Paddling Pools: Everything You Need To Know

As the summer draws near and the warmer weather starts rearing its head, children far and wide begin longing for days spent in their swimming gear, splashing in the back garden – much to the dismay of parents who spend all day mopping soggy footprints and mourning the loss of formally a luscious lawn which has now become waterlogged and forlorn.

 A small price to pay for the joy your tykes receive as they turn your garden into their personal waterpark.  

Although a paddling pool in your garden can be a fun addition for all the family to enjoy, here are a few handy pointers regarding paddling pool care and water safety in the home that pay dividends to know about. 

Table of Contents: 

How to blow up a paddling pool

How to clean a paddling pool

How to choose the perfect paddling pool

How to blow up a paddling pool

The easiest and most time-efficient way to inflate a paddling pool is with an air pump, which attaches to the valve of the pool and fills it with ease. Alternatively, there are ways to blow up a paddling pool if you don’t have an air pump available. Depending on the pool size, they can be inflated manually by simply blowing into the valve – however, this would only work for smaller pools and inflatable play centres.

How to find a puncture in a paddling pool 

Nothing spoils the fun more than spending all that time blowing up and filling the pool, only to return and find it deflated and nigh on empty. The good news is there are ways to detect punctures in your paddling pool so you can fix them and set the kids away splashing in no time. 

Using plastic wrap to find punctures

Plastic wrap or cling film is one way to seek out holes in your pool’s rim. To use this method, inflate the pool as much as you can, rip off a good-sized sheet of cling film, and wet it so it can cling easily to the edge of the pool. An air bubble will form under the clingfilm if there is a hole. Continue this process until you find the puncture, and make sure to check the underside of the rim, as sneaky punctures can often be hidden here. 

Using dish soap to find punctures 

Another tried and tested method for identifying punctures in paddling pools is using dish soap. Simply lather dish soap on your hands and rub it on the inflated ring of the pool. When you hit a hole, the air will blow bubbles in the soap. 

How to clean a paddling pool

Although spending those summer days when it’s too hot to do anything else splashing around in the pool is brilliant fun, paddling pools can get dirty quickly. Muddy feet dragging in grass and leaves, sun cream sticking to the sides, and even algae forming after a few days in the garden can leave a paddling pool looking dirty. So how exactly do you keep a paddling pool clean and ready to use?

There are many ways to clean your paddling pool and keep it clean whilst it’s in use. However, you should always read the box to ensure you’re not advised against using specific methods and products as they may damage your pool. It should also be noted that some of these suggestions will be more suited to cleaning large pools and some to smaller paddling pools and inflatable play centres. 

1. Drain and refill your pool to keep it clean.

If you have a small, toddler-sized pool, draining it after each use is the easiest method to keep it clean and safe. 

Since they’re small, they aren’t typically filled with gallons of water, making them easy to empty and refill as needed. If you’re concerned about water waste, there are ways to recycle the spent water. Some use it to care for plants as it usually contains nothing harmful, so it’s safe to use without damaging or killing them. 

Once the water is removed, simply wipe down the sides of the pool with a clean cloth and turn it upside down to drain it further. When it comes time to reuse it, give it another wipe down with a cloth and some antibacterial cleaner and rinse thoroughly before refilling with clean, fresh water. 

You could follow these steps to clean a larger pool; it would just take longer to drain and refill. You also may be unable to turn a large pool upside down for extra drainage. So before you put it away, wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth to remove  any remaining stagnant water. 

2. Clean the pool with white vinegar and water. 

A simple way to ensure the physical structure of your inflatable paddling pool is clean and safe is to clean it with white vinegar.

White vinegar is a great cleaning agent as it’s non-toxic but removes all the dirt, grime and bacteria that can build up on the surfaces. It’s also colourless, so you don’t have to worry about staining the pool. 

Follow the instructions below to clean your pool with white vinegar: 

  1. Make sure the pool is empty
  2. Wipe the pool with a dry towel or cloth to remove the remaining water.
  3. Mix two parts of white vinegar and two parts of water in a spray bottle or bowl.
  4. If using a spray bottle, spray the mixture all over the pool. If using a bowl, soak a soft cloth in the mixture. 
  5. Wipe the mixture around with a soft cloth – make sure you don’t use a rough sponge, as this may cause damage to the pool.
  6. When you finish cleaning, rinse the pool several times with fresh water to remove all excess residue. 
  7. Wipe the pool dry with a clean towel. 

