Pollen season can be a frustrating time of year, especially for people with allergies. So, as you’re beating yellow dust out of your outdoor sofa cushions and picking pollen out of your windshield wipers, it may come as no surprise when you discover that your pool water has a yellow coat.
Luckily, having pollen in your pool is one of the most straightforward pool-related issues to treat. I’ll share some of my favorite strategies here with you, along with helping you determine if what you’re looking at is truly pollen.
Recognizing the Difference Between Pollen and Algae
There are a few ways to tell the difference between pollen and algae in your swimming pool. First and foremost, pollen has distinct seasons, usually appearing in the spring and summer. That, coupled with newly fallen pollen coating everything you own outdoors, is a near-perfect indication that you have pollen in your pool.
However, if the situation doesn’t seem as cut and dry, or if you notice that the pollen seems scattered all over your pool without rhyme or reason, then there’s another strategy you can use—assessing how it collects in the water.
You see, pollen looks very similar to mustard algae. Both are yellow but, luckily, they have different habits of where they hang out in your pool. Mustard algae love to cling to the walls and pool bottom. It may congregate around your filtration system, but it’s unlikely that the system will do much good for removing it from the water.
On the other hand, pollen mostly floats on top of pool water. Often, it collects quite evenly across the surface, assuming there’s no wind, and you can scoop some up on your finger if you stick your hand in the water.
It’s a fact of life—pollen is a necessary part of nature, and there’s little you can do to prevent it from getting into your pool. However, once it’s there, you can remove it fairly easily.
Are you ready to get your water back to a swim-friendly state? Let’s begin!
Step-by-Step Process for Removing Pollen from your Pool
Pollen isn’t known for causing long-term damage to pools. However, during pollen season, you’ll need to follow the steps below frequently in order to keep your pool looking in tip-top shape.
Start Your Filtration System
Filtration systems are an excellent defense for removing pollen from pools. However, most people understandably choose not to run their filtration system 24/7 as it increases their energy bill (just check out my monthly pool maintenance cost guide for proof). Nevertheless, during pollen season, I recommend you keep it on.
Like all the methods I’ll discuss here, keeping your filtration system on isn’t a foolproof way to 100% remove all pollen. However, when you combine this with one or more of the methods below, you’ll soon get to enjoy crystal clear water.
Pull Out Your Skimmer
It’s no secret—pools require a good amount of maintenance, and much of this comes from skimming the water regularly, pollen or no pollen.
However, when you’re skimming your water to remove pollen, you’re going to have to use a special skimmer because the holes are probably too wide on the one you currently have, meaning that you’ll simply stir the pollen into the water. Pollen grains vary in size, but even so, almost all will slip through a traditional skimmer.
Therefore, you’ll need to purchase a skimmer with fine mesh. I recommend using one of these fine mesh skimmers on your pool at least once every morning until pollen season dies down.
Use Aluminum Sulfate
You may balk at the thought of adding yet another chemical to your pool water, but hear me out—aluminum sulfate is a compound that water purification companies and wastewater treatment plants use to keep out unwanted substances. It’s also a common substance in paper manufacturing, showing up in many other products that we use around the house.
The benefit of using aluminum sulfate to get rid of pollen in pools is that it helps bind the pollen particles together. That way, it makes it easier for your skimmer and filter to pick them up.
You’ll need to read the instructions on the bag to know how much aluminum sulfate to add to your pool. Often, the directions call for four to six pounds for every 10,000 gallons of water.
Shock the Water
It may come as no “shock” that I’m recommending that you shock your pool. However, there’s a catch—shocking your pool water won’t actually remove the pollen. Instead, it’ll prevent and kill bacteria and other creatures from making their home in your pool as a result of the pollen.
Shocking a pool works by adding either chlorine or another non-chlorine-based chemical to the water. By doing so, you’ll raise the level of chemicals enough where it kills algae, chloramines, bacteria, and anything else in nature that’s itching to turn your pool into a pond.
I recommend shocking your pool at night. Then, the next morning, skim the water to remove the newest layer of pollen. From there on out, continue to remove new pollen using the methods described here.
Vacuum It Up
I don’t know about you, but there’s something fulfilling about vacuuming a pool to get it squeaky clean. Pool vacuums work by suctioning up water and moving that water—and all the dirt with it—through a hose where it dumps the water outside your pool.
While vacuuming your pool to get rid of pollen is effective since you don’t have to worry about small pollen particles passing through a filter or net, you may not want to make it your go-to pollen method.
The reason for this is that many pool vacuums use a lot of energy. Therefore, between that and having to replace the water you sucked out of your pool, you could raise your electricity and water bill significantly if you use the vacuum on a regular basis.
Cover Your Pool
Covering a pool during the heart of swim season isn’t for everyone. However, it’s a helpful option for creating a physical barrier between your pool water and the pollen.
As a happy medium, you might want to consider covering your pool on the days when the pollen forecast is the strongest. Either way, the critical thing to remember is that you’ll need to use a solid pool cover—pollen will fall right through mesh covers.
To make life easier, consider installing an automatic pool cover. That way, with the push of a button, you can protect your pool without putting in the physical effort.
Of course, covers aren’t a surefire way for protecting your pool water from pollen—pollen is excellent at sneaking into small cracks and crevices, and it will also leak into the water if you don’t clean the cover before removing it.
Need Some Maintenance Help?
We partner with HomeAdvisor to help you find the best swimming pool maintenance and cleaning services in your area. Compare quotes for free from fully vetted pool professionals.
Get Rid of Pool Pollen
When it comes to pollen in pools, two things are certain—it’ll find a way to enter your water, and plants will eventually stop producing it. In the meantime, you can use the strategies here to manage your pool during the pollen season. Above all, while you’re cleaning your pool for the umpteenth time, remember that as long as you consistently remove the pollen, it won’t cause damage to your precious pool.
Have any questions? I’m more than happy to help, just drop me a line.