How to Vacuum A Pool

By Shiloh McGinley

January 30, 2024

How to Vacuum A Swimming Pool


Many people who enjoy the idea of having a swimming pool are quickly deterred when they realize the amount of care and maintenance that goes into them. These are things that, although taxing, ensure the pool is a clean and safe place to swim for all. 

Personal feelings about doing pool chores aside, cleaning your pool should not have to be a difficult or labor-intensive job. When you know what to do and how to do it, something as simple as vacuuming your pool can be done in as little as 45 minutes!

In this article, we’ll tackle everything you need to know about vacuuming your pool and the benefits it can provide you and the whole family. 


How to Clean Your Pool Aftrer Winter

Consider for a moment that you have a pool with a running filter. Right now it looks crystal clear, the pool water seems to be circulating properly, and you clean out the skimmer basket & pump strainer basket every now and again.

Why on earth do you need to vacuum your pool? It seems like nothing more than overkill for a system that’s working perfectly fine on its own.

The truth is that your pool might not be as clean as it appears to be.

Whenever someone swims in your pool, their natural body oils, organic materials like dirt and sunscreen, and microbes all get into your pool. These new elements find themselves in the pool water and, over time, build up. 

If left unchecked, several things can happen. Firstly, the chemistry of your pool becomes imbalanced. The supply of free chlorine runs out as the chemical tries to neutralize all these organic materials, making the pool water a little less clean than before. If you ever swam in a cloudy-looking pool that seems strongly of chlorine, the owner likely neglected to do proper maintenance and now the chemicals have gone out of whack!

Secondly, the microbes that get into your pool slowly turn into algae. Seeing algae growing in a pool is not only gross, it actually leads to a number of health risks. Algae can often carry bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli, which are very unpleasant. Algae can also irritate the skin and eyes of those swimming in a pool infested with it. 

By vacuuming regularly, and doing all the normal pool maintenance chores, you minimize the possibility of these things happening. It’s a small price to pay for the safety and enjoyment of anyone looking to have some splashing fun in your swimming pool!

Benefits of vacuuming your pool:

It makes it easier on the pool filter

Pool filters are expensive pieces of equipment that are integral to your pool’s cleaning & filter system. Without regular vacuuming, your pool filter might experience a lot of stress as it tries to keep the pool clean on its own. This often leads to the filters having a much shorter lifespan than they would otherwise have if you vacuum regularly.

It keeps chemical levels balanced

By eliminating foreign elements from your pool, you remove anything that can possibly throw off the delicate balance of your pool’s chemistry. This saves you money on chemical usage in the long run.

It gives the pool a crystal clear appearance

Let’s be honest, nobody wants to swim in a murky pool. Ensuring your swimming pool is constantly clean allows you to enjoy crystal blue waters that always look inviting.

It prevents the growth of algae

Dealing with pool algae is a labor-intensive and difficult thing to do. It can be very hard to remove algae from your pool, requiring a lot of chlorine and intensive scrubbing. To save yourself the unnecessary hassle, vacuum your pool regularly and keep the pool’s chemistry at optimal levels!


There are many different types of vacuums, ranging from simple and inexpensive to pricey but ultra-convenient. If you’re unsure about the type of vacuum you have, here’s a list of the 6 main types:

Handheld Pool Vacuum

The most common and easiest type of vacuum to handle. This vacuum comes with no mechanical parts and can be either battery or suction-powered. They are also the most affordable type of pool vacuum. 

To operate them, a tube is connected to a suction port/hole in your pool. This tube is then attached to a suction head that’s usually filtered with bristles. Using a long pole, you move this vacuum head slowly (also known as a vac head) along the floor and walls of the pool, vacuuming any dirt and debris you see along the way. When you’re done, you simply empty all the collected dirt in the skimmer basket and call it a day!

This method is great for small to medium-sized swimming pools. That being said, it can be quite unwieldy to use at times and would take a little longer to operate compared to more modern methods.

Automatic Suction (Suction-Side) Vacuums

This is generally the same as the manual vacuum (handheld) but the only difference is that this type can run automatically. With the pool’s pump running, you connect this vacuum to the pool water intake hole and stand back as the suction power guides the vacuum head slowly across the pool. It’s pretty simple to use and will run independently as long as the pool’s suction pump is running too.

The only downside is that you’re probably using way more electricity. If you’re concerned about running up a high energy bill, then this method might not be for you. There’s also no internal filtration system so the vacuum will rely heavily on the pool’s internal filters.

Pressure Pool Vacuum

The only difference between this type of vacuum and the Automatic Suction vacuum is that the pressure pool vacuum contains its own filter.

A pressure pool vacuum still requires the suction pump of your pool to work and generally vacuums your pool automatically so long as the suction remains on. By having its own filter though, no stress is placed on the pool’s internal filter, making the collection of dirt and debris much more efficient.

