13 Homemade & Natural Pool Cleaners (DIY Home Remedies)



The cost of products to keep your pool clean can add up fast.

For those that are looking to save money, there’s alternative cleaners you can use, and most of them can be found in your home.

Homemade pool cleaners can be just as effective as traditional pool cleaning products, and we’ll show you exactly what works and how to use them. 

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a white crystalline powder used to raise cakes, muffins and other baked goods during the baking process.

Since it’s also activated by water, you can use it to create a paste that works wonders for cleaning pool tiles, as well as removing grout and other gunk in and around your pool. It’s basically an all-purpose cleaner.

Baking soda is also very inexpensive at less than $1 for a small box, which makes it a good candidate for the cheapest cleaning agent on this list.

How To Clean A Pool With Baking Soda

  1. Add 3-parts baking soda with 1-part warm water to a bowl.
  2. Mix the contents until it becomes a consistent paste.
  3. Dip an old toothbrush or sponge into the bowl.
  4. Cover a dirty area of your pool and lightly rub/scrub.
  5. Wait a few minutes for the cleaning agent to do its thing.
  6. Rinse it off with water.

Did you know, baking soda is an alkaline substance that can be used to influence total alkalinity in your pool? In particular, it’s used to increase the total alkalinity.

2. Bleach

Regular household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is a disinfectant normally used for killing bacteria, fungus and viruses.

It’s used in multiple home applications, removing stains from clothing and bedding, cleaning dentures, and scrubbing bathrooms.

When it comes to pool cleaning, the 5.25% of sodium hypochlorite in bleach can get hard to remove stains out of pool tile grout and coping that other cleaning methods have trouble with.

And since the active ingredient in bleach is actually chlorine, it can be used for regular chlorination to sanitize your pool water, and it does so without adding any other unwanted chemicals to your water.

Bleach is also cheaper than most pool cleaners, especially since most households already have a bottle lying around their laundry room.

How To Clean A Pool With Bleach

  1. Add 1 part bleach to 5 parts warm water in a spray bottle.
  2. Apply the solution to the dirty area of the grout/coping.
  3. Wait approximately 10 minutes for the bleach to work into the grout.
  4. Lightly scrub with a toothbrush.
  5. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

Did you know, bleach can also be used as pool shock? Shocking significantly raises the free chlorine level of the pool to kill off bacteria and viruses in the water. This should be done sparingly, however.

3. White Vinegar

White vinegar is a non-toxic and all-natural household product that has been a tried and tested cleaning product for hundreds of years.

As such ,it works great for removing calcium buildup on pots and pans, disinfecting kitchen and bathrooms, and removing odors that have locked into fabrics.

Swimming pools regularly acquire calcium deposits, and this is where white vinegar can come in handy, fully removing buildup from your pool’s finish.

Vinegar is also super cheap to buy, and most people will already have it in their pantry as it’s a versatile ingredient in cooking.

How To Clean A Pool With White Vinegar

  1. In a small bowl, dilute the vinegar by mixing up a 50/50 solution with warm water.
  2. Dip a sponge or soft cloth into the bowl and apply the solution over the calcium deposits.
  3. Wait a few minutes for the solution to “loosen them up”.
  4. Using the sponge/cloth, gently scrub off the residue.
  5. Rinse the area you cleaned.

Did you know, white vinegar can also make metal surfaces super shiny? So if you have things like a pool ladder, metal scuppers (or similar pool water features), you can keep them clean and sparkling using this age-old disinfectant.

4. Borax

Borax is mainly used as an additive when cleaning laundry. It’s highly alkaline with a pH level of 9.5, and helps remove acidic stains like tomato and mustard. It also makes white clothes super white.

Similar to the use of baking soda, borax can easily get rid of things like mild stains, slippery surfaces, or sticky residue around the pool.

While baking soda is less expensive than borax, the latter is still considerably cheaper than most of the specialty pool cleaning chemicals.

How To Clean A Pool With Borax

  1. Add 3 parts borax with 1 part warm water to a bowl.
  2. Mix it up until it becomes a paste.
  3. Dip an old toothbrush or sponge into the bowl.
  4. Cover the dirty area of your pool and lightly rub/scrub.
  5. Wait a few minutes for the cleaning agent to do its thing.
  6. Rinse it off with water.

Did you know that borax can be used to increase your pool’s pH level? We recommend using a testing kit to ensure you aren’t adding too much and spiking the pH level.

