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How to Treat Pool Stains 


Is your pool full of ugly stains that are difficult to remove?  If you want to get your pool water back to it's sparkling best, read on to learn more about the most common types of pool stains and what causes them, and find out how you can get rid of them for good.

Types of Stains

Organic Stains
If you’ve ever left a few leaves (especially certain types of oak) at the bottom of your pool for a little too long, you’ve probably noticed that even after removing them, there are remnants of brownish coloring left on the bottom of your pool.  This is an example of an organic stain.  Organic stains are commonly caused by leaves, acorns, algae, and other organic materials that are left undisturbed in your pool for a period of time. 

Metal Stains
Often characterized by a rusty color, metal stains can usually be traced back to metals in the water or metals from pool ladders and equipment that the water has broken down over time. 

Iron is one common metal that causes issues, as it is found in a variety of pool chemicals as well as pool heating pipes and other pool related plumbing and equipment.  A quick test for iron stains is the vitamin C test.  Simply take a tablet of vitamin c and hold it against the stain.  After it dissolves, if the stain lightens or disappears, it was quite likely the result of iron in your pool.

Treating Pool Stains

Treatment differs depending on the type of stain.  A chlorine shock treatment and a stiff scrubbing can often remove organic stains.  There are also a variety of enzymes that are designed to help with breaking down organic leftovers that can aid in treating organic stains.

Metal stains are not quite as easy to deal with.    Often they require a hard-hitting pool chemical that contains an acid such as ascorbic or diphosphonic.  Treatments with these pool stain removers will often work well when directly applied to a stain.

If you have metals coming in through your water source, you’ll likely need to utilize metal sequestrants which bind metals and help prevent them from causing stains.  There are a variety of common sequestrants on the market that can be effective in treating stains, just remember that they do wear down in your pool water over time, so you’ll need to keep adding them.

As with most pool issues, the best way of dealing with pool stains is prevention.  Keeping your pool free from organic remnants and metals can be a bit of a challenge, but is often worth the effort, as stains that go unnoticed are sometimes not realistically removable.  If you are diligent in removing debris and check your water for excess metals (often at the source is the best place), you can likely spot and deal with any pool stain problems before they occur.

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