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How to Clean a Green Above Ground Pool

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green above ground pool

Nobody likes a pea-green swimming pool. You want the water you swim in to be crystal clear. If the water in your above ground pool is green, you need to know how to clean it.

Once you get your above ground pool clear and beautiful, the thing you need to know is how it got to be green in the first place and how you keep it from becoming green again.

metal filter

The Steps to Clean an Above Ground Pool

Algae growth in an above ground pool is relatively common. Cleaning a green above ground pool is not difficult, but it does take:

  • Time
  • Chemicals
  • Patience

Remove the Junk and Debris From Your Above Ground Pool

If you have algae, chances are there is something in your pool to encourage it to grow.

  • Dead leaves
  • Sticks
  • Bugs
  • Even just the fact that people have been in your pool.

all that means there is something in your pool for the algae to eat. Your job is to get rid of that meal.

You are going to need a good pool skimmer. You want something with a long handle and a fine mesh.

Start at the edge of your pool and work your way inwards. Make sure to empty the net every so often so that the dirty water flows easily into the mesh and catches all the debris.

The other thing that helps is the above ground pool vacuum. This is perfect if the debris isn’t floating anymore and is at the bottom of the pool. The “vacuum” attaches to your water hose and pushes all the debris into the attached netting.


We relied this a lot when we had our above ground pool.

Check The Pump and Filter on Your Above Ground Pool

Getting rid of all that debris and trash also prevents your filter from getting dirty and your pump from breaking down.

Your pump and your filter are the two main items that will get your pool clean and keep it clean. Your pump needs to be strong and keep the water constantly moving.

The filter needs to be clean, so it can catch all the little nasties that encourage the algae to grow and turn your crystal clear pool sea green.

Your pump and filter are meant to clean your pool. If they are not working, your pool will not stay clear for very long.

Check Your Green Pool’s Chemistry

Your pool’s pH should be between 7.2-7.8. This is higher than normal, but the higher pH means that the shock treatment will be more effective. (More on that to come.)

Next, you want to check on your Cyanuric Acid or CYA. CYA levels should be around 30-60ppm. CYA is a stabilizer for the chlorine, so it can do its job of killing the algae. Keeping your CYA levels consistent helps prevents chlorine loss and makes the chlorine more effective.

The last chemical you need to check is the amount of free chlorine in your pool. Free chlorine is the amount of chlorine that has not been combined with the already chlorinated water. That means it is free to act as a sanitizer for your pool.

Before you begin cleaning your pool, you want to get these chemical levels right, so the next steps are more efficient and ultimately save you some time and effort.

Once your pool is clean, it is important to monitor these three chemical levels to maintain your pool’s crystal clear water.

Shock the Algae out of Your Green Pool

This is the most important step when you clean your above ground pool. When you “shock” your pool water you are adding a large amount of chlorine to it to kill any algae and sanitize it at the same time.

You want to really think about the type and amount of chlorine you will need. How much chlorine you will need depends largely on the size of your pool. In general, you want the shock to be a minimum of 70% chlorine. You will want to purchase enough shock to run through the process two or three times.

Consider buying quality shock from a store that specializes in pool maintenance supplies and equipment. While it may be tempting to look for shock at a regular retail store like Lowes or Walmart, the chemicals sold there may be cheaper but, they are often out of date. Remember, you will probably need a lot of chemical. Plus, you want the chemical to do the job right the first time. A better quality chemical means you will be enjoying your pool more quickly.

Two other things to consider:

  • Some people use non-chlorine shock. While this may be fine to keep your pool maintained, to really clean your above ground pool you need the real stuff.
  • If your pool is very green, consider an algaecide. This works in conjunction with the chlorine to kill the algae.

Run Your Pool’s Pump

Now that you have cleaned your pool and added the shock, the next step is to get all those chemicals to work doing their job. To do that they need to move and circulate.

  • After you add the first round of chlorine, run the pump for twelve hours.
  • Using a vacuum, clean up the dead algae and any other debris that has settled to the bottom of your pool.
  • Add your second round of shock and run the pump another twelve hours.
  • Check your filters and your pump.
  • Use a brush to get behind ladders and places where the algae has clumped up.
  • Add the last round of shock and continue to run the pump for 24 hours.

Now keep in mind, when you clean your green above ground pool, it won’t be crystal clear immediately. You will see your pool water gradually go from green to cloudy. But not to worry! The cloudy stage means the process is working. Keep running your pump until the water is clear.

Remember to stay out of the water for 24 hours after you do the entire shock process. If you have a pool fence, consider locking it just so others won’t accidentally go in it.

Why Your Above Ground Pool is Green

The simple answer to why your above ground pool is a lovely emerald green is simple. Things are living in your green pool. And those things are called algae.

Algae needs a few things to flourish. If your above ground pool has those few things, then you will end up with a large swimming pool full of vibrant, healthy algae. The greener your pool is, the more algae are making your pool at home and inviting all their friends to come live there too.

For an algae bloom to grow it needs:

  • Still water: Your pool pump may not have been running for whatever reason.
  • Warmth: Swimming pools are synonymous with summertime and hot weather.
  • Time: Even a short vacation can give algae time to grow.

The Steps You Need to Repeat to Keep Your Clean Pool From Turning Green

Not only do you need to learn how to clean a green above ground pool, but you also need to know how to prevent your above ground pool from turning green again. Luckily, those steps are easy, but you need to be consistent.

The steps to maintaining your fresh, clean pool are very similar to what you did to clean your green above ground pool, but with fewer chemicals.

  • Check your chemical levels daily:
  • pH
  • CYA
  • Free chlorine
  • Keep debris out of your pool with frequent (daily is best) cleanings.
  • Check your filters often.
  • Run your pump as much as possible. Some people suggest keeping it running during the day when the weather is warm and you are using the pool often, turning it off only at night.

Going from a Green Above Ground Pool to Clean Above Ground Pool

Doing these steps regularly and consistently will extend the life of your above ground pool. Once you learn how to clean your green above ground pool, you will be able to enjoy your clear, clean, above ground pool every day of the summer.

Be sure to checkout our website for more cleaning tips such as, cleaning your pool deck in an affordable way, how to clean fire glass for your fire pit, and how you can keep your outdoor fountain water clean!

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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