping Your Pool Clean

Of course, every part of your pool, including the bottom, will get dirty at some point. It’s inevitable.

There is such a massive variety of things that can get your pool dirty, such as dirt and sediment dropping in whenever it rains. The human body also produces dead skin, bacteria, and oil that can dirty your pool. 

Since you cannot entirely prevent the bottom of your pool from getting dirty, regular, consistent maintenance is the best course of action.

This includes regular tests of the water’s chemical balances. Maintaining the right balance prevents the water from getting cloudy. You should also backwash your filter regularly to keep it free of debris and waste. 

Swimming pools also provide an environment very conducive to the growth of algae, which is one of the most significant contributing factors to the dirtiness of your pool bottom.

This is because pool water does not move the way naturally occurring bodies of water do, allowing algae to grow in abundance. 


Here are the most common questions about pool cleaning.

Why should you clean the bottom of your pool?

Besides it being unsightly, a dirty pool can actually be harmful to you and any other swimmers’ health, as well as your filtration system. Most filters are designed to handle microscopic particles, meaning any dirt you can visually see will overwork your filtration system. 

How often should you clean the bottom of your pool? 

The short answer here is that it depends on the size and water volume of your pool. Experts recommend cleaning a small or medium-sized pool at least once per week, while larger pools have a greater variance in this. Depending on how much it’s used, your pool may need to be cleaned more than once per week, but sticking to a once-per-week schedule is a good start. 

Why is my filter blowing dirt into the pool? 

This could be happening for several reasons, the most common of which is the filter being overworked and needing cleaning. When the filter goes too long without cleaning, the waste it should be sucking up recirculates back into your pool. So if it has one, you should also check the filter isn’t on the recirculate setting. 

What is making the bottom of my pool dirty?

There can be any number of contaminants making the bottom of your pool dirty, but some of the most common include sand, dust, and dirt, all three of which can be transferred via the wind or any swimmers’ feet. Other culprits may consist of leaves, sticks, and branches. You can reduce the impact of plants on your pool by trimming trees near your pool. 

More FAQs

What is the hard buildup on the bottom of my pool?

The hard buildup on the bottom of your pool is most commonly caused by imbalanced pH levels, particularly when the pool surface is new. High pH is a primary factor contributing to the formation and growth of calcium. Additionally, inadequate application of pool interior can also result in the development of calcium spots.

What is the dirt looking stuff on the bottom of my pool?

The dirt-looking stuff on the bottom of your pool is most likely mustard algae, a type of green algae that is resistant to chlorine. To get rid of it, you will need to use special treatments. Mustard algae appears yellowish-green and often resembles dirt or sand on the pool’s bottom or sides. It can be easily brushed away, but tends to come back quickly.

How do you manually clean the bottom of a pool?

The bottom of a pool can be manually cleaned by using a plastic leaf rake to collect larger debris without causing any damage to the pool’s liner and bottom. This rake is designed with plastic material to prevent scratches while allowing for easy collection of larger pieces. Additionally, a thick brush can be utilized to effectively remove algae and debris by digging in and dragging them in a single direction.

How do I get dirt and algae off the bottom of my pool?

To remove dirt and algae from the bottom of your pool, start by vigorously scrubbing all pool surfaces covered in algae, such as walls, floors, and steps, using a pool brush. Follow the instructions on the label and apply a green algaecide. Allow the water to circulate for 24 hours, then repeat the brushing of pool surfaces. Finally, use a vacuum or backwash to eliminate any remaining dead algae.

Should you brush the bottom of the pool?

You should brush the bottom of the pool in order to prevent algae buildup. By brushing the walls and floor of your pool, you can prevent algae spores from attaching to the surface and starting to grow. It is important to remember that it is more effective to prevent algae than to treat it.

How do you clean the bottom of a pool fast?

To clean the bottom of a pool quickly, the most effective method is to utilize a pool vacuum. If there is a significant amount of dirt, it is recommended to use the multiport valve on the waste setting for optimal results. Otherwise, the cleaning can be performed on the filter setting, followed by a backwash to remove any remaining dirt.

Should I brush the bottom of my pool?

You should brush the bottom of your pool because it helps prevent algae buildup by stopping algae spores from attaching to the surface and starting to grow. It is important to remember that preventing algae is better than treating it.

Does baking soda help clear up a pool?

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, can indeed help clear up a pool. Adding baking soda to your pool water will raise both the pH and the alkalinity, enhancing stability and clarity. Numerous commercial pool products that aim to increase alkalinity utilize baking soda as their primary active ingredient due to its natural alkaline properties.

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