How to Clean a Paddling Pool

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Kids paddling pools have become a very common feature in UK gardens in recent years. Cheaper and cheaper prices have seen an explosion in the numbers sold during the summer months. Paddling pools are a perfect way for your kids to have fun while staying cool as temperatures rise, but unless you are in the know about how to clean a paddling pool, and the dangers of not doing so properly, you might be letting your kids splash around in a vat of bacteria, and risking their health unnecessarily. 

Unclean paddling pools can be home to bacteria that cause things like verruca, athletes’ foot, and various infections, so it is paramount that you keep on top of cleaning your child’s in order to keep them safe.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure your paddling pool doesn’t become a bacterial breeding ground.

Empty the pool

Ideally, you should empty the paddling pool at the end of every day. Doing this simple action regularly can cut down on the risk to your children substantially. 

Clear the swimming pool

Now, I understand that this is a bit of a pain, not to mention a waste of natural resources, but if your child has been sharing the pool with other children, you really need to empty it. If your child is the only one using the paddling pool, it should be ok to add some baby equipment steriliser, and bicarbonate soda, to the water and use it again the next day. Even using this method, you should still empty it often. 

Make sure you use bicarbonate soda and not soda crystals as they can cause the water’s pH level to increase and this can end up irritating skin.

How to clean a paddling pool- leaving the water in

If you’re going to leave the water in the pool overnight, then in addition to adding the steriliser and bicarbonate soda mix to the water that we mentioned above, you should also think about these things:

If you haven’t already bought your kid’s paddling pool, shell out a little bit more money and get a model that comes with a filter pump. Having a filter pump will not only take care of debris that might end up in the pool, but will also keep the water cleaner by circulating it.

A necessity for anyone who wants to leave their paddling pool full of water overnight, is of course, a cover for the pool. This can either be a proper plastic cover made for that pool, or it can just be a plastic sheet that you have fixed down.

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Having a cover will stop insects getting in there and dying, which can also spread bacteria into the water.

There are also chemicals that you can buy that are specifically made for use in paddling pools and will help to fight off bacteria. Most of these contain chlorine, the same thing that’s used in swimming pools, and are often a part of a kit that includes strips for testing the water’s pH level. Knowing the water’s pH is actually quite important. If it’s too alkaline, it can be irritating to the skin, if it’s too acidic it can cause a buildup of algae and all the problems that come with that.

How to clean a paddling pool: 

  1. While the paddling pool still has water in it, grab a brush and scrub down the sides so that any algae build up ends up in the water.
  2. Empty the pool and then feel for any slimy spots around the sides and on the bottom. Any you find indicates that there is still algae there so grab your brush and scrub again. Then use a hose with a focused jet setting and wash down the pool again before emptying one more time.
  3. Grab some towels or rags and completely dry out the pool, and then check again for any slimy spots, and repeat step 2 again if you find any. You can also just tip the pool upside down overnight to dry out if you are cleaning the paddling pool last thing in the day.
  4. Mix white wine vinegar and water in equal parts then use any old spray bottle to apply it to the paddling pool. With the mixture sprayed on, you need to use a cloth or sponge to wipe down all parts of the paddling pool.
  5. Grab your hose again and thoroughly rinse the paddling pool out before storing or refilling it. If you are going to refill, it might be a good idea to use pH strips to check that any of the vinegar/water mix hasn’t affected the pool’s water pH level.
  6. If you are storing the paddling pool away, make sure that it is fully dried out before spraying with antibacterial spray, folding it up and putting it away.

By following the advice on this page, you can help keep your kids and their friends happy and healthy this summer, and every summer in the future.

As we’ve shown, you don’t need any special equipment or even expensive or dangerous chemicals to clean a paddling pool. A little white wine vinegar, or baby steriliser and bicarbonate soda, is all you need to keep your child’s favourite summer toy clean and safe.

I would definitely recommend that you get a cover for your paddling pool, even if it’s just one you’ve fashioned yourself, as it will keep a lot of the debris out during the night and save you having to fish it out the next day. A good cover can also help retain a little heat in the water, which your kids will probably be happy about if you have a deeper than normal paddling pool.

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That’s the end of this page on how to clean a paddling pool. If you are interested in learning more about a wide range of gardening subjects, DIY projects for your garden, or you are looking for honest and in-depth reviews on the latest gardening tools and products, then this is the site for you.

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About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message:

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