How To Keep A Kiddie Pool Clean – A Comprehensive Guide

Last Updated on August 4, 2020

Keeping a kiddie pool clean can be a real chore if you don’t know these tips!

You know the drill…your kids want to go out and splash in the pool, but you take one look at that water and say NO Way!!!

These pools can be great fun for the kids, but many parents get frustrated when the water gets dirty and the kids stop playing.

You may be surprised to know that there are quite a few ways that you can keep kiddie pools clean. Here are the tips we’ll cover in this article.

  • Keep the kiddie pool covered
  • Use chlorine to keep the water clear
  • Remove floating debris with a net
  • Sweep the bottom with the AquaBroom
  • Eliminate sunscreen buildup with ScumBalls
  • Keep the kids’ feet clean before entering
  • BONUS – How to make the kiddie pool last longer!

Start off the summer right by getting the best kiddie pool, read our roundup HERE.

How To Keep A Kiddie Pool Clean

No time to read the article? Here is our product picks.

What to Do

What to Get

Where to Buy

Cover the pool

6' X 8' Blue Multi-purpose 6ml Waterproof Poly Tarp Cover with Tent Shelter Camping Tarpaulin By Prime Tarps
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Use Chlorine

Kem-Tek 2815-6 Chlorinating Tablets 1-Inch Pool and Spa Chemicals, 1.5-Pound
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Chlorine Dispenser

ATIE 1" Floating Mini Chlorine/Bromine Tablet Dispenser for Pool, Spa, Hot Tub, and Fountain
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Skimmer Net

HydroTools by Swimline Aluminum Handle Pool and Spa Skimmer
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Use a Small Pool Vac

Intex 28620EP Rechagreable Handheld Vacuum, Grey
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Remove Sunscreen Build-up

Horizon HV-SB2PK Scumball Pool and Spa Scum Eliminating Ball (2 Packs of 2)
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Keep Feet Clean

Summer Waves Backyard Foot Bath
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

 

Keep the kiddie pool covered

The first step in keeping a kiddie pool clean is having a kiddie pool cover.

Just like a full-sized pool, a cover can really help in keeping leaves, bugs, bees, and other debris out of your kiddie pool.  If you have a small kiddie pool, then you can use a camping style tarp to cover the pool.  Don’t forget to use some bricks or pavers to weigh the tarp down so that it does not blow away.

If you’ve read our reviews, you know we recommend the Intex Inflatable Kiddie Pool as our top pick.  One reason that we choose this as our recommendation is that Intex also makes a custom fitted cover for this pool which fits perfectly and attaches securely.

How to keep kiddie pool water clean? Use chlorine

You may be surprised to know that you can use chlorine for kiddie pools! In small quantitities of course, chlorine tablets are great to fight bacteria and algae in your kiddie pool. 

Chlorine is a natural chemical element. It is one of the most potent elements we have to destroy and deactivate infections, viruses, and other illness-causing bacteria, according to the American Chemistry Council. We’ve been using it for over 150 years, and it’s one of the only things that can be used to fight things like E. Coli and Salmonella.

How to keep a kiddie pool clean, use these chlorine tablets
These small chlorine tablets can be used to help
keep your kiddie pool clean.

You can use small chlorine tabs that are meant for a spa tub or small pools.  They are 1″ in size and you can use these chlorine tablets for kiddie pools.  These should only be used in pools that hold 100 or more gallons of water.

You should use one tablet per week for a kiddie pool of 200 gallons or less, and two tablets weekly for kiddie pools of over 200 gallons.

An additional benefit of using chlorine in the kiddie pool is to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in the pool.

The correct way to use these chlorine tabs in your kiddie pool is to use a chlorine float dispenser.  The dispenser below will hold one or two tablets and you simply let it float in the pool when the kids are not using it.  Do NOT just throw the tablets directly into the pool.

