How To Keep a Kiddie Pool Clean

Having a kiddie pool as a child is one of those timeless traditions that just about every kid gets to do. As adults, we likely have photos we can look back on of us as toddlers, splashing around in the summertime. Kiddie pools are great to keep kids busy and cool in the summer.

But here’s the catch: you have to keep it clean. Many parents end up purchasing a kiddie pool with the best of intentions, only to have to throw it out after one summer of use because of built up grime or mold. Cleaning and storing your kiddie pool correctly can make it last much longer, and save you money next summer when the kids are asking to splash in their pool once again.

Cleaning The Kiddie Pool Before the First Use

Whether you’re pulling the pool out of the shed or using it for the first time, you’ll want to make sure it’s sanitized. Pools can be a lot of work, even if it’s an inflatable or small plastic pool, and there’s no magic formula or kiddie pool cleaner that’s safe for everyone.

If you’ve stored your pool over the winter, you’ll want to start with vacuuming or wiping out all the debris and dust that may have collected. Next, even if it’s new, you’ll want to disinfect your kiddie pool. Skip the harsh bleach cleaners, and opt for something more natural.

Using soap and water, borax, or your favorite natural disinfectant, scrub all the sides and bottom of your pool with a soft sponge. Be careful not to scrub too hard. Simply rinse thoroughly with water, and you’re good to fill it back up. When you set it up initially, make sure to put something smooth like a tarp or foam pieces underneath it to prevent it from being punctured by rocks or stones.

Finally, make sure you have a skimmer and pool cover ready for the next steps.

Keeping the Kiddie Pool Clean

While the best way to clean the pool is to empty the water, there are some things you can do to keep it clean in between refills. Here are some quick tips to keep the kids’ pool clean.

Clean Feet: Purchase a foot cleaning bucket or a simple tupperware to fill with water. Place this outside your pool so that your kids can clean their feet before they get in the water. This will help keep dirty feet from adding to the mess.

Skim, Skim, Skim: Use your pool skimmer at least once daily to clear any debris that may have collected while the kids played in it. It’s best to do it once before use, and once again after use. Though it’s a mini pool, grass, debris, sticks, and leaves can still collect quickly.

Cover It Up: Make sure you have a pool cover. You can find a pool cover made for the size of your pool, or simply use a tarp and some bricks to hold it down. Cover the pool whenever it is not in use. You can also put it in a place that is covered by another outdoor structure, like a carport.

Mind the Water: Most kid-sized pools don’t come with a pump, filter, or pool vacuum. So you’ll need to make sure you take care of the water so it doesn’t become stagnant and collect unwanted germs and bacteria. Using small chlorine tabs and a floating chlorine dispenser can work wonders. It can also keep mosquitoes from laying eggs in your pool. Make sure to do your research first, and only use chlorine or chemicals formulated for small pools. You’ll want to use the correct amount of chlorine for the amount of water in your pool. You can also buy water testing strips to make sure it’s safe for kids to swim.

Emptying and Cleaning Your Kiddie Pool

No matter how much work you do to keep it clean, after a while of having a small amount of water in a small pool, you’ll have to empty it and start fresh. 

This process is very similar to the way you initially cleaned it, just with a couple of extra steps. Start by draining the pool. Some kiddie pools have a drain plug installed, and others will need to be emptied manually. Make sure to dump the water away from flowers or mud spots that might cause you problems later.

Next, grab your cleaner. Again, if you want to avoid bleach and harsh cleaning agents, soap and water will work just fine. With your sponge and cleaning solution, scrub every surface of the pool. Get in the corners, and if it’s inflatable, get in between every little crack. The small cracks are where dirt and germs can hide and go unnoticed. 

After you’ve fully scrubbed the pool, rinse it with water and make sure all of your soap or cleaner has been washed out. You may need to repeat the scrubbing and rinsing steps if you notice any dirty spots or if it’s been a while since it’s been fully cleaned.

If you are not going to refill the pool right away, it is crucial that you dry it thoroughly. It’ll help prevent mold and keep it cleaner for the next use. Using a clean towel, wipe it down completely, again paying attention to those small cracks and spaces. 

Bacteria love to grow in damp environments, so one last step here is to also let it dry in the sun. Leave it in the sunlight for about four hours to make sure the pool is completely dry. Then, simply deflate (if it’s an inflatable pool), fold, or store it somewhere it will stay dry.

Kiddie pools are just one of many toys that can easily collect germs and bacteria. It’s important to regularly clean all your kids’ toys, especially when they’re being used frequently. For more on cleaning toys, read our blog: How to Clean and Disinfect Toys to Keep Your Kids Healthy.

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