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Having an in-ground pool is a luxury not everyone has. However, every luxury requires work to maintain. Along with making your pool look nice, colorful, and complete, pool tile serves some functional roles in longevity and maintenance.
Keeping your pool tile clean is an important part of maintaining your entire pool. Tile that is not cleaned regularly can become stained with grime/dirt from sunscreen and dust. It can also get covered in calcium build up (dried water mineral deposits). Though it can be tedious work, there are many ways to clean the pool tile yourself instead of hiring cleaning pool services to do it. But first, if you’re wondering how to clean pool tile , there are a few factors that affect how you will go about cleaning: the tile’s material, and the amount of calcium build up you have.
Pool tile is generally six inches tall and put along the pool’s water line to give a halfway point for the water to hit. Because of this, pool tile has varying exposures to both oxygen and water over time, so only a few certain materials can handle the mixture long term. Generally, pool tile is made of one of three materials: porcelain, natural stone (like travertine pavers and cement pavers), or glass. Treated travertine is commonly used because of its highly durable and impervious qualities. This is also why travertine pool tiles and travertine pool deck are commonly used on pool patios. Most of the best pool patio surfaces have these qualities.
Materials for cleaning tile
You should not need to hit a specific pool cleaning store for the materials you need – most can be found at stores like Walmart or Home Depot.
Recommended materials for cleaning pool tile (note you do not need to use all of them):
- Rubber gloves
- Baking soda
- Pumice stone
- Soft scrub brush – old toothbrush works for smaller areas
- Vinegar – distilled white and cleaning
- Dish soap
- Sulfamic acid cleaner (like CLR or Lime-Away) – only if build up is severe
- Eye protection
Note that this process may vary based on the severity of the grime/calcium build up. You should always start with the gentlest method first, to avoid unnecessary exposure to toxic cleaning chemicals.
- Drop the water line if possible – it is much easier to clean when there is no water in the way.
- Put on your rubber gloves and mix your chosen cleaning materials (vinegar, water, dish soap, etc).
- Use a soft scrub brush in circular motion to clean the mineral deposits. If the brush is not doing the job, use a pumice stone to scrub.
- After scrubbing away the calcium buildup, dip the brush in your chosen cleaning solution and scrub away the grime and dirt.
- If the brush and pumice stone are still not getting the job done, this would be the time to use the sulfamic acid tile cleaning solution.
- Handle this solution with extreme care, and make sure you’re not using it after treating the pool with any other chemicals.
- Make sure to wear eye protection and rubber gloves if handling.
- If you use this, allow several days to pass before you swim or treat the pool.
- Contact with skin can be dangerous, and potential chemical combinations can be very toxic.
With the weather warming up, everyone’s going to want to be relaxing by the pool. For a cleaner pool, and to save yourself a headache later, keep up with this process regularly. Most classic pool tile and stone can be cleaned fairly easily, without chemicals, and quickly if you are doing it consistently. Build up is inevitable when owning and using a pool.