How to Clean Different Types of Tiles in and Around a Swimming Pool

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There are many different types of tiles in and around a swimming pool and each type needs its own special treatment.

Chemical treatments and how much surface time they need to react before they cause damage varies for each tile.

Two other things to factor in are if the tiles are submerged in the water, how deep the tiles go into the water, which will determine how much UV exposure it gets.

If this sounds complicated, don’t worry! We have all the information you need right here so that your pool will be sparkling clean with minimal effort from you.

Tile Materials

There are mainly 6 different types of tiles you may have in or around your pool. Each type will require different know-how to clean them properly.

An important note is that when you are deep cleaning the tiles, only use the chemicals that are approved for that material. Using any other chemical can damage or discolor the tile as well as the tile grout, making it look much worse than before you started cleaning it!

For example, don’t use muriatic acid to clean anything but travertine (tiles for pool surrounds), because it will actually remove the color if used in high concentrations.

The best thing to do is check every product against what your specific tile is made out of and make sure there aren’t any warnings of how it can’t be used on that specific type.

If there isn’t, don’t worry! You can use pretty much anything to clean any type of tile as long as you follow the instructions written below. These are just precautions to make sure your pool tiles look better for longer.

Tiles in Shade vs Tiles in Sunlight

Tiles in and around a swimming pool

There are some tiles that are always in the shade and others that are on the waterline so they get wet regularly, while others may even have a light directly above them.

If this is the case, you will have to treat these differently because of how much water exposure they get.

This means there isn’t one way how to clean any type of tile since different ones need special care depending on how many chemicals it has been exposed to over a period of time.

The best thing you can do is contact a professional pool cleaning company for advice if you aren’t sure about how often you should be cleaning your tiles or how this should be done.

The following are the 6 main types of tiles found in and around pools and how to clean them:

Types of swimming pool tiles

1. Vinyl Tile

-Shade (not in direct sunlight)

-Can use chlorine bleach, muriatic acid, vinegar, tile grout cleaner, other natural cleaners.

The benefit of using natural cleaners is that it won’t cause discoloration like other chemicals that contain sulfuric acid will do over time (if used too frequently).

If you don’t want to buy all the chemicals separately, you can buy a kit with everything included for one price instead of buying each piece individually. Just make sure any kit has everything you need before using it.

-Direct sunlight and/or is submerged in the water:

-Do not use chlorine bleach or muriatic acid.

Instead, it is best to use a tile grout cleaner and/or natural cleaners such as vinegar and baking soda. If those products don’t work as well as you expected, you can try using hydrogen peroxide with a bit of dish soap mixed in as long as the label says it won’t discolor the tile.

However, this will only work if there isn’t direct sunlight on that specific area for hours at a time and how much chemicals were used before (when cleaning) which could cause damage depending on how often they had been exposed previously.

2. Travertine Tile

-Pool surrounds, not submerged in water

-Use a pool tile cleaner on a broom or floor machine to clean the surface of the tile first. This helps make sure any grout problems will be solved before using chemicals on them as well as how much dirt gets removed from the surface.

After this is done, you can use muriatic acid, vinegar, chlorine bleach, or hydrogen peroxide with dish soap mixed in. You will need to wait about an hour after the previous chemical has been used for it to work its best at cleaning and how many times they have been exposed before.

If those products don’t work as well as you wanted them to (depending on how dirty your travertine tiles are), you can try using a tile grout cleaner and/or natural cleaners such as baking soda and water or vinegar instead of buying muriatic acid separately.

 

3. Fiberglass Tile

-Shade (not in direct sunlight)

-Can use chlorine bleach, muriatic acid, vinegar, tile grout cleaner, other natural cleaners.

Just like with the vinyl tiles, we recommend contacting a professional pool cleaning company for advice on how often the tiles should be cleaned and how they should be done.

This is because they have information on how much chemicals your pool has been exposed to, how often it’s used, how many people use it, etc., which will help them determine how often you should clean your tile and what methods you can use.

