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How to Remove Pool Surface Stains

If you’re a pool owner, you probably want your pool to look as clean as possible, right? Well, you also probably know that in order for that to be the case, you have to keep up with maintenance on a regular basis. However, even if you do so, there are instances where your pool may not remain entirely clean. For example, stains can arise on a pool’s surface over time, which is exactly what we’re going to discuss in this article.

Now, don’t panic because even though stains can form on the surface of a pool, they can also be removed.

There are specific steps that you need to follow depending on the type of stain present on the pool because yes, believe it or not, there are multiple types of stains that can arise in your pool–all of which we will discuss in this article.

We’ve seen it all, so we know how stains are created and exactly how to get rid of them.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that stains won’t return after they’re treated, but we will give you all of the information you need to keep your pool as clean as possible.

What Kind of Stains Can Form On a Pool’s Surface?

The first step in removing stains is identifying the type of stain that is present on the surface.

There are five different colored stains that you may see, which we’ll get to in just a minute, but first we want to identify the two types of stains that they may be categorized under:

  • Organic–leaves, berries, and other similar debris from the environment can settle onto a pool’s surface; once they are removed, the colored could fade into the surface of the pool, creating a stain
  • Metal–the pump/filter system has parts that consists of copper and silver, which can make their way into the pool; those metals then can cling to the surface of a pool and thus create stains

Depending on the object that settles on the surface, the stain may be a specific color such as those listed below.

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Green/Brown Stains

The most common catalyst behind greenish-brown stains are leaves or other debris that come from plants or trees.

Red/Blue Stains

If your pool area is surrounded by trees that grow berries, they can fall from the tree and make their way into the pool, creating stains that have a red or blue tint to them.

Blue/Green Stains

Leaves and berries can also result in blueish-green stains depending on their color, but if these aren’t present on your property, the stains could arise from copper.

If you have well water, there’s a good chance that it contains copper, which makes it a real possibility that pool water can stain the surface over time.

Pool plumbing can also contain copper, which can also be transferred into the water, causing this type of stain.

Green/Brown/Red Stains

Iron is the likely perpetrator behind stains that are a combination of green, brown, and red. Once again, if you have well water, it can contain high levels of iron which can stain your pool’s surface.

Iron may also be present in other structures or objects around your pool area like fences, which is susceptible to rust; if something like a fence eventually rusts over, it can make its way to the pool if it rains, creating stains on the pool’s surface.

Brown/Black/Purple Stains

A dark stain created by the color combination of brown, black, and purple is a result of high levels of manganese, a metal commonly found in well water.

Removing the Stain

Once you’ve identified the color of the stain on your pool and its possible cause, you’ll need to conduct a final test for confirmation so you can then take the proper steps to remove it.

Depending on the color, you may suspect that the stain is a result of organic elements like leaves and berries, or metals like iron, copper, silver, etc. Each has their own way of testing and removal which we’ve detailed below.

How to Remove an Organic Stain

If you suspect that the stain is organic, you should conduct the following test:

  • Apply a small amount of chlorine directly to the stain
  • If the stain is organic, it should be removed easily

Once you’ve confirmed this, there are specific steps you should follow to remove the organic stain entirely:

  1. Test and balance the water chemistry as follows:
    1. Bring alkalinity between 100 parts per million (ppm) and 150 ppm
    2. Bring pH level between 7.4 and 7.6
  2. Shock the pool
    1. If you only need to remove one stain, a normal dose of pool shock should be sufficient (dose will vary based on pool size)
    2. If you need to remove multiple stains, add 3 pounds of shock for every 10,000 gallons of water your pool holds
  3. Use a pool brush to scrub the stains and remove as much as possible (they may not be fully removed at this time)
  4. Run the pump/filter system to allow the pool shock to cycle through the pool for at least eight hours
  5. Once the pump has be run, brush the pool again to remove any final signs of a stain

This should almost entirely remove the stains, but if some linger, just repeat the process until they’re gone!

How to Remove a Metal Stain

If you suspect that the stain is caused by the presence of metals in the pool, conduct the following test:

  • Apply ascorbic acid (which is just vitamin C in powder form) to the stain
  • If the stain is removed or lightened, it was caused by a metal

Once you’ve confirmed that a metal has caused the stain in your pool, follow these steps to remove them:

  1. Take a sample of your pool water to your local pool store and ask them to test it for metals
  2. Once you’ve confirmed the presence of metals, get a metal pool stain remover that targets the specific metal present in your pool
  3. Each stain remover will have specific instructions, so follow those and the stains should be removed

How to Prevent Stains

Stain prevention really comes down to one thing: pool maintenance. You should be conducting proper routine maintenance as it applies to the type of pool you have, but some of the universal methods you should follow are:

  • Regularly test water chemistry
  • Add chemicals to balance water chemistry as needed
  • Remove debris from the pool regularly
  • Run your pump/filter system on a regular basis
  • Regularly check for stains before they become a serious issue

If you follow these maintenance routines, you should be able to limit the amount of stains that arise in your pool!

We hope that we’ve supplied you with the best knowledge possible to take care of pool stains on your own, but if you still have questions or need assistance in pool maintenance, give us a call at (219) 322-2797 or visit our Learning Center where we put out new articles weekly!