How to Vacuum a Pool: A Complete Guide

How to Vacuum a Pool
Articles on Vacuums

Vacuuming is pool owner maintenance 101. Chemicals will only do so much for you when it comes to keeping things clean, which is why you should learn how to vacuum a pool.

Thankfully, it shouldn’t take too much time. However, it will require more than just a quick skim with a telescoping pole.

Instead, you’ll need a swimming pool vacuum or something like it.

While this might seem like it requires a lot of elbow grease, it really doesn’t have to be difficult.

Let’s dive in!

How to Clean a Pool, Where to Begin

Skimming debris out is simple enough, but you need to know how to use a pool vacuum, how one works to take the dirt off the floor and walls and to prevent bacteria growth, like algae.

Before we go over how to use one, first you need the right tools for the job. Vacuuming is not a quick and painless task, but with the right equipment and a sunny day, it can actually feel pretty close to relaxing.

How to Vacuum clean a Pool

Mandatory Cleaning Equipment:

– A vacuum head. This is the piece of the assembly that will pick up the debris from the bottom. That should occur regardless of the water level and should work on all types of pool.

– A telescopic pole to attach to the vacuum head that will extend long enough to reach every part of the floor. You’ll hold on to the pole to control the vacuum head. This should be able to reach anywhere, regardless of pool water level.

– A vacuum hose to attach the vacuum head to the pool pump must be long enough to reach every part of the floor. The hose is how the debris and dirty water will be pumped out.

– A skimmer plate, also known as a vacuum plate, connects the hose to the pump through the skimmer inlet.

If you have a vinyl swimming pool, you may want to make sure that the vacuum head you’re using has a soft brush that won’t tear the lining. Most above ground swimming pools are lined with vinyl, so it is essential to know how to vacuum an above ground pool as well.

With a tiled or concrete swimming pool, you can use more aggressive bristles, and you’ll want to have a brush with wheels. There are also vacuums that are built specifically for this.

Okay, now you have all the proper pieces of equipment. Read the following steps to see how to vacuum your aboveground or inground swimming pools.

Vacuum Assembly

All of the parts will snap together easily.

First, attach the vacuum head to the telescopic pole. Then attach one end of the hose to the vacuum head and the other end to the skimmer using the skimmer plate. You’ll have to remove the pool skimmer basket before you do this.

Before connecting the vacuum hose to the skimmer, you’ll need to make sure all of the air is out of the hose. The easiest way to do this is to hold the hose up against one of the jets until you no longer see air bubbles coming from the hose.

Using Your Filter to Assist with Cleaning

Depending on your pool’s size and style, your filter system will have at least two settings for filtration control.

Multiport Filters offer options to help speed up the cleaning process. One of the filter settings is called “Waste,” which will bypass the filter and pump water out. This will prevent big debris or algae from clogging the pool filter.

If you have the option of using the “Waste” method, you’ll have to attach a hose to add more fresh water to maintain the water level because you’ll be losing the water that you pump out.

Two-Position Valve Filters, also known as Push-pull valve filters, are more common in smaller pools. Instead of having a “Waste” option, the “Filter” setting will pull the vacuumed water into the filter to be cleaned and sent back.

This valve setting is perfect for routine cleaning, provided you backwash the filter while and after you vacuum.

FAQs About How to Vacuum a Pool

How often should I vacuum?

The general rule is to clean once a week, but you should also clean it anytime that you notice it is getting dirty or if there is a large amount of leaves or debris, like after a storm.

Typically, the more time you spend in the water, the more you’ll need to clean it. However, you’ll often need to do more than just skim the surface.

While that approach might get rid of some dirt, a skim will not be a thorough cleaning. As such, you’ll need to put some effort into it.

I have a Robotic Cleaner, so why do I have to read about Manual Vacuums?

You’ve probably watched your robotic cleaner push a pile of leaves from one side of the water to the other, so I think you already know why. Robotic Pool Cleaners, sometimes called Automatic Pool Cleaners, are great for maintenance, but they will not be able to handle the entire job on their own.

Automatic vacuums will suck up small debris on the pool floor, but they can also toss it right back in. When it comes to larger debris, leaves, or algae, a manual cleaner is the only option. You can have a manual vacuum without an automatic vacuum, but you can’t have an automatic vacuum without a manual vacuum.

How long do I run the vacuum?

With a manual cleaner, you’ll run it as long as it takes to clean the whole thing. With a robotic vacuum, it should run between two to six hours, depending on the volume.

An automatic vacuum should never be programmed to run continuously, as it will wear out the motor, filter and interfere with other scheduled maintenance.

Can vacuuming remove algae?

Algae can be tough to remove, especially once it’s found a home in the corners and hard-to-reach places. While vacuuming alone probably can’t remove all of the algae, it does help with algae prevention.

By promptly removing debris like leaves and other organic matter, you’re keeping your pool water clean and discouraging algae growth.

If you’re a visual learner, check out this informative video on how to vacuum a pool properly.


Now you have the necessary equipment, you have the vacuum fully assembled, and you know how to operate your filter.

The only thing left to do is try to convince one of your kids to do the actual vacuuming part for you. After all, nobody wants to do much manual pool vacuuming, not even pool owners.

While some of the effort you put in might vary depending on the type of pool you have, such as an above ground or inground pool, it shouldn’t differ too much from the above.

Those are all the steps and tips you’ll need to learn how to vacuum a pool!

Good luck, and be sure to check out our buying the best vacuum cleaner guides!

Related Articles:

Buying an above ground pool vacuum cleaner

How to Use a Wet Dry Vac And Best Cleaning Tips

Imagine Life Before a Vacuum Cleaner

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