If you have a pool, odds are, you know the usual maintenance tips — vacuuming, skimming, maintaining water and pH levels, changing filters — like the back of your hand. And you probably also know that keeping up with routine maintenance can be a real pain when all you want to do is enjoy your pool.
Here are six hacks you can use to keep your pool clean — and make your summer a bit more relaxing.
1. Supercharge that skimmer
Skimmer baskets already do a great job filtering out leaves and other debris from your pool, but they also leave a lot behind.
How to make that skimmer work harder? Take an old pair of pantyhose and wrap them around the baskets. Hair, sand, and fine dirt are no match for the teeny-tiny holes in the fabric. Remember to clean out the baskets once a week, and skim the surface for large debris every few days or as needed.
2. Natural bug banishers
Bugs are not only a nuisance to sunbathers and swimmers, but after they’ve buzzed their last buzz? A pest to clean up as well.
Whether they end up in your skimmer baskets or floating on the surface, keep them at bay by planting lemongrass nearby. The plant’s skin contains citronella, which helps ward off mosquitoes. If wasps and hornets are a problem, create a decoy wasps’ nest by filling a brown paper bag with plastic grocery bags. Generally, the stinging bugs won’t build a nest within 200 feet of an existing one (even if it’s a fake).
3. Use baking soda
Baking soda is a powerhouse outside the kitchen — for cleaning, freshening clothes, and even cleaning your pool.
Check your pool’s pH levels once or twice a week and after a heavy rain. A pound of baking soda is equal to a pound of any alkalinity product and is a fraction of the cost.
Bonus: Make a paste of baking soda and water to clean the tile and grout in your pool. Do this about once a week to prevent algae from growing.
4. Toss in tennis balls
From sunscreen and makeup to hair products and body oil, grime is bound to build up in your pool. Place a few new tennis balls in the water, or stick them in the skimmers so they’re out of sight. They’ll help absorb the oil, leaving you with crystal-clear water.
5. Make bathing suits a requirement
A friend forgot a bathing suit, so he jumps in with his khaki shorts on. A pool party gets a little rowdy and soon everybody’s fully clothed in the pool. Your cousin has a sun allergy, so he swims in a T-shirt.
In small doses, clothing will do no harm. But fibers fray and dyes can bleed when in contact with chlorine, which can make your pool cloudy over time. Make it a rule that only bathing suits are allowed. (And maybe skinny-dipping.)
6. Go au naturel
If you really want to cut back on your pool maintenance, opt for a “natural” pool. Most are made of two zones: one for swimming, which is lined with rubber or concrete, and a zone with aquatic vegetation that acts as a biological filter. A simple pump will keep the water flowing through either a gravel filter or the natural plant filter.
It may seem like a lot of work, with all those plants in your pool, but because it’s a natural ecosystem, it takes care of itself. You won’t have to monitor pH or chlorine — just skimming the surface and occasional vacuuming to remove any debris from the bottom should do the trick.