The snarky answer to this would be like, well, just like you would an in-ground pool! But in all seriousness, there are some key differences that we have to take note of when we’re cleaning our above ground pool.

For above ground pools without a filtration system

If you have an above ground pool without a filtration system, then that probably means that you’re using an inflatable pool or something that isn’t meant to be permanently filled. So once the water shows some sign that it’s dirty, these are just drained out and refilled.

This is actually fine for smaller above ground pools as they’re designed to be drained after a few uses. The important part to remember is that whenever you’re going to drain these small above ground pools is to give them a thorough scrubbing before refilling them or stowing them away for extended periods of time. The reason? Simple. The surfaces of the pool will have dirt, algae, and other nasty stuff on them and it won’t make sense to refill the pool with clean water when the container itself is filthy!

How to clean your above ground pool after draining

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to clean your above ground pool properly after draining it.

  • Drain the pool water
  • Pick out/scoop any dirt and debris left behind
  • Use a specialized pool cleaning solution or use some chlorine dissolved in water to scrub down all of the surfaces of your pool.
  • Be sure to be gentle when scrubbing your above ground pool surface to avoid damaging the liner.
  • Refill with clean water or if you’re storing it, allow the liner to dry out completely before storing it.

Keeping filterless pools cleaner longer

If your above ground pool doesn’t have a filter or it’s not designed to have a filter then here are a couple of ways to save water and keep it cleaner for longer. 

  • Use a pool cover - by using a pool cover on your above ground pool, you’re keeping dirt, debris, bugs, and other stuff out whenever you’re not using the pool.
  • Use a leaf skimmer - scoop out any dirt and debris that fall into the pool to prevent them from breaking down further and contaminating your pool water.
  • Use a robotic pool cleaner - now this may probably be overkill as a robotic pool cleaner will cost more than a filterless above ground pool, but if you have one lying around or if you know anyone that’s not using his/hers then a robotic pool cleaner can help filter out the water and keep it clean.

For above ground pools with a filtration system

Now here’s the part where it gets interesting. Larger above ground pools will be designed to take on full filtration systems much like an in-ground/permanent pool. In fact, many larger above ground pools are permanent fixtures and are often treated as such.

Clearing a cloudy above ground pool

Above ground pools are more susceptible to cloudiness. This is usually a sign that the pool water is dirty and is in need of some serious treatment. Cloudy above ground pool water can be caused by a number of things.

  • Dirt, debris, and other environmental factors - trees, bird droppings, weather, small animals, bugs, and other creepy crawlies can get into your pool and cause cloudiness.
  • Filter issues - cloudy pool water can be a symptom that your pool filter needs cleaning or replacing if you’re running it the recommended number or hours and your pool water is still cloudy.
  • Chemical balance issues - cloudy pool water is also a symptom that your chemical balance may be off so be sure to check this as well!!

Fixing cloudy water in an above ground pool

    • Depending on the cause, there are a couple of ways to treat cloudy water in an above ground pool.

      • Dirt and debris settling down - Now a big issue with above ground pools is that they do not have a bottom drain and/or filter which makes filtering them a lot tougher than regular pools. This can be countered by using a pool vacuum to deal with the dirt and debris that’s settled to the bottom of the pool.
      • Extremely tiny particles - while filters will do their job amazingly, there will be particles (especially in above ground pools) that filters will have a hard time catching! To remedy this, you can use clarifiers or clarifying cubes to clump these particles together so that your filter can catch them!
      • Using floc - this is just for extreme situations where no amount of clarifiers or vacuuming can get the cloudiness out of the water. Floc is like clarifiers on steroids and they take a bit of work to pull off properly. For more information on the difference between floc and clarifiers, check out this article here.

Preventing cloudy water in an above ground pool

Of course, prevention is always better than cure whether for in ground pools or above ground pools. To prevent cloudy water it’s always best to treat your above ground pool like you would an in ground pool!

Clean debris as soon as they fall into the pool

If you’re not using a pool cover, be sure to use a leaf skimmer to scoop out any dirt and debris at least on a daily basis. Do this regularly and cloudy water will be a thing of the past!

Run the filters for the recommended time each day

By keeping your pool water circulated, you’re ensuring that the chemicals are doing their job and that it’s being passed through the filters, catching any dirt and debris that may cause cloudy pool water or cause algae to grow in your pool!

Don’t forget to check the pressure gauges on your filters to see whenever the pressure is higher than your baseline reading. If they are, then clean out your filters to keep them running optimally. If your find that your filters are gunked up and a hose down doesn't do the job, consider using some filter cleaning solution.

Check and balance your pool water regularly

Use test strips like the Water TechniX 7in1 to check your above ground pool’s chemical levels at least once a week. See which levels need balancing and balance appropriately.

Don't know how to balance your pool water or which chemicals to use and stock? We have an ultimate guide to pool chemicals here that you can use as a handy reference.

Vacuuming it at least once a week

This is probably the main difference when it comes to in-ground pools and above ground pools. With in ground pools, you can get away with vacuuming it on an infrequent basis because in ground pools have bottom drains which can suck in any dirt and debris that have settled to the bottom. On above ground pools, there’s no bottom drain which makes it even more important to vacuum your pool on a very regular basis. Having an above ground vacuum pool cleaner is something that we can recommend or even better yet, a robotic pool cleaner!

Don’t like to vacuum? You can always get an automatic pool cleaner or robotic pool cleaner to do the job for you, saving you hours of labour every week! Don't know which cleaner to get? We answer that question when we look at the main differences between manual pool cleaners, automatic pool cleaners, and robotic pool cleaners by clicking on the button below.

So there you have it! A quick and easy run-down on how to clean an above ground pool! Not so hard now was it?

Keeping your aboveground pool clean

After going through all of that, you'll want to keep your aboveground pool right? I mean, the worse thing that could happen is thtat you spend hours cleaning your aboveground pool, making it spick and span, and when you wake up in the morning, it's filled with leaves, bugs and other debris! The best way to reduce time cleaning your aboveground pool is to keep it clean with a good pool cover!

The simplest way to keep debris like leaves and bugs out is with a Daisy winterkleen mesh cover but if you're using a heat pump or heater to keep the water warm then a Daisy solar pool cover will not only help keep the heat in your aboveground pool but heat it up as well!


New pool owner? We've got you covered. Here at Mr Pool Man, we have all the cleaning guides you need. Check out the links below:


Do you have any questions about this topic or the featured products? No worries, we're here to help! Drop us a question down below and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Happy swimming :)

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