Summer is almost over. Temperatures are dropping, and the kids have gone back to school. So, it’s time to think about the end of the pool season, and as part of that, cleaning and storage of the pool toys and accessories for the winter.
Before you clean the toy selection, first examine each article to decide if it’s in good enough shape to save for another year. If it’s broken, sun-damaged or has a puncture, get rid of it. Pool toys can take a beating, but won’t last forever.
- Cleaning solution in a spray bottle or bucket
- Eye protection
- Clean tarp
- Old towel
- Soft bristled brush
Many people like to use bleach water (¾ C. bleach per gallon of water) as a cleaner/disinfectant. Other people are in the vinegar and water camp--equal parts distilled vinegar and water.
Spead the toys out on the tarp and spray each article off thoroughly with the hose. Then put on the safety goggles so you don't get bleach or vinegar in your eyes. Use a rag and cleaning solution to wipe down each piece of equipment, paying particular attention to cracks, crevices, and corners. Make sure to clean each piece thoroughly, using the scrub brush as needed for especially dirty areas. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry, using the old towel to help dry any spots which won’t dry easily on their own.
Porous toys such as noodles and the net for pool games will need more time to dry and may need to be turned once to ensure they’re thoroughly dry.
Deflate each inflatable and put other accessories, such as game sets, back in the original box if it’s still available. Fold or roll each item carefully and pack with the heavier items on the bottom. Do not fold, pack or store any items if they are still wet or moist.
One of the difficulties we have here in the Phoenix area is year-round intense UV rays. For this reason, we recommend storing the pool accessories completely out of the sun to keep them from being damaged in winter. Look for a space in a garage or a ventilated storage room, or even a supply area inside the home if that is available.
A mesh storage bag can be hung in the garage, storeroom or shed where it will be out of direct sunlight.
If your home doesn’t have suitable space within or even a garage or shed area, a lovely little outdoor bench can be built or purchased in which to store these items. It should be in the shade whenever possible because intense heat will damage these things even in storage.
Next Spring Cleaning
Before the next swimming season, the pool toys and accessories will need to be unpacked from storage and cleaned again before use. We recommend for the homeowner to wear gloves, and keep a sharp eye out for spiders and scorpions in the unpacking process.
Cleaning the toys before use will keep your family and your pool from being exposed to bacteria, mold, and critters.
- Examine each item thoroughly for signs of mold, mildew or algae.
- Take a big sniff of each of the noodles and other porous toys. If they have an unpleasant odor or are beginning to crumble, they’ve likely been contaminated and should be tossed.
- Repeat the cleaning process as shown above.
- Blow up, set up, and enjoy!
A word about antibacterial wipes
Some professionals recommend using antibacterial wipes to clean pool toys and accessories. While we are not against this, we would support this process in addition to regular cleaning, rather than as a sole source of cleaning.
If you need pool maintenance for your Phoenix, Arizona pool or spa, call us here at Serenity Pools. Our services include new installation set-up, professional maintenance of pools and spas, water features, and fountains. Call today! 480-370-0579