Summer time is prime time for pool parties! Nothing beats hosting your friends and family for a backyard bash with your pool as the center of fun! However, all good things must come to an end, and when your guests have said good-bye, you’ll have more than great memories – you’ll have a pool that needs cleaning.
Not to sound like Debbie Downer, but just because your swimming pool contains water doesn’t mean you don’t need to clean up the same as if your party were indoors. In fact, all the extra people splashing around make additional demands on pool chemicals, as well as the filtration system.
According to pool and spa expert Joe Horner, Alpha West Regional Sales Manager, pool water care following a pool party is vital to maintaining a healthy pool.
“Pool party guests tend to spend quite a lot of time moving from place to place in the yard. They might spend some time out sunning themselves in lounge chairs on the pool deck while applying suntan lotion, then move to the grass to socialize with other guests, and then move into the pool. The process happens repeatedly over the course of the event. And at pool parties that involve kids, the location changes are often even quicker.
“The point is that with each re-entry into the pool, more contaminants are introduced into the water. Sweat, sunscreen, cosmetics, grass, dirt, pollen, urine, and more can make their way into the water. Then, of course, there are the food and drinks that get served at the party and often get spilled in the pool.”
Because we at Certified Leak Detection want you to enjoy your slice of Central Florida paradise to the utmost, we offer the following post-party pool cleaning tips to quickly get it back in sparkling condition!
Skim, Brush and Vacuum Your Pool
Although you may be tempted to take it easy after cleaning up what your guests left behind on your pool patio, applying some elbow grease to your pool really can’t wait. In the Swim recommends the following:
“Start by using your skimmer net to remove any large pieces of debris from the water. After that, scrub down the walls and floor of your pool with a brush to loosen up any dirt or algae. Don’t worry if your pool looks a bit murky after brushing it down, this is where your automatic pool cleaner or vacuum comes in handy. If you have a cleaner, let it run a full cycle to clean up the dirt and debris. Or, if you have a manual vacuum, attach the hoses and begin slowly working around the walls, floors, and steps of your pool.”
Run the Pump and Filter
After the water is clear of all visible debris, turn your pump and filter on to start circulating and filtering the water to catch any left-over debris. In the Swim recommends letting your pump and filter run continuously for at least 12 to 24 hours to ensure the water is thoroughly filtered and circulated. “You may need to run the equipment longer if your pool is particularly dirty or cloudy. Inspect the skimmer and pump strainer baskets for any debris, and empty if necessary. Letting your pump and filter operate for this length of time not only helps clean your pool water, but also allows freshly added chemicals to fully incorporate into the water.”
If your pool has a cartridge filter, remove and clean it. Horner provides the following instructions:
- Turn off the pump.
- Release the air from the filter.
- Remove the cartridge from the tank.
- Brush off any larger debris particles. Be sure to separate pleats to get a thorough clean.
- Depending on how dirty the cartridge is, either spray it with cartridge filter cleaning spray or soak it in cartridge filter cleaning solution (for a deeper cleaning). Carefully follow the directions for mixing and using the solution.
- Once soaking or spraying is complete, rinse off the filter with water from the garden hose.
- Allow the filter to dry before replacing it. Having a second filter allows for a quicker turnaround time while cleaning the original filter.
If your pool has a Diatomaceous Earth (DE) filter, Horner provides the following instructions for backwashing it:
- Turn off the pump.
- Attach the backwash hose.
- Move the valve to the backwash position.
- Turn the filter system on and allow it to run for 1 to 2 minutes
- Turn the system back off.
- Move the valve to the rinse position.
- Turn the system back on and rinse for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Turn the system back off and move the valve back to the filter position.
- At this point, DE filters will typically need additional diatomaceous earth added (the amount will depend on the model and should be indicated in the manual).
Test, Balance and Shock the Water
With your pump and filter still running, In the Swim recommends that you test your pool water with test strips or a test kit. Total alkalinity should be 80 to 120 ppm. Balance the following chemicals in the order below:
- pH: 7.4–7.6
- Calcium Hardness: 200–400 ppm
- Cyanuric Acid: 30–50 ppm
Once you’ve balanced the pool water, apply shock. Use enough calcium hypochlorite or sodium dichlor shock to increase the chlorine level to approximately 10 ppm. This will provide your pool with enough sanitizing power to eliminate any leftover pool party contaminants. Shock your pool at night to avoid UV damage and evaporation. Our blog post – “The Shocking Truth About Shocking Your Pool” – covers this topic in greater detail.
Be aware that some types of pool shock – such as calcium hypochlorite (cal hypo) – need to be dissolved before adding to the pool. Read the label to learn if the shock you are using can be added directly to the water. Moreover, different types of shock vary in the amount of time that the water must be left before it’s safe to swim again. The length of time can range from 15 minutes to eight hours, with most falling in the eight hour (or longer) range. Read and follow label directions.
As In the Swim further recommends, “After letting the shock fully disperse and incorporate into the water, add an enzyme to remove phosphates and lower the risk of algae developing. And if your pool water isn’t quite as crystal clear as you’d like, use a clarifier to bring it back to its usual brilliance.”
To prepare for your next pool party, Gettle Pools Inc. advises shocking your pool one or two days in advance.
The Take-Home Message
Despite the work that cleaning your pool after a pool party involves, the enjoyment that you and your guests experienced will live on in memories and cell phone videos (and possibly on social media)! Others will watch videos of your party and wish they had been there! Ultimately, hosting an epic event makes it all worthwhile.
Make sure your pool is ready for your next big shindig by making sure it’s free of leaks. Certified Leak Detection uses technology and techniques we have developed over 20 years in business. In addition to quick detection and repair of swimming pool leaks, we provide industry-leading leak detection and repair for spas and hot tubs.
Serving areas throughout Central Florida – including Orlando, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford, Kissimmee, Clermont and Winter Springs – our team is ready to answer your call. Contact us for quick, reliable service!