5. Muriatic Acid

Pools that are made from gunite or concrete will require a special acid washing of their walls and floor every 5 years, as they accumulate stains from prolonged wear and tear and need to be restored to their original state.

What’s important to remember when using muriatic acid is that it’s very strong, and should only be used if you are 100% confident using it. You’ll also need to wear the appropriate protective gear to avoid a potential trip to the hospital.

Muriatic acid is relatively cheap at under $10 for a single gallon, which should be enough to clean most modest-sized pools.

How To Clean A Pool With Muriatic Acid

  1. Prep the pool by draining it of water and removing debris from the floor.
  2. Suit up in the proper safety gear – gloves, long-sleeved shirt, pants, galoshes, goggles, and a gas mask.
  3. Add 1 gallon of muriatic acid to 10 parts of water in a sprayer pump.
  4. Spray down a section of the pool walls and use a bristled brush to scrub the acid into the finish.
  5. After 60 to 90 seconds, rinse the acid solution off the walls using a garden hose and repeat the process around the pool and floor.
  6. Once cleaning is complete, rinse the pool, neutralize the wastewater using soda ash and pump it out of the pool. Repeat this process.
  7. Refill your pool.

Did you know you can use muriatic acid to lower the alkalinity of your pool water? It’s also less expensive than alkalinity decreaser.

6. Olive Oil

Another all-natural cleaning product is olive oil. Of course this is normally used when cooking or making salads, but it’s also present in things like cosmetics and soaps.

Of course, water and oil don’t mix well, which is why oive oil oil should only be used on outside surfaces like your pool deck, avoiding any area where it can potentially get into the water.

Dirt and sticky spots can be removed easily, and olive oil can also be used as a cleaner for the solar cover and any pool accessories you may have (ensuring they are rinsed before making contact with your pool water).

With olive oil being a staple of virtually every diet, most people will already have it in their cupboard.

How To Clean A Pool With Olive Oil

  1. Add olive oil to a mixture of soap and warm water.
  2. Using a sponge or soft cloth, dip it in the mixture.
  3. Wipe the surface that needs cleaning.
  4. Remove excess residue by rinsing the area after cleaning.

Did you know, olive oil is also a natural moisturizer? This works as a great home remedy for who swimmers feel dried out after swimming and exposing their body to harsh chemicals in the water.

7. Lemon Juice

It used to be that lemon juice was mainly used in food prep and home remedies for an array of maladies. Recent trends have even seen the use of lemon juice for teeth whitening (although this is not recommended as citric acid can actually eat away at tooth enamel).

Likewise, the citric acid from lemons (or limes for that matter) can eat away at things on pool tiles and metals like calcium deposits, stains, grime, and even rust.

Using lemon juice as a cleaner has three benefits in one – it’s cheap, readily available, and it smells great!

How To Clean A Pool With Lemon Juice

  1. Add salt to 1 cup of lemon juice.
  2. Mix it up so it has a slightly watery consistency (like a slushie).
  3. Using a sponge, apply the solution and gently scrub the surface.
  4. If trying to get rid of rust, you may need to apply lemon juice without salt.
  5. Rinse the surface once you’re finished.

8. Tennis Balls

Tennis balls aren’t just for those who aspire to achieve glory at Wimbledon.

As mentioned earlier, water and oil do not mix, and tennis balls are a savvy way to help alleviate this pool problem.

Oils enter pool water from swimmers – the oil on their skin, as well as from sunscreen. Pool chemicals like chlorine and oxidizers are normally what help to remove these oils from your water, keeping it clean for swimming.

But by chucking a few tennis balls into the pool, they’ll soak up oils in the water. Keep in mind they’ll only soak up so much, so they’ll have to be replaced fairly regularly if you use this cleaning method.

Compared to pool cleaning chemicals that do the same job, tennis balls are super cheap, costing only a couple of bucks.

How To Clean A Pool With Tennis Balls

  1. Buy a pack of tennis balls.
  2. Toss them into the pool when it’s not in use.
  3. The more tennis balls the more oil gets soaked up!
  4. Remove them when you are ready to swim again.

9. Magic Eraser

The Magic Eraser by Mr. Clean is actually called melamine sponge, but everyone knows it by its brand name, as it’s become one of the go-to all-purpose cleaners for just about anything. All they require is warm water, and can last a very long time depending on frequency of use.

Using them in a pool is safe, but they do have a tendency to leave scratch marks, so it’s advised to test them on an inconspicuous area. However, they can help rid the pool of stains, and sticky stuff from most surfaces.

