How to Clean Pool Coping the Right Way

Written by Michael Dean
August 11, 2023

cleaning pool coping

Having a pool can be a great way to enjoy your backyard under the summer sun, but it requires quite a bit of maintenance. One maintenance task is cleaning the pool coping, which is the area surrounding the pool where the water meets the deck or patio. Over time, pool coping can accumulate dirt, grime, and even algae, making it unappealing and potentially hazardous.

In this article, I’ll give you my step-by-step guide for cleaning pool coping and provide you with additional tips, including other ways to clean it, when to clean it, and more. Let’s dive in.

Main Takeaways

  • To clean pool coping, use a mixture of warm water and mild detergent.
  • Alternative methods for cleaning pool coping include using baking soda, vinegar, bleach, a pumice stone, or muriatic acid.
  • Clean pool coping at least once a month and deep clean it at least once a year, depending on factors such as the surrounding environment, how often the pool is used, and the coping material.
  • If you don’t clean your pool coping, it can lead to algae and staining, among other issues.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Clean Pool Coping

Cleaning your pool coping is an important part of pool maintenance and properly cleaning your entire swimming pool. Of course, you should clean your pool coping regularly by sweeping off the collected debris every day and washing it with a hose once a week. But you should also properly clean the pool coping whenever you notice any accumulated dirt or debris that won’t go away with a simple blast with a hose. Here is my step-by-step guide to properly cleaning your pool coping when you notice such issues.

Step One: Remove Debris

Use a broom, outdoor vacuum, or leaf blower to remove any dirt or debris from the coping. This will make the cleaning process easier and more effective.

Step Two: Scrub the Surface

Mix a solution of mild detergent and warm water in a bucket. I recommend using a detergent with a neutral pH unless there is lots of staining or mold on your coping. Dip a pool brush or a sponge into the solution and use it to scrub the surface of the coping, paying special attention to any stains or areas with buildup. You can also use a pool tile cleaner specifically designed for cleaning pool coping.

Step Three: Rinse the Coping

Next, rinse the surface of the pool coping to get rid of the residue and soap. You can use a garden hose or a pressure washer. But if you use a pressure washer, use it on a low setting. Otherwise, you may damage the tile.

Step Four: Dry the Coping

Dry up the water on the coping using a towel or a wet and dry vacuum cleaner. If water is left on the coping after cleaning, unsightly marks, streaks, and stains may appear.

Step Five: Address Any Stains

If there are still stubborn stains on the coping after rinsing, you’ll need to scrub them with a bit more vigor. Use baking soda or vinegar to spot-clean the area. Be sure to rinse the area thoroughly after spot-cleaning.

Check the below section on other ways to clean your pool coping for more information.

Step Six: Reseal The Coping (If Needed)

If your coping is made of concrete or natural porous stone such as granite or limestone, consider resealing the surface every 1-3 years to protect it from staining and buildup that can damage it. Sealing your coping prevents many common issues, such as:

  • Stone erosion
  • Spalling
  • Mold growth
  • Calcification
  • Color fading

When sealing your coping, you can also add a slip-resistant grit that makes the coping less slippery.

Other Ways to Clean Pool Coping

In addition to using a mild detergent, there are several other ways to clean pool coping:

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural cleaning agent that can be used to remove dirt and stains from pool coping. To use baking soda, mix it with water to create a paste, then apply the paste to the affected areas. Let the paste sit for several minutes, then scrub with a brush and rinse it off with water.


Vinegar is another natural and household alternative you can use to remove stains and discoloration from pool coping. To use vinegar, mix it with equal parts water and apply the solution to the areas that need cleaning. Let the solution sit, then scrub the problem area with a brush and rinse with water.


Using a 20% bleach solution is another way to clean more difficult stains on your pool coping. Mix one part bleach with three parts water, then apply the mixture to the affected areas. Let the bleach mixture sit for a few minutes before you scrub the area with a brush. Finally, rinse off the bleach with water.

