Cleaning the pool with vodka: should you do it?

A popular online hack shows cleaning the pool with vodka. We've asked pool specialists what they think

pool outside luxury bungalow – cleaning pool with vodka
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Cleaning a pool with vodka: an excellent DIY hack or ineffective myth? As with so many online cleaning hacks, it can be difficult to know whether to give something a go or give it a hard pass in favor of more traditional cleaning methods. 

Everyone loves looking at backyard pool ideas, but cleaning the pool? Not so much. And yet it's essential in order to keep the pool safe for swimming. So, should you stock up on bottles of vodka to clean your pool? Here's what pool professionals think. 

Santa Monica home of textile and interior designer Kathryn Ireland

(Image credit: Andreas von Einsiedel/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images)

Cleaning the pool with vodka: is it worth doing?

The short answer is (you may have guessed it): no. It's not the best idea to clean your pool with vodka. Michael Dean, Co-Founder at Pool Research, a site that provides expert advice on all things related to pools, spends a lot of time advising people on how to clean their pools. Here's what he had to say: 'I would never recommend my clients to clean their pools with vodka. It is unwarranted, and if done repeatedly, could actually contribute to a chemical imbalance of the water, leading to bigger issues further on.'

Chemical imbalances in your swimming pool are not to be taken lightly, as they can actually make the water unsafe to swim in. Besides, there's another, simpler reason why vodka just isn't your best choice for pool cleaning, according to Michael: 'while it may look like a cool "hack", it isn't very cost-effective; simple, regular maintenance is a lot cheaper than the cost of several bottles of vodka.'

Nor is it a particularly efficient or thorough way to clean your pool: 'this trend seems to be considered a DIY quick-fix for pools which are in need of a deep clean. Sure, a few bottles of vodka might clear the algae, bugs, and plant matter from the surface of your pool, but often after months of neglect there are issues beyond the surface that require a more delicate and considered approach.'

Swimming pool with mountain view

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What are better alternatives for cleaning pools than vodka?

Michael lays down the basics of pool maintenance, which, he says, are 'much more effective' than using vodka: 'skim leaves and debris once a day, brush sediment from the side and floor of your pool once a week, use the pool pump daily, and check your pool's filter weekly for debris. And regularly test your pool water to measure the chemicals.'

If you want a low-cost, DIY hack for cleaning pools, then consider baking soda. Brandon O’Malley, owner of The Sauna Company, which deals with hot tubs, pools, and steam rooms, comments: 'Baking soda can be used to clean your pool. A non-abrasive cleaning solution of water and baking soda works wonders on pool tiles and grout. It can also be used on a pool surface made of cement or marble. It is arguably the most straightforward and least expensive method of organically cleaning your pool.

'Another quick method is to use a leaf blower to remove the leaf litter that has accumulated on your pool cover. When your pool is covered and not in use, it's a good idea to remove leaves and branches, as well as other dirt from the top. A buildup can cause damage, algae development and limit the life of your pool cover, in addition to being unsightly.'

Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.