POOL & WATER MAINTENANCE

How to vacuum a pool

Wondering how to vacuum a pool? Don’t worry, the process is much simpler than you might expect. With the right equipment and tools, your pool will be looking amazing again in no time!

On this page, we’ll teach you everything you need to know. We’ll cover how to use a pool vacuum, how to vacuum a pool without a pump, and much more.

Check out the following resource to completely master pool maintenance.

What equipment is needed to vacuum a pool?


The pool you own and the deepness of the clean you’re looking for will determine the pool equipment list you need. That said, most people will want the following:

  • A vacuum head
  • A pool brush to help disrupt more stubborn mess
  • A vacuum hose (make sure this is a comfortable length to reach the entirety of your pool)
  • A controlling handle (you probably want to get a telescoping handle for extra reach)
  • A skim-vac (this makes things way easier; you won’t have to use your pump’s strainer basket. Instead, you can attach your skim-vac to your pool vacuum and filter things this way!)

A robot pool cleaner can make vacuuming your pool a breeze. Click robots and vacuums to learn more.

Vacuum the pool

How Often Should You Vacuum Your Pool?

The question remains – how often should you vacuum your pool anyway? While your location, pool type, and existing cover all come into play here, you should probably be vacuuming around once a week.
This is especially true during busier months when you’re using your pool more often. The more regularly you can keep your water clear, the better. Learning how to vacuum a pool manually will be a vital step in this process!

How to Use a Pool Vacuum?

We cover all of this in more detail below. That said, you’ll be following these basic steps:

  1. Check your filter’s settings
  2. Set up your pool vacuum
  3. Brush your pool and then vacuum up all debris
  4. Backwash your filter/ set your multiport valve filter to the right setting post-vacuum

Read on for the details and different options depending on your setup.

Step One – Checking Your Filter’s Settings

If you’re wondering how to vacuum a pool manually, you’d better make sure you understand your filter’s settings. You’ll be attaching your vacuum to your pool’s filter to clean your water.

If you’re removing more than a small amount of debris, you’ll want to make sure you’re not pushing a bunch of leaves and dirt into your filter. On your multiport valve filter, make sure you’ve switched to the ‘waste’ setting.

This pushes water directly out of the pool without drawing it through your filter. This means that while vacuuming, you’ll want to be topping up your water level with a garden hose.

If you’re using a ‘push pull’ valve filter, you just need to make sure that you backwash your filter after vacuuming to remove debris that you’ve built up while working.

Step Two – How to Hook up a Pool Vacuum

If you’re wondering how to hook up a pool vacuum, this is the section for you.

Set Up the Vacuum Head
First, attach your vacuum head to your telescopic pole. Most heads can be purchased with a compatible pole. Alternatively, a universal pole can be bought separately.

Next, attach one end of your hose to your vacuum head. This will look like a hole on top of the head that points up vertically. Before you attach the other end of your vacuum hose, it’s best to place the vacuum head against the floor of your pool. You’ll have to put some of your telescopic pole handles in too.

Attach to the Return Jet
Now, attach the other end of your hose to the return jet in your pool (check your pool’s blueprints or get in touch with your contractor if you’re not sure where this is). This will allow you to push all of the air out of your hose before vacuuming. You should see bubbles rising out of your vacuum head. Once they stop, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Attach the Skim-Vac/ Basket
The final step when setting up is to attach your vacuum to the right part of your pool so all that debris has somewhere to go. We strongly recommend using a skim-vac here to help reduce the amount of waste that gets stuck in your filter.

If using a skim-vac, detach your hose from the return jet and attach your skim vac. Next, cover the hose hole with your hand as you insert this end into your skimmer basket. Make sure you get a nice firm seal so everything works as expected.

If you’re not using a skim-vac, simply remove your skimmer basket, cover the hole at the end of your hose, and insert it into the suction hole at the bottom. The main idea with both of these steps is to make sure there’s a good connection so your vacuum can work effectively.

Step 3 – How to Clean the Bottom of a Pool With a Vacuum (+Other Surfaces)

This step is by far the most time-consuming part of cleaning your pool. However, with a little patience and the right technique, it can dramatically improve the appearance and hygiene of your water.

For best results, keep the following in mind:

  • It’s best to use slow, measured strokes along the bottom of your pool
  • Don’t panic if your vacuum head sticks to the floor of your pool. Just switch off your pool’s pump for a moment before restarting
  • Make sure your strokes overlap slightly to avoid missing any spots
  • Keep an eye on the pressure gauge on your filter
  • Backwash your filter if the pressure rises significantly higher than usual

How to Use a Pool Vacuum Hose

While most pool vacuum hoses are straightforward to use, you might want to keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure the ends of your hose are compatible with your vacuum head and your pool’s return jet and suction hole
  • Make sure the hose you choose is long enough to reach your entire pool
  • Make sure your hose is designed to work with your model of vacuum

How to Vacuum a Pool Without a Pump

Perhaps your pump is broken or your pool setup doesn’t use one in the first place. Here’s how to vacuum a pool without a pump:

Option One – a Shop Vac
If you’re in a pinch, a shop vac can be used to vacuum a pool. Keep the following in mind:

  • Higher capacity shop vacs tend to work better
  • It’s best to cover the vac head partially with duct tape to avoid sucking up too much water too quickly
  • You should remove your vac’s filter so you don’t damage it
  • This process can work but it’s also significantly more time-consuming

Option Two – Brushing, Netting, and Shocking
This method is far from ideal, but it can help address larger pieces of debris or less intense cleaning. Brushing up algae and other dirt and collecting it with a pool net can help to address a good chunk of the mess in your pool.

If you follow it up with the right chemical shock, this may be enough to improve the appearance of your pool.

Vacuuming Different Pool Types

You’ll also have to think about the type of pool you’re using. This section will discuss how to vacuum above-ground pool setups, how to vacuum in-ground pool setups and the differences between the two.

Don’t worry, though, the broad approach to each is very similar.

How to Vacuum Above-Ground Pool

An above-ground pool may have less debris and dirt around the edges of the pool but may have more mess to deal with on its walls. Keep the following in mind:

  • Double-check your above-ground pool’s filter system and either set it to ‘waste’ or be sure to backwash after vacuuming
  • You may need to brush for longer on the walls of your pool to vacuum everything up
  • You should be vacuuming your above-ground pool at least once a week for the best maintenance results

How to Vacuum In-Ground Pool

The main difference when vacuuming your in-ground pool is that you’re likely dealing with:

  1. More space
  2. More debris on the edges and floor surrounding your pool

Keep the following in mind:

  • Your larger in-ground pool will probably need a longer hose and telescopic pole to be vacuumed successfully
  • You may need to brush longer on the edges of your pool and the floor surrounding it
  • Using a skim-vac is a great idea to protect your pool’s filter

How to Vacuum a Pool – Final Thoughts


We hope you’ve found the advice above helpful. Remember to double-check your pool’s filter system and make sure you’re using a hose and telescopic arm that are long enough for the task at hand!

It’s worth mentioning that a robotic pool cleaner can make vacuuming your pool significantly easier. They’re designed to dramatically improve your pool’s hygiene, appearance, and maintenance schedule. Read more about robotic pool cleaners.

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