What Is the Best Way to Vacuum a Pool – 4 Easy Steps and Alternatives

Vacuum a pool regularly is one of the most important procedures in cleaning. We will talk about the importance and the steps of properly vacuuming your pool.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Quoting Benjamin Franklin, it is truly better to prevent diseases than to cure them.

That is why cleaning a pool is essential to maintain pool water hygiene, water clarity, and water quality which will prevent the spread of possible diseases.

Vacuuming your pool is one of the most important procedures in cleaning. So in this article, we will talk about the importance and the steps of properly vacuuming your pool. Let’s get started. 

Why Vacuum a Pool?

Like what we’ve talked about previously, vacuuming a pool is essential in disease prevention.

You might still feel skeptical about this, so to emphasize this point, even the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends pool cleaning to remove biofilms from surfaces, sediments on the bottom of the pool, and particulates stuck to the filter materials. Doing so will prevent the possible transmission of infectious diseases. [1]

Although it won’t remove all the algae, the vacuuming process can help slow down its accumulation-effectively lessening the needed maintenance work done to remove algae from your pool.

Aside from disease prevention and algae mitigation, you are also maximizing the use of your pool filter system as you scrub and remove the dirt and debris from your swimming pool. 

Vacuum a Pool

Lastly, when you use a pool vacuum manually, it is a good exercise so not only are you scrubbing away dirt and debris with pool vacuums but also ridding yourself of unburned calories. So, it’s a win-win situation.

Given all these reasons, it is important to vacuum your pool. Now let’s talk about when to vacuum your pool.

When to Vacuum Your Pool?

To frankly answer when you need to vacuum the pool, it depends. Although it depends on certain factors, the usual advice for pool vacuuming is once per week. [2

But if you think you’ll need to increase the frequency of vacuuming the swimming pool, then the factors that you’ll need to consider are your location, the environment, and the pool usage.

For location and environment, you’ll need to factor in if your surroundings have many trees or if your location is naturally windy which brings a lot of dirt and debris along with it. If so, you can increase the frequency of your usage gradually until you get the job done.

You also need to increase the number of times you vacuum according to the pool usage. If you regularly hold parties or if your family frequently uses the swimming pool then you can increase the cleaning and vacuuming until necessary.

Vacuum a Pool regularly is a must

How to Manually Vacuum Your Pool?

Manual pool vacuuming is the best method of cleaning your pool as it ensures a deep clean of your pool. Although an automatic pool cleaner is quite good, it can’t compare to manually scrubbing the pool floor.

Manual pool vacuuming is the best method of cleaning your pool as it ensures a deep clean of your pool.

Materials and Pool Accessories You Need for Manual Vacuuming

To manually vacuum the pool, you’ll need to prepare the tools below. These tools will help you effectively and efficiently scrub the pool.

  • Pool vacuum head: An attachment for the telescoping pole. It also has a port to which the vacuum hose attach to. 
  • Telescopic pole: An extendable pool pole in which you attach the vacuum head. This pole allows easy reach to the wall and floor of the pool.
  • Pool vacuum hose: A hose that connects the vacuum head to the vacuum plate. It enables the transfer of the suction force coming from the pool circulation pump to the vacuum head.
  • Skim vac/vacuum plate: An attachment for the skimmer inlet that enables the easy connection of the pool vacuum hose.
  • Pool brush: An attachment for the telescopic pole, which is purely used for scrubbing. The main difference with the vac head is that it doesn’t have a port for the vacuum hose.
  • Water Skimmer Net- Another attachment for the telescoping pole, purely used for gathering large debris floating above the pool water.

4 Easy Steps on How to Manually Vacuum the Pool

After readying the tools needed, let’s move on to the procedure on how to manually clean your pool.

But before we begin, just a quick safety reminder. Since this might be a strenuous physical activity depending on the need, if you are not in a healthy condition it might be best to do it yourself.

Easy Steps on How to Manually Vacuum A Pool

Skim the Pool

Before we begin scrubbing and vacuuming, we need to skim the surface of the pool first to gather large debris-such as leaves and insects.

Grab the water skimmer net and attach it to the telescoping pole. Do it systematically. Select a starting point on your swimming pool and start skimming.

To efficiently skim the pool water, don’t skim it from left to right or vice versa. Instead, do it as if you’re pulling the water towards you. This way, the debris left out by the net will move towards you and not away from you.

Scrub the Walls

After skimming, it’s time to scrub the walls of your swimming pool. Remove the skimmer net attachment from the pole and attach the brush.

Again, do it systematically. Select a starting point and then scrub. Remember that you should scrub downwards so that the removed debris and dirt will easily settle at the bottom of the pool.

After skimming, it’s time to scrub the walls of your swimming pool.

Scrub and Vacuum the Floor

Once done with scrubbing the pool, it’s time to use the pool vacuum. Remove the scrubber attachment and replace it with the vacuum head. After attaching the vacuum head, get one end of the hose and attach it to the port of the vacuum head. 

Open the skimmer lid to reveal the skimmer basket. Remove the skimmer basket and replace it with the skimmer plate/vacuum plate.

Then the next thing to do is prime the hose with water. To do so, turn the pool pump on and submerge the vacuum head while holding the other open end of the pool hose. Find jet return lines in your pool, then insert there the other open end of the vacuum hose. 

