How To Clean the Water Line on a Vinyl Pool Liner (8 Easy Steps)

Vinyl pool liners are popular solutions for creating swimming pools but they can sometimes develop an unsightly water line. This is because it attracts grime from the pool, forming an unpleasant layer. So, how do you clean this water line?

To clean the water line on a vinyl pool liner, select a suitable pool cleaner, pour it into a spray bottle, and slightly lower the pool water line. Apply the solution directly onto the stains and gently scrub in a circular motion. Rinse with water, and repeat the process as needed.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide for cleaning the water line on your vinyl pool liner. I will also share some vital tips to help you remove accumulated body oils, mineral deposits, and other possible contaminants.

New Swimming Pool Liner being installed in a in ground pool

1. Select a Suitable Pool Cleaner

When choosing a suitable pool cleaner, you need to consider the following factors:

  • Its ability to eliminate tough dirt and stains
  • Its potential for damaging your vinyl liner
  • The environmental impact of the ingredients 

Here is a useful list of suitable cleaning agents for vinyl pool liners: 

  • Alkali-based vinyl liner cleaners. This is your safest bet since this product is made explicitly for a vinyl liner, and does not leave any damaging residue (a common disadvantage of acid-based cleaners). You can find these in your local hardware store or online. 
  • Household bleach. Chlorine-based bleach is effective for removing tough stains. To make a cleaning solution using chlorine bleach, combine it with water in a ratio of 1:1. 
  • Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is beneficial for removing iron stains. Create a cleaning solution by dissolving the crystals into some water (as described on the packaging). 
  • Citric acid. This option is effective for removing copper stains. Make a solution by combining it with water in a ratio of 1:1. 
  • White vinegar. Vinegar is effective for removing calcium buildup. Combine one part of vinegar with one part water to make this cleaning solution.
  • Dishwashing soap. This household cleaning product is a mild yet effective cleaner for vinyl pool liners. Use warm water to make this cleaning solution.

You will also need the following items: 

  • Spray bottle 
  • Non-abrasive sponge 
  • Dustpan 
  • Bucket 
  • A pair of gloves

Did you know that you can also use Dawn to remove grime from your vinyl pool liner? I have a complete article on why Dawn is an excellent cleaner for vinyl pool liners and how you can use it effectively. [Can You Use Dawn to Clean a Vinyl Pool Liner?]

2. Pour the Pool Cleaner Into a Spray Bottle

After creating your pool cleaning solution, pour it into a spray bottle. Doing this will simplify the application process and make it easier for you to clean the pool line. 

Moreover, it will also minimize wastage as you apply the cleaner, as the spray bottle makes for a more precise application.

3. Slightly Lower Your Pool Water Line

Drop the water level of your pool slightly to lower the water line so that you can clean it effectively. Remember that you should never drain a vinyl-lined pool without expert help because the water pressure keeps the liner in place.

Also, draining the pool too low can cause the water pump motor to overheat, leading to expensive damage.

The lowest you should allow the water line to drop is a third of the way up the skimmer. 

4. Apply the Pool Cleaner, and Let It Sit

While working manageable sections at a time, apply the pool cleaner directly onto the grime or stains where the water line previously sat. Allow it to sit until it has almost dried. 

Allowing the cleaning solution to sit will give the cleaning agents enough time to lift the dirt off the vinyl liner, making the cleaning process more effective.

5. Scrub the Vinyl Liner Gently

To keep your hands safe from potentially harsh chemicals, wear a pair of gloves before proceeding with this step. 

Using a wet non-abrasive sponge, gently scrub the grime off. Hold the dustpan against the pool wall directly underneath the surface you are cleaning to minimize contaminating your pool water below. Collect the dirt in a bucket. Although you may not catch everything, it still helps to reduce the amount of dirt going into the pool water.

A helpful tip when cleaning is to use a circular motion since it is less tiring (you need all the energy you can get if you intend to clean the entire water line). 

As mentioned above, your sponge should be non-abrasive to prevent damage to the vinyl liner and prevent it from ripping. This means that you should avoid scouring pads or steel wool.

6. Rinse the Cleaned Surface 

After you are satisfied that your vinyl pool liner is clean, rinse it with water. If the pool water is clean, you can use it. However, if it is not, connect a garden hose to a clean water source and use it to rinse the area. If you don’t have a garden hose, use a spray bottle, watering can, or bucket.

7. Repeat the Process if Needed

Once you have rinsed the surface, you’ll be able to tell if the pool liner is clean enough. If it isn’t, you may need to repeat the last two steps to eliminate stubborn stains, especially leaf stains. [How to Remove Leaf Stains from Vinyl Pool Liners]

After this, I recommend using a different cleaning product if the stains don’t disappear after two or three tries. 

If there is still a visible water line, you may need to consult a pool technician for professional advice. The technician will inspect the liner and determine the best course of action.

8. Clean the Water Line Regularly To Prevent Stubborn Stains

Stubborn stains often result from dirt accumulation over an extended period without cleaning. Mineral deposits tend to harden over time, while algae can stain your vinyl pool liner. Also, accumulated body oils take more effort to remove (you need more cleaning products and elbow grease).

Make it a habit to clean your pool liner’s water line at least once a month to maintain a clean water line. If many people use your pool regularly, consider cleaning the water line more regularly. 

Combine this with the recommended pool cleaning protocol to obtain optimal results.

cleaning water off a liner is fairly easy

Final Thoughts

Cleaning the water line on your vinyl-lined pool is a relatively straightforward process, although you may need to use some extra elbow grease to get good results.

Crucial tips to remember include:

  • Wear gloves to keep your hands safe while cleaning.
  • Use a non-abrasive sponge to prevent damaging the vinyl liner.
  • Follow a regular cleaning schedule to prevent stubborn stains.