I'm known around this blog for having an inground pool liner last for 20 years, and it's not because I didn't care how it looked. It lasted so long because I know how to take care of a liner, and how to gently remove pool liner stains. Today, I share my secrets.
How to Prevent Pool Liner Stains
Preventing pool liner stains requires vigilance! Watching the pool like a hawk for 'foreign objects', keeping it clean and keeping it balanced are the main ways to keep stains off of your pool liner, with special attention to how you add pool chemicals....
Foreign Objects: When my kids were young, they knew what things they could not bring in the pool. This list included hair clips and bobby pins for the girls, and soccer cleats for the boys. Also not allowed were Barbie dolls and plastic swords, or any non-pool toy actually, which not only could stain a liner, but puncture it as well. Other things I've found include lawnmower wheels, BBQ tongs, a sunken July 4th firework, to name a few things I've found in my pool. Take it from me - anything made of metal will rust and anything with a color can stain a pool liner, even a pink sock laying on the pool floor.
Keeping it Clean: It goes without saying, but I'm gonna say it anyway. Almost anything that lays on your liner or steps long enough is going to make a stain. Leaves, berries, twigs and sticks all leach out colors, but are easy to remove with high chlorine and a little brushing. Worms or dead animals sunk to the bottom are a more difficult stain to remove, and may require a stain remover chemical.
Adding Chemicals: Many vinyl staining problems occur immediately after large scale water balance adjustments or shocking of the pool. I've taken calls from dozens of folks, panicked at sudden stains that appeared after adding pool chemicals. To avoid this, I always add chemicals separately, at least 4 hours apart, and always add large doses in small increments over 24 hours time.
Special Care should be taken before shocking the pool with high doses of chlorine. Be sure your water is balanced before shocking, and if you have metals or minerals in your water (and you probably do), be sure to use a sequestering chemical Before Shocking - like Metal Free to keep minerals locked up in solution, or use CuLator, to remove metals from the pool water.
How to Remove Pool Liner Stains
For vinyl liners, you can't use products that are excessively harsh - vinyl can pucker, weaken or lose color if you are too aggressive. You can't acid wash a vinyl pool, and you do not want to drain it either - you have to be gentle.
The first step before any vinyl liner or step stain removal treatment is performed, is to balance the water chemistry to normal levels, paying special attention to water balance requirements for any stain removal chemicals.
Stain Free: Vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is a mild granular powder with a citrus scent. Just pour it over the stained area, and it lifts most pool stains on vinyl pool liners. To test if it will work for your stain, Crush several Vitamin C tablets into a powder and sprinkle over the area (hint: use a PVC pipe to target the powder). If the stain is removed, you can spring for a bottle or two of Stain Free safely on vinyl liners without worry.
EZ Stain Remover: Our website doesn't mention what this stuff is, but I'll tell you, Oxalic Acid. Mild enough to use on vinyl pool liner stains, and strong enough to work. Sprinkle it over the area, or pour thru a PVC pipe, or place it inside of a stocking or thin sock to make a Stain Bag that you can move around the pool.
>>>And that's it! All my secrets to removing stains from a vinyl liner, or preventing them in the first place! To sum it all up, keep your pool clean and the water balanced, add chemicals slowly and one-by-one, and always use a "Metal Out" type of chemical to keep minerals and metals dissolved, so they won't stain your liner.
If you have extreme pool staining, and nothing seems to work - give us a call - any of the SPP Pool Experts will be happy to help you find a stain removal solution!
SPP Pool Expert