Dealing with Calcium Deposits

Calcium deposits can form on pool surfaces, including coping. These stains can be more challenging to remove, so they require a pumice stone. To use it, wet the pumice stone and gently rub it back and forth until the stain is removed. Try not to apply too much pressure or scrub too hard, as this can cause scratches or damage to the coping. Rinse the area thoroughly afterward to remove any debris or residue.

Last Resort: Muriatic Acid

Muriatic acid can be used to clean pool coping, but it should only be used in severe cases. To clean pool coping with muriatic acid, mix one part muriatic acid with 10 parts water in a 5-gallon bucket, making sure to add the muriatic acid to the water and not the other way around. Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes, then rinse the pool coping thoroughly with water.

Whether you use mild detergent, baking soda, vinegar, bleach, or even muriatic acid, test it on a small area of your pool coping first to ensure it won’t cause damage or discoloration.

When to Clean Pool Coping

In general, it’s a good idea to include pool coping cleaning in your regular maintenance schedule. A good rule of thumb is to clean your pool coping at least once a month to prevent debris buildup and deep clean it at least once a year. However, you may need to clean your pool coping more often, depending on a number of factors, including:

  • The surrounding environment
  • How often you use the pool
  • The coping material

In addition, you will need to clean your pool coping whenever you notice the below signs:

  • Discoloration or staining
  • Rough or slippery surface
  • Odor due to the buildup of organic material

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Pool Coping?

Not cleaning your pool coping can have several negative consequences that can impact both the appearance and safety of your pool.

Discoloration and Staining

If you fail to clean your pool coping, this will lead to dirt, debris, and organic material building up. And as the debris builds up, this will discolor and stain your pool coping, making your pool area look unsightly and uninviting.

Mold and Odor

Mold and mildew thrive in warm and damp environments, making your pool coping the perfect breeding ground for these fungi. If left untreated, they can quickly multiply and spread, causing an unpleasant odor and potentially harmful health effects.

Slippery Surfaces

The buildup of dirt and debris on your pool coping can make the surface slippery, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries.

Algae Growth

Algae thrives in moist and shady areas, making pool coping an ideal environment. If left unchecked, algae can spread quickly. It can also make the surface of your pool coping slippery, which, as mentioned above, can increase the risk of accidents.

Damage to Coping

Your pool coping may get permanently damaged if you snooze on maintaining it. For example, acidic substances like bird droppings and tree sap can cause etching and discoloration on natural stone and concrete coping. This can be costly to repair or replace. Regularly cleaning your pool coping can go a long way in saving you a lot of headaches and money down the road.

Tips For Keeping Your Pool Coping Clean

Keeping your pool coping clean is essential for maintaining the appearance and safety of your pool area. Here are my top tips to help you keep your pool coping clean:

Regular cleaning: The key to keeping your pool coping clean is to clean it regularly. Sweep or blow away any debris, leaves, or dirt from the surface of the coping every day. And use a hose to spray the coping down once a week to remove any dirt or buildup.

Deep cleaning: In addition to regular cleaning, you should also deep clean your pool coping at least once a year – more often if needed. Use a mixture of mild detergent and warm water to scrub the surface.

Use a pool cover: To prevent the buildup of dirt and debris, use a pool cover when your pool is not in use. This will help keep the water clean and reduce the amount of debris that falls onto the coping.

Trim surrounding plants: The trees and shrubs around your pool can drop leaves, flowers, and other organic matter, which can lead to stains and the buildup of debris. To reduce the amount of debris that falls onto the coping, trim any overhanging branches or shrubs near the pool area.

Maintain proper pool chemistry: As with most other things when it comes to pool maintenance, maintaining proper pool chemistry is key to keeping your pool coping clean. If your pool water is not properly balanced, it can cause staining and discoloration on the coping. Use a test strip or a liquid drop kit to monitor the chemical levels in your pool water and adjust them as needed.

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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Have more questions about pool coping maintenance? Drop me a line. Also be sure to read my research on other pool coping issues like coping pulling away from the concrete below.

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