“Shower before entering the water.” Every aquatic park around the nation has that sign because they’re trying to keep their water attractions free of oils. While normally one would think suntan oil and water parks would go hand-in-hand, it’s more like a case of oil and water not mixing with pool maintenance.
Prevent the Gunk
Suntan lotions are normally oil-based. When those oils get in the water, they prove almost impossible to get out of the filter system. Once bonded with the filter material, it’s there to stay.
It’s no different for the pool in your backyard. Even if you employ a strict shower-before policy, you’re going to end up with oils in your pool. Black gunk will begin to accumulate in certain trouble spots like the skimmer, the filter and filter hardware. It can be a pain to remove, and also affects the functioning of your filter.
The good news is there are a number of ways to help your water and filter system remain oil-free. First, follow the same rules as the theme parks.
- Shower before jumping in the pool, just as a precaution and to remove some of the body’s natural oils as well.
- If suntan oil is applied, it should be rubbed in completely so there’s no white residue on the skin, and also allowed to soak in as per the products’ directions.
Most of the black stuff that shows up around your pool is the result of guests slathering on the sunscreen and then jumping right in. If that’s what guests using your pool are doing, they’re not only directly contributing to the oily mess around your pool, but they’re also washing off most of the suntan oil they just applied.
Protect Your Pool
If you do have a problem with oily residue or black gunk around your pool, in the filters, etc., there are a number of solutions you can try. One way to treat your pool is use an enzymatic solution. It will go to work immediately, not only on the oils in your pool, but also detergents, dirt and pollen. The enzyme will also help prolong the life of your filter media, even if you run a sand filter. Either way, make sure to clean your filter regularly.
If you’re still unsure as to how to maintain your pool make sure to contact your local pool dealer so they can test and make recommendations on how to best treat and maintain your pool water.
Editor’s note: Originally posted 5/2016 and updated for relevance.
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