Here are some chlorine and dispenser options for kiddie pools

Kem-Tek 2815-6 Chlorinating Tablets 1-Inch Pool and Spa Chemicals, 1.5-Pound
Rx Clear 1-Inch Stabilized Chlorine Tablets | Use As Bactericide, Algaecide, and Disinfectant in Swimming Pools and Spas | Slow Dissolving and UV Protected | 8 Lbs
ATIE Floating Mini 1" Chlorine/Bromine Tablet Dispenser for Pool, Spa, Hot Tub, and Fountain, Perfect for Inflatable Above-Ground Pools
WWD POOL Premium Animal Floating Pool Chlorine Dispenser for Chemical Tablets Fits 3" Tabs Bromine Holder (Turtle)
Kem-Tek 2815-6 Chlorinating Tablets 1-Inch Pool and Spa Chemicals, 1.5-Pound
Rx Clear 1-Inch Stabilized Chlorine Tablets | Use As Bactericide, Algaecide, and Disinfectant in Swimming Pools and Spas | Slow Dissolving and UV Protected | 8 Lbs
ATIE Floating Mini 1" Chlorine/Bromine Tablet Dispenser for Pool, Spa, Hot Tub, and Fountain, Perfect for Inflatable Above-Ground Pools
WWD POOL Premium Animal Floating Pool Chlorine Dispenser for Chemical Tablets Fits 3" Tabs Bromine Holder (Turtle)
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$33.41
$49.96
$7.65
$16.99
Kem-Tek 2815-6 Chlorinating Tablets 1-Inch Pool and Spa Chemicals, 1.5-Pound
Kem-Tek 2815-6 Chlorinating Tablets 1-Inch Pool and Spa Chemicals, 1.5-Pound
-
$33.41
Rx Clear 1-Inch Stabilized Chlorine Tablets | Use As Bactericide, Algaecide, and Disinfectant in Swimming Pools and Spas | Slow Dissolving and UV Protected | 8 Lbs
Rx Clear 1-Inch Stabilized Chlorine Tablets | Use As Bactericide, Algaecide, and Disinfectant in Swimming Pools and Spas | Slow Dissolving and UV Protected | 8 Lbs
-
$49.96
ATIE Floating Mini 1" Chlorine/Bromine Tablet Dispenser for Pool, Spa, Hot Tub, and Fountain, Perfect for Inflatable Above-Ground Pools
ATIE Floating Mini 1" Chlorine/Bromine Tablet Dispenser for Pool, Spa, Hot Tub, and Fountain, Perfect for Inflatable Above-Ground Pools
$7.65
WWD POOL Premium Animal Floating Pool Chlorine Dispenser for Chemical Tablets Fits 3" Tabs Bromine Holder (Turtle)
WWD POOL Premium Animal Floating Pool Chlorine Dispenser for Chemical Tablets Fits 3" Tabs Bromine Holder (Turtle)
$16.99

Keep the kiddie pool free from floating debris

One easy way to ensure the kiddie pool water stays clean is to remove the floating debris like bugs, leaves, and other dirt.  Simply use a handheld net each day to remove the debris.

On Sale Now!
HydroTools by Swimline Aluminum Handle Pool and Spa Skimmer
  • Comes with a 12" aluminum handle
  • Ideal for use in small pools and spas
  • Ideal for skimming leaves, insects as well as other trash from surface of water
  • Keeps your pool thoroughly clean

Keep the kids feet clean before entering

How many times do the kids get in and out of the kiddie pool? Lots! And each time they exit and enter the pool they bring new debris on their feet. Simply set this feet cleaner outside the pool and have the kids step thru it before getting into the pool! Make it a game!

On Sale Now!
Summer Waves Backyard Foot Bath
  • Helps keep your pool clean
  • 22" Wide
  • 3.5" deep

Regularly clean debris from the bottom of the kiddie pool

We took care of the floating debris with the net above, but eventually, there will be debris accumulated on the bottom of the kiddie pool.  You can try using the net to clean the bottom, but it is likely that it will not completely suffice.

We found this really awesome mini pool vacuum that works great for kiddie pools.  We suggest using this weekly (if using the pool cover) or more often (if you are not using a pool cover).

Intex 28620EP Rechagreable Handheld Vacuum, Grey
  • Strong, built-in Ni-MH rechargeable batteries for powerful suction capability
  • Suitable for use with all pure spas and above ground pools up to 18' Diameter
  • Includes two interchangeable brush heads, USB cable for recharging, 94" Lightweight telescoping Aluminum shaft, & SHAFT adapter to fit longer/wider telescoping aluminum shaft
  • Automatic shutoff feature when vacuum is not submerged in water, IPX8 waterproof switch for added protection against water submersion

Keep sunscreen build up off the sides

What do you do right before the kids head outside to the kiddie pool?  Cover them in sunscreen of course!

The damage caused to our skin from the sun is well documented, so using the best sunscreen is important.  No matter what sunscreen you use, you will surely see a film of oil on the top of the water surface soon after the kids enter the pool.

There is nothing inherently bad about this, but over time you will see a build-up of this sunscreen oils on the sides of the pool.

There are two ways to combat this build-up.  You can either scrub it off when you are draining the pool, or prevent the build-up in the first place.  To prevent the build-up, we recommend the “Scum Ball”!

