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How to Clean the Bottom of a Pool Without a Vacuum

So you’ve just noticed some sand on your pool floor, which begs the question, how are you going to get it out before all the debris starts to clog up the pool filter and affect the water quality? Do you need to rush out and buy one of those easy to use spa vacuums everyone seems to have?

Don’t panic; we have a fair few years of experience in pool maintenance and hot tub care, so this guide will run through how to clean the bottom of a pool without a vacuum. 

Of course, you can use a plastic rake or nylon bristle brushes to collect large debris, but that won’t make an impact on tiny particles of sand. 

Below are some solutions you may not have thought of. So, whether you have an above-ground pool or an inflatable tub, these tips will free the bottom of any pool debris.

How to Clean the Bottom of a Pool Without a Pump

Think about how a vacuum cleaner works to remove debris; it uses suction, right? So theoretically, as long as something is waterproof and can suck things up, it can be used as a vacuum cleaner for your spa. 

A meat baster

Just as you would suck up the turkey juices, you can use a baster to remove debris and sediment from the bottom of pools. Of course, this works best for shallow water. 

For example, if you have drained a portable tub or have someone willing to dive underneath the pool water to perform the clean-up and it’s not going to cut it for larger swimming pools. 

Silly putty

This one might come as a surprise, but Silly Putty has two qualities that make it excellent for removing stuff from the bottom of the pool, although once again, this is definitely for smaller pools and hot tubs. 

First, it is waterproof, meaning you can use it underwater, and of course, it is sticky perfect dirt particles to cling to. 

A spa wand

Suppose you want to clean the water without a pool vacuum. In that case, a spa wand is an excellent alternative. Although not technically a spa vac, it works in a similar way, using a manual pump action to create enough suction to remove even large debris. 

No batteries or hose is needed and you can also attach different accessories like brush heads or a leaf net. Spa Wands are relatively cheap but once again may not be the best option for large bodies of dirty water.

Using a leaf gulper

These little gadgets can be attached to any 1.5-inch vacuum hose and standard extension pole. They work by gripping the pool floor and sucking debris into the attached net. 

These are especially good if your pool has a soft vinyl liner, as they are designed to vent under pressure to prevent damage to the floor. 

Use the kid’s pool toys. 

This one is a little more unusual than the other methods (well, maybe not the turkey baster). Chances are that your children will have some fun water toys lying around and the good news is that you can utilise them to remove debris and dirt from your pool floor. 

Simply place the nozzle over what you wish to pick up, pull the plunger and the dirt is gone!

The Grit Gritter

The Grit Gritter is a brilliant little accessory if you drop something in a pool or clean debris from the bottom of your swimming pool, such as flower petals that may have fallen in or sand. 

Although it is no use for the large amounts of dirt found in bigger pools, it’s great for garden spas and hot tubs. 

For larger pools, we have a fantastic guide on making and using a DIY vacuum to clean the bottom of your swimming pool. 

Types of Sediment Found at the Bottom of a Pool


“Sand gets everywhere” is One of the truest sayings ever, so it won’t come as a surprise that sand is commonly found in the depths of a pool. You can use a thick brush to it to one area but will need a way to remove it if you want your filter system to continue working correctly.

Grey Dust

It might come as a surprise, but swimming pools collect a lot of dust either blown in on the wind or transferred via bathers’ feet. These fine particles can’t be removed with a skimmer and, over time, will sink to the bottom of the pool.

Garden Dirt

Whatever surface your hot tub is on, there will be dirt from the garden; inevitably, some of this will make its way into your swimming pool or spa from the users’ feet or on the breeze. 

Tips for Keeping the Bottom of Your Pool Clean 

  • Use a leaf rake to remove large debris before it sinks to the bottom of your pool. 
  • Place a foot bath by your above-ground pool or spa for users to clean the bottom of their feet. 
  • Encourage bathers to shower before using the pool. This will means fewer body oils and other debris, meaning your filter system can work harder to kill algae and the stuff that may sink to the bottom of your pool. 
  • Use a pool cover when not in use. Not only will this help keep the pool clean it will also help retain the heat. 
  • Use a pool shock product to remove algae from your pool’s bottom. Simply mix it with a pound of Calcium Hypochlorite in a bucket containing five to six gallons of water (making sure to use safety goggles and hand gloves, then pour onto the affected area. 
  • Throw some tennis balls into your spa or pool! Tennis balls absorb oil, so again this cleaning process removes some of the debris a pool collects before it sinks to the bottom. 

If You Want To Use A Vacuum

If you have tried cleaning a hot tub without a vacuum and it wasn’t for you, maybe you’ve asked yourself the question, well how do you use a spa vacuum and would it be easier? Find out in our handy guide and save yourself some stress!

Is There Anything Else I Can Use

If your trying to think outside the box, maybe you’ve considered asking the question, can I use a shop vac to clean my hot tub, and yes you can, not only is the suction powerful but they seem to get nearly every grain of grit and dirt.

The Last Word 

Whether you have an inground pool, hot tub or above-ground pool, there will be times, perhaps after a pool party or when you need to remove algae, that you need to clean the bottom. 

From throwing in tennis balls and using a plastic leaf rake to stainless steel brushes in concrete pools, you can even make your own DIY pool cleaner with a garden hose.  

There are 101 cleaning methods, But we hope the tips above have shown you how to clean any pool without a vacuum and keep it sparkling clean.

John Devlin

Hello, Welcome to my website. I’m John, and I created the InflatableHotTubGuide while researching these spas nearly a decade ago. Since its creation, the site has become the leading UK resource for many models. As a passionate hot tub user, I love to test and explore all the latest machines this industry keeps creating. I hope you find our content helpful.