How to Vacuum Your Swimming Pool: A Quick and Easy Guide to a Debris-Free Pool


Vacuuming your swimming pool is a great way to keep your pool clean and free of dirt and debris. Sure, it’s a little work, but the benefits of vacuuming are worth the effort: You’ll spend less time fighting algae, your pool water will stay balanced, and your chemicals will work more efficiently. Your pool will look nicer, too.

Ready to add vacuuming to your inground or above-ground pool maintenance routine? It’s easy. All you need is a few essential pieces of equipment and a good vacuuming technique.

Checklist: Pool Vacuuming Must-Haves

Before you vacuum your pool, you should make sure that you have everything you need to get the job done. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Vacuum head and telescopic pole. If you’ve got a swimming pool, chances are good you’ve already got a telescopic pole, plus interchangeable attachments like nets, skimmers, and brushes. Most swimming pool vacuum heads are designed to work with any telescopic pole.
  • Vacuum hose. The vacuum hose connects your vacuum head to your pool pump via the skimmer inlet, which provides debris-sucking power.
  • Vacuum plate. This is also called a “skimmer plate,” but don’t let the names confuse you. Whatever you call it, this piece of equipment connects the hose to the skimmer inlet.

Choosing the right vacuum head for your pool liner

A vinyl pool liner requires a vacuum equipped with a soft brush to prevent tears and damage. If you have a concrete or gunite swimming pool, choose a vacuum head that features wheels for easy movement.

Getting Started

Once you have all of your equipment ready, it’s time to get started. Follow the steps below to manually vacuum your above ground or inground swimming pool:

Step 1: Assemble your pool vacuum.

This is quick and easy to do. Simply attach the vacuum head to your telescoping pole (remember, it should snap on easily).

Step 2: Connect the vacuum hose.

Attach one end of the hose to the vacuum head and attach the other end to your skimmer using the vacuum plate. (Remember to take the skimmer basket off first!).

Pro tip:

Before you connect the pool vacuum hose to the skimmer, you’ll need to blow the air out of it. The easiest way to do this is to hold the hose up against one of your pool’s jets until you no longer see air bubbles coming from the hose.

Step 3: Choose your filter valve setting.

For light vacuuming, you can leave your multiport valve filter set to “Filter.” For bigger jobs and larger amounts of debris, set your filter system to the “Waste” setting, which does sends the water down the drain, rather than through the filter.

Refill as you go

When using your pool filter’s “Waste” setting, you might notice your pool water level dropping. To keep your pool properly filled, use a garden hose to ensure a steady stream of fresh water and keep your water level even.

Step 4: Start vacuuming.

Move the vacuum like you would a real vacuum on a rug, in slow linear passes (going too fast will just stir up the dirt without sucking it up). If the pool is especially dirty, you may have to stop and empty the pump strainer before continuing. Repeat the process as many times as you need to remove all debris from the floor of your pool.

Step 5: Disconnect, change filter settings, and do a final cleanup.

Once your pool is vacuumed to your satisfaction, you can disconnect your vacuum head and hoses. Make sure to clear out the bottom of the skimmer, too. If you changed your filter pump settings, make sure to change them back (and if you’re using a sand or DE filter, now’s the time to do a quick backwash). For a finishing touch, attach a brush to your telescoping pole and give the pool floor and sides a good scrubbing.

Pro tip:

To ensure that your pool water remains balanced, test your water after you vacuum your pool.

Pool Vacuuming FAQs

Q: How often should I vacuum my swimming pool?

A: In general, it’s a good idea to vacuum your pool once a week. You should also vacuum your swimming pool any time you notice large amounts of debris, dirt, or leaves on the floor of the pool (for example, your pool may need vacuuming after a heavy storm).

Q: Why do I need to vacuum my pool if I have a robotic pool cleaner?

A: If you’ve ever seen your robotic pool cleaner push a pile of waterlogged leaves from one end of your swimming pool to the other, you know what we’re talking about: Robotic pool cleaners are great for light, day-to-day maintenance, but they’re not designed for heavy lifting. If debris isn’t removed promptly, it can wreak havoc on your water quality and lead to maintenance issues like algae. A pool vacuum makes short work of heavy debris, helping you keep your pool clean and inviting and preventing maintenance headaches.

Q: Can vacuuming remove algae from a swimming pool?

A: Algae can be tough to remove, especially once it’s found a home in your swimming pool’s corners and crevices. While vacuuming alone probably can’t remove all of the algae in your pool, it does help with algae prevention: By promptly removing debris like leaves and other organic matter, you’re keeping your pool water clean and discouraging algae growth.