As more people opt for staycations during the summer, the popularity of Autojoy inflatable pools has skyrocketed in recent years. Along with this surge in popularity comes some important questions, such as "What chemicals do I need for an inflatable pool?" or, in this case, "How can I maintain a clean and clear kiddie pool?" So, without further delay, let's explore how to properly maintain a small pool, also known as a kiddie pool, baby pool, inflatable pool, or blow-up pool.
Keeping an Inflatable Pool Clean It's crucial to keep dirt, debris, and other organic contaminants out of your kiddie pool in order to maintain healthy water. Avoid allowing pets and other animals near or in the pool, as this not only helps keep contaminant levels manageable but also prevents the risk of sharp toenails puncturing and damaging the inflatable pool. To address debris in your pool, you can utilize the following equipment and accessories:
Pool Leaf Net: Pool leaf nets come in a few different varieties. Leaf rakes are larger versions, equipped with deep bags made from skim nets. They can scoop up large amounts of debris from the pool. On the other hand, leaf skimmers are flat mesh nets, useful for skimming the pool's surface. For a small kiddie pool, simply connect the net to a pool pole and drag it across the surface or carefully along the floor. If the pool is small enough, you can also use the net without a pole.
Pool Cover: Pool covers serve several purposes in maintaining a small pool or kiddie pool. Firstly, they help keep debris out and discourage animals from tampering with the pool water. Solid covers also reduce evaporation, which can be quite noticeable in a small pool during the hottest parts of summer. Some models of Intex or inflatable pools have covers available that fit snugly over the top. Alternatively, you can use a small solar cover, which not only adds a bit of heat to the water but also extends the swimming season by a few weeks. In a pinch, a basic tarp, along with a few bungees or weights to secure it in place, can be used as well.
Pool Vacuum: Small vacuums are incredibly useful for removing large amounts of debris from any pool. If you have a leafy pool area with lots of debris, you can connect a garden hose and a pool pole to a Leaf Bagger or use a Battery Operated Leaf Vac to collect the debris. The Intex Pool Maintenance Kit also offers a smaller version. Another option is to use a rechargeable, battery-operated vacuum like the Intex Handheld Vacuum or any other compact handheld pool vacuum.
Pool Filter: Adequate circulation and filtration are essential for maintaining a clean and healthy pool. A pool filter plays a crucial role in achieving this. Filters help remove fine debris that cannot be effectively removed by skimmer nets or may be missed by pool vacuums. When your water is laden with contaminants, your sanitizer cannot work efficiently. Although inflatable pools typically do not come with filters, it doesn't mean you can't use one. Small Intex Cartridge Filters come with 6-foot hoses that can be placed over the edge of the pool and held underwater with ankle weights or a small sandbag. To avoid suction entrapment on the intake hose, do not use the pool while the filter pump is running.
Keeping an Inflatable Pool Sanitary As mentioned earlier, without a pool filter to remove small particulate matter, the water can become unsanitary quickly. It's important to note that filters do not sanitize or disinfect pool water. However, they do remove contaminants from the water, making it easier for your sanitizer to control algae and bacteria. In addition to keeping the water clean, properly balanced and sanitized water will ensure your small pool remains safe for swimming. Here's how you can sanitize a kiddie pool:
Keep pH Levels in Range: pH levels significantly impact the effectiveness of your sanitizer. You will need a small test kit or test strips to test and maintain the pH level in your kiddie pool water, as regular pool use can cause the pH to naturally rise. When the pH gets too high, chlorine becomes less effective, allowing algae and bacteria to thrive more easily. Conversely, with a low pH, chlorine dissipates more quickly. Both conditions can lead to cloudy water, damage your pool, and may irritate the skin and eyes. If the pH level rises above 7.6, the general recommendation is to add 0.2 oz of pH Reducer (dry acid) for every 100 gallons of pool water and recheck the pH level after a few hours. Always follow the instructions on the product label for precise dosage and handling. Ideally, maintain a pH reading in the 7.4-7.6 range. For more information about water balance, including Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness, refer to our blog post on Intex Pool Chemicals.
Use Chlorine Tablets: The best way to maintain a consistent chlorine level in the pool is to use 1" or 3" chlorine tablets in a floating chlorinator, also known as a chlorine floater. Most inflatable pools require only half of one 3" tablet per week, or several 1" tablets at a time, replacing them promptly as they dissolve. However, your test kit will provide specific guidance. Test for chlorine levels 2-3 times a week to ensure that Free Available Chlorine levels are within the range of 2.0-4.0 ppm (parts per million). Use enough tablets to maintain a consistent chlorine level in the pool.
Shock the Pool: Shocking the pool at least once a week is recommended. You may need to do it more frequently if chlorine levels drop to near zero or if the water has been contaminated by animals or a high number of swimmers. To boost the chlorine level, add 0.2 oz of pool shock per 100 gallons of water. Alternatively, you can use unscented bleach, using 2.0 oz per 100 gallons of water. Ensure that partially used bags of pool shock are tightly sealed and stored in a plastic container. Always read and follow the instructions on the product label for handling, dosage, and storage, as with any pool chemical.
It's worth mentioning that pool users should bathe before using a small pool. Additionally, young children who are not yet potty trained should have a fresh diaper change and wear a swim diaper. Even a small amount of fecal matter in such a small pool can overwhelm the sanitizer.
Draining & Refilling an Inflatable Pool Some of the nicer, full-featured inflatable pools come with a drain plug, making regular draining and refilling easier. Simply remove the plug and drain the pool, or connect a garden hose to avoid lawn erosion or over-saturation.
If your kiddie pool does not have a drain plug but is situated near a hillside, you can use a garden hose to siphon most of the water out until you can flip it over to fully empty it. Another convenient method is to use one of our small submersible pumps.
Even if you follow all the above-mentioned steps, such as testing and adjusting pH levels, maintaining a consistent chlorine level, and possibly filtering the kiddie pool water, there comes a point in pool maintenance where it's necessary to drain the pool and start over.
For larger soft-sided pools with frames, they can function like normal above-ground pools since they usually come with a properly sized filter and pump. However, for most inflatable pools or plastic kiddie pools following the guidelines listed above, it's recommended to change the water every two weeks at a minimum. If you're not adding chlorine to kill bacteria, the pool should be drained every other day. Stagnant water without chlorine can become unhealthy in as little as 24-48 hours.