How To Clean An Inflatable Pool, Because It Can Get Pretty Gnarly

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Inflatable kiddie pools are one of the highlights of summer play for many a kid. Seriously, what's better than a personal-sized pool you can splash in at any time? But knowing how to clean an inflatable pool is important for keeping your kids safe. These fun summertime toys can become super nasty, super fast.

To be clear, inflatable pools can harbor some serious bacteria. In fact, everything from E.coli to the Shigella bacteria can lurk in the kiddie pool, as explained on Romper.com. Dirty pool water can cause anything from stomach upset to pink eye, AKA things you don't want your kid catching during play. That said, you don't have to throw away that beloved inflatable pool, because there are plenty of simple ways to clean them.

First, it's crucial to empty the inflatable pool after every play session, as explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I know you're already cringing about the water bill for this month, but it's an important step. If left out for several hours or even days, the pool water basically becomes a stagnant pond. And whatever germs were on your kids or in the tap water will still be there for the next play session. Dumping out the water and using a fresh refill every time your kid plays in the pool is crucial.

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Did your kids turn the pool into a muddy mess? It happens. For a little extra cleaning power, you can put on some rubber gloves and wipe down the pool with a diluted bleach solution or some dish detergent, as noted in Hunker. After that, totally rinse out the pool with fresh water a few times to get rid of any residue.

Once the little pool is emptied of water, then it's a good idea to dry it completely. To really get in there, wipe the whole thing down with a towel first. This will help prevent the growth of slippery, slimy algae or mildew in the pool. After that, let the inflatable pool dry in the sun for at least four hours, as explained by the CDC. The sunlight will help totally dry and further disinfect the pool before its next use. Store it some place dry and your kid will have a kiddie pool in pristine condition for the next sunny day.

Viesturs Kalvans/Fotolia

If the pool is too large to empty daily, then you'll want to do a little more work to keep it clean. Any pool of this size requires filters and disinfection systems, according to the CDC. After all, you still don't want to deal with the whole nasty standing water situation. Because appropriate chlorine levels can be difficult to determine for these smaller pools, follow the manufacturer's directions for sanitation. Even consider reaching out to your local pool experts for advice about keeping your medium-sized pool sanitary. And if the water ever becomes seriously cloudy, dirty, or otherwise questionable, don't hesitate to dump it, sanitize, and refill.

In addition to the filtration and possible chlorination, the larger pools will require more traditional cleaning practices. A skim net on a pole can remove leaves and other debris from the surface, because these things are pretty much drawn to pool water like a magnet. Also, it's a good idea to invest in a pool cover to keep more leaves, bugs, and anything else out of your pool, as explained in Top Cleaning Secrets. With a little time and effort, any size of kiddie pool can be kept in clean working order all summer long.