Here’s How To (Quickly) Get Rid Of Pool Algae NOW


Is your pool water green and slimy to the touch? Do you notice a strange film on your pool’s surface or green particles floating and collecting there? Your pool could have an algae problem.

Algae is one of the most common sanitary issues pool owners face, but it’s an issue you must take seriously. Significant amounts of algae create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can result in recreational water illnesses that can lead to painful rashes, digestive issues, and even lung irritation. Excessive algae build-up can also result in the breakdown of your pool’s filtration systems, costing you thousands of dollars.

There are many ways to remove algae from your pool. For example, automatic pool vacuums can prevent algae growth if you need to keep your pool clean without a pump. If you find yourself with algae and have a functioning pool pump, you have even more options for clearing out that dangerous bacteria. 

To best understand how to remove algae from your pool, here is information about the different types of algae commonly found in swimming pools as well as the top three ways to clear it out.

Types of Algae

There are three types of algae that could be in your swimming pool: green/blue algae, yellow/mustard algae, and black algae. They are named after their appearance, making them easy to identify. 

Each type of algae has distinctive characteristics as detailed below:

  • Green/blue pool algae: This is the most common form of algae found in swimming pools. It develops when there is a lack of proper sanitization and filtration in the pool, paired with high pH levels. You can easily spot this type of algae floating in your pool or creeping down your pool walls. Luckily, it’s easy to brush off and skim off the surface with a net or skimmer.

  • Yellow/mustard pool algae: This type of algae can be spotted on your pool’s walls and forms in shaded areas. Often mistaken for pollen or sand, this is the second most common algae that can grow in your pool. Unlike green/blue algae, this algae is resistant to most algaecides and sanitizers, but there are ways to remove it.

  • Black pool algae: If you thought yellow algae was rough, allow us to introduce you to black algae. This algae spawns on the walls of your pool and has a protective defense layer and complex root systems, making it resistant to most treatments.

How to get rid of algae in your pool in 13 steps

Sometimes despite our best efforts to prevent them, those sneaky little spores find a way in and start to grow.

Maybe you just didn’t have time to maintain your swimming pool the way you meant to or maybe your filter got clogged without you noticing.

Either way, you have a problem and now you just need to know how to fix it.

Removing algae may not be rocket science, but it does require a bit of biology.

It will certainly take some time and a little hard work, but with the proper steps and equipment, you’ll be an algae-killing expert in no time.

If you follow these steps to the letter, you’ll most likely be able to remove all the algae growth from your pool, but if you find some lurking behind, repeat the steps until it’s clean.

Are you ready to get to work? Great! Let’s get started.

1. Test & balance the water chemistry


  • Country Of Origin: USA
  • Model Number: K-2006

$71.98 Buy on Amazon

In prevention and treatment, water chemistry is one of the most important steps to getting and keeping your pool algae-free.

You need to test your chlorine and pH levels with a good test kit (which are more accurate than test strips), and bring your pH level to about 7.8 by adding sodium carbonate to increase it or sodium bisulfate will also need to make sure the chlorine is at least above 1 ppm.

2. Turn on the pump

While treating your pool, your pump will need to be running 24 hours a day.

This keeps the water from stagnating and helping the algae to grow again.

3. Remove debris

Sale HYDROTOOLS By SWIMLINE 8040 Leaf Net For Inground Above Ground Pool Pond | Extra Large Skimmer Net Cleaning Tool & Ultra Fine Deep Mesh Bag | Durable Reinforced Plastic Frame | For Debris Bugs Pickup HYDROTOOLS By SWIMLINE 8040 Leaf Net For Inground Above Ground Pool Pond | Extra Large Skimmer Net Cleaning Tool & Ultra Fine Deep Mesh Bag | Durable Reinforced Plastic Frame | For Debris Bugs Pickup

  • {STRONG & DURABLE} This Hydrotools leaf net features a double reinforced structural molded design & thickened handle to minimize bending & twisting. It is built to withstand day-to-day wear & tear to be your go to long lasting cleaning accessory.
  • {ULTRA FINE MESH} The net’s extra deep, chemical resistant, fine mesh serves as the ultimate tool to catch small debris such as dirt, bugs, and everything in between. The bag is also larger than industry standard, for large cleaning jobs.

$16.97 Buy on Amazon

Remove as much floating debris as you can with a net, including floating algae and leaves.

You can use your hands, a net or your kids. Whatever gets the job done!

