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The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Pool After a Pool Party

Warm, summer days offer the perfect setting for backyard bashes and pool parties. Nothing helps beat the heat like spending the day swimming in cool, refreshing water and hanging out with friends. But once the final cannonball splash dies down and your guests head home, the not-so-fun part begins: cleaning your pool. So, to make your post-pool party cleanup go a little easier, we've put together this guide to help you get your pool back in business as quickly as possible!

1. Clean and Organize Your Deck and Patio

storage box for pool party cleanup

Before you tackle your pool, clean up the clutter on your deck and patio. Ensure all pool toys made it out of the pool, and give pool floats a quick rinse. Chlorine and other pool chemicals can eat away at the floats' lining over time, so it's a good idea to hose down and dry pool floats after every use. Once all toys and floats are clean and dry, store them in a cool, dry place to keep them safe from sun damage. This 135 gallon storage box is the perfect place to stash pool accessories and toys when not in use. Plus, it doubles as a comfy, stylish bench!

Next, hose down your pool deck and patio to clear away any debris and contaminants, and prevent it from getting into your pool. Use your pool brush to gently scrub away any areas where food or drink has spilled. And be sure to spray the hose water away from your pool!

2. Put Pool Equipment Back

Once your deck and patio are in order, it's time to turn your attention towards your pool. Since you're a top-notch pool owner, we know you remembered to take your chlorine floater out of the pool before guests jumped in. Right? Now that the party-goers are gone, place the floater back in the water so it can work its sanitizing powers.

If you have an automatic pool cleaner, you can set it back in your pool to help with the next step, but you'll need to take it back out later when you add chemicals to balance the water.

3. Skim, Brush, and Vacuum Your Pool

pool brush for pool party cleanup

Hopefully, you're not too tired from the party, because this step requires a bit of elbow grease. Start by using your skimmer net to remove any large pieces of debris from the water. After that, scrub down the walls and floor of your pool with a brush to loosen up any dirt or algae. Don't worry if your pool looks a bit murky after brushing it down, this is where your automatic pool cleaner or vacuum comes in handy. If you have a cleaner, let it run a full cycle to clean up the dirt and debris. Or, if you have a manual vacuum, attach the hoses and begin slowly working around the walls, floors, and steps of your pool.

4. Run the Pool Pump and Filter

Once the water is clear of all visible debris, turn your pump and filter on to start circulating and filtering the water. Let your pump and filter run continuously for at least 12–24 hours to ensure the water is thoroughly filtered and circulated. You may need to run the equipment longer if your pool is particularly dirty or cloudy. Inspect the skimmer and pump strainer baskets for any debris, and empty if necessary.

Letting your pump and filter operate for this length of time not only helps clean your pool water, but also allows freshly added chemicals to fully incorporate into the water. Which brings us to our next pool party cleanup step: testing, balancing, and shocking the water.

5. Test, Balance, and Shock the Water

With your pump and filter still running, test your pool water with test strips or a test kit, and balance the following chemicals in the order below:

test strips for pool party cleanup

  1. Total Alkalinity: 80–120 ppm
  2. pH: 7.4–7.6
  3. Calcium Hardness: 200–400 ppm
  4. Cyanuric Acid: 30–50 ppm

Once you've balanced the pool water, it's time to bring out the big guns: shock. Use enough calcium hypochlorite or sodium dichlor shock to increase the chlorine level to approximately 10 ppm. This will provide your pool with plenty of sanitizing power to eliminate any leftover pool party contaminants. And remember to shock your pool at night to avoid UV damage and evaporation.

After letting the shock fully disperse and incorporate into the water, add an enzyme like Natural Chemistry's Pool Perfect+PHOSfree to remove phosphates and lower the risk of algae developing. And if your pool water isn't quite as crystal clear as you'd like, use a clarifier to bring it back to its usual brilliance.

6. Start Planning Your Next Party!

Finally, once your patio is organized and your pool water is clean and balanced, it's time to plan your next backyard bash. Keep this pool party cleanup guide handy, so you can keep your pool looking perfect all summer long. At In The Swim, we're all about setting you and your pool up for success, whether you have a party of one, or the whole neighborhood shows up for a dip!


In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.