How To Vacuum A Pool Manually

If you don't own an automatic cleaner, or are having water issues, you need to learn how to vacuum your pool manually with this easy-to-follow guide.

  1. Connect the equipment required, Vacuum head, Telepole and Vacuum plate to the skimmer
  2. Bleed any air out of the hose by placing the cuff over the pool return to push the air out
  3. Using the telepole, direct the vacuum head slowly and smoothly across the floor of your pool in a back and forth stroke, repeat this until the pool is free of debris
  4. Leave the vacuum equipment submerged in the pool and turn off the equipment
  5. Remove the vacuum equipment and empty the skimmer basket
  6. Turn pool equipment back onto normal operating cycle


There are two reasons to know how to vacuum a pool manually:

  • Because you don’t own an automatic pool cleaner – and shame on you because you NEED to own one if you have a pool
  • Because there is a major problem that can’t be solved with an automatic pool cleaner, like algae


What you'll need to vacuum your pool:

Water TechniX Flexi Vacuum Head - High Quality Durable Long Lasting

Telescopic Pool Pole 1.2m - 2.4m - Telepole Handle 4ft - 8ft Lightweight Aluminium

Water TechniX Pool Hose 9m 30ft - High Quality Durable Swivel Cuff Long Lasting

Poolrite Vacuum Plate S2500 MKll + Zodiac AD Flow Valve - Baracuda Vac

1. Attach the vac head to the open end of the telescopic pole.

2. Take one end of the hose and attach it to the top of the vac head. Use a hose clamp if the hose tends to slip off frequently.



3. Place the vac head, pole, and hose in the pool – all the way to the bottom so that the vac head rests on the floor of the pool.



4. With the pump and filter running, take the other end of the hose and put it up against a return jet in the pool. This will push water through the hose and get all the air out.

NOTE: Bubbles will come up from the vacuum head on the floor of the pool. Once the bubbles stop, all the air is out of the hose.



5. If a vacuum plate is NOT being used, remove the basket inside the skimmer, block (with your hand) the end of the hose that has been filled up with water, and bring it over and into the skimmer. Make sure the hose is inserted into the suction hole at the bottom of the skimmer.


If a vac plate is being used, attach it to the end of the hose that was up against the return jet, block the opening, and bring it over to the skimmer. Be sure to create a good seal or suction will be lost.

This will create the suction from the vac head, through the hose, into the skimmer, and through the filter system. Now, it’s time to vacuum the pool.

NOTE: if suction is lost, just repeat steps 4 and 5.

Vacuum your pool

Start at the shallow end and slowly move toward the deep end of the pool. Use long, slow, sweeping strokes to clean. Make sure your strokes overlap slightly to avoid leaving any debris behind.

Rushing will just kick up debris, which will reduce visibility and take hours to settle down again, leaving you on the hook for another super-fun session of vacuuming your pool.

If you’ve got a load of debris, you’ll likely kick up a cloud no matter how careful you are, but there’s no need to make more work for yourself by hurrying.

If the water does become cloudy, give it a couple of hours to resettle, then come back and vacuum again, repeating as necessary.

If the vac head becomes stuck, switch off the pump for a second to break the vacuum force and set it free

At this time I would recommend getting an automatic (or one step better, a robotic) pool cleaner if you don’t already have one.

After you vacuum your pool

When you’ve finished cleaning your pool, remove the vacuum head from the telescoping pole, and drain any water still in the vacuum hose. Attach your cleaning brush to the pole, and use it to scrub away any algae, dirt, and debris from the sides of the pool.

Clear any debris in your pump strainer basket, and give the sand filter a final backwashing if you have a multiport system and used the “Filter” setting. If you have a cartridge filter, take your filter element out and give it a good hose down.

If you used the “Waste” setting to vacuum the pool, make sure you switch the valve back to the “Filter” setting, and keep adding fresh water to your pool until the water level is restored.

Rinse all your equipment with fresh water, dry it, and return it to storage. This will help keep it in top working condition and avoid unnecessary wear and corrosion.

You don’t have to dread the vac head! When it’s time to vacuum your pool—whether you’re just the hands-on type or waging war on invading algae—you can get the job done by hand with a little preparation, a lot of elbow grease, and a healthy dollop of patience.

What if you don't like vacuuming your pool by hand?

First of all, welcome to the club! While some people find this to be a form a meditation, it’s still a chore. And thankfully, we live in a world of blossoming technology that I can help you task this to a swimming pool vacuum that acts like a robot. Here are some options:

Robotic Cleaners

Independent cleaners that vacuum your pool using electricity. You plug them in, drop them in your pool, and let them do all the hard work on their own. All you have to do is empty the built-in filter bag when they get full of debris. These are by far the best automatic pool cleaners on the market, but they can be a bit pricer. Hey, you get what you pay for.

Zodiac OT15 Robotic Pool Cleaner - Ultra Light Compact Walls & Floor

Suction Cleaners

This is just an automatic version of vacuuming your pool manually. They hook up the same way you do when you vacuum your pool manually. The biggest difference, however, is that they move around the bottom of your pool by themselves. That way, you don’t have to stand there in the hot sun and do it yourself.

We'd recommend the Onga Hammerhead Pool Cleaner.

Onga Hammerhead Automatic Pool Cleaner - All Pools 10m Hose 3 Year Warranty

Post author:

Tom Hintze

Head of eCommerce & Operations at Mr Pool Man,
Co-Founder at Water TechniX


  • Thanks for this very informative post, it is very use to me. I like this post.

    Emily on

  • Hi

    This is one of the best how-to guides I’ve read on pool maintenance. It is written in Plain English and is not saturated with so much marketing that it loses credibility. The product recommendations are legitimate.

    Good stuff.

    Sandra on

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