When you first start to look into cleaning your pool a little deeper, the thought of vacuuming the bottom seems too good to be true. A lot of people assume you have to scrape the bottom manually but thanks to a vacuum, you can make easy work of pools that look pretty dirty when you first approach the job.

Although you expect the automatic vacuum to do most of the hard work for you, there are still a fair few things to remember if you want to do it properly. Doing such a job incorrectly can leave pockets of algae to form and you need to make sure you know the signs of a faulty vacuum. This can stop debris from going straight back into the pool, prolonge the lifespan of your equipment and keep your family safe when it comes to swimming.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about vacuuming your pool, including the best way to do it properly.

The Equipment

Let’s start with the simple stuff. Because pools need a certain level of elbow grease to keep them clean, you’ll need to get involved in the process. A pool vacuum isn’t something you plug into your mains and doesn’t come ready to go. Although set up is easy, it is important to get to know every piece of equipment before you use it.

If you’ve just purchased an all-in-one pool vacuum kit, you should have everything you need. If you are about to buy your first, make sure you have the following:

Note – Make sure your telescopic pole is between 12 to 16 feet to ensure you can clean the pool easily and comfortably. Your hose might not need to be too long, often just 25 feet is enough for common pool sizes but check this when you purchase your equipment.

More on how to use them later.

The Basics

There are a few things to check before you consider using your pool vacuum. One of the first things you should do is make sure the water is at an acceptable level before vacuuming. It needs to cover the return jets, as well as the skimmer.

Make sure the hose is properly connected. We will get to this a little later but if the hose is not secured properly, or even if it has cracks or holes, it will not give you adequate suction.

How To Use Your Pool Filter To Your Advantage

The proper use of a pool filter can make vacuuming a lot easier. The automatic settings that are left on should do a good job of keeping it relatively clean throughout the year, but there are times when you need to adjust the settings. After a storm or bad weather, there can be a lot more debris collected on the surface and some of this will make its way down to the bottom.

The type of filter you have will affect what you choose to do next. A multiport filter can be adjusted to its waste setting. This will drain water from the pool at the same time as protecting the filter from debris so you don’t get blockages. As you vacuum, the water level will drop so you will want to top it up using a hose to make sure it always stays at the optimal level.

For a push-pull valve filter, there isn’t a lot you need to do but it will recycle the cleaned water you vacuum back into the pool.

Set Up Your Pool Vacuum

The instructions should be included when you purchase your equipment but should be close to the following.

1) The first thing you need to do is make sure the pump and filter are running as you set up.

2) Then, connect the telescopic pole to the vacuum head.

3) Next, insert the hose into the vacuum head and place it at the bottom of the pool, keeping the pole within reach.

4) Choose a conveniently placed return jet, found in a skimmer well. Remove the skimmer basket before going to connect. Most hose should be long enough for you to position is at either end and fix the other end to the return jet.

Preventing Air From Getting Into The Hose

Before step 4, you need to remove air from the hose and vacuum. If you skip this step, you might be wondering why your vacuum isn’t as powerful as you expect. When the hose is attached to the vacuum head end and submerged, hold the other end under so it fills with water. Once it is full, keep it underwater and continue with step 4. This prevents air from getting into the vacuum system and ensures the job can be completed properly.

How To Vacuum A Pool

Now everything is ready to go, there are a few techniques that can make the manual side of pool cleaning a little easier. Start at the shallow end and make your way to the deep end using lines that are as straight as possible. Be sure to make the next line overlap the last and so on as you make your way up and down the pool.

The key is to use a constant, slow pace as to not disrupt the debris and kick it up so it settles at another part of the pool, potentially where you have already cleaned. This is one of the reasons a pool can still look dirty just minutes after you have finished. There is no quick-fix here, just use a little patience.

Excessive levels of dirt on the bottom will, of course, mean you have to repeat the process as although pool vacuums are strong, a lot of build-up will naturally kick up as you go, even when at a sensible pace.

What To Do After You Have Vacuumed Your Pool

When the main body of work is done, there are still a few things to remember. Firstly, you need to place the skimmer basket back where in belongs remember to detach the skimmer jet end of the hose before taking the vacuum head out of the water.

Then, detach the vacuum head from the hose and drain any leftover water away from the pool. Store the equipment in a place that is convenient for the next use and remember to return the filter settings to how you usually have them (take off the waste setting is using a multiport filter).

At this stage, you will want to secure a brush to the end of the telescopic pole and clean the sides of the pool to make sure it looks its best and is as clean as possible. Any debris collected in the skimmer basket should also be disposed of at this point.

If your multiport filter was not switched to the waste setting, it may require backwashing. Also, is the waste setting was used, remember to top up the water.

Now your pool is clean, you should test the pH and chlorine levels of the water so you can add the appropriate level of chemicals.

Other Methods of Vacuuming A Pool

If you can’t face the task of vacuuming your pool, or you have been doing it for some time now and you don’t have the drive to do it yourself there are other ways you can keep your pool clean.

The first method is to hire a pool cleaner. Depending on your location, they can be reasonably priced. If you want to save money, sometimes you need to spend a little which is why a robotic vacuum is becoming a popular choice for pool owners.

The initial outlay repays itself after just a couple of months and these gadgets are very effective. They collect the debris in a bag that you empty manually after they have finished but it takes the strain out of what can be sweaty work – especially on a summers’ day.

There are also pressure cleaners that have come a long way. They use the pressure from your filter to clean the bottom of the pool and like the robots, they collect all waste and debris in a bag.


Although using a pool vacuum is not rocket science, it is important to follow the instructions carefully to get the job done. When you know what you are doing, it shouldn’t take long for you to get to grips with the process, making it easy for you to keep your pool clean so you can jump in and enjoy the clean water for yourself.