3 Ways How To Remove Pool Stains Without Draining

pool with stains on steps and floor

Unfortunately, sometimes our pools just don’t look their best.  Regardless of what we do, there are situations where you have a stained pool and there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it.  There are some ways of cleaning the stain you’ve probably heard of like draining the pool and performing an acid wash.  However, this should be your last possible option. There are a few things you ought to try before you go through the time and expense of draining the swimming pool.  In this article we’ll review how to remove pool stains without draining.

What Causes Pool Stains?

First, it’s important to try and figure out why the stain is there.  If it’s a rust stain for example, can you see where an earring or some other piece of metal was sitting on the floor?  Do you have oak trees which have dropped leaves and stained the pool interior?  It’s important to figure out whether the stain is coming from something dropped into the pool. Alternatively, the cause could be coming from a piece of the pool structure itself bleeding through the concrete.  Sometimes however, it’s impossible to tell so all you can do is try and do your best to remove the stain.

large yellowed pool showing how to remove pool stains without draining in 3 different ways

How To Remove Pool Stains Without Draining

If you don’t want to drain your pool to remove pool stains, you’re in luck. There are three effective methods that may save you the burden and cost of draining your pool. Try these three ideas before you decide whether to drain your pool or not.

Pool Brush Pumice Stone Attachment

The first thing to try is the pool brush.  I know it sounds silly, but sometimes all you need to do is brush the area and you’ll loosen what you thought was a stain, but was actually the beginnings of an algae bloom.  Next, get a pumice stone attachment for your pool pole.

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A pumice stone is excellent for scraping off stains on your pool surface. This is especially helpful if you have a plaster finish.  Unfortunately, with exposed aggregate finishes like Pebble-Tec and Wet Edge Pebble, these stains can be a little harder to remove.  But often a stain is harder to see with an exposed aggregate finish.

No Drain Acid Wash

The next thing to try when determining how to remove pool stains without draining is to use a no-drain acid wash.  This is also called many other names. Mainly, suspended acid wash, acid bath, or acid start. The idea here is to lower your PH to a point it becomes aggressive and actually starts burning off a layer of your plaster.  Obviously you need to be careful when performing this. We’d suggest you hire a professional to dose and oversee the process.  

Unfortunately, what can happen is you make the interior of the entire pool significantly rougher to the touch. This is unfortunate as you’re just trying to remove a small stain. This isn’t always worth it, and instead you may want to try the last option, which is a local acid wash.

Apply Stain Master Solution

For many pool professionals when choosing how to remove pool stains without draining, the first tool they reach for is the Stain Master made by Jandy.  This attaches to your pole, and has a tube which wraps around the pole. Afterward you then screw into a gallon of muriatic acid.  

If you are doing this yourself, be sure to wear appropriate PPE and follow instructions to a T, acid is extremely dangerous.  What this tool does is allows you to apply acid directly to the stain while the pool is still full.  Granted it’s a little hard to use at first. Also you may not see any improvement right away.  But if you keep trying, you can usually get the acid to attack the area you are attempting to clean.

What If Stain Can’t Be Removed Without Draining?

Unfortunately, not all stains will be removed with acid. That’s because some stains are coming from inside the pool structure.  If you have a persistent rust stain which you can make fade away with the Stain Master. Although if it always comes back in the same place, you probably have a piece of rebar or a rebar tie which is too close to the surface. This will bleed through to the surface of the pool causing the rust stain.  

How To Remove Pool Stains Without Draining Summary

The only way to fix this unfortunately is to drain the pool. You would then chip out the area and find the piece of metal and either cut it away, seal it, or both and then patch the structure and patch the plaster.  Depending on your finish type, your patch may look like a patch or it may blend in.  If it’s in a cove, a visible patch probably doesn’t matter.  If it’s on the top of a step, it’ll likely stick out.  Getting bleeding rebar repaired gives you good peace of mind. Then, whether or not you choose to re-plaster the pool after the fact, getting the repair done is a good idea.