Robotic or Automatic Pool Cleaner

Although a little on the pricier side of the spectrum, an automatic pool cleaner takes the cake as one of the most convenient and efficient ways to vacuum your pool. 

As long as the machine is hooked up to a power source, the vacuum will turn on automatically and vacuum the pool at regular intervals. It has its suction power and filters, meaning you can just throw it into the pool and forget about it for a few days. There are even some robotic pool cleaners that are Wi-FI ready, and controllable remotely through the use of an app.

The only downside is that this type of vacuum uses a lot of energy, though the newer models have been made to be very cost-efficient.

In-Floor Vacuum System

If you have a little extra money to throw at your pool, you can have pool vacuums installed right on the floor of the pool itself. By just pressing a button, holes will open up at the bottom of your pool and begin sucking at all the dirt and debris. 

This type of vacuum system is more commonly seen in luxury swimming pools.


Now that we’ve covered the benefits of vacuuming your pool and all the different types of pool vacuums, let’s go over step-by-step how it’s done. For this guide, we’ll be using a manual pool vacuum which is the most common type.

Parts of the pool vacuum:

  • Pool Vacuum Hose - The hose which connects to the vac head on one end and the pool’s suction hole on the other end. It should be long enough to reach different parts of the pool.
  • Telescopic Pole - A long, extendable pool pole that’s attached to the vacuum head. You use this tool to guide the vacuum head to different parts of the pool.
  • Vacuum Head - This is what the pool vacuum hose and telescopic pole attach to. It is what you use to pick up all the dirt and debris. It often has bristled at the edges to dislodge any dirt stuck on the surface.
  • Skim Vacuum Plate (optional) - Another type of vac head, this is used as an extra pool filter to catch debris while vacuuming.

Step 1 - Connect the vacuum head to the telescopic pole

The first thing you should do is assemble the vacuum. Attach the telescopic pole to the vacuum head and make sure that the two are firmly connected. The last thing you want is for the vacuum head to detach midway. 

Once the telescoping pole is attached to the vacuum head, there should be a clear spot on the vacuum head where you can attach the hose.

Step 2 - Fill the vacuum hose with water

Before attaching the hose to the pool’s filter, you should fill it completely with water. You can do this by submerging the hose into the pool until you see all the air bubbles leave the hose.

Doing this is important because you want to make use of the pool pump by intaking the most amount of pool water possible.

Step 3 - Attach to the skimmer

This is an optional step but is great for adding suction. The skimmer vac also allows most of the dirt and debris to be collected without straining the filter itself.

To attach it, place the skimmer vac plate at the other end of the hose. Once it is tightly secured, insert the hose on the top of the filter basket and make sure there’s a good seal. With that part connected, you can now switch the pool pump to intake mode.

Step 4 - Switch to intake mode

In every filtration system, there is a mode wherein water is siphoned out of the pool and run through the filters before being ejected out again. By switching to this mode, you’re creating suction for your vacuum. 

Before you switch to this mode, make sure all the parts of your filter are tightly connected. If you find that the suction being produced is weak, then either the hose or vac head is not attached properly.

There might also be holes in your vacuum hose which might be allowing water and debris to escape.

Step 5 - Begin vacuuming

Once you see that the suction is running, then it’s time to begin to manually vacuum. You want to make sure you pass the vacuum over every inch of the pool’s floor, including the stairs. Pass over multiple times and even on parts you don't see any dirt. Being thorough is key here.

Once you’re sure that the floors are clean, you can then move on to the walls of the pool. You can attach a cleaning brush to scrub the sides of the walls. Be sure to use long, sweeping strokes that overlap each other. For a medium-sized pool, this whole process should take about 30-45 minutes.

Step 6 - Disconnect from the filter 

Once you’re done, it’s time to detach the pool vacuum from the filter and disassemble. Double check the parts to ensure no damage has come to them during the cleaning process.

Step 7 - Clean the vacuum equipment and store it away.

Clean out the skimmer basket of your pool of any debris that was collected during vacuuming. Rinse all the equipment with clean, fresh water then let it out to dry. Once dry, store them properly until the next cleaning. 

You can also take out your pool testing kit and check the pool’s chemical levels. Make the necessary adjustments to the pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels when you learn the results.


Though it might seem like a chore at first, it gets easier every time you do it. Keeping the pool clean with thorough vacuuming is just a simple and quick way to ensure your pool is swimmable for years to come. You can listen to music or your favorite podcast as you do this to make the time fly by faster. 

Once all the vacuuming and cleaning are done, your pool should be good and ready to invite the whole family over for some splashing fun!

Shiloh McGinley

About the author

Shiloh McGinley has been in and around swimming pools her whole life. She's seen a lot of products come and go, and she wants to share with you the best products that really work!

Shiloh is passionate about helping people stay safe in the water, and she loves educating others on how to choose the right pool products.

When she's not working, Shiloh enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and swimming - of course!

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