Should You Brush or Vacuum Your Pool First?

A consistent maintenance routine and cleaning schedule are very important to being a responsible pool owner. Brushing and vacuuming your pool are some of the most important tasks that keep your swimming pool looking pristine. But, should you brush your pool first or vacuum your pool first? This is a common question that I answer below!


Main Takeaways

  • You should always brush before vacuuming the pool.
  • Allow the debris to settle after brushing for at least a couple of hours you plan on vacuuming the pool.
  • You should brush and vacuum your pool at least once a week.
  • When brushing and vacuuming, start from the shallow end and go to the deep end.

Should You Brush or Vacuum Your Pool First?

The short answer: always brush your pool before vacuuming.

However, it is not as simple as brushing and vacuuming immediately. Brush your entire pool, and let the debris settle for a couple of hours or even a day before you vacuum. With the loose debris settled at the bottom of the pool, you can easily vacuum it all up in one go. When you brush, the water will become cloudy, so you won’t be able to remove all of the debris if you vacuum your pool immediately after brushing.

You’ll know when it is time to start vacuuming as the cloudy pool water will begin to clear, and you should be able to see the debris at the bottom of the pool.

Brushing before vacuuming can also lower the amount you need to vacuum, as the floating debris will be collected by the pool’s skimmer and filtration system, easing your load.

To make the vacuuming process easier, use your pool skimmer to manually collect all of the debris floating on the surface of the pool before vacuuming.

Why Should You Brush Your Pool First?

There are several reasons why you should brush your pool first before vacuuming. 

The first reason is that sometimes dirt and debris that have been sitting on the pool floor can harden and become difficult to lift with just a vacuum. 

Also, if you don’t brush often enough, algae can form along the pool walls and floors and in hard-to-reach places like corners and crevices, making it difficult for a vacuum to effectively remove it or even reach it.

The final and most important reason to brush your pool first is to loosen the debris stuck to your pool surfaces, become free-floating, and finally resettle lightly into piles ready to be vacuumed.

It is important to wait at least a couple of hours for the debris to settle. If you don’t, vacuuming will be pointless as the debris will still be floating around the pool, eventually landing on the floor you have just vacuumed!

How Often Should You Brush and Vacuum Your Pool?

You should be brushing and vacuuming your pool at least once a week, ideally twice weekly. Brushing twice a week is good practice as it does not allow algae spores the chance to gain a foothold and grow in the pool. Investing in a good pool brush can go a long way in ensuring you effectively lift all stubborn debris and clean all the hard-to-reach areas of a swimming pool.

If your pool looks filthy or there was a storm recently, then you should brush and vacuum as soon as possible. This is to prevent bacteria and algae growth and ensure the debris does not harden and stick to the pool walls. Check out my entire article on the topic to learn more about how to get rid of algae in your pool.

Infrequent cleaning may mean more time, energy, and money spent in the future on cleaning your pool surfaces.

How to Clean Your Pool the Right Way

Brushing and vacuuming your pool weekly is only one part of cleaning your pool accurately. Here is my step-by-step guide to help you clean your pool the right way in the correct order. In this article, dive deeper (no pun intended) into pool cleaning.

Step One: Clean the Pool Surroundings

This can be as quick or in-depth as you’d like. A quick five-minute sweep with a broom or a scrub with chlorinated water will suffice.

Step Two: Empty All Baskets

Pool skimmers can fill up quite quickly with debris and block water flow through the pool’s filtration system, resulting in a build-up of debris in the pool. 

Step Three: Skim the Pool

This is a great way of removing large debris like leaves that don’t settle on the pool floor and other debris that a pool vacuum cannot reach. 

Step Four: Brush the Pool

You should always brush the pool before you vacuum. To ensure you are brushing effectively, you must use the correct brush for your type of pool. You should use a nylon-bristled brush for pool surfaces made with vinyl or fiberglass. Check out my article on brushing pools for more in-depth info on this topic.

To get the best results, I recommend brushing the areas of your pool in this order:

  • The steps
  • The sides of the shallow end
  • The floor of the shallow end
  • The sides of the deep end
  • The floor of the deep end

You really want to make sure that you are brushing in a sweeping motion towards the deep end of your pool and scrubbing the walls from top to bottom using a downward motion.

Step Five: Vacuum the Pool

I recommend waiting anywhere between 2 to 24 hours before you begin vacuuming. Just ensure that the debris is no longer mixed in with the pool water and is settled onto the pool floor or sucked into the skimmer.

If you are using a manual vacuum, ensure the hose and vacuum head are correctly attached to the telescopic pole. 

Like brushing, work from the shallow to the deep end in slow, sweeping motions. Going too fast will disturb the debris settled on the floor, resulting in cloudy water that cannot be vacuumed.

If you have a robotic vacuum cleaner, simply plug it in, place it in the pool, press start, and relax while the vacuum cleans for you.

Get My Free Pool Care Checklist

Download my free, printable pool maintenance checklist to help you accomplish regular pool care tasks for any type of swimming pool.

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Bottom Line

The most important thing to remember when cleaning your pool the right way is to always brush the pool, wait for the debris to settle, and only then vacuum the pool. By cleaning in this order, you, your family, and your friends will enjoy a beautiful and clear pool in no time!

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