Fire Recovery: How To Clean Soot And Ash From Your Pool

Unfortunately, there has been a rise in wildfires in the United States over the past few years - especially in California. These unthinkable disasters may cause lasting negative impacts to our homes, yards and swimming pools. Even if your home is, say, 10 miles from the fire, your pool may still find debris and ash in the water. We know it’s not always the first priority for a homeowner after a natural disaster, but we recommend cleaning your swimming pool as soon as possible to avoid any serious and lasting damage.

Here are our tips to quickly recover your swimming pool from the impacts of a fire.

Skim Water Surface for Ash and Debris

Skim and clean the pool of all debris, ash and soot. It is important to remove larger debris from the water surface before turning on your filtration system. This will make the next few steps a lot easier. We recommend covering your skimmer net with an old t-shirt or cloth to trap small particles and debris as you skim the water surface.

Ash and soot may cause staining on above ground pool liners, in-ground plaster pool surfaces and the surrounding deck area. The quicker you can remove the ash and soot, the less of chance for permanent staining.

Brush Walls, Steps and Floor

Brush the walls and pool bottom to loosen debris and contaminants. After brushing the pool surfaces, we recommend vacuuming the pool with a manual pool vacuum or plug-in your automatic pool cleaner to help the process.

Clean and Backwash Pool Filter

Please note that your pool filter may quickly fill up with dirt and debris, so remember to backwash and clean the filter often. We recommend checking with your city code for proper waste space (perhaps your lawn or gravel).

Running the filtration system is also important because it will begin circulating the stagnant water. Running the pump and filter also help distribute pool chemicals throughout the swimming pool.

Increase or Decrease Water Level

Now, let’s check the water level. Your pool may have lost a significant amount of water from backwashing, so be sure to bring water back up to the recommended level - typically in the middle of the wall skimmer opening. It is important not to bring the water level higher than that so your skimmer can work properly.

Check pH Level

After checking the water level, let’s make sure that the pH level is in a healthy range. Ash and soot may alter the pH, so it is extremely important to avoid swimming until pH is between 7.2ppm - 8.0ppm. Try adding Leslie’s Soda Ash to bring the pH level back to a balanced range.

If you need to increase your pool's Alkalinity level, without raising the pH level, try adding Leslie's Alkalinity Up. This pH neutral chemical is a quick and effective way to increase the Alkalinity level and avoid potential pool damage.

Check Chlorine Level

Ash and soot from a wildfire can also alter the chlorine level in the your pool water. We recommend adding pool shock and make sure you have at least one 3 inch chlorine tablet in the chlorine dispenser.

Remove stains on pool surface

If you have any remaining residue or stains on the pool surface, try adding Leslie’s Stain and Scale Remover. This pool chemical was developed in partnership with Natural Chemistry and is safe on all pool surfaces. Stain and Scale Remove eliminates stains within 2-4 weeks, so be sure to add this product as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

For extremely stained pool surfaces, you may need to hire a pool maintenance professional to acid wash the plaster. Leslie’s offers a Pool Acid Wash Service (in qualified areas) to take all worry and hassle out cleaning the pool surface.

Download Leslie's Pool Fire Recovery Checklist

Check out our downloadable Fire Recovery Guide for a detailed checklist on how to clean your pool after a fire. Download it here.