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Acid washing your swimming pool should not be the first choice for cleaning your pool’s surfaces. However, it’s a good way to deep clean your swimming pool every 5-7 years or whenever it gets so dirty, there’s no fixing it with pool brushes. 

How do you acid wash your swimming pool? What’s the safest way to handle the acid? 

We’ll help you get your pool looking like new. Keep reading to learn all you need to know to acid wash your swimming pool. 

What Does it Mean to Acid Wash Your Pool? 

Acid wash is an intensive cleaning of your pool’s walls and floor. Acid wash uses harsh and corrosive chemicals to strip away some of the outer layers of the pool’s interior. While this might sound like a bad idea, it’s a good way to get your pool looking brand new.

It’s a good choice if your pool has algae, mold, or chemical stains that won’t come out of the pool with regular maintenance. It shouldn’t be your first choice because it will erode some of the pool’s external layer of plaster.

But it only strips away a very thin layer so it shouldn’t be too much of a concern. Acid washing your pool just shouldn’t be your first choice of cleaning. It’s also a difficult chemical to handle and can burn your hands and eyes if you’re not careful.

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Acid Wash Your Swimming Pool

To acid wash your pool, start by prepping the acid wash chemicals. This wash is usually composed of a mixture of acids including muriatic acid and other acidic compounds. To begin, you must dilute the acid wash before adding it to your pool.

The acid mixture should usually be diluted with fresh water with a 1 to 10 ratio. One part acid and ten parts water. However, always refer to the individual manufacturer’s instructions regarding proper dilution ratios.

Next, you will want to drain your pool. While you can use an acid wash to spot-clean your pool without draining it, if you want a thorough cleaning, we recommend completely draining your pool. If you want to know the detail about how to safely drain your pool, check out our other article on When and How to Drain Your Pool.

Spary your pool down with a garden hose to keep the surface moist and clean. Remove any debris like branches, leaves, and large amounts of dirt. Next, you will start to apply the acid wash.

Pour the acid wash over the surface of your pool, but stick to small areas at a time. You don’t want to leave the acid sitting for too long before you start to hose it down or it can eat the outer layer.

Ideally, don’t do this task alone. Have at least one person helping you. One person should pour the acid on the pool surface while another scrubs the surface with a pool brush. Try to only leave the acid for 30 seconds to 1 minute before spraying it with a hose spray nozzle. If you have a particularly tough stain you can leave it a little longer.

Once you’ve scrubbed the entire pool with acid wash, use a submersible pump to pump the acid wash out of your pool. Ensure the pH is neutral before putting the submersible pump in the leftover acid wash.

Check with your local water authority to see how to properly dispose of acid wash before pumping it out of the pool. Some places will allow you to pump it out on the road or storm drains, but never assume!

Once the wash has been pumped out of the swimming pool, rinse your pool several times with the garden hose. Do this several times before filling your pool back up.

What Kinds of Pools Can Be Acid Washed? 

Concrete and gunite pools are the best candidates for an acid wash. However, you should never use an acid wash on a pool liner. 

Pool liners are typically made from vinyl or other fortified plastic substances. These liners are excellent and last for years when properly cared for and cleaned. However, they won’t withstand a heavy dose of acid in the water or over the surface. 

However, an acid wash can make your concrete or gunite pool look shiny new. Since the acid only removes a very thin layer off of the surface, it won’t cause any structural or permanent damage. 

What Type of Acid Mixture Can You Use to Wash Your Pool?

Hydrochloric acid mixed with water is the best acid wash for your pool. While industrial bleach contains the same or similar compounds, it doesn’t contain the right concentration of acid. We don’t recommend using bleach to acid wash your swimming pool because it’s not concentrated enough to make a difference. 

Is Acid Washing Dangerous? 

Acid washing can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Hydrochloric acid is highly corrosive and can damage your skin, eyes, and pool if you don’t know how to handle it and dilute it properly. 

Always wear and use the following protective gear to stay safe:

  • rubber gloves (not medical gloves)
  • Goggles
  • Old clothes (in case of splashing)
  • Boots 

Remember, your goal is to cover and protect as much of your body as you can. You don’t want the splashing acid to burn your legs, feet, or arms. Consider also wearing an old jacket or raincoat in case the acid mixture gets on your arms. 

Can Acid Wash Damage Your Pool?

An acid wash can damage your swimming pool if you don’t rinse or dilute it properly. Never let the acid sit for longer than suggested by the manufacturer. This can stain or even weaken areas of your swimming pool. 

Never spray the acid on metal or plastic parts, and keep it away from your pool pump. This compound is very corrosive and can cause rusting or weaken the structural integrity of the pool. 


Using an acid wash on your swimming pool is not a simple task. To keep your swimming safe, ensure you always prepare yourself for the process and never do it alone.

Acid washes can leave your pool looking like new. It’s an excellent way to clear away mold and algae and give your pool a restart. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into. 

Check out our blog for other helpful articles to help keep your pool looking and feeling like new. 


Should You Acid Wash Your Pool With Muriatic Acid? 

Muriatic acid isn’t a good choice for acid-washing your pool. It’s an expensive compound that is difficult to dilute. Using it as an acid wash isn’t necessary and can seriously harm your pool walls and floor. 

When is the Right Time to Wash Your Swimming Pool with Acid?

Avoid acid washing your pool during high heat and intense sunlight. If possible, we recommend acid-washing your pool at sunset or late afternoon. The sun can damage your pool and lead to cracks and stains on the surface.