A good pool tile cleaner will save you time and a lot of headaches when it comes to removing stubborn calcium, lime and hard water stains that can form over time along the water line. It can be a daunting task to get your pool finish looking how it did when it was new but it's possible with a bit of elbow grease and the right cleaning products.
The best time to clean your pool tile is in the spring before your pool opening chemical balancing. If you have stains that seem impossible to get off you will need to drain your pool water and it might be unavoidable to get some of the cleaner in your water.
There are biodegradable cleaners available but they can still alter your pool chemistry which you will want to avoid during the swimming season to avoid costly and time consuming balancing.
If you are into you pool season we recommend waiting until pool closing to do a thorough cleaning but if you just can't wait to remove the ugly stains it's important to limit the amount of cleaner you get in the water. We'll explain cleaning steps below so you have a good idea of what is required ahead of time.
If you have stains around your pool the best way to deal with them is to prevent them in the first place. A healthy and balanced pool should never develop stains so if you have excess staining or calcium buildup your best solution is to test your water and adjust if necessary. If you want more detailed information on proper balancing of chemicals be sure to read our salt water pool maintenance page that has a lot of useful information.
We've put together a step by step guide along with helpful tips and advice to get your tile looking brand new. Whether you've already attempted to clean your tile with no luck or you want some advice on a good pool tile cleaner we can help.
You're at the point where you've got tired of looking at the stains on your pool tile and you're determined to do something about it. The calcium, lime or hard water deposits on your tile will be hard to remove and take some work so it's a good idea to be prepared for a full day or more to get this done. The stains took months or years to develop and it's going to take some time to get them off.
The first thing you should do is purchase a pumice stone and scale remover or all purpose cleaner. If you are cleaning only tile we recommend a good pumice stone that doesn't claim or need to be safe for vinyl or porcelain. The goal is to use the coarsest material possible that won't damage or scratch your tile. If you plan on using the stone on vinyl, porcelain or acrylic find one that is safe for those surfaces.
It seems like every pool company out there has it's own brand of pool tile cleaner and each claims they are better than the other. This is where it can get confusing but the bottom line is that they are all acid based and all do pretty much the same job. The only main difference you will find is the thickness of the liquid. If you prefer using a liquid or a gel you should be able to find both.
The next step will be to drain your pool approximately 4-6 inches below the stain line or whatever you feel is enough to get at the stain. If you are cleaning your tile during pool opening or closing this shouldn't be necessary but if you are in mid-season it is highly recommended.
Ideally you want to prevent as much of the cleaner and residue from ending up in your pool. This can be difficult but once you get started you will develop a method that works depending on how stubborn the stains are and how much cleaner you use. If you end up with cloudy pool water you may be forced to use a flocculant but that should get your pool clean nicely.
The application of the pool tile cleaner solution is where things will get a bit dirty and where the elbow grease becomes necessary. You will most likely have to lay down on your pool deck or if you are more adventurous you can do it from in your pool. You should wear appropriate clothing so you don't damage your favourite pair of shorts.
The goal is to apply the liquid or gel with a brush or rag and let it sit for about 15 minutes or whatever is recommended by the manufacturer. Start out with a little bit of cleaner just to get an idea of how much it runs down the side of your tile. The goal is to apply a layer of cleaner to the stains without it ending up in the water.
You will want to work in sections and we recommend starting with 6-10 feet or whatever you can clean during the 15 minute setting time window.
After the pool tile cleaner has had a chance to break down the stain it's time to give it a good scrub. You will need a bucket of clean water and an old rag so you can remove the excess cleaning solution. You might notice that the stain isn't coming off completely and decide to get as much off as possible and come back and reapply solution for a second round of cleaning.
The amount of scrubbing and number of applications required will depend how difficult the stain is to remove. If you have years of build up it might be necessary to repeat several times but you should get a good idea of how clean the tile is after it dries.
Hopefully you have worked through the above steps and are left with sparkling clean tile but if you are still unable to removed the stains and buildup there are a few options that you might want to consider. The absolute best way to deal with stains is to prevent them but if it's too late you may need to hire a professional pool cleaner or a company that specializes in pool tile cleaning.
If your build up is so stubborn that you can't remove it with a pumice stone and cleaner or you want to hire a local pool company to do the dirty work you should consider bead blasting. This technique uses high pressure air similar to sand blasting that will break away calcium, lime or hard water stains that can't be removed with a pumice stone.
The best way to never have to deal with stained tile is to keep you pool properly balanced with special attention to calcium hardness, pH and alkalinity. There are products on the market that will help ensure your pool remains stain free and are specially formulated with this exact purpose in mind. If you are cleaning stains caused by pool algae it would be ideal to read about ways to prevent a bloom in the first place.
We hope this guide about pool tile cleaner was helpful and hopefully you were able to get your tile looking as good as new. If you suspect your pool chemistry was to blame for the stains be sure to monitor your chemicals so you can prevent future problems.
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