-Direct sunlight and/or is submerged in the water:

Do not use chlorine bleach or muriatic acid. Instead, it is best to use a tile grout cleaner and/or natural cleaners such as vinegar and baking soda. If those products don’t work as well as you expected, you can try using hydrogen peroxide with a bit of dish soap mixed in as long as the label says it won’t discolor the tile.

 

4. Cement Tile

-Direct sunlight

-Can use vinegar, bleach for light grout lines (if light), muriatic acid if the pool water is extremely high in TA, or calcium hardness levels are very high.

If using muriatic acid or bleach, remember that they can cause discoloration no matter how well you rinse them off afterward so make sure you know how to use muriatic acid or how to bleach an item.

Consult a pool cleaning professional for the best method of how how to dilute either muriatic acid or bleach without causing discoloration.

-Shade (not in direct sunlight)

Can use chlorine bleach, muriatic acid, vinegar, tile grout cleaner, other natural cleaners.

 

5. Slate Tile

-Direct sunlight

-Use vinegar, muriatic acid only if extremely dirty, otherwise can use bleach diluted in water 50/50 and rinsed off well after being used.

If using muriatic acid never pour full strength down a drain as it will corrode metal pipes and cause problems wherever else it finds its way so be sure how to dilute muriatic acid before using it.

As long as the directions on how to dilute muriatic acid are followed, muriatic acid is a powerful tool for cleaning clean vinyl tiles of calcium/lime buildup and removing rust stains from cement tiles (it won’t work on colored grout).

-Shade (not in direct sunlight)

Can use chlorine bleach, muriatic acid, vinegar, tile grout cleaner, other natural cleaners.

After the tiles have been cleaned using the products you bought from a pool or hardware store that were recommended by a professional pool cleaning company or if you used one of the products we discussed how to dilute earlier on this article then it is important to know how to properly rinse them off so they stay clean and do not turn yellow again. To avoid having to replace your tiles at any point due to discoloration caused by either lime/calcium buildup or rust stains being left behind after cleaning, make sure they’ve been rinsed off properly.

6. Stone Tile

-Direct sunlight

-Use vinegar diluted in water 50/50 and rinsed off well after being used, bleach diluted in water 50/50 and rinsed off well after being used, or diluted muriatic acid.

Remember to dilute muriatic acid, which is always a 1:10 ratio compared to how much pool water you’re working with, but we recommend consulting with a local pool cleaning company for the best method).

If using vinegar or bleach diluted 50/50, remember that both will cause discoloration over time as well as muriatic acid (although vinegar is less so than bleach) if not rinsed off properly after being used.

It’s important to remember how much each type of tile can take before causing damage because too much will make it look less attractive and harder to keep clean.

– Shade (not in direct sunlight)

Can use chlorine bleach, muriatic acid if extremely dirty, vinegar diluted in water 50/50 and rinsed off well after being used, tile grout cleaner, other natural cleaners.

If the seams between the tiles have been sealed then how how how to seal a pool or how to change a salt cell can be bought from a pool store/manufacturer. If not sealed properly it will add an extra step to clean your swimming pool by having to remove mud from the cracks of the tiles before cleaning them separately from the rest of the tiles. You can also use whatever product was used to seal them when you initially sealed them yourself if that’s something you did (if you didn’t there is no reason how how how to repair a swimming pool would use muriatic acid, vinegar, tile grout cleaner, other natural cleaners.

 

Conclusion

There are many different chemicals you can use to clean the tiles in a swimming pool, but it is important that what works for one type of tile may not work on another.

In this blog post, we’ve covered how to properly care for five types of tiles and how often they should be cleaned.

If your goal is just general pool maintenance or cleaning light grout lines without discoloring them, try using vinegar diluted 50/50 with water or chlorine bleach diluted 50/50 with water.

However, if dealing with stains from rust or calcium buildup as well as heavy soiling from algae and mold growth then muriatic acid will be necessary.

 

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