Horizon HV-SB2PK Scumball Pool and Spa Scum Eliminating Ball (2 Packs of 2)
  • Helps eliminate scum line from body oils, lotions and make-up in your pool or spa
  • Increases time between cleanings
  • Specialty patented foam absorbs 43 times its weight in oils / lotions
  • Includes 2 Scum Balls per pack

Make sure the kids are clean before entering the pool

Another way how to keep a kiddie pool clean is to first make sure the kids are clean!

The CDC says that one of the most beneficial ways to reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria is to wash your kids off BEFORE they swim.

Years ago, summer camps and public pools would have a shower room you had to walk through to get to the pool. These rooms rinsed you off before you got in, which helped reduced the spread of many germs. 

Now, showering before entering is almost always optional, but it’s a great idea if you’re swimming with other families to hose kids down with a light body wash before they hop in the pool. 

Drain the kiddie pool and scrub it down when necessary

Sometimes when attempting to keep your kiddie pool clean you will just simply need to drain the pool, clean it thoroughly, and re-fill it.

This makes it especially important to choose a kiddie pool with a built-in drain.  Without a drain, you need to find a way to dump the water, or even worse, bucket it out!

BONUS: How to make your kiddie pool last longer

Your kids LOVE that splash pool, right? They would stay out there all day long if you let them. We also know that kiddie pools can sometimes “spring a leak” or otherwise end up failing before the summer is over.

Most kiddie pool leaks are from punctures on the bottom of the pool. Stones, pebbles, and anything else that is trapped under the pool, can puncture the bottome.

One way to avoid this is to put something smooth under the pool to protect the bottom. We suggest using interlocking foam tiles for this.

If you have an Intex kiddie pool, then you should check out our guide on what to put under your Intex pool.

Here are some that will work great. You will likely need about 40-60 square feet depending on how big the kiddie pool is.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Kiddie Pools

Why Do Kiddie Pools Need Cleaning?

How to keep a kiddie pool clean

Many people fill their kiddie pools with water from a backyard hose and call it a day – which, we might add, is a perfectly fine start.

Actually, many towns and cities include ingestible amounts of chlorine and other chemicals in their water supply as a way to keep citizens healthier. If you have well water, you may already know exactly what is in your water.

No matter your water content, though, once little human bodies enter the equation, all bets are off because although kids are adorable they are also tiny hotbeds of germs. At any given time, they may be carrying a virus in its incubation stage. They can unwittingly pick up viruses or colds virtually anywhere – the grocery store, daycare, the park – and whatever is on your child before they get in the pool goes into the water.

Most kiddie pools do not have a filter or circulation system and that means it is a body of standing water just waiting for debris, bacteria, and algae to find its way in.

So don’t fill the pool and forget it! Although a small pool is still considerably less work than a large pool, you should do a little more upkeep to be sure your kids stay healthy.

Can I use bleach in a kiddie pool?

The short answer is YES, you can use bleach to help keep your kiddie pool clean.  We recommend using very basic bleach.  Be careful when using the Clorox brand, as many now contain additives such as scents. 

Use generic bleach or Clorox Regular Bleach.  Use 1/8 cup for every 100 gallons in your kiddie pool.

How do I get rid of Algae in a kiddie pool?

There are a few ways to try to rid your kiddie pool of algae using chemicals.  However, we recommend simply draining and cleaning the pool which can be easier than fooling with the chemicals.

Drain the pool, then create a cleaning mixture of 5 parts water and 1 part bleach to scrub the pool.  Allow the pool to dry completely before re-filling.

How do I keep a kiddie pool clean without chemicals?

If you simply do not want to use chemicals to keep your kiddie pool clean, there is an alternative.

Rather than chlorine, use Distilled White Vinegar. Add 1/2 Cup for every 100 gallons of water in your pool.

*Important: If you choose to use this method to keep your pool clean, then it is important to note that Vinegar is a known weed killer.  If you drain your pool in your grass, expect your grass to yellow severely.  Alternatively, drain the pool in the driveway.

How long can you keep water in a kiddie pool?

If you use the advice given in our guide, using a chlorine float and keeping the pool covered from debris then we recommend changing the water every 3-4 weeks.

If you do not use our advice, then you will likely need to change the pool water every few days.

How can I test the water in my kiddie pool?

You can use the same types of test kits/strips that are used for larger pools.  Here are some inexpensive test strips that test everything you need.

Additional Information

OK, So What is The Scoop on Poop (in the Pool)

1 out of 4 adults say that they’d go swimming even if they have diarrhea, according to this survey. It’s pretty certain that if those adults have kids, they’d go swimming if sick, too.

