We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How to Clean an Inflatable Pool (And When to Toss One)

Woman having fun in an inflatable pool.

Inflatable pools have become popular in recent years for more than just kids’ play. There are now versions for adults and even pets, with people placing them on their terraces, patios, back yards, and in some cases, indoors.

While they’re cool and symbolize fun and play, having one also means cleaning it on the regular. We’ll cover everything you need to know about how to efficiently clean your inflatable pool and make it last for a long time.

Prevention and Protection

Girl playing in an inflatable pool.

Before we get into the cleaning body of content, it’s important to note that there are tools that can help prevent dirt, debris, and other objects from contaminating your pool as well as protect it from harsh sun exposure, rain, and wind. Years ago, all you could do is deflate the pool and put it in storage. Now, you can keep it out for as long as you want while using covers and filters that protect its surface and keep it somewhat clean.

Some of the best prevention and protection tools include:

Pool Covers: Covers are usually made out of waterproof and leakproof material, snug pool covers cover the entire surface of the pool and they’re great for space-saving as they don’t need any additional height.

cbdz Rectangular Pool Cover

Covers can prevent your pool from getting dirty as it sits in the elements.

Solar Pool Covers: In addition to helping keep your inflatable pool clean, solar pool covers help heat up the water, extending the year-round usage of your pool and saving you money in the process. They come in all shapes and sizes so find the one that best fits your pool’s proportions.

Solar Pool Cover

Protects your inflatable pool while keeping the water warm.

Tarps: If you’re not interested in buying a special pool cover, you can always get a larger piece of tarp and cover It yourself. However, you do need to buy some weights to hold it in place or find a way to tie up the edges so it doesn’t blow away.

Waterproof tarp

Easy and affordable pool cover.

Pool filter: One of the most important tools you can use to keep your pool clean and the water safe for everyday use is a high-quality pool filter. They remove small debris and dirt that might be missed with classic cleaning supplies. The filters are typically bought separately from your inflatable pool and usually include a pump and hoses that are draped over the edge of the pool and held down by weights or straps. Don’t forget to clean out your filter regularly, too!

Intex Pool Filter

Cleans out all the debris, dirt, and dust.

Chlorine Tablets: If you plan on keeping the same water in your inflatable pools for days without changing it, chlorine tablets are a handy tool for keeping the water clean. Most inflatable pools need one tablet per week, but you can also test it with a chlorine test kit and ensure your levels are always in range.

Chlorine Tablets

Sanitize the pool and keep it clean.

Cleaning Tools and Supplies

Cleaning inflatable pool with a net leaf.

Some of the most popular inflatable pool cleaning tools and supplies include:

Pool Leaf Nets: Coming in a variety of sizes and shapes, pool leaf nets are the easiest tool to help you clean the water in your inflatable pool. All you have to do is drag it over the surface and debris and dirt will get caught in its net.

Net Leaf

Cleans your pool like a pro.

Pool Vacuum: A more intense cleaning of your pool water can be achieved with a pool vacuum. Depending on how large your inflatable pool is, you can choose a smaller, battery-operated vacuum or a larger version that has to be connected to a power outlet.

Pool Vacuum

Vacuums all the dirt and debris from the surface and pool walls.

Pool Brush: You can clean the walls and floor of your inflatable pool with a soft pool brush. Those with nylon bristles will efficiently clean the surface water as well as any inflatable pool material without damaging it. However, even though it might sound tempting, avoid using any heavy-duty pool brushes as they will damage the material of your inflatable pool. Most commonly, inflatable pools are made from thick, puncture-resistant vinyl. Sometimes, in order to better hold large amounts of water and prolong the life of your inflatable pool, laminated PVC is added to the sidewalls.

Pool Brush

Clean your pool without damaging its sidewalls.

Shocking the Pool: There are different types of pool shock, but their goal is to boost the chlorine levels. The general recommendation shock dose is 0.2 ounces of pool shock per 100 gallons of water. If you can’t find any specialized pool shock, you can use unscented bleach (2 ounces per 100 gallons of water). Since these are harsh chemicals, always read and follow label directions on your product as certain materials might not be suited for the most popular pool shock concoctions.

Shock the Pool

Sanitize your pool from all harmful chemicals.

Cleaning Frequency

Cleaning an inflatable pool with a soft sponge.

Now that we’ve listed some of the best tools for cleaning and maintaining your inflatable pool, you might be wondering how often you need to actually clean it.

On a daily basis, you should clean the debris and dirt by skimming the surface with a leaf net or even a vacuum if you notice a lot of objects floating in your pool. Depending on where you live, placing a pool cover every night might be beneficial so you don’t spend an hour every morning cleaning leaves and dirt.

Every week you should do a deeper cleaning. Drain your inflatable pool before you start cleaning and dedicate at least an hour to efficiently get rid of all the dust, dirt, and grime. Use your soft pool brush to clean the algae, debris, and dirt from the walls and floor of your inflatable pool.

Check your filter and clean it well, removing all the dirt that might build up over time. Once you refill it with water, balance out your chemicals to sanitize your water. Add a chlorine tablet and adjust your calcium hardness if necessary.

Pool Cleaner

Cleans the bottom and sides of the pool with ease and efficacy.

If you haven’t changed your water, you can still do the same steps, but add automatic pool vacuum cleaning after the brushing. Finally, you can shock your pool and with it, reset your water without draining the pool. Shocking your pool water clears out chloramines, toxic and potentially harmful byproducts of the bacteria and contaminants your chlorine tablets and other sanitizers have already neutralized. Shocking your pool needs to be done at dusk or night because the sun’s rays inhibit the process. Additionally, it’s recommended to run your circulation system for eight hours after shocking your pool.

Chlorine Test Strips

Test your chlorine levels efficiently.

When to Replace Your Inflatable Pool?

Kids playing in an inflatable pool.

Whether from wear and tear or simply because you haven’t cleaned it properly and consistently, there comes a time when you need to ditch your inflatable pool and get yourself a new one. Usually, they last for two to five years, depending on their size, shape, quality, and of course, maintenance care.

Inflatable pool

Convenient for even the smallest spaces.

Inflatable pools are a great way to enjoy the warm weather and refresh from the heat and if you take care of them properly, you can rest assured your pool will last a long time. And coupled with these cool pool noodles, fun is guaranteed.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on one thing: making your life outside of work even better. Want to know more?