If you have children, warm summer days probably mean frequent use of the paddling pool in the garden. Of course, that means digging it out of the shed, and wondering what state it will be in when you unfold it. The key to keeping your paddling pool usable is cleaning it completely before putting it away at the end of the season, and storing it properly.
Cleaning a paddling pool
I should start out by saying that if you empty the pool at the end of the day, every single time you use it, it won’t really require cleaning. However, I don’t know anyone who manages to do that every time. I usually fit it on Saturday morning with the intention of emptying it Sunday night. Then I forget about it for most of the week, and it’s a slimy mess.
The good news is that it is still easy to clean.
• Before dumping the water out, give the bottom and sides (all the slimy bits) a scrub with a brush (if it is very small) or a soft nylon broom if it is fairly large. This should remove the bulk of the algae, which will then float round in the water.
• Empty the pool as you normally would.
• Give it a good rinse with the hose. Blast off any troublesome spots (you will have missed quite a few when the water got dirty) with the hose by adjusting the nozzle to a tight, high pressure focus.
• Give any remaining bits one last scrub and rinse again.
Some people swear by using bleach, but I have found that to be unnecessary, so long as the algae was scrubbed off before it was allowed to dry.
Storing a paddling pool for the winter
For this piece, I’ll assume you’ve lost or thrown away the box it came in, because I always do.
• Wash the pool as above, then allow it to dry. I used to line dry the small paddling pool, but our current one is too large for that. Turn larger pools upside down to dry, so no dirt or leaves settle inside it.
• If it is inflatable, deflate it.
• Fold the pool in half, keeping the sides parallel. This is easier with a hard-sided pool.
• Keep folding I half until you have a manageable package.
• Tie it with twine or garden string.
• Put it somewhere dry and out of the way.
There you have it. It will be clean and ready when the weather finally warms up again.