How to Clean Your Pool Liner

Pool liners serve the important functions of maintaining a waterproof barrier to keep water in and providing aesthetic value, with a range of liner colours and patterns available to ensure your pool always looks inviting. 

Generally, swimming pool liners are made of PVC and tend to last between 5 and 20 years, so they can be pretty durable. But, to ensure your liner lasts as long as possible, it is a good idea to perform regular cleaning and maintenance. With the right cleaning products and equipment, you can easily remove stains and keep your liner spick and span!

how to install a swimming pool liner

General Liner Maintenance

Before we consider how to tackle unsightly stains, it's a good idea to know what to be on the lookout for when it comes to good liner maintenance. 

1. Don’t Drain the Pool

Steer well away from draining your pool even if the liner is looking particularly grubby, as this can cause cracking in the pool’s shell and prompt the liner itself to wrinkle or become displaced. 

2. Remove Debris 

We recommend removing debris like leaves and other natural detritus as soon as possible – leaf nets are good to have on hand for when you notice any infiltrators. If left to decay in the water, debris will cause stains on your liner that can be tough to remove if unaddressed. 

You can prevent the majority of debris from entering your pool by using a swimming pool cover. 

Some foliage next to an outdoor pool

3. Keep Chemicals Properly Balanced 

Pool chemistry is the backbone of good pool maintenance; if you don’t pay careful attention to your water’s chemical levels, there are several things that can go wrong. Most relevant here is that improperly balanced water could cause damage or bleaching to the liner. 

Incorrect pH and chlorine levels put the liner at risk of damage or staining. The cyanuric acid range should also be reviewed, as too little can cause wrinkling. 

It’s also important that chemicals are always thoroughly dispersed through the water and are properly circulated, not only to ensure their efficacy but also to stop any chemicals from collecting on the bottom and corrupting or bleaching the liner. 

4. Use the Right Cleaning Equipment 

When cleaning your liner, always make sure you use supplies that are made for the job. It’s best to use purpose-made tile liner cleaner to remove scum lines and stains, along with soft pool brushes, so you don’t cause any tears with more abrasive equipment. 

Cleaning Your Pool Liner 

Here are some simple steps you can incorporate into your routine to ensure you’re paying your vinyl liner a bit of attention on a relatively regular basis. 

  1. Remove any debris and brush the sides and bottom of your pool with a soft pool brush to dislodge dirt. You can also take this chance to clean the filter to ensure it doesn’t reintroduce any debris back into the system.
  2. Use a pool vacuum to clean away the dirt or algae you’ve just dislodged. If you’re using an automatic pool cleaner, don’t leave itunattended for too long, as they can cause damage to the liner if they become trapped in one spot for too long.
  3. Review your water chemistry and make any necessary adjustments. You can read more about how to get this right with our guide to water testing your pool.
  4. Use a chlorine shock to kill lingering bacteria. These steps are usually enough to remove the majority of stains.
  5. If your liner still has a couple of pesky organic or metal stains, you can use a tile liner cleaner or natural stain remover

A view of a pool liner underwater

Preventing Pool Liner Stains & Damage 

Often the best course of action is prevention – some stains may crop up now and again, but doing what you can to protect your liner will prevent you from having to deal with immovable dirt and grime. 

Usually, covering your pool, balancing the water with the right chemicals and using a pool vacuum every so often is enough to keep everything clean and in good condition. 

If your liner has come to the end of its life and is beyond the help of a good clean or quick-fix repair, it may be time to replace it. Take a look at our pool liner calculator to choose the right liner specs for your pool, including different options for colour and tile design.