Super strong for cleaning, they’re also super priced as well. A pack of two will set you back around $4, and a pack of 9 is about the price of a medium pizza. No name melamine sponges can be even cheaper if you do some digging.

How To Clean A Pool With Magic Eraser

  1. Wet the sponge with warm water.
  2. Test an inconspicuous area of the surface you want to clean.
  3. If it doesn’t leave any scratch marks, continue using the sponge on the dirty surface. Be gentle.
  4. Warm water and elbow grease is all you need with this sponge.
  5. Rinse the surface once finished.

Did you know, the Magic Eraser can also be used to restore your pool patio furniture? Pollutants in the air can dull the finish on outdoor furniture, which can be easily cleaned and brought back to their original state using the eraser.

10. Simple Green

Simple Green is an all-natural, all-purpose cleaner that’s environmentally friendly. It can be used all around your house, from cleaning glass, mirrors, kitchen and bathroom surfaces, and even as a pre-treatment for removing stains on upholstery and clothing.

As it’s extremely safe, you can use it on any areas of your pool that may need restoring. Additionally, because it won’t cause corrosion, you can use it on plastics like the vinyl pool liner, a solar cover, or pool toys.

Simple Green comes in a spray bottle and is available for around $7, with gallon-sized refills around $20.

How To Clean A Pool With Simple Green

  1. Dilute Simple Green according to the instructions on the bottle.
  2. Dip a sponge/soft cloth into the bowl of solution.
  3. Wipe the surface that needs cleaning.
  4. For stubborn grime, use a heavy duty solution and scrub gently.
  5. Rinse thoroughly when you’re done.

Did you know, Simple Green can also work wonders on your backyard grill? It cuts through grease easily so that you can enjoy burgers and dogs during your pool parties.

11. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is an antiseptic which contains somewhere between 68% and 72% of isopropyl alcohol. It is the most commonly used disinfectant in hospitals, pharmaceutics, and electronics, due to its antimicrobial properties.

If you run out of vinegar or lemon juice, diluted rubbing alcohol can remove sticky stuff and also shine up metal surfaces.

Most households have rubbing alcohol in their medicine cabinet (a bottle only costs a few bucks), so it’s a perfect solution when you need a quick cleaner. 

How To Clean A Pool With Rubbing Alcohol

  1. In a spray bottle, mix 1 part alcohol with 2 parts warm water.
  2. Spray the solution onto the surface you wish to clean.
  3. Use a sponge to clean the dirty surface.
  4. Rinse any remaining residue off the surface.

Did you know, you can use rubbing alcohol to disinfect cuts and scrapes your kids may pick up if they trip and fall on your pool deck?

12. Vitamin C Tablets

Vitamin C tablets are known as immune system boosters, and are also believed to help protect you from cardiovascular disease, eye disease, and skin wrinkles.

When it comes to homemade pool cleaners, these ascorbic acid tablets are great for removing stains and rust safely. 

Vitamin C tablets are relatively inexpensive, but you’ll need to make sure you get the tablets as opposed to capsules, gels, liquids, or Vitamin C gummies.

How To Clean A Pool With Vitamin C Tablets

  1. Crush a handful of tablets into a fine powder.
  2. Mix the powder with warm water.
  3. Dip a sponge into the solution and gently scrub the dirty area.
  4. Rinse the area when you’re finished.

13. Hair Net

Hair nets are essential sanitary attire for those working in the food industry, from factory and kitchen workers to fast food employees.

But their porous nature makes them perfect for using as a filtration device. By placing them in your skimmer basket, they’ll catch small debris that would normally pass through the basket, and end up in your filter.

Hair nets are also sold in bulk, won’t break the bank, and can be replaced easily.

How To Clean A Pool With A Hair Net

  1. Open the cover panel to your skimmer basket.
  2. Remove the basket and place the hair net inside it.
  3. Wrap the elastic band of the net around the lip of the skimmer basket.
  4. Replace the basket in the skimmer and close the lid.
  5. After a few days, check the skimmer and replace the hair net if need be.

Cleaning On The Cheap!

Cleaning your pool is a never-ending job that requires the use of sometimes harsh chemicals that can put a small dent in your wallet

But by using homemade pool cleaners, you can disinfect and maintain your pool while saving money and making use of those everyday natural cleaners you can find in almost any home.

Categories: Pool Care, Pool Maintenance