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Vacuuming - whether you do it manually or automatically, vacuuming has to be done on a regular basis.  Even though automatic cleaners may do a good job, it's still a good idea to manually vacuum the pool once a month or so.  That way you can actually see where pockets of algae may be starting to grow, plus you'll get a good visual idea of what's going on with your pool.  Keep in mind that automatic pool cleaners & vacuuming in general helps with the overall circulation of the pool's water.  Think of the vacuum as a moving main drain sucking up water from all areas of the pool.  Some people actually enjoy vacuuming - they say it's relaxing!

Don't forget the tile or water line.  Be sure to clean it a couple of times per season.  Use a good thick quality Pool surface cleaner like BioGuard® Off the Wall® - DON'T USE regular household products like 409 or kitchen cleanser: household cleaners are harsh, especially on vinyl liners.  Those products can break down the plasticizer in the vinyl & shorten the liner's life. Not only will your pool look better without that icky dark ring around the pool, you will help eliminate a bio-film area.

By cleaning areas underwater, the circulation is greatly improved, the filter can pick up more stuff or it has less to pick up, and with proper cleaning, less chemicals are used.

Here's what Pool cleaning involves:

1. Regular vacuuming (normally about once each week)
2. Regular brushing of the walls & water line (at least once each week)
3. Dealing with leaves & other "blow-ins" (as needed)
4. Chemical cleaning of the filter (recommended 2 times each season)
5. Regular cleaning of the liner or pool tiles (as needed)
6. Regular cleaning of the solar blanket and / or winter cover (solar blanket 2 times per season, winter cover, at removal in spring)

Key 3 - Cleaning
Most swimming pools have at least one area with little or no circulation. This is where algae and bacteria can begin to grow. These areas produce the "stuff" that contributes to cloudy or green water and higher than normal chlorine or sanitizer usage.

At least once a week, the walls and floor should be brushed and vacuumed to remove debris that the filter misses.

Brushing is a must, even if you use an automatic pool cleaner or retain a weekly service.  It's like taking care of your teeth - you know that you should brush & floss, but...Oh, and don't forget to clean that water line regularly to break up bio-film build up.

Dealing with leaves & other "blow ins"- The more stuff you've got blowing into your pool, the more stress your put on your entire pool maintenance system.  We're not saying that you've got to sit by the pool all day long & scoop leaves (although that doesn't sound like too bad an idea!), but when there's an accumulation, get 'em out of there! Leaves, bugs & heavy debris that is left in the pool uses additional chlorine or any sanitizer, helps feed algae & bacteria, and can even lead to staining of the pool's surface (not too common, but it does happen). Whether you do it manually or you use an automatic leaf skimmer like a Jet Net - this is a great job to give to the kids.

Natural Chemistry's Cover Cleaner is a great eco-friendly alternative that can be rinsed off anywhere without harming your lawn or garden. When you open your pool & remove the winter cover, be sure to clean it also.  The cover won't get smelly & nasty and will probably last a couple of years longer as well.

Remember to follow the other 5 Keys to Pool Care.  They're just as important.

The 5 Keys typically take about ONE hour or less to accomplish each week.  Yes, that's it!  Just 1 hour.  Now you can enjoy your pool more & actually work less.  In the long run, you'll also spend less time & money.

The 5 Keys to Pool Care ... Key 3 - Cleaning

Chemical Filter Cleaning - aids in removing greases, oils & other swimmer and environmental waste that will soil your filter and shorten its life.  Normal, regular backwashing & rinsing will not remove these wastes.  Here's a couple of analogies that will help you understand the significance of chemical cleaning: do you use shampoo on when you wash your hair or do you just rinse it?  Without shampoo, your hair would be pretty matted & dirty after a couple of weeks.  How about dirty clothes?  Do you only rinse them out in the washing machine or do you add detergent to release & help remove the dirt & greasy stains?  The same thing goes with your pool filter. 

Brushing - Brushing your pool is often the most neglected chore.  Many people don't see the point, but brushing of the pool's surfaces prevents bio-film & algae build up.  Brushing also helps get the chemicals in the water to where they need to be - another way to increase circulation.  Brushing is akin to flossing your teeth.  You know you should do it,'s just a hassle.  One product that makes brushing easier is the Wall Whale.  The Wall Whale provides up to 10 times the normal force using just one of your hands, instead of two.  Brushing is one of the best ways to prevent & treat algae, white water mold & other pool problems. 

Solar blankets & Winter covers - these are just breeding grounds for all kinds of stuff you don't want growing in your pool.  If you ever wondered why your pool keeps going cloudy or green when you use your solar blanket & you can't maintain chlorine or other sanitizer levels (although the guy who sold you the blanket told you it would help cut chlorine use) is because there's a nice bio-film growing on the underside (side touching the water) of the blanket.  At mid-season & at the end of the summer, clean that solar blanket using BioGuard® Stow Away®.  Stow Away isn't just a cleaner, it will also remove & prevent mold & mildew.                                             866-385-4930

How do you chemically clean a filter?  That's easy!  Use filter cleaning products such as BioGuard® Strip Kwik® that is used when you can soak your filter (soak the elements or it can be backwashed into a sand filter) for a several hours.  Spray on products such as BioGuard® Kleen It® work quickly to remove ground in dirt & oils. Looking for an eco-friendly cleaner? Then use Natural Chemistry Filter Perfect; it uses natural enzymes & natural acids that are tough on grime & gentle on your property.