How to Pressure Wash a Pool and Spa

If you want to beat the summer heat, you need to keep your spa or swimming pool in the best condition. Pressure washer provides you with one of the easiest, most fun and satisfying ways to clean and rinse almost anything. That’s why the pressure washer owners are always looking for items and projects where they can use their pressure washing pools and spas. 

In this guide, we will explain in detail how you can pressure wash a pool or spa effectively. Depending on what your swimming pool or spa is made from, a power washer can help you clean and maintain your swimming pool and remove scaling in an easy way and it is one of the most fun ways of pool cleaning. 

Swimming Pool Material

Backyard swimming pools have a large variety of different shapes and types. There are concrete ones, fiberglass, vinyl, inground, above ground, Pebble Tec pools and many more. You cannot use a pressure washer on all types of pools especially those made from fiberglass and vinyl. The power with which a pressure washer directs the spray to clean the surface can damage softer types of pools. 

To ensure you clean pool tile with pressure washer without damaging it, use the right washer pressure tip or adjust the pressure to the level that the surface can hold up to. For a commercial pressure washer that gives spray at 4000 PSI, it may not be safe when cleaning pool tile. 

Most pools are made with hard material like plaster, concrete, stone or other sturdy material. And most pool tiles are made with either ceramic or porcelain. It is easy to use a pressure washer on these types of swimming pools. However, pools have algae growth and you will have to use chemicals to get the best cleaning results. 

The type and quantity of the chemical you use depend on the type of algae you have. Some pools have basic grime and dirt buildup; others have discoloration from decaying metal, plant matter, or calcium deposits.

You may have heard about pool tiles cleaning options such as vinegar, CLP, baking soda, or other household products, but they are not as effective. The ingredients such as those used in CLR can react chemically with chlorine and produce noxious fumes. 

Pressure washing pool tiles may not be an easy or quick job, but with pressure washers, the cleaning time will be reduced considerably. 

Things to Keep in Mind Before Power Washing Your Pool

Before you start pool cleaning, you need to take care of the following things.

Empty the Pool

To clean pool tile with pressure washer thoroughly, you need to take out the water from the pool first. You might come across some tools that make it seem you can power wash underwater, but it significantly decreases the effectiveness of the washer unit. 

The water in the swimming pool will slow down and reduce the pressure of the spray. Make sure you empty your pool complying with the local laws and in an eco-friendly manner.

Sweep Clean the Pool

After draining the pool, clean out the leftovers such as plant debris, leaves, branches, dust, etc that can easily be swept up while cleaning pool tiles. Use a large thick broom to get this done quickly. Sweep it out or scoop the debris and dispose of it properly.

Protect the Surrounding

Pressure washers are likely to blow a lot of dust that has been collecting on the pool tiles for years. Protecting your surrounding and outdoor decorations and furniture is as important as cleaning the pool. 

Before starting power washing to clean pool tiles, make sure you displace or cover any items nearby to protect them from any overspray that reaches these items and causes any kind of damage to your property. Additionally, check out these amazing steam cleaners for furniture.

Prepare Your Pressure Washer

After draining and cleaning the pool and covering the items in the surrounding area, you need to prepare your machine and cleaner soap or chemicals with which you want to clean pool tile. 

Also, adjust the pressure of the spray according to the material of the pool tile to avoid any kind of damage.

How to Clean Your Pool With Pressure Washers

Once you have prepared your pool for a pressure washer, you are all set for the actual work of power washing to clean pool tile.

Use the Soap First

Using a steam pressure washer may give more effective results without detergents and it will be a more eco-friendly and inexpensive way. But if you are going to use soap or detergent or a chemical like muriatic acid or hydrochloric acid to remove calcium deposits, spray it first on the surfaces you are cleaning. 

When using the soap, make sure you get every corner and every inch of the pool tile focusing on the calcium deposits and algae. Furthermore, have a look at these delightful steam cleaners for grout.

Wait for the Soap to Sit

After soaking the pool tiles, wait for about five minutes to let the soap or detergent sit and work its magic. However, make sure it doesn’t dry out. If it dries up, you will have to do it over again. 

Pick the Right Pressure Washer Nozzle

Pick the right nozzle tip for your pressure washer that is suitable for the material and surface of the pool tile. If you are not sure about the right nozzle, you can always start from the low pressure nozzle and move up till you find the right one. 

Picking the correct nozzle is important as a wrong nozzle with high-pressure tips can damage the surfaces and it can be dangerous for you too. 

Switch to Rinse

After covering the surface with soap, you will need to switch to wash with your pressure washer. You can let the pressure washer run until all the soap has been dispensed and it is only water or you may want to use different nozzles with a lowest setting and take out the soap-water. 

If you can still see calcium buildup and algae, direct spray from a high pressure nozzle for the best cleaning pool tile results. 