You’ll notice that there will be bubbles rising up from the vacuum head; this means that the air inside the hose is getting ejected by water. Once bubbles stopped rising above the vacuum head, it meant that the hose was completely primed.

Then after priming quickly and without losing any water, connect the one open end of the hose to the skimmer inlet (where we previously installed the skimmer plate).

Before scrubbing, you can decide on the pool filter valve setting that you want to use. Usually, there are two available settings: filter setting and waste setting. The filter setting directs the vacuumed water into the filter system of the pool.

In contrast, the waste setting sends the vacuumed water down the drain. If you select the waste setting, just make sure that you add fresh water to maintain the water level.

After setting the valve, you now scrub the bottom of your pool. Do it systematically. Move the vacuum back and forth and do it from the shallow end of the pool to the deeper end.

Rinse Pool Vacuum and Backwash

After vacuuming, rinse the tools used with fresh water. Let dry and store safely. Doing so will prolong the life of these tools.

If you have used the filter setting in the valve, you can backwash if you have a sand filter. If you have a cartridge filter, you can clean it by hand.

Alternatives to Manually Vacuum a Pool

You might wonder if there are alternatives for manually vacuuming your pool. There are automatic cleaners that we can use. 

Quoting Robert Heinlein, an American author: “Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” 

So, let’s try to take advantage of technological innovations, like an automatic pool cleaner, to free up more time in our lives which we can spend on more meaningful things.

Automatic pool cleaner to vacuum a pool

We will be talking about the types of automatic pool cleaners that you can use. But you should keep in mind that an automatic pool cleaner is not a permanent vacuuming or cleaning solution. Instead, it is there to decrease the frequency of your manual pool cleaning. 

Robotic Pool Cleaners

This is an automatic pool cleaner that uses an independent mechanism from your pool system. It runs on a built-in battery and follows a program that enables it to clean your whole pool effectively. The integrated filtration system has its own filter and strainer basket that collects debris.

High-end models of this type can even climb pool walls and can work up to the bottom of a 15-meter pool. Others have Bluetooth capabilities, which make it controllable by a smart device.

Robotic Pool Cleaners that have built-in battery and follows a program that enables it to clean your whole pool effectively.

Suction Side Pool Cleaners

This is an automatic pool cleaner that uses the negative pressure or vacuum generated by your pool pump to do the cleaning. If you have a powerful pump, then you can take advantage of this type of cleaner. Suction-side pool cleaners can effectively remove debris such as insects, hairs, and small rocks.

Pressure Side Pool Cleaners

This is an automatic pool cleaner that uses the positive pressure from a booster pump. If you don’t have a booster pump, you can also connect it to the return jets of your pool system via a hose. But you’ll need to contact the manufacturer to ensure that your power rating is enough.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is vacuuming my pool important?

Vacuuming is crucial to maintaining a clean and clear pool. It helps remove dirt, debris, and particles that settle on the pool’s bottom, preventing them from affecting water clarity and overall hygiene.

What equipment do I need to vacuum my pool?

To vacuum your pool, you’ll need a pool vacuum head, a telescopic pole, a vacuum hose, and a skimmer vacuum plate or dedicated vacuum port on your pool’s circulation system.

What’s the process for vacuuming a pool?

First, attach the vacuum head to the telescopic pole and connect one end of the vacuum hose to the vacuum head. Submerge the vacuum head and hose into the pool, ensuring they’re filled with water to prevent air bubbles. Attach the other end of the hose to the skimmer vacuum plate or dedicated vacuum port. Move the vacuum head across the pool’s bottom, covering all areas systematically.

How long should I vacuum my pool for?

The time required for vacuuming depends on your pool’s size and the amount of debris. Generally, vacuuming might take 30 minutes to an hour. Aim to cover the entire pool bottom, paying extra attention to areas with heavy debris buildup.

How often should I vacuum my pool?

Vacuuming frequency varies based on factors like pool usage, nearby vegetation, and weather conditions. In general, vacuum your pool at least once a week, and more frequently if needed. Regular maintenance and skimming will also help reduce the need for frequent vacuuming.


Summing up, manual pool vacuuming is an essential part of pool cleaning. It removes the build-up of dirt, algae, and debris in the pool.

Manually vacuuming your pool only takes a few tools: a pole, a vacuum head, a hose, a brush, and a vacuum plate. To do so only takes 4 easy to remember steps: skim the water, scrub the walls, vacuum the water at the bottom, and clean the tools and equipment.

Although there are automatic alternatives, nothing beats a good scrub. So manual pool cleaning must still be done at least a couple of times a year.

It can be physically tiring so if you have health problems, it might be better to contact pool professionals to help clean your pool.

Maintaining a Pool is a challenge to anyone’s budget but doing some of yourself can be a lot of cut cost. Read more about the Best Automatic Pool Vacuum, How to Change Pool Filter Sand, and How to Fix Cloudy Pool Water. These articles will help you to maintain your pool safe and clean.

  • [1] https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/bathing/srwe2full.pdf
  • [2] https://www.swimmingpool.com/maintenance/vacuum-a-pool/#:~:text=In%20general%2C%20it%27s%20a%20good,vacuuming%20after%20a%20heavy%20storm).
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About the author

Brian Anderson

The rather dry pool world out there is in need of some passion to make it shine. With the help of my son Ruben and his wife Maria our mission is to help you create the favorite spot of your house - your pool.

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