How To Clean Pool Tile

The biggest enemy of pool tiles isn’t regular dirt and grime, but limescale. These calcium deposits not only look bad, but they can affect the waterproof properties of the pool walls. Since that comes with many headaches, let’s learn how to clean and descale pool tile, and how to keep your pool looking great.

One of the first things that you should do, is to keep up with your cleaning schedule. Removing small build-ups is easier than removing a lot of them.

How Often Should You Clean Pool Tile

How Often Should You Clean Pool Tile

Depends on where you live. You can wipe the area with a mop daily to get rid of the dirt, but you don’t need to descale it more than once a week.

Mid-west and south-west regions of the US have harder water than the ones in the north or on the East Coast. If you live there, you are more likely to have water stains and calcium buildup in your pool. Clean the tiles at least once a week.

If you live in the east or north, twice a month will be just fine.

For more info, check out this map from the United States Geological Survey.

Should You Clean Pool Tiles With Water Still In The Pool

Yes. You will need to drop the water level a bit to do the job properly, but this will only keep the edges clean.

To clean the whole pool, drain it. Though you don’t have to do this often, there’s no need to drain the whole pool only to descale it. Simply add this to the task list when it’s time for the big clean.

Is a Professional Pool Cleaner Needed To Clean Pool Tiles

Is a Professional Pool Cleaner Needed To Clean Pool Tiles

Unless you’re dealing with a disastrous situation, no. Though if the pool tiles are in such an awful shape that you can’t handle them, there may be other issues under those calcium deposits.

If you’ve just been lazy or too busy to keep the pool in tip-top shape, you’ll probably have to only put some elbow grease into it.

It’s also fine to leave it to the pros, especially if they are scheduled to come in for regular maintenance. But we have a step by step guide here on how to clean pool tile, but it is up to you

If you have moved into a new place and the pool is in terrible shape, pick up that phone. A professional will have to take a peek and see if the walls are still waterproof, if the tiles are still properly attached, is there mold underneath, etc.

Are Some Types Of Pool Tiles Easier To Clean Than Others

The water hardness is the greatest factor in how difficult it will be to clean the pool tiles. However, if you have those small mosaic tiles, they may need some extra work because of the grout.

Matte and dark tiles will show water stains more, and textured ones will have more crevices for the deposits. This should not impact how difficult it is to do the job, maybe only the choice of tools and the cleaning schedule.

How To Clean Pool Tile With The Removal Of Calcium

How To Clean Pool Tile With The Removal Of Calcium

The easiest way to clean the tiles and remove calcium is by using appropriate products. The chemical will do most of the work for you. Remember to do this every one to two weeks, depending on the water hardness in your area.


  • A scraper
  • A couple of brushes
  • A scouring pad
  • Cleaning product

Gloves are highly recommended, especially if you have sensitive skin and/or work with stronger chemicals. Some products have a strong odor, so you may need a mask and goggles as well.

Step 1 – Reduce the water level

As mentioned above, for regular care, you only need to reduce the water level an inch or two below the treatment area.

Turn off the pump and leave the exposed tiles to dry so you can assess the situation.

Step 2 – Break apart large chunks

Use the scraper to break down bigger chunks. A metal razor scraper will work on most tiles, but use a plastic or silicone one on glass tiles.

Don’t worry about removing everything. Just shave down as much of the buildup as possible. If you’ve been cleaning the tiles regularly, you can skip this step.

Step 3 – Treat the worst areas first

To save yourself unnecessary hard work, soak the worst areas for as long as possible. Apply the cleaner, then cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

The longer you can leave it to soak, the better. The chemicals in the cleaner will do all the heavy lifting so you don’t have to.

Step 4 – Apply the product to other areas and scrub

Spray the product on the area you’re cleaning and leave it on for a couple of minutes. Once the product had some time to act, scrub away the water stains. Switch between the scraper, brushes, and scouring pad as you go.

You may need to make several passes over the same area. Calcium accumulates in layers so you will not remove everything at once, especially if it was some time since the last cleaning.

Step 5 – Go back to the problem areas

Return to the areas you’ve left to soak. Remove the plastic wrap and start scrubbing.

You’ll probably find that this is now easier to clean compared to other parts of the pool. If you’ve waited at least an hour, it will take you only minutes to clean this area.

Step 6 – Rinse

Rinse everything to remove leftover bits of calcium and product. Dip the scouring pad or brush into the pool water, and scrub a few times to make sure that everything is gone.

Step 7 – Protect

Depending on the product you used to clean the tiles, you may skip this one. Some cleaners don’t offer additional protection from calcium deposits. In that case, you will need to purchase another product that you can spray on the tiles after cleaning them.

Best Products For Cleaning Pool Tiles

Best Products For Cleaning Pool Tiles

Regular household all-purpose and bathroom cleaners work on pool tiles as well. Try the stuff you already have before investing in additional products.

If you didn’t like the results, check out our top picks.

Top Pick – Scaletec Plus EasyCare

Scaletec cleans limescale and stains without scrubbing and without draining the water. All of that is without acid, so you don’t have to wait to use the pool.

It offers protection from new calcium deposits and water stains. No downsides we can think of.

Runner Up – Bio Clean Professional Cleaner

This is an eco-friendly and non-toxic formula, highly recommended for households with children and pets who like to swim. Besides limescale and water stains, it also removes rust and mildew and provides protection.

Ounce per ounce, this product is more expensive than our top pick. It also takes longer to work.

Best Buy – Natural Chemistry Phosfree Pool Cleaner

Phosfree is an enzyme-based pool cleaner that will sanitize the water as well. It’s recommended for anyone who experiences skin and eye irritations from other cleaners.

It will also keep the filtration system clean, get rid of phosphorus, and keep the pool water clean and clear. The only issue is that it doesn’t remove limescale.

Non-Chemical Options

Non-Chemical Options

A pumice stone and a magic eraser can remove calcium from tile.

The pumice stone may scratch the tiles, so it’s better to use it only on bigger deposits. A magic eraser will remove the water stains, but those big deposits will tear it apart in seconds.

Can Vinegar Be Used

Yes. You can use either plain white vinegar or cleaning vinegar. Cleaning vinegar is stronger, so wear gloves when handling it.

Dilute regular white vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio. For cleaning vinegar, there should be twice as much water in the mixture. Spray over the tiles and leave for a couple of minutes, wipe with a cloth or a mop.

For particularly difficult areas, cover with plastic, foil, or a tarp, and leave to soak longer.

How To Clean Pool Tile Grout

How To Clean Pool Tile Grout

You have two easy options to choose from.

One, use a silicone scraper. Apply chosen cleaner to the area and leave it to do its magic. When the deposits loosen a bit, scrape them off with the scraper. Follow by wiping the entire area.

Two, use baking soda and a brush. This option is better for mosaic tiles. Since most descaling cleaning products are acidic, the reaction with sodium bicarbonate (a base) will help loosen the deposits.

Add some water to baking soda to create a paste. Spray the cleaning product or vinegar over the area and leave for a couple of minutes. Dip the brush into the baking soda paste and start scrubbing.

Rinse well. The reaction between the acid and bicarb will create salt, and it will stain the tiles.

How To Prevent Limescale On Pool Tiles

Keep the pH of pool water balanced. Test the water once a week, and treat it when pH gets too high.

Muriatic acid is one of the best options since you can use the pool one hour after the treatment. It goes up to 24 hours at most if you had to use a lot.

Any other acid will work, including cleaning vinegar. Just remember to re-test the water before jumping in.

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