I've scrubbed at my pool tiles with different types of cleaners over the years, and I've paid hundreds of dollars to have the tiles professionally cleaned, but that white hard-water line always comes back. My brother-in-law offered a suggestion of replacing all the blue tiles with white tiles, but that's not the solution I was after.
Instead I decided this year to talk with the folks at the local pool supply store, who recommended either a chemical bath product to soak in the pool (which I'm not thrilled about trying) or a synthetic pool stone to scrub with (creatively called Pool Stone.)
I decided to give the Pool Stone a try.
The stone itself is light - like a piece of styrofoam, but after it soaks in the pool for 20 minutes it becomes much heavier and harder - more like a pumice stone.
Unlike a pumice stone, though, this synthetic stone works wonders. Sometimes I pressed hard and scrubbed with attitude to aggressively clean a tile in about a minute. Other times (when I got tired) I would rub the stone without much pressure at all and it still managed to clean a tile, although it would take two or three times as long per tile.
I didn't take a "before" picture of my pool, honestly because I didn't expect this stone to work any better than anything else I tried, and I didn't expect this project to go so quickly and smoothly. But here is a picture of one section of the pool tile after I had scrubbed a handful of tiles:
Here is another section of the pool where the tiles are mostly done:
And finally, here is a side of the pool where all the tiles look blue again:
This is one of those DIY projects that isn't difficult at all, and which can save you a ton of money compared with having a professional do it for you. A few extra thoughts and tips regarding the process:
- Slow and Steady - my pool has 186 tiles around the perimeter (if I counted correctly), so this wasn't something I could knock down in a day. I spent 20-30 minutes at a time over the course of a few weeks, cleaning 8-10 tiles in a session, before the whole pool was calcium line free.
- Clean Completely - the big thick white line usually comes off in just a few seconds, but if you look closely you'll see a smaller, fainter line as well. Many of the tiles also had a faint line under the water line. Whenever I didn't clean the tile completely, these faint lines showed up the next day and stood out from the "clean" tiles. I learned quickly to clean the tile completely if I wanted to have shiny clean tiles.
- Pool Stones wear away - I think I used up 5 Pool Stones during this project. At $10 each that's a chunk of change, but it's a fraction of the cost of a professional cleaning service.
- Soak the Stone - the stone will wear out very fast if you use it before it's soaked full of water.
- Maintenance - I'm going to buy a couple extra Pool Stones to have on hand; maybe I'll be proactive enough to scrub the tiles before they get really bad so I don't have to do this major clean up again in 2018.
- Wear Gloves - I scrubbed the first two days with bare hands, and on the third day my thumb was worn just about raw. I wore work gloves for the rest of the project and didn't have any other problems.
And that's all there is to it.
I'd love to hear if you have a different / better way of keeping your pool tiles clean, of if you give this a try and it works for you too.
- Chris Butterworth