If you or your child have any diarrhea, the answer to that question needs to be no.

Swim diapers are made to keep solid waste in while not soaking up all the water in the pool. However, they do not keep bacteria from poop from getting into the water, whether the poop is of the normal variety or filled with a virus or bad bacteria. The only thing that works well for containing that mess is covering a swim diaper with tight-fitting plastic underwear. 

In the case of an “accident” in the kiddie pool, the only solution is to drain and clean the pool.

 

Before You Buy Your Kiddie Pool

Make this your new habit: when you buy your pool, buy the supplies you’ll need to keep it clean.

We hope this guide was useful in keeping your kiddie pool clean.

Photo by larrywkoester




22 thoughts on “How To Keep A Kiddie Pool Clean – A Comprehensive Guide”

  1. If we use chlorine products that you list for a 6 x 7’ kiddie pool and drain into the grass (once every 2 weeks will it kill the grass?

    Reply
  2. How long should you let the chlorine tablet dispenser float in the water? Should you remove it and leave it out for a period of time before anyone gets in? If so, how long?

    Reply
    • You can either have it there while you swim or you can remove it. Your chlorine tablet dispenser should be in your pool for at least two to four days.

      Reply
    • You just need to wait 15 minutes up to an hour after you put on the chlorine. However, it will be better if you can test the water first before you go in.

      Reply
  3. Thank you for this information. Albeit this should have been common sense for me in theory I just learned the hard way the importance of frequent water change of a kiddie pool. I got one to relax and read in thinking it would save water though for some reason it didn’t cross my mind “this is a stagnant pool.” I went in it the other day noticing it smelled “off” and was slick around the edges and bottom and smelled weird. I drained it and the area of grass stunk. Two days later I am sick with… well I’m sure you can guess and it hit me like a ton of bricks “Why didn’t I think of chlorinating sooner? Thank GOODNESS it was for me only and that I don’t have kids!”
    Seriously, anyone reading this page, take heed: if you don’t just fill it for a day and drain it, use chlorine or the bleach mixture mentioned!!!!

    Reply
  4. As an adult, I purchased a small blow up pool 4 by 8. We use out well water. I notice the bottom is slick feeling ie slippery. Is this bad? What should I clean it with? The water does not smell and looks crystal clear.

    Reply
  5. I have shocked my pool and it’s clear in the am but when I use the skimmer the water gets a little cloudy. The bottom and sides aren’t slimy. Is this normal or what should I be doing differently.

    Reply
  6. As an adult, I bought a 5-1/2 foot wide, 1-1/2 foot deep pool For cooling off and relaxing. I had it on a tarp, uncovered, filled with well water. Of course, it got slick in the sun. I had to bail it out to drain it. If I clean it with a bleach mixture, go the chlorine tablet route, and keep it covered, how often should I have to drain it? This will determine whether I keep the pool or not.

    Reply
    • This depends on how much you use your pool. However, covering your pool and using pool chemicals should let you use your pool a week or two before you have to drain it completely.

      Reply
  7. I bought a kiddie pool 10×5 maybe 3 feet deep for myself and within a few days of filling it, with our well water and not using it, it started to look cloudy so I added pool powder chlorine shock and now it’s brownish. Looks like a Coffee latte 🤦‍♀️

    Reply
  8. Hello. So if I am using chlorine in my small kiddy pool that holds 254 gallons. I have Clorox pool and spa smart strips. Now by going by the numbers on the strips for total hardness, total chlorine, free chlorine, ph, total alkalinity, and stabilizer. What should I be using if I need to increase the numbers? Do I need to purchase anything or just the 1 inch chlorine tablets.

    Reply
    • You have to test your pool water first, and it would tell you what you need to do whether you have to increase or decrease the total alkalinity or leave it as is. The same can be said to calcium hardness, pH, and chlorine levels.

      Reply
      • Thankyou Ross. What would I have to purchase to increase or decrease the numbers for each of those? I am totally new to this pool thing, and I haven’t found any answers anywhere to help me. I’m soo lost. But I’ve got the chlorine thing down I think!

        Reply
  9. great site! i got a 10 ft by maybe 3 ft pool, put a teaspoon of chlorine in a night and shock once a week (capful) but still drain it every 3-4 days. cover it every night with tarp and scoop out bugs. but other day startd to smell like poop and so did the ground under it when i drained it, fill our whole yard. cleaned it several times, left it in the sun, finally tried bleach and it only got part of it out. seemed to be mildew between the ground and the underside of the pool. i think i have to buy a new pool but how do i prevent that from happening again?

    Reply

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