How to Vacuum a Pool

Learn how to vacuum your pool for clean swimming all season long

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Learn how to vacuum your pool for clean swimming all season long

Cleaning your pool should be a routine part of your outdoor maintenance schedule. If the water has become cloudy or particles have built up along the floor, it's likely time to vacuum. Read below for instructions on how to vacuum a pool.

SHOP ALL POOL VACUUMS

What You Need

Choose a Pool Vacuum

Pool vacuums come equipped with various features to make the process easier, and an array of options cater to different budgets.

Manual pool vacuums are available in battery-operated and rechargeable varieties. These tend to be less expensive, and most are weighted for easy underwater use. They require an extendable pool pole and vacuum hose (often sold separately), so make sure to review your options and choose one that fits your needs.

To assemble, connect the vacuum head to the hose, and then securely fasten the pole in place. Follow the instructions provided with your model for specific instructions on how to hook up a pool vacuum.

Automatic pool cleaners are great for hands-free operation and can cover large surface areas. Many are specifically designed for in-ground pools.  

Remove Excess Debris

Use a pool skimmer or leaf rake to gather any visible leaves, dirt or excess waste that may have blown onto the surface.

Turn on the Pool Pump

Turn on your pool pump and make sure the water is properly flowing through your pool filter.

Tip: Read our pool pumps buying guide for help selecting one that works well in your pool.

Above-ground pools are often made of metal or steel and usually come in simple shapes like round, oval or rectangle.

Step 1) Lower the assembled vacuum into the water until the head is touching the bottom.

Step 2) Keeping the vacuum pole locked in place, hold it down with one hand and make sure the head stays in contact with the floor of the pool. Leaning the pole along the side of the pool usually makes this process more manageable.

Step 3) Take the free end of the vacuum hose and hold it in front of the water return outlet to fill with water. Bubbles will begin to rise from the vacuum head. Wait until all bubbles have escaped to pull it away from the outlet, but make sure the hose remains fully submerged.

Step 4) Insert the open end of the hose into the vacuum plate (also known as a skimmer plate or skimmer disk), and place the plate into your pool wall skimmer, directly atop the suction vent. This will initiate the vacuuming process.

Step 5) Slowly sway the vacuum head in straight lines along the bottom of your pool until it's clean.

In-ground pools come in various shapes, sizes and depths. Make sure to choose a pool pole long enough to accommodate your pool.

Step 1) Lower the vacuum head into the water until it is touching the bottom.

Step 2) Keep the vacuum pole locked in place and make sure the head stays in contact with the floor of the pool.

Step 3) Take the free end of the vacuum hose and hold it in front of the water return outlet to fill it with water. Bubbles will begin to rise from the vacuum head. Wait until all bubbles have escaped to pull it away from the outlet, but make sure the hose remains fully submerged.

Step 4) Insert the open end of the hose into the vacuum plate (also known as a skimmer plate or skimmer disk), and place the plate into your pool wall skimmer, directly atop the suction vent. This will initiate the vacuuming process.

Step 5) Starting at the shallow end, move the vacuum along the pool floor in a slow and controlled manner until it's clean. For larger pools, it may help to move in a grid pattern.

Step 6) If the vacuum gets stuck, turn off the pump, reposition the head and turn the pump back on again. Remove large debris from the pump strainer if it begins to overflow.

Step 7) If you lose suction power during the vacuuming process, remove the hose from the vacuum plate and hold it over the water return outlet again. Follow the same steps after all bubbles have escaped.

For pools equipped with a sand filter, the vacuuming process is similar:

Step 1) First assess the amount of dirt and debris in your pool and use the appropriate valve settings on the filter.

Step 2) Once you fill the vacuum hose with water, connect it to the vacuum plate or skimmer disk and place it directly atop the suction vent to initiate the vacuum process.

Step 3) Move the vacuum head along the floor of your pool in a slow and steady motion.

Step 4) Dirt and debris will be transferred through the vacuum plate and into the pump. It will then move through the sand filter.

Step 5) Depending on the settings you chose earlier, the filter should capture the excess particles.

Step 6) Make sure to backwash your sand filter after you've finished vacuuming the pool.