4. Brush your pool

Blue Devil Pool Wall Brush Deluxe with Poly Bristles - 18' Blue Devil Pool Wall Brush Deluxe with Poly Bristles – 18″

  • STRONG: Metal backing provides enough strength to thoroughly clean pool walls
  • FLEXIBLE: Designed with poly bristles to help reach the toughest corners

$18.02 Buy on Amazon

The type of brush you use for this will depend on the type of pool surface you have.

If you have a concrete or plaster pool, you should use a wire or stiff pool brush. Scrub down all the surfaces of your swimming pool well, including steps, corners, pool wall, and under ladders.

5. Vacuum your pool

Vacuum your pool surface as thoroughly as you can to remove any algae or debris loosened while brushing, again making sure to clean under stairs, along the pool wall, and on steps.

While I love a good robotic pool cleaner, it’s not the best for cleaning algae, so you’re better off doing it manually.

6. Clean your filters

Your pool’s filter system will be an essential part of removing dead algae, so clean them out, rinse them off and make sure to backwash sand filters or D.E. filters. (You can clean your cartridge filter).

To backwash a filter, you will:

  • Turn the multiport valve handle to backwash or slide a push-pull valve.
  • Turn the pump back on.
  • Run until the water runs clear, usually 2-3 minutes.
  • Shut the pump off, move the valve back to filter, turn the filter back on.

7. Shock your pool

In The Swim Calcium Hypochlorite Chlorine Granular Pool Shock - 24 X 1 Pound Bags In The Swim Calcium Hypochlorite Chlorine Granular Pool Shock – 24 X 1 Pound Bags

  • Powerful chlorine shock treatment that is great for regular maintenance
  • Quickly eliminates algae, bacteria, and other harmful contaminants from your pool water

$134.99 Buy on Amazon

Shocking your pool can remove all types of algae from your pool, but it is an extensive process:

  • Sanitize: Sanitize your pool with a heavy treatment of chlorine. Granular or liquid non-stabilized chlorine works best.

  • Adjust pH levels: Lower your pool’s pH with hydrochloric acid, pH-down tablets, or baking soda. This will allow chlorine to be more effective.

  • Give it time: Let your system run for a minimum of twenty-four hours to fully and evenly disperse the pool shock throughout your pool. While you wait, check in regularly to unclog the pool filter from any debris that was captured.

  • Test it: Test the water after the two or three-day mark. If the chemicals need rebalancing, you may do so. Once everything is balanced, you can return to your normal pool care routine.

Black algae usually requires shocking multiple times to get it clean and keep it from returning.

Make sure to wear gloves and clothes you don’t mind getting bleached in case you get it on you. If you choose powdered shock, first add the shock to a large bucket of water and stir it in.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions for how much to use for your swimming pool, then pour the shock mixture all around. Liquid shock can be poured directly into your pool without mixing it with water.

It’s best to shock while the sun isn’t out so that your pool’s chemistry is not affected by environmental factors.

The water might look cloudy after this treatment, but your pool’s filter should clear it up in a day or two.

>>Read: How to clear a cloudy pool

Just make sure you don’t allow anyone to enter the pool until the water is completely clear and the chlorine tests at less than 3 ppm.

And don’t use stabilized chlorine (cyanuric acid) for this job, which can block the sanitizer from working.

8. Brush your pool again

Don’t skip this step. It will help in the next steps to completely remove algae blooms from the pool.

9. Floc your pool

Sale Robarb 71205 Super Blue Swimming Pool Clarifier Robarb 71205 Super Blue Swimming Pool Clarifier

  • Concentrated Formula – Only 1 oz. treats 5,000 gallons
  • Clears cloudy water fast & prevents future hazy appearance

$16.24 Buy on Amazon

Floc is short for flocculant, which is a chemical that takes all of the small particles in your pool (I’m looking at you, algae) and sinks them to the bottom of your pool. Once that happens, it’s time to remove dirt from the bottom of your pool

Simply use your pool vacuum to remove the particles. Let the flocculant circulate in your pool for about two hours before beginning the vacuum process. Then, switch to the “waste” setting on your vacuum. A thick cloud should have formed at the bottom of your pool, and when you vacuum it on the “filter” setting, it pumps that dirty water (and any missed particles) back into the pool.

However, this method is time-consuming and can clog or damage your pool’s filter if you use a cartridge filter.