If you have used chemicals and acids for cleaning pool tiles, you will have to follow it with soda ash mixed in water to neutralize its damaging effect and make it harmless.


Rinse and wash away all dirt and grime that is left behind with your pressure washer. Maintain a firm grip on the wand and work carefully to get to every section. Spray the water from the top down to avoid blasting any water and dirt out and keep a safe distance from pool tiles. 

Work in one direction and continue the same way around the tile with a pressure washer to clean until you have completed cleaning every area. Start by working vertically to clean pool tiles first and switch to the floor afterwards and work to sweep the dirt and water towards the drain.

Work on the Areas that are Left Behind

If there are still some stubborn stains of calcium build up, debris or dirt on the pool tiles, give it another go with detergent and soap mixture and rinse it.

Removing Algae From the Pool with Pressure Washers

No pool owner wants algae lurking under the water on pool tiles. This stubborn nuisance will not go away unless you take care of it properly. 

Algae tends to come back even though you clean it. To deal with this problem, you have to treat your pool area with algaecide after power washing the algae away. 

Here is how you can remove algae from your pool tile with pressure washer effectively.

Start by Preparing the Pool for Pressure Wash

Clean pool tile with pressure washer as explained above. Spray with soap mixture first and then rinse it off after letting it sit.

Clear Away Algae

Pool tile cleaning and rinsing with soap may remove a great deal of algae. If it has, make sure all of the algae goes down the drain. If it is too thick for the pipe, instead of breaking it up, scoop it up and dispose it of in the trash.

Algae is too small to be killed with pressure washers. If some of it has been left behind even on one spot, it can grow back again.

Use Higher Pressure Nozzle

Use a smaller, higher pressure spray pattern to remove the thin black or green algae layer from the pool tiles. 

If the layer is too stubborn, try leaving it soaked in soap for a while and power wash it again. This way you will get clean pool tiles easily.

Bleach Mixture

Once you have removed the visible algae, you need to treat the microscopic algae. You can use a diluted bleach solution. Mix 1 part of any household bleach with 4-parts of water. Cover every algae build up part to clean pool tile with pressure washer effectively. 

However, avoid putting this bleach-mixture into your pressure washer as it can cause damage to the machine and your lungs, so make sure you take safety precautions and wear a mask and safety gloves before using it.

Rinse the Pool 

After covering the algae on the pool tile with the bleach solution, wash it away with your pressure washer with a low pressure spray pattern. 

Make sure you clean off every section because bleach can react with pool chemicals therefore it needs to be well-rinsed before filling the pool again.

Take Care of Your Pool

Once you have removed all the algae from the pool tiles, it is crucial that you keep it in a good shape and prevent another algae bloom. Proper shocking and proper circulation of water keeps your pool in a good condition. 

To prevent algae from growing back, you can use an algaecide treatment.

If you make pool maintenance an ongoing job, you will be able to remove scales on the pool tiles before they harden and become more difficult to remove. 

You can use a pumice stone or nylon brush to take care of it manually. Or you can use the best pressure washer to make it easier. You can also use acid solution for quick and thorough cleaning of the pool.

Pressure Washing Underwater

Technically, you can use your pressure washer underwater, but you will not get as satisfactory an effect with it as when the pool is empty. The pool water will reduce the power and strength of the spray from the pressure washers hence you won’t get satisfactory pool tile cleaning results.

Also, the grime and dirt from the pool tiles can get mixed with pool water making it dirty and the dust will settle on the pool floor again. Therefore, it is crucial that you drain the pool before using the pressure washer to get that satisfying deep clean that your pressure washer can give.

Best Soaps and Chemicals to Use When Pressure Washing a Pool

There are hundreds of different types of pressure washer soap and detergents you can use to wash a pool tile. Some are general while others are pretty specific. Some are toxic while others are non toxic. 

The soap or chemical that is suitable for your pool depends on the type of material your pool tile is made of and what kind of mineral deposits it has, stains and algae you need to clean.

For a concrete pool, a concrete cleaner will do a great job. Generally, you can use any soap or detergent you use at home for other purposes. You can also use muriatic acid for cleaning calcium scaling. 

However, as you will be working in your backyard, you need to make sure it is eco friendly and it won’t be harmful for your garden or yard.

Algae are usually too stubborn for a regular cleaner. For them, you will have to pick an algae specific cleaner and attach a more intense nozzle that is powerful enough and targets those algae areas.

Avoid using household products such as CLR, baking soda and vinegar as they may not be as effective as soap, detergents, and other chemicals. Also, CLR can chemically react with chlorine and make noxious fumes. You can manually use a pumice stone or a nylon bristle brush to remove tough stains. Get to know about the pressure washer and many other washing equipments.

For the fence or deck around the pool, a regular soap or detergent will work just fine for both surfaces. You can pick a simple green cleaner for this job. With this cleaner, you will have an easy transition from the pool to the deck and then to the fence.