How to Clean Small Pools


Small, inflatable swimming pools can become a breading ground for germs like E.coli, Cryptosporidium and Shigella if a pool is not properly maintained, and proper swimming habits are not enforced. Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) can spread when contaminated pool water is swallowed, breathed in or comes into contact with skin. RWI's cause illnesses like diarrhea, gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurological and wound infections to develop. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise children ill with diarrhea or vomiting to avoid using pools, and for parents to bathe healthy children using soap and water before swimming.

Things You'll Need

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Water
  • Empty the swimming pool after each use. Never re-use water or allow standing water to remain in the pool.

  • Remove any visible debris (like leaves or bugs) from the pool. Use a paper towel to wipe down the sides and base of the swimming pool.

  • Use chlorine bleach and water to clean the inside of the pool. Make your cleaning solution 1 part bleach for every 3 parts water.

  • Allow the pool to air dry in the sun. Wait at least 4 hours before filling the pool with water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid sharing small pools with children from different families. Sharing can increase the risk of spreading RWI's.
  • Prevent RWI's by practicing healthy pool behaviors. Keep germs out of the pool by taking your kids to the bathroom often, and by checking diapers.
  • Avoid adding chemicals (like chlorine bleach) to pool water. According to the CDS, disinfection of inflatable, plastic pools is not recommended because it's hard to determine the proper amount of chlorine that should go into small pools.

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  • Photo Credit Swimming-belt in swimming-pool. image by Saskia Massink from
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