3. Put a floor sheet or towel down near your pool. 

Dirty feet are one of the main sources of dirt and grime in paddling pools. So, one of the easiest ways to limit this is to put a floor sheet or towel underneath or near the sides of the pool. 

If using a sheet, you should ensure it’s much bigger than the pool and is placed directly underneath it. It will help to prevent mud and grass from entering the pool. Similarly, you can lay a towel down so users can wipe their feet before using the paddling pool.

4. Place a bowl of water near the paddling pool.

Like the previous option, you could place a bowl of clean water near the paddling pool for people to clean off their feet before going for their dip. This will prevent any leaves or blades of grass from ending up in the pool, increasing the time you can leave between draining and refilling. 

5. Use a pool cover to keep your paddling pool clean.

It’s not just the family who litter the water with grass and dirt. Stray leaves and bugs can often find themselves drifting into your paddling pool. So, an easy way to keep them at bay is to pull a cover over your pool when you’re not using it. 

You will need something that will fit snugly on your pool to ensure it won’t come unseated and blow off. Luckily, pool covers come in various sizes and shapes, so you’ll be able to find the perfect fit easily enough. 

6. Use a fishing net to remove debris.

If you don’t have a cover for your pool and are finding leaves, bugs and dirt making unwanted appearances in your pool, a small-sized fishing net is a great solution to this issue. 

You only need to fish out any rubbish and debris you see and dispose of it. You could even make it into an educational, pre-pool party game for your little ones, teaching them about water pollution and how to dispose of their rubbish correctly. 

7. Keep your pool clean using a filter and chlorine.

When it comes to large paddling pools, which are frequently used, they should be cleaned and maintained using a cleaning agent. Since they’re less likely to be drained after each session, there will likely be a lot of visible and unseen dirt floating in the water.

The most effective way of getting rid of this dirt and keeping water-born bacteria and health issues at bay is chlorine. 

Chlorine in tablet form is the most common type used to clean paddling pools at home. However, they can’t be just dropped into the water alone. You must use a filter to disperse the chlorine and treat the water.

Please note that the filter should be removed from the paddling pool before anybody enters, and you should ensure you test the pH balance of the water. If the pH of the water is too high or low, then the pool should not be used. You can purchase pH testing strips to be used at home. 

How often should a paddling pool be cleaned?

Ideally, a small kids’ paddling pool should be emptied and cleaned after each use, regardless of whether the water looks clean. You can repurpose the water if you’re conscious of the waste. 

A medium or large paddling pool should have a chlorine filter, meaning you can go longer between cleans. Although, you should still wipe down the sides, clean your feet before entering, fish out dirt and debris after each use and use a cover when you’re not using the pool. 

Storing a kids’ paddling pool for the winter

When the summer days start to ebb away and the time comes for storing your child’s paddling pool, clean it thoroughly and leave it to air dry. Dry it completely with a clean towel before dismantling it and folding it away. Ensuring the pool is completely dry is a great way to prevent it from growing mould and preventing  any remaining water from freezing and causing punctures during winter.

You should store the pool in its original packaging and keep it in a dry, frost-free area. This way, your kids’ paddling pool is safely stored and will be ready to use when summer rolls back around. 

An indoor ball pit is an alternative to winter use for a small toddler pool. 

How to choose the perfect paddling pool for your kids 

The depth and size of the pool you buy will depend on your children’s age and size. 

If you’re shopping for a pool for a toddler, you’ll need a paddling pool with a depth of 20cm or less. For older kids, the water can come up to their knees or waist; therefore, you can opt for a slightly deeper option. A standard adult paddling pool with a depth of up to 1 metre for teenage kids will be a great choice. Additionally, you should consider the number of children you need to accommodate, as this will come into play when deciding what size paddling pool you need.

Another key factor to consider is the outdoor space you have to play with. It’s important to make sure you have enough space around the pool for you to be able to supervise your children whilst they play. You should also consider the surface the pool will be placed on. If the surface you plan to use is flat and smooth, it will suit any type of pool. However, a rigid base paddling pool would be better when working with rough terrain.

The last point to consider when choosing your perfect paddling pool is aesthetics. Do you want it to fit into a particular theme? Would your kids prefer ball and hoop games or slides? Or you could benefit from a paddling pool with a canopy to shade your kids from harmful UV rays. 

Regardless of what you’re looking for, you’ll find exactly what you need here at Daniel Stores. 

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