  • Test the water again and bring the pH level to 7.0 by adding sodium sulfate to raise it or sodium bicarbonate to lower it.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for diluting the flocculent and poor it around the edge of the water in the pool.
  • Allow the pump to run for four hours and then turn it off for 6-8 hours or overnight, allowing the sediment it collects to settle at the bottom of the pool.

10. Vacuum

Vacuum the bottom and sides of the pool well to help get the algae out.

11. Clean your filters again

After this process, you will likely find more algae blooms and debris in your filters.

Clean them out and backwash if necessary to keep it from recirculating into the water.

12. Use algaecide

Clorox Pool&Spa XtraBlue Algaecide 40 oz Clorox Pool&Spa XtraBlue Algaecide 40 oz

  • All-in-one algae Killer
  • Quick and effectively kills Green, mustard and Black pool algae

$28.84 Buy on Amazon

There are many algaecides that kill algae. Algaecides are typically a combination of chlorine and acid that can be directly applied to the algae to kill it off and prevent it from growing again. This can be an expensive approach because large quantities of algaecide will need to circulate through your pool if you have too much algae growth. 

At Pool Care Guy, we recommend this approach for removing black algae because it takes higher concentrations of hydrochloric acid and chlorine to treat this stubborn type of algae. Try to catch growth early, as most algaecides also contain metals, which can cause staining and a greenish tint in your water.

13. Test your pool chemistry

Finally, it’s time to restore your pool’s chemistry back to normal. 

Normal chlorine levels are ideally between 1 – 3 ppm, and normal pH levels are between 7.4 and 7.6. 7.5 and is considered perfect for algae prevention.

And alkalinity should be between 80 and 140 ppm.

>>Read: How to lower alkalinity in your pool

6 tips to preventing algae

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” or so they say, and that couldn’t be truer than it is with algae.

If you can stay ahead of the problem and keep it from overtaking your pool, you will save yourself hours and hours of unnecessary headache.

But how do you prevent a seemingly unavoidable nuisance?

Well, it’s not easy, because it’s true that algae finds its way in, sometimes despite all your best efforts.

However, if you take the precautions we lay out here, you will be miles ahead of the game and able to eradicate algae before it moves in with its whole family.

1. Take care of your pump

Algae likes to grow in stagnant water, so you need to make sure your swimming pool’s water is always circulating.

Clogged or under-performing pumps will create an optimum environment for algae to get comfortable.

At least twice a week, you should check and clean your skimmers and pump strainers.

>>Read: How to troubleshoot your pool pump

It’s a good idea to give them a good rinse-off outside the pool to wash away any spores that are too small to see.

Sand or D.E. filters need to be backwashed regularly, and there are some cleaning solutions made just for this purpose for a little extra cleaning power.

Always run your pump around 10 hours a day during heavy swim season to keep the water moving.

2. Shock your pool

Once a week, you should go through the process of shocking your pool with a good pool shock.

This is a process of power chlorinating the water to get rid of any bacteria and spores that may be resisting your regular chemicals.

3. Brush your pool

Just like with brushing your teeth, it’s important to maintain a regular brushing schedule for your pool.

And make sure you are using the correct brush for your pool’s surface.

A vinyl or fiberglass pool is a little more susceptible to damage so you will need a good nylon brush that is made not to scratch those surfaces.

A concrete pool or plaster pool that are stronger can be brushed with wire brushes for maximum effect.

Since these materials are more porous than vinyl, algae tends to take root on them much easier so a tougher scouring method is helpful.

4. Check your pool’s chemistry

By now, you probably have a good pool-testing kit, but it’s important you put it to use and check your pool chemistry.

Many new pool-owners don’t realize how quickly algae can take over until it’s overtaken and requiring major cleaning.

Your pool’s chlorine level should stay between 2.0 and 4.0 ppm (parts per million) to keep bacteria and algae to a minimum.

Algae spores will obviously still enter your pool from time to time, but a healthy level of chlorine will kill them off before they have a chance to bloom.

Likewise, checking and regulating your pool’s pH levels will help keep spores from blooming.

Algae thrives in a high pH level. The guideline for a pool’s level is between 7.2 and 7.6, 7.4 being ideal.

This is the same pH level in mucous membranes and human eyes, also making it a safe environment for humans.

5. Vacuum your pool

Just like your carpets, vacuuming weekly will eliminate smaller particles of dirt, debris and algae you might not even see yet.

