I'm often asked for the correct procedure for cleaning the pool during my off weeks. This is how I clean pools. There are many ways to do it but this is how I do it to eliminate wasted movements, time or messing something up (i.e. brushing the walls before you vacuum and stirring up the debris on the floor). So shall we?
1. Test The Water - You want to take a sample of water elbow length deep in order to get the most accurate status of your water. You do not want to take it from the surface nor do you want to stir up the water prior to testing. You also want to take the sample in the deep end away from any returns or water features. TIP: Make sure you take your sample bottle and invert it vertically to keep air trapped (essentially keeping water out of the bottle) until you're elbow deep in water. Then rotate the bottle 180* to let water fill up the bottle.
2. Skim The Surface - You want to quickly get the surface debris out of the water before it sinks to the bottom. The last thing you'd want to do vacuum and then start having stuff sink to the bottom. TIP: Go around the pool twice. The first go around make some ruckus to get the debris stuck to the wall and then by the second go around most of it will be in the middle.
3. Empty Skimmer Basket(s) - Lets go ahead and get this out of the way so we can get the surface circulating again (where 90% of the contaminants are) and our next step is vacuuming so we need to pull the basket out anyways. TIP: If there is excessive debris in the skimmer don't pull the basket out until the maximum debris you have is contained in the basket. If it's overflowing pull the debris out by hand (with gloves on) until the amount of the debris is no more overflowing. Also pull out the basket when the pump is on. That way the debris gets pulled into the basket as you pull up.
4. Vacuum - Now would be a good time to go ahead and get the debris off the bottom. TIP: When you're vacuuming make sure you go at a steady and smooth pace. Going to fast will stir up the debris which could make it difficult in removing it from the pool or at the very least cost you more time in cleaning the pool.
5. Add Chemicals - Now that the pool is essentially clean it's safe to go ahead and sanitize the water or adjust other parameters. You want to add chemicals in the deep end and depending on what you're adding decides how you apply it. It's a great habit to do this before brushing because certain chemicals are heavier than water (chlorine and acid) and because of that it'll go straight to the bottom. To combat this you need to do a light brushing to mix it up. So why brush twice? TIP: When adding chemicals try to pour as close to the water as possible. Chlorine loses its potency the longer it's out of the water and attacked by the sun. Pouring closer to the surface also eliminates splashing which could cause issues (acid splashing onto your decking, for instance).
6. Brush - Now we need to finish with the vessel of the pool. So go around and brush the walls, steps and don't forget to mix up any chemicals you put in (shallow end right?? JK DEEP END ONLY). TIP: Brush the walls at an angle. It takes less energy to brush this way which will save your energy for other things in your day.
7. Cleaning Tile - You can go back around with your pool brush if you want but if you get a dedicated pool tile brush (Purity Pool makes a great one) it'll do a better job. A great tile soap is Arrow Scale Off tile soap. This has a little muriatic acid in it to help combat tile scale. Apply it and go around the pool cleaning the tile at the surface line. This will also mix up any debris you missed and put it back in the water. TIP: Do this at least once a week to keep build up off of your tile.
8. Skim The Surface - Do this one last time in order to finish the pool. This time should only require one trip around. TIP: Get a fine mesh pool net so smaller debris doesn't pass through the net.
9. Clean The Pump Basket - Any large debris you sucked up while vacuuming will be in the pump basket. If you don't empty it and continue to let debris build up it'll prevent consistent circulation that could result in a green pool or damage equipment. TIP: Before you put the lid on fill the pump basket with water to help the pump prime.
10. YOU'RE DONE! You should have a sparkling clear pool now! TIP: Relax and enjoy your pool!Clean Your Pool NOW!