Pool Maintenance Hacks

Six Pool Maintenance Hacks Using Household Items

Do you get tired of feeling like you have to buy some specialized pool formula or contraption for every problem that plagues your pool? Special pool chemicals, replacement parts and pool equipment can accumulate during the life span of your pool. Through the years we have run across some unique swimming pool hacks, using ordinary household items that will help save you money. Here are six ways to use household items to help maintain your pool.

Tennis Ball to Remove OilsTennis Ball Swimming Pool Oils

The more people who use your pool, the more likely that oil will build-up. Sweat, sunscreen, cosmetics and sebum (the skin’s natural oils) can turn your pool into an oil slick. This easy pool hack just requires that you throw three to five tennis balls into your skimmer and the felt of the tennis ball will absorb a fair amount of the oils found on the surface of your pool’s water.

Panty Hose Over Pool Skimmer BasketPanty Hose Pool Skimmer

Place panty hose over your skimmer basket to help catch very fine debris before it hits your filter. The panty hose does a great job of catching fine surface debris like grass, dog hair and dirt before it makes its way back to your filter. This helps your filter out quite a bit resulting in longer periods of time between cleaning your filter. This simple step also prolongs the life of your filter cartridge, DE grids or sand.

food coloring pool leak detectionFood Coloring for Leak Detection

If you are losing water from your pool then you can use food coloring to determine the source of your leak. Common areas to pinpoint for leaks are around your skimmer, jets, liner and floor drains.

Soapy Water for Finding Air Leakssoap spray bottle pool air leaks

Air bubbles in your pool is a common problem caused by air being introduced into your plumbing. The main culprit of pool bubbles is a suction leak in the plumbing going into your pump or around the lid of your pool pump. Fill a spray bottle three-quarters of the way with warm water and then add one to two squirts of soap. Use this spray bottle filled with soapy water to spray your plumbing and pump lid to find your air leak. If you see bubbles starting to form around any of your fittings or pump lid then you now know the source of your pool bubbles. To repair your air leak, check out our guide on How to Correct Swimming Pool Air Leaks.

milk jug for pool winter coverUse Milk Jugs to Prevent Winter Damage on Above Ground Pools

Periodically we will see above ground pools get completely destroyed during the winter and consequently they are unsalvageable. Normally this severe damage happens when a water leak develops after you have closed the pool and your area is then hit by a heavy snowstorm. When closing your pool you want to keep water in the pool because the pool water exerts pressure outwards which helps keep the pool’s walls upright. When a leak occurs and there is little to no water in the pool, the wall becomes very weak. Combine this with heavy snow and ice accumulating on the winter cover and you have a recipe for destruction. To avoid this scenario you can opt not to use the traditional wire cable that comes with the pool cover as the wire cable can actually assist in pulling the wall down. Instead, place milk jugs that you have filled on the ground around your pool every few feet apart and then secure the milk jugs to your pool cover’s eyelets with some rope or string. This will prevent the cover from pulling in that will result in a pool wall collapse.

A Gym Sock for Pool StabilizerPool Stabilizer Sock

One of the most common chemicals added to a pool is stabilizer (also known as cyanuric acid). If you make the mistake of adding stabilizer directly to your pool water, you will instantly turn the water into a milky mess (by the way I have done this). To avoid this dilemma, take a gym sock and pour your stabilizer into the sock. Ensure to close the sock at the top by simply tying it with a piece of string and then place the sock in your skimmer. The stabilizer will slowly dissolve into your pool water over a one to two day period and keep your water nice and clear during the process.

Do You Have Any Pool Hacks?

Hopefully you can use a few of these tips to save some money. If you have any other swimming pool hacks that you would like to add to the list then please post them to the comments section below. If you like this article then make sure to subscribe to our free 125-page pool maintenance guide. Just enter your email address and we will send it directly to your inbox.

43 thoughts on “Six Pool Maintenance Hacks Using Household Items

  1. I have used the blue pillows in the winter for my above ground pool. Some years they end up deflating. Any suggestions on alternative to these pillows?

  2. I have an above ground pool any hacks or answers of when the green gunk gets on the floor of the pool? Our water is clear but still can’t get back in the pool due to the floor of the pool being gross.

