How to Remove Rust Pool Stains

Backyard pool with cover rolled up at one end
  • 3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100
What You'll Need
Steel wire brush
Oxalic acid
Powered chlorine
Water testing kit
Ascorbic acid based swimming pool cleaner
Scrubbing brush
Stiff bristled broom with extendable handle
Small drawstring bag

Besides being rather unsightly, pool stains can be damaging, prompting you to take action to remove them. By following some simple steps you can ensure that rust does not become an ongoing problem.

Step 1 - Inspection

Examine the entire pool area so that you are aware of all the pool stains that may be affecting it. This way, you can deal with them all at the same time. The locations of the staining should help you determine the reason for the problem, which will enable you to prevent it happening again. Pay particular attention to the area around access ladders and diving board supports. An inspection will also enable you to note the severity of the staining, which will allow you to figure out what method is required to resolve it.

Step 2 - Manual Cleaning

man cleaning a pool with a long broom

For minor rust stains, make use of a stiff bristled scrubbing brush to rub the surface and see whether this removes any rust. Switch to a steel wire brush if this proves unsuccessful. Be aware that some surfaces are more delicate than others, so more care should be taken with materials that aren’t as hard-wearing as others, or where there is already signs of visible damage. If rust staining is present at the bottom of the pool and you are reluctant to drain it or get in the pool during the cleaning process, use an extendable broom to scour the stain.

Step 3 - Treat Stain Directly

Where elbow grease fails to remove pool stains, the next step is to chemically treat the stain specifically. Obtain a small drawstring bag (such as those used to put delicates in the washing machine) or an old sock and fill it with oxalic acid, a rust removing substance that should be available from a hardware store or pool shop. The same method can be used with powered chlorine. However, this merely bleaches the stain rather than removing it. Let the substance-filled package lay on the stain in accordance with the instructions and scrub at the surface after it has done its job to remove any last traces of rust.

Step 4 - Clean Pool

backyard pool

Where the above methods prove insufficient for pool stains, the entire pool will have to be cleaned. A swimming pool supplies retailer will be able to provide a cleaning product containing ascorbic acid, which is a chemical that is very effective at removing rust stains. Use it in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 5 - Prevention

In order to reduce the time you spend dealing with pool stains, it is prudent to do some work to make sure they don’t reoccur. Check all the pool equipment for corrosion and repair, or replace anything that is showing signs of rust. In addition, the water must be tested to check pH levels. A mixture of alkaline water and metals can often be the cause of problems. Use a water softener if you live in a hard water area.