>>Read: How to vacuum your pool

It’s best to vacuum your pool’s surfaces after brushing to remove loose particles removed during that process.

6. Use a good algaecide

Since algaecides are made specifically for keeping algae at bay, regular use of it in your pool will keep it clean and clear.

There are specific algaecides available for the various types of algae for times when there is already a growth and you know what type of infestation you are facing.

But multi-purpose algaecides will help prevent them before they are a problem.

What is algae?

According to, “algae is the name given to a large and diverse group of oxygenic, phototrophic, eukaryotic microorganisms. Algae are eukaryotic, which means they have a nucleus.”

Or more simply put, a slimy plant-like organism that produces oxygen through photosynthesis (totally paraphrased).

Algae comes in different forms like seaweed and pond scum. In other words, like other plants, it’s important to our existence, but there’s no reason you need to harbor it like fugitives in your swimming pool.

If you don’t house it, some other pond, pool or unsuspecting body of water will!

You might wonder why algae in the pool matters until you’ve been infested with it.

Well, it’s slimy, slightly and just plain gross! 

Your kids probably won’t step foot in a green pool and your investment will go to waste.

Not to mention, you can’t see what’s lurking at the bottom of the pool when it’s overgrown. 

Many people wait until their pools start to change colors to do anything, but the problem is that it can take over quickly.

You may think you’re in the clear if you don’t see any green color, but actually there are many different colors and types of algae. 

The 7 major types are:

  • Euglenophyta (Euglenoids)
  • Chrysophyta (Golden-brown)
  • Pyrrophyta (Fire)
  • Chlorophyta (Green)
  • Rhodophyta (Red)
  • Paeophyta (Brown)
  • Xanthophyta (Yellow-green)

But there are really only a few specific types in these families that you need to worry about as a pool-owner as described above.

Why is algae bad for my pool?

So, why is it bad for your pool?

Well, besides being an eyesore, it can wreak all kinds of havoc on your summer fun in a few specific ways:

1. Erosion & staining

Keeping your pool water balanced is important for many reasons, but for your pool surfaces, it’s essential.

Algae can raise your pool’s pH level, causing scaling and calcium deposit buildup.

>>Read: How to remove calcium scale from your pool

These things will erode both concrete and fiberglass surfaces over time, and coupled with elements like dirt, skin particles and algae can cause discoloration and staining.

2. Clogged filters

Algae has a tendency to clump together and reproduce, making it extremely difficult for your pool filter to do its job.

The black kind in particular has a sticky surface and takes root in crevices and openings. It clings to the mesh and openings in filters, hanging on to other spores and debris until it forms clogs impossible to filter out normally.

Clogged filters create poor circulation in the pool, worsening the problem of breeding algae.

3. Germs

While algae itself is not harmful to humans or pets, it can trap bacteria within it like E. coli, circulating the harmful germs in the pool water.

4. Slippery steps

Algae is slimy and slippery, so when it starts to grow on ladders, on the pool wall, and steps, it can make for some slick areas around the pool.

Why & how does algae grow in my pool?

Algae spores are constantly making their way into your pool either through environmental elements like wind and rain, through swimsuits, or objects that were recently in the ocean and through people dragging them in.

Once the spores reach the water, ideal environments then cause them to bloom and reproduce.

Several factors, some unavoidable, contribute to the overgrowth of algae:

  • Low chlorine levels
  • Warm weather
  • High pH levels
  • Clogged filters
  • Pumps not working correctly
  • Poor circulation
  • Infrequent brushing
  • Debris
  • High water temperature

Enjoy your pool!

Depending on the type and amount of algae you have invading your pool, the tasks in these steps may go by quickly.

You also may find it unnecessary to vacuum your pool twice if you only have a small amount that you feel you’ve successfully removed.

However, if you have an overgrowth or a black algae infestation, you may have to shock as many as four times, which will require that you repeat most of these steps.

I know that getting rid of algae can be a huge hassle. That’s why it’s always a good idea to maintain your pool and clean it regularly.

Now, go have a swim. You earned it!

Wrapping Up

Algae is not only aesthetically revolting but is also dangerous to the health of swimmers. Uncommon forms of algae can be mistaken for other types of more harmless debris, meaning you have to be diligent about your pool’s maintenance. By flocking, shocking, and/or using algaecide in your pool, you will have crystal-clear water and a refreshing oasis to escape to during the summer heat!

1 thought on “Here’s How To (Quickly) Get Rid Of Pool Algae NOW”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top