How To Get Worms Out Of Your Swimming Pool (For Good)



Worms in the pool?! Yes, that’s actually a thing.

While worms can be beneficial when they’re in your garden and soil, the last thing you need is to be fishing them out of your pool, or worse, peeling them off your body while swimming.

So how can you get worms out of your pool, and keep them out?

How Different Worms Get Into Your Pool

worms in pool

First, we need to discuss how worms even get into your pool in the first place.

This largely depends on the type of worm in question, of which there are 3 types of to be aware of — earthworms, bloodworms (red worms), and horsehair worms (Gordian worms).


Earthworms are the most common and probably the ones you’re most familiar with. They look like… well, regular ol’ worms.

They’re usually found in garden soil or in the ground, but they also like to seek out moisture when the air is cool. This is why you see them come out and slither across your driveway on rainy days. 

When they end up in your pool, there’s a good chance they made the trek from the landscaping around the pool. They fall in and get stuck because they can’t get out on their own.


Bloodworms (redworms) can also be found in pools. They’re red in color (it’s not just a fancy name), and are actually the larvae form of the Chironomid midge fly. 

Midge flies use still, stagnant water as their breeding ground. They lay their eggs on the surface of the water, and within 2 to 3 days the eggs enter the larvae (bloodworm) phase.

As gross as this all is, bloodworms are actually harmless to humans (though they have been known to bite), and are a food source for fish when in their natural environment.

Horsehair Worms

Horsehair worms (Gordian worms) are the third type of worm you may find in your swimming hole. 

These worms resemble a long, thin strand of hair and squirm so much they twist themselves up, resembling a ball-like, Gordian knot. They can be found in a range of water environments, and can also live in very moist soil. 

Fear not though, horsehair worms cannot parasitize vertebrates even if you ingest them – although we wouldn’t recommend testing that theory.

Are Worms A Problem?

Worms are definitely a problem if they creep you out and you don’t want to share your pool with them.

But as for whether or not they can harm you or the pool itself, the answer is no, they’re pretty much harmless. Worms mainly like to just float in the water and be a disgusting nuisance.

The only exception to this is bloodworms which may bite you if you come in contact, but even that is rare and not serious enough to warrant a concern.

How To Remove Worms From Your Pool

Unfortunately, this problem doesn’t have a perfect solution, and there’s no chemical repellents you can add to the water to deter worms from hanging around your pool. 

However, here are a few ideas on how to remove them once they get in.

Shock The Pool

Shocking is the process of mass dosing a pool with chlorine to oxidize chloramines (combined chlorine) and kill off bacteria in the water.

This mass dose increases the free chlorine level while depleting the combined chlorine level.

Shocking should kill most of the worms in the pool, but you should still clean the pool the old fashioned way so the shock is more effective.

If you only have a few worms, shocking may not be necessary, although it’s still good practice to rid the water of any bacteria they may have contaminated the pool with.

Pool shock is pretty inexpensive, costing around $5 per 1 lb. bag.

Use A Skimmer Net

This will be the easiest way to get them out of your pool.

You can use your skimmer net to scoop them off the surface of the water. A leaf net also works, especially if you need to scoop the worms at deeper depths, or off the floor of the pool.

Any respectable pool owner should already own a skimmer net (pool shaming is a thing you know), but if you need to buy one they cost around $15. Leaf nets will set you back up to $30.

Suck Them Up With Vacuum

Sometimes worms won’t be easy to scoop up from the floor of the pool with a net, and a pool vacuum (or cleaner) will be needed to remove them. 

The vacuum will attach to your skimmer and the worms will be sucked up and caught in the skimmer basket. Vacuuming them out will also give you the best chance at catching all of them.

You can also use a leaf vacuum, which comes with an attached mesh bag, to catch all the worms. Be aware of the type of vacuum you’re using in your pool as some can damage delicate finishes like vinyl-liner pools

Pool vacuums range wildly in price, with some as low as $200, and others over $1000.

How To Prevent Worms In Your Pool

Keeping on top of maintaining all aspects of your pool is important, and you can take preventative measures to keep worms from entering the water.

Use A Pool Cover

Essentially working like a lid for your pool, adding a cover can help keep worms and other debris at bay.

  • Winter cover. If you have a specific pool season where you live, you’ll know all about winter covers. They are basically a tarp that goes over the pool and prevents debris from entering it during the winter months. This is important so that you don’t have to do a huge amount of water cleaning when you reopen the pool. Winter covers last up to 3 seasons and cost around $150.
  • Safety cover. A safety cover fits tightly over the pool and is anchored to the pool deck with tie down straps. It comes in two variations: heavy vinyl or mesh. The vinyl version requires a pump to move water off it to prevent damage, while the mesh version will still catch plenty of debris while letting water pass through it. Safety covers have a significant cost between $1000 and $3000, but can also last a lot longer than winter covers.
  • Solar cover. A solar cover is used to help keep heat trapped in the pool water. They resemble giant sheets of bubble wrap and sometimes come on a spool for easy deployment. Using a solar cover means you’ll run your pool heater less as they harness the sun to provide heat. Costing between $75 and $500, a solar cover on the pool’s surface will help catch debris so you can easily clean it off the cover instead of fishing through your pool.

Keep Your Water Circulating

Pool water needs to be fully cycled at least once a day, and doing this for at least 8 hours can help keep worms out as well.

As mentioned earlier, midge flies use stagnant water as their breeding ground. Keeping the water circulated for long periods of time keeps it moving around, and will deter the flies from laying blood worm eggs on the surface.

Check The Surrounding Area

The design of your backyard can play a major role in preventing pool worms.

If you have a garden or soil close to the pool, you’re increasing your chances of finding gross things in the water.

Keeping landscaping and soil separate from the pool area will help, as will raising the edge of the pool so it’s harder for worms to get on to the deck and fall in.

Worm Your Way Out!

While harmless, no one wants to jump into their pool and find a bunch of worms floating around.

By taking preventative measures and employing our removal techniques, you should have minimal issues with these slimy water lovers.

Categories: Pool Care, Pool Problems