14 Household Products To Clean Your Pool

Having a pool is a great blessing during the hot Summer months, but the cost can start to add up.  Did you know you may have natural pool cleaners and household products to clean your pool?  That's right!!  Cleaners can be hiding under your sink, on the shelf, or in your garage. 

You may not need to go to the grocery store or the pool store to have a perfectly clean pool.  Just a little thought and elbow grease, and you're up and running.  

Use A Natural Pool Cleaner and Save Money

After reading this list, you'll want to go through your house looking for household products and cleaners.  And save yet another trip to the pool store.  

1. Bleach

Good old fashioned bleach, or sometimes know as, sodium hypochlorite.  This is my all purpose cleaning agent and it's also great for weekly chlorination of your pool.  Use diluted bleach to clean pool toys, your hot tub cover, chairs, and anything else around your pool that needs a good disinfecting.  At higher concentration levels, you can find bleach at 8.5% of sodium hypochlorite.  

2. Baking Soda 

Another go-to for many pools guys and home owners.  Baking soda is not only for baking, but cleaning as well.  Mix it with water for a lightly abrasive cleaning agent that takes care of tile, decorative rocks, coping, and getting grease off of filters.  And of course use it to increase your alkalinity.  1.5 pounds of baking soda added to every 10,000 gallons of water will increase the total alkalinity by 10 parts per million (ppm).  

3. Borax 

The "BBB" of pools.  Bleach, baking soda, and last but not least, Borax.  This is another great natural pool cleaner.  Not only does it make your clothes bright, you can also use it to increase the borates and pH of your pool.  Make a nice paste and scrub away residue, spots, and light stains from your pool.  It costs a little more than baking soda, but it still saves money over expensive pool cleaner products.  

4. Dish Soap 

Warm soapy water is grease and grime's worst enemy.  All you need is a spray bottle filled with water, a rag, and a couple squirts of dish soap, and you're on your way.  Clean pool toys, sticky areas, light grease spills, and anything else that could use a good cleaning around your pool.

5. Vitamin C Tablet

Vitamin C, or as we call it in the pool industry, ascorbic acid, is our product of choice when we have a metal stain to remove from a pool surface.  If someone drops a nail on the top step and it leaves a stain, we don't worry.  Crush up some vitamin C, put it in an old sock, and place the sock on the affected area.  Allow it to sit for about an hour, lightly scrub the area, and watch as the stain disappears.  It's much cheaper than some other metal removers, and as natural pool cleaners go, you can't get much better.    

6. White Vinegar

Calcium buildup around your pool’s water line is the first indication something is wrong with your calcium hardness and pH level.  Sustained high hardness with high pH will cause that calcium ring at the water line.  You will first want to maintain a lower pH level, then grab your bottle of white vinegar, which is excellent at cleaning scaling deposits and white calcium streaks in your pool. 

A 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water and a scrubby sponge is all you need to wipe away your problems.  White vinegar is a good choice to clean and restore the shine on metal surfaces such as handrails and ladders.  No worries if a little dribbles in the pool.  It won't affect your pool chemistry at all.    

7. Olive Oil 

I learned about the greatness of olive oil's cleaning abilities when I lived in Oregon.  My kid's school had these old rags they called "sap rags".  I asked what they were and what they're used for.  The teacher said they're just old rags dipped in olive oil.  When the kids come back inside from recess and their hands are covered in sap from climbing trees, they get a sap rag and swipe their hands off, effectively removing the sap.

Olive oil can be a perfect natural pool cleaner to remove stubborn sap from your deck and sticky built-up areas.  Get a clean rag, add a little olive oil on it and scrub your pool tile down to remove any residue or light scum. 

And you can also use a little olive oil as a natural moisturizer for your skin after you're finished swimming.  

8. Lemon and Lime Juice 

Lemons and limes are not only great to clean your wooden cutting board and freshen up your garbage disposal, they're also a great cleaner for your pool.  Citric acid is one of Nature's best natural cleaners.  Squeeze some lemon juice into a cup, add some salt to thicken it up, and clean your pool tiles, decorative coping, the handrails on your ladder, or anything else you can find that's grimy.  Mix lemon juice with Borax or baking soda for an ever better natural pool cleaner.    

9. Muriatic Acid

Muriatic acid is one of the most caustic acids in the world, and care should be taken when its used.  With a 5:1 mixture with water, and you have a perfect cleaner to clean those rough and tough areas.  Scrub away tile scum and calcium deposits.  Soaking the inside of your chlorine generator will remove gunk and build-up.  And muriatic acid is what's used if your pool needs an acid wash.

10. Panty Hose

Does your skimmer need a little more help during the Spring when all the lovely pollen starts to fall?  Is your filter getting too clogged up with debris?  Then it's panty hose to the rescue.  Don't throw them away. Place the panty hose over the skimmer basket for another layer of filtration.  Panty hose will collect finer particles like pollen, human and dog hair, and dirt that finds its way through the skimmer basket.  They can also extend the life of your filter cartridge, DE grids and sand, so you don’t have to replace them that often.  No nonsense natural pool cleaner at its finest. 

11. Tennis Ball

What's a dog's favorite toy?  Probably a tennis ball.  But these fuzzy toys can double as a great natural cleaner to clean your pool.  Tennis ball's fibers actually absorb oil residue in your pool like suntan lotion and hair products.  Put a couple of tennis balls in your skimmer and turn the pump motor on.  As the water flows over the tennis balls, the fibers will absorb the oil and grease.

You can also toss a tennis ball or two into your swimming pool and let it do its job.  Just make sure to keep your pets indoors, otherwise, Fido might suddenly jump in to fetch it.

12. Melamine Sponge

A sponge by any other name usually goes by Magic Eraser.  And they do make spots disappear.  These sponges possess powerful natural pool cleaning power, and they're so simple to use.  Just dampen it and you're ready to go.  Melamine sponges are effective at removing sticky residue and stains in and around your swimming pool. 

They can scratch a surface, so it's recommended to test a small spot before proceeding to scrub a larger area.  Melamine sponges are considered to be the most essential and cost-effective pool cleaner you can have. 

13. Coca Cola

We all know the strange things people have done with Coca Cola, but did you know it's a great pool cleaner?  The citric acid and other chemicals found in this carbonated treat can also remove stains and rust.  Just allow the part to soak in the Coke for a little while, then rub it away with your Melamine sponge.  Make s slurry with a little Borax and you'll have a great natural pool cleaner to shine up your metal ladders and steps. 

And you'll have no problem dealing with the left over Coca Cola, will you?   

14. Rubbing Alcohol 

A mixture of 50% - 70% isopropyl alcohol and water does wonders on cleaning your filter tank, pump pot lid, and metal hand rails.  Add some to a spray bottle and clean away.  It's excellent at removing sticky stuff and makes your stainless steel items shine.

If you find yourself out of lemons, limes, or vinegar, this is your go-to natural pool cleaner.

Caution When Using Pool Cleaners

You can use many household products to clean your pool, but always check the labels and use your discretion and best judgement.  Start with a small test area first, then move forward if your cleaner does the job.  

Household products can be an inexpensive and effective alternative for cleaning your pool.  You can reduce the amount of chemicals you use and still have a very powerful and safe natural pool cleaner at your disposable.