Pool tiles usually get dirty when dirt and debris around the pool area find their way onto the tiles and stain them causing discoloration. Calcium scaling is another common problem with pool tiles, and it is the white chalky substance that you see where the water and pool tiles meet.
Tiles give pools a clean, fresh, and inviting look by enhancing the pool’s aesthetic appeal. If tiles in the pool are filthy and unkempt, the pool’s water would reflect this. Therefore, a clean tile is very crucial for having the best pool experience.
Cleaning a pool regularly eases the burden of a calcium build-up around the tiles; however, if the pool maintenance is not regular, you may have to carry out a major cleaning project on your pool tile later on.
How to Properly Clean Pool Tiles
STEP 1: Clean the Area Around the Pool
Before you begin to clean your pool tile, clear out the items like food, debris, furniture, etc., around the pool area to prevent water or chemicals from reaching these.
STEP 2: Reduce Water Level in The Pool
Depending on the cleaning method you are adopting, you may need to reduce the pool’s water level or drain it completely.
The reason for this is to enable you to have access to all the affected tiles in the pool.
STEP 3: Clean the Tile
After clearing out the pool area and reducing or draining the water in the pool, the next step is to clean the tiles. Below are the 6 standard methods you may employ when cleaning pool tiles:
A. Pressure Wash the Tiles
Before using a pressure washer, ensure you wear a helmet and your safety glasses to protect yourself because the water pressure coming from a normal washer can be up to 2000 PSI with a temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which can damage the skin on contact.
Steps involved in using a pressure washer include:
1- Test the pressure washer on a small portion of the tile to ensure that the pressure and temperature are ideal for the cleaning process.
2- Clean the tiles, moving from spot to spot. Pay special attention to the parts with calcium scaling.
3- Finally, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away any dirt that remains.
B. Acid Wash the Tiles
When using any acidic product to clean pool tile, you have to take extra precautions because any form of contact with the acid can severely damage your skin.
It would be best if you had the following protective equipment.
Safety glasses/Eye goggles
Respirator (that’s efficient against inhalation of acid)
1- Wear all the 4 necessary protective gear before you begin.
2- Prepare a muriatic acid and water solution by slowly pouring a substantial amount of water into the acid. When preparing this solution, always add water to the acid, and not the other way, to avoid chemical reactions that can result in injuries.
3- Stir the solution together carefully and slowly with a non-metal spoon.
4- Pour the mixture into the spray bottle and spray it on the pool tiles. Scrub the tiles with a non-abrasive clothing material until the tiles are clean.
5- After cleaning, dilute the acid residue in the pool with soda ash to neutralize the acid.
6- Pump the acid and soda ash residue out of the pool after the cleaning process is complete.
C. Cleaning Pool Tile Using Vinegar
Vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent that you can use to clean pool tiles and get rid of calcium scaling. However, Vinegar and baking soda are suitable if the calcium build-up on the tiles is minimal.
Keep in mind that water and vinegar should be of the same quantity.
1- Prepare a balanced mixture of vinegar and water.
2- Dip a non-abrasive cloth or sponge in the mix, and wipe the affected tiles.
Another way to go about this is this:
1- Prepare a mixture of water with vinegar.
2- Apply the mix on the affected parts of the tile using a spray bottle, and then use a brush to scrub off the dirt.
3- Rinse the tile with warm water afterward.
However, if there are chunks of calcium scaling on the tile, you might need to go to a pool supply store and get a pool tile cleaner. When using a tile cleaning product, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the product with caution.
D. Cleaning Pool Tile with Baking Soda
Baking soda is an excellent cleaning agent when it is mixed with water to form a paste.
To clean your pool tile with baking soda, do the following:
Respirator (that’s efficient against inhalation of acid)
1- Mix baking soda and water into a paste-like form. Use 1.5lbs of baking soda per 10,000 gallons of water.
2- Use a sponge or cloth to apply the mix to the dirty parts of the tiles.
3- Scrub the parts with stubborn stains harder with the mix.
4- Finally, rinse the tile with some warm water and allow it to dry.
E. Using Pool Tile Cleaner
1- Put the cleaner into a spray bottle and spray it on the tiles with calcium formation.
2- Use a brush to scrub before spraying more. Within a few minutes, the calcium will start to come off.
Use this method once every 2-3 weeks to prevent new calcium deposits and grime. However, be careful when selecting the tile cleaner as not all of them work on all kinds of tiles.
F. Scrubbing with Brush
If you observe the stains on your pool tile before they spread out and become more pronounced, you can use a stiff brush to clean the stains, as well as the calcium carbonate build-up on them.
STEP 4: Clean Out Any Residue
Use a hose to rinse the pool and pump out the dirty water; repeat this process until your tiles are looking fresh and clean, then you can refill the pool.
An alternative (that would likely cost you more money) to the processes listed above is to hire professional pool cleaners around your area. They have the experience and the right tools to do the work effectively.
Here is a recap of the steps:
1- Clear out the area around the pool.
2- Remove debris and organic waste from inside the pool.
3- Reduce or drain the water in the pool if necessary.
4- Clean the tile.
5- Clean up chemical or organic residue from the pool.
6- Rinse and refill the pool.
How to Clean Pool Tile Grout
Grout is a mixture of sand, water, and cement, and it is used in sealing the spaces between tiles in a pool because of its resistance to water and chemicals. Over time, it may become dirty and will require cleaning up. To effectively clean tile grout, do the following:
1- Reduce the water level in the pool just below the affected areas.
2- Allow the grout to dry, and proceed to brush off any visible dirt or debris.
3- Prepare a mixture of oxygen bleach and apply it to the surface and leave for about 15 minutes. Check the instructions on the oxygen bleach to know the ratio of water-to-bleach.
4- Proceed the use a clean, dry cloth to wipe off the dirt from the grout.
5- Finally, rinse the surface with water when the process is complete.
Cleaning Pool Tile without Draining
To clean a pool without draining it requires going through the process of acid washing the pool. This process is quite different from the acid washing process discussed earlier.
Test kit/Buffer to measure alkalinity
1- Start filtering the pool a week before the cleaning process to keep the water clean and clear. You can achieve this by continuously pumping water for a few days before the cleaning process begins.
2- Clear out the unimportant and unneeded objects from the pool area.
3- Thoroughly clean the pool with a vacuum cleaner or scrub it with a brush.
4- Add 16 oz of any acid washer per 10,000 gallons and about 8lbs of pH decreaser per 5,000 gallons until the water’s alkalinity is at zero. You can use a test kit or a buffer to measure this.
5- Brush the stains from the tiles. Repeat this process for two to three days.
6- When it is clear that the tiles are clean, restore the alkalinity of the water.
7- To do this, add 8lbs of pH increaser per 5,000 gallons on three separate occasions with a 6-8 hour time difference.
8- Repeat the process until the pH and alkalinity of the pool are at the required level.
How to Clean Pool Waterline Tile
Waterline tiles are installed around the pool’s top area to prevent dirt from getting into the pool, and over time, the tiles in this area get discolored or laced by calcium scaling, which you may have to clean up.
If the scaling is minimal, use a brush to scrub the calcium away; however, if it is a more pronounced stain, use a pumice stone and a recommended tile cleaner.
Waiting for your pool tile to become laced with calcium deposits can result in a wastage of time and energy when you eventually decide to have it cleaned up.
It is advisable to carry out regular cleaning maintenance on your pool.
The methods shown above are easy and straightforward and they won’t break your bank either.