Swimming pool brushing

Pool brush: complete guide to apply in your own pool

Just like teeth, swimming pools need a good brushing to avoid expensive damages. But have you got the right pool brush? Are you brushing your pool in the right way? Do you even know why brushing is important? If you’re wondering any of these things then don’t go away.

Let’s sweep in.

Pool brush guide contents:

Why you should brush your pool

For something so simple, a pool brush sure helps a lot. It’s one of the first lines of defense against the build up of nasties in and around your poolGood pool brushing can remove spores, bacteria, dirt, minerals, and oils.

These particles can settle in the walls and bottom of your pool, and when left undisturbed, are in the perfect environment to multiply and build up.

But when you brush, you’re dispersing these particles into the water so that they’re either picked up by your pool filter, destroyed by your sanitiser, or lightly resettled on the pool floor where they can then be vacuumed up.

However, if you neglect brushing your pool, these particles can cause: algae blooms, corrosion, etching, stains, and scaling. If not treated early, these can grow into larger problems, requiring more involved treatments. Algae blooms, for example, will need to be treated with shock and removed with stain remover.

And adding calcium hardeners or pH decreasers incorrectly can cause corrosive etching if the residues aren’t brushed away from the sides and bottom of your pool.

But, before we get there, let’s get brushing, eh?

How to choose the best pool brush for your pool

It may sound like a simple product, but swimming pool brushes aren’t all the same, and your household broom just won’t cut it! Specialised pool brushes are made from durable materials designed to clear out the particles in the crevices of your pool walls. So the best pool brush will depend on a few factors.

Here’s a list of considerations to keep in mind as you shop for your pool brush:

1. Ensure it is suitable for the material of your pool walls

A pool brush is supposed to avoid damages, not cause them. The type of brush you choose needs to be well-suited to the lining materials of your pool.

For fiberglass or vinyl-lined swimming pools, a pool brush with nylon bristles won’t scratch or tear the surface. For concrete or plaster swimming pools, a pool brush with wire, or a nylon brush, is preferable. This is especially important if you have pool coping, which might require some extra care to prevent scratching. You can learn more about pool coping and how to maintain it 

You’ll need a more studier brush for tougher materials as there’s no need to worry about scratching, or tearing for that matter.

2. Does it fit the shape of your pool?

Making the most of each brushing motion will come down to whether your pool has curvature or hard corners.

Unsurprisingly, you’ll find it easier to brush a curved pool with a curved brush. And a cornered pool will be easier to brush with a flat brush.

3. Size: does it make sense for the size of your pool?

Another crucial element that’ll make your job easier is having the right size pool brush.

For most pools, a 45cm (18”) pool brush will do the job effectively. But you can also find specialist brushes larger than this, or as small as 25cm (10”).

Choosing Your Pool Brush Parts

There are three parts to a pool brush: the head, the pole, and the bristles.

The brush head

Pool brush head from Noria

Each part of your pool brush is equally important, but just like electric toothbrushes, the brush heads are the point of contact. So you want to keep those fresh. Look for a brush with a flat middle section and curved ends to help get into those nooks and crannies.

Tip: We recommend choosing your pool brush head before your pool brush pole.

The brush pole

When you’re looking for a pool brush you’ll likely find that the brush and the pole aren’t sold together. This is often for shipping reasons. Brushes need replacing more frequently than aluminium poles, and the poles can be used with lots of other attachments.

We recommend the Noria 8-16 foot telescopic pole which fits with many brush heads, as well as other tools you may need to clean the pool like leaf scoops or rakes and your vacuum head.

The brush bristles

You might be doing all the work pool-side, but it’s the bristles that are doing the work in the pool. The best pool brushes have bristles that are on a slight outward angle. This enables them to get into places that are hard to reach like corners, under ladders, into jets, and skimmers.

Then it comes down to the materials. For fiberglass or vinyl-lined swimming pools, use a pool brush head with soft bristles made from nylon. Instead, for concrete or plaster swimming pools, you can also use a pool brush head with tough bristles made from stainless steel wire.

Tip: When the bristles on your pool brush start falling out, it needs to be replaced. The bristles on your brush may last up to five years, if you take good care of it.

How tp take care of your pool brush

Your pool brush needs a place to call home, where it’ll be safe from all of the elements. Preferably, put your pool brush inside a container that can be stored safely in a protected place. A shed can also provide a safe haven.

And don’t go soaking your brush in harsh chemicals that’ll wear the materials out, especially if you have a pool brush with nylon bristles.

Enough talk, let’s get brushing!

How to brush your pool the right way

This section will guide you on how to use a pool brush properly. Not much can go wrong though if you have a suitable brush for your pool’s shape and materials, because it’s not about how you brush but where you brush – and that’s absolutely everywhere.

The height of your pool won’t change how you brush your pool either. An above-ground pool is brushed in the same way as an in-ground pool.

You’ll just need to get those high angles going if you’re brushing a pool above ground. Start by connecting your pool brush to your pole, then brush your pool in this order:

  1. Pool steps or ladder.
  2. Benches and accessories (if you have any).
  3. Pool sides of the shallow end.
  4. Shallow end of the pool floor.
  5. Pool sides of the deep end.
  6. Deep end of the pool floor.

Our top tips for pool brushing:

  • While brushing the pool floor, deep or shallow, sweep in the direction of the deep end drain.
  • Use those biceps and abs to scrub the pool walls in one swift downward motion, from top to bottom.
  • Make use of your adjustable pool brush pole to reach the centre of your pool.
  • Don’t forget to get right into those corners!

If by the end of your pool brushing you’re dripping in sweat and your muscles are aching, you’ve done a good job!

If that sounds like too much work, have a look at a robotic pool cleaner, which automatically will brush and vacuum your pool for you.

Should I brush the pool before vacuuming?


As outlined in the ultimate guide to pool cleaning, the three main steps to cleaning your pool are skimming, brushing, and vacuuming. 

Brushing first (after skimming) means that the deposits are lifted off the sides of the pool and have a chance to resettle on the bottom where they can be vacuumed up. Therefore, vacuuming your pool before you brush it over would be counterproductive.

On pool brushing days, and after you’ve used your pool brush, vacuum up the bottom of your pool to collect up the residue. If you’ve brushed correctly, towards the bottom drain, you’ll have a neat little pile of particles for your vacuum to collect.

How often should I brush my pool?

A pool should ideally be brushed at least once a weekIf you’ve got a big family using your pool all week, make it twice weekly. Aside from weekly pool brushing, you should also brush:

1. Before using a coagulator (clarifier): a coagulator will work more effectively if particles are floating in the water.

2. When removing algae: if you’ve got ‘green’, a brush around your pool will go a long way. Leave the rest up to your sanitiser.

3. After plastering or pebbling: brush your pool every day for a couple of weeks to circulate the dust residue through your filter.

4. After adding granular chemicals: some chemicals (such as calcium hardener) take longer to dissolve and if left to sit at the bottom of your pool, can cause stains, etching, or scaling.

Tip: Get into every nook and crevice, brush side to bottom, and over and around ladders, to prevent anything that’s lurking in the shadows from getting too comfortable.

Get your brush today!

There we have it folks. Now get out there and start brushing, because you can never brush too much. But hold onto those brush handles, because believe it or not, there’s so much more to cleaning your pool.

If you want to avoid expensive and time consuming problems caused by a lack of cleanliness, read our ultimate guide to pool cleaning to find out what else you should be doing.

About the author
Adrian Hill
Adrian Hill

Hey! I'm Adrian, founder and pool expert here at Dolphin Pacific. I love spending time with family, fishing, and have been known to brew my own beer.

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