How to Keep Your Pool Clean - First, Make Sure Your Swimmers Are Clean!

by Pool Builders on 06-14-2010 in Articles

For most areas of the country, the major swimming season has arrived, and what better way to enjoy summer with friends and family than in and around your backyard pool. Interestingly, did you know that quite often, 90% of the enjoyment of a home pool is not about being in the pool - it's about just being around the pool and looking at it!

Whether you're in the water or merely enjoying the view, nothing is more unappealing than dirty or cloudy water. For children and adults who prefer to spend their time in the water, a much more serious concern is pool water that is contaminated with germs and bacteria that aren't visible but can make swimmers sick. You may hire a pool service to address such matters, and if you do it yourself there is abundant information available to help you learn exactly what you need to do to keep your pool free of dirt, debris, and other contaminants. Yet no matter how diligent you may be, one major source of pool contamination comes from the swimmers themselves. It's unfortunate but true that sometimes even best friends and close family don't use common sense. How can you, the private pool owner, keep your pool clean and safe for you and your family and guests?

One helpful approach is to adopt and enforce the same rules generally observed by public pools at gyms, hotels, and recreation facilities. Don't hesitate to establish your own "pool policies". After all, it certainly isn't unreasonable or inhospitable to have certain expectations of swimmers, and how can they object when your pool rules are for the safety and benefit of all?

Start by posting a sign that lists your basic rules. Most pool shops sell pre-made signs with various combinations of safety and other warnings. If you prefer to design your own sign with specific rules, try an internet search for "custom signs" or "custom pool rules sign". You'll find a number of websites that offer signage in a range of sizes and will customize your order with the text you supply.

Then, be prepared to enforce your rules politely but firmly. You'll want to cover all the usual pool-side hazards such as running and glass containers, but for everyone's sake, you should also emphasize swimmer cleanliness. Your best "argument" may be to remind or explain that each swimmer's actions may affect countless others who use the pool. The CDC has developed a guideline known as "The 6 PLEAs", which can be found on the internet. As the CDC points out in this document, whatever is on your body will end up in the water. The best defense against a contaminated pool is to shower in warm water before entering the pool, wash hands after using the bathroom, and in general, just practice good hygiene.

Special attention should be paid by parents to make sure that young children take frequent bathroom breaks (Kids never want to stop playing long enough to run to the bathroom!). With babies, be aware that swim diapers leak, and never allow a baby with diarrhea in the pool. A swim diaper may prevent leakage of any visible fecal matter, but it may not stop germs that can spread in the water and infect other swimmers.

Clearly, it is a matter of using common sense and being considerate of others. As a pool owner you spend a considerable amount of time and money doing your part to keep your pool water sanitary. Encourage your family and guests to take responsibility for the part they play as swimmers, and help make swimming a fun and safe experience for everyone!

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