    1. Cyanuric acid, also known as stabilizer, is a chemical used to protect chlorine in your pool from UV rays. Without it, the sun would burn off the chlorine before it could sanitize your pool water.

  3. I was told to put stabilize in a sock and put that in the skimmer. Does that mean skimmer basket? I tried this, but 1. Water kept coming out and 2. The sock wouldn’t fit in the basket. What am I doing wrong?

  4. I’m a new pool owner, just figuring things out. My pool gets cloudy with dirt after every rainstorm. Is there anything I can do beside running my filter and vacuum? The Ph levels are fine, it’s just dirty. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  5. Quick question..i vac my 18 ft round pool with a telsa 30. Works great. But it doesn’t get fine stuff. When I brush the bottom almost looks like dust. So it gets discharged back in the pool..can I place panty hose or skimmer over filter?? Which will catch it better? Thanks in advance

    1. Yes, this is a great time to put pantyhose over your skimmer basket to try to catch the finer particles. I found this page during an internet search for information to do the same – my winter cover left fine sand-like particles in the pool that aren’t being easily filtered out. I’m about to put the pantyhose on and see if that helps.

      1. I have the same problem and put panty hose over top of my filter and it takes it all right out. It does have to be monitored and taken out and rinsed off more frequently so that my pump doesn’t struggle or stop pushing water out. Just make sure you have a good pressure coming out of your jet periodically and when you find you don’t then chances are the panty hose need sprayed off and put back over the filter again. You can reuse the same panty hose piece multiple times

  6. Learned this trick tbe first year i had my pool ( from the pool person. ) Grandchildren know before they get out to make a tornado or grandma has to getin first and she doesn’t like to get wet so they have to wait! Or they forget and volunteer to do it.

  7. If u don’t have a vacuum for ur pool but u do have a hand skimmer , go around ur pool 15 or 20 times in the same direction , making a tornado , and all the leaves and such will be in the middle of the pool , easy to clean with the skimmer

  8. I see many back flushing videos for sand filters, they all have a valve to help do this. My D.E. filter has a twist on-off cap. Can the pressure in my DE filter be too strong for a ball valve attachment?

      1. It’s a ClearWater/Waterway DE filter. Can’t find a model number and am unable to post pics here, how can i get them to you? Can however find a Part No. (808-0170-1008) and Serial No. (CW2D-010366) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1. If you purchase algaecide to put in your water regularly, just put a small amount in a bucket of water and “wash” the side of the your pool liner (inside or out, doesn’t matter) with the algaecide-water. It’s also a really great tip to do this before packing your pool liner away for the winter. It will prevent slime from showing up in the spring. Hope this helps!

  9. My name is Jim and I am a new pool owner. I just had my ingrpund pool closed and the tech said as he was leaving, “Put the pump in a milk crate to siphon out the water.” Why a milk crate?

  10. When I need to do work on the pump and it is unplugged I place a carrot in the return jet to stop the water :),

  11. If your pool doesn’t have a bottom drain, flip your vacuum upside down and sit it in the lowest part of the pool 👍

  12. I use a large square of heavy duty outdoor Velcro to keep my pillow in place in the winter. Just stick one side to the underside of the cover in the center and the other side to the center of the pillow. Stick them together and put cover on the pool.

  13. I use baking soda instead of PH plus, this raises the PH and is not costly.

    I also don’t use my blue pool cover any longer, didn’t like dealing with an inflatable in the center and siphoning water off the cover. I use a leaf cover instead…you can see the water at all times, so it’s alway nice looking. I blow leaves off this cover with a blower.

    1. The baking soda hack is a common and cost effective tip for anyone in need of pH stabilizer. Along the same lines, bleach can be used to supplement your chlorine levels. Keep in mind, that pool grade liquid chlorine is more concentrated than your grocery store bleach so you would need to add more to a pool to reach desired FC levels.

      1. Im not sure ‘he’ is or what the question or comment was; HOWEVER, when I shut down my pool for winter, here in the mountains of SC, I pay the huge net on top of the water and secure it with water tubes around the edges. The net floats…and is amazing! I think this winter, I am installing grommets around the pool, so I don’t have to deal with those pesky water tubes! If this isn’t what you were asking, Im sorry. I’ll go back to my corner and be quiet!

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