Pool maintenance can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be with a good pool tile cleaner. Even the cleanest of pool water can still accumulate dirt and debris, leaving stains, mineral deposits, and other kinds of scummy buildup on tile surfaces. The best pool tile cleaners incorporate chemical combinations that help break down and remove these deposits, keeping your pool water clean and sparkling clear.
Cleaners for swimming pool tiles come in a variety of types, and some are more effective than others. Pumice stones are a popular option for scrubbing light algae and dirt from tile surfaces, while more industrial-grade solutions can help break down calcium buildup and scale deposits that may be more difficult to remove. Other cleaning methods may include abrasive cleaning tools designed to scrub dirt and grime from tile grout. Below you will find a list of the best pool tile cleaners on the market to help make your pool maintenance easier.
- BEST OVERALL: U.S. Pumice Pool Blok Tile and Concrete Cleaner
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bright Bay Guardian Pool and Tile Cleaner
- BEST ALL-PURPOSE: Wipe Out Super Concentrated Cleaner for Pools
- BEST ULTRA-STRENGTH: Bio-Dex Professional Strength 300 Tile Cleaner
- BEST PREVENTATIVE: EasyCare Products BeauTec Preventative Cleaner
How We Chose the Best Pool Tile Cleaners
To find the best swimming pool tile cleaners, we spent dozens of hours researching the most popular brands and cleaning types on the market. Our initial selection included over a dozen options, from the leading pumice stones to chemicals recommended by pool professionals. We examined experts’ reviews and opinions on the topic of proper pool tile maintenance and also looked at hundreds of user reviews across major brand retailers. We then narrowed down our list to just five of the top models, considering factors like effectiveness, affordability, and application (including not only use in standard chlorine pools but also saltwater ones, as well as cleaners designed for tiles of varying shapes and styles).
Our Top Picks
This list of the best pool tile cleaners on the market represents a range of swimming pool needs. From saltwater-friendly to affordable yet effective cleaners, you can easily select the top option for your specific needs here.
For pool owners who are proactive about maintenance and only occasionally need to spot clean calcium and limescale buildup, a pumice stone is perhaps the best tool for keeping tiles looking new. Made of ground volcanic rock, these stones feature abrasive surfaces that can break apart mineral deposits that might otherwise be difficult to remove. Among the most popular options in this category is the Pool Blok from U.S. Pumice, which works on tile and concrete alike.
One of the benefits of the Original Pool Blok (and similar pumice stones) is how easy it is to use. Just rub the stone against any bits of limescale or calcium buildup and wash away the residue. The Pool Blok is safe to use on most surfaces, including tile, grout, and concrete, and is also chemically neutral, so it won’t affect the pH balance of the water. The block may not last an entire pool’s worth of cleaning, since the volcanic stone breaks down quickly, but it is more effective at removing tough mineral deposits than most chemical solutions on the market.
- Type: Pumice stone
- Best for: Spot treatment of calcium and limescale buildup
- Quantity: 1 stone (5.75 inches long by 2.87 inches wide by 2.87 inches high)
- Great value given affordable price and effectiveness
- Also comes in bulk packages
- Chemically neutral and floats in water, making it easy and safe to use
- Works on a variety of surfaces and deposits, including mineral buildup, limescale, hard water stains, rust, and more
- Volcanic material breaks down quickly, so may not be suitable for large cleaning jobs
- Not recommended for certain surfaces, such as vinyl, acrylic, wood, or chrome
Get the U.S. Pumice pool tile cleaner at Amazon.
Pumice stones are great for spot treatment, but chemical solutions are a better option when it comes to cleaning large swaths of calcium and lime buildup. This Guardian pool and tile cleaner from Bright Bay can be sprayed across any mineral deposits or hard-water lines, allowing it to cover a larger surface area and soak into places where stones can’t reach. It also comes in a gallon container at a reasonable price, making it a better value for pool owners trying to tackle large cleanups.
The Guardian tile cleaner works by dissolving hard calcium deposits and other kinds of buildup, which can then be easily washed away. Heavier levels of buildup may require more applications and scoring the surface beforehand with an abrasive tool can help the product penetrate deeper. The solution can even be used on other surfaces, such as cleaning showers, sinks, windows, and pool decks. It’s also noncorrosive and nontoxic, so it won’t damage tile glaze or grout, nor upset the pH balance of pool water.
- Type: Liquid
- Best for: Large mineral deposits
- Quantity: 1 gallon
- Noncorrosive and nontoxic solution won’t damage tile or affect water chemistry
- Dissolves calcium and scale buildup without needing to scrub it
- Nontoxic solution adheres to Federal BioPreferred standards
- Also works in other cleaning applications, such as tubs and showers
- Not recommended for use on porous concrete tile
- Heavier kinds of buildup may require several applications and some scrubbing
- Gallon container may be overabundant for owners of small pools
Get the Bright Bay pool tile cleaner at Amazon or Walmart.
There’s more to pool maintenance than scrubbing mineral deposits off tile—which is why this Wipe Out super-concentrated cleaner is a worthy alternative to more targeted products on the market. The biodegradable solution can help break down not only mineral deposits and hard-water lines left on tile but also scum, algae, and general grime on other surfaces, such as vinyl liners and chrome ladders. It can even be used to clean other kinds of pool equipment, including patio furniture and solar covers.
Whatever surface it’s used on, Wipe Out’s nontoxic formula ensures that buildup is removed without damaging the material. It might not be as effective at dissolving heavy calcium and limescale buildup as some more concentrated options on the market, but it’s plenty powerful for routine cleanings, especially when used with a brush or sponge. And it comes in a handy spray bottle that makes application a breeze.
- Type: Liquid spray
- Best for: Dirty waterline
- Quantity: 1 quart
- Easy to apply thanks to the convenient spray bottle
- Works on a variety of surfaces, from tile to vinyl and metal to plastic
- Can also be used to remove dirt and grime on a variety of pool equipment surfaces
- Not as strong as more concentrated formulas on the market
- May require scrubbing (brush or sponge not included)
- Limited quantity is not ideal for cleaning large pools
Get the Wipe Out pool tile cleaner at Amazon or Walmart.
Heavy calcium and limescale deposits call for a more powerful cleaner than can be typically found on the market—and few are as powerful as this professional-strength formula from Bio-Dex. Containing hydrochloric and phosphorus acids, the liquid is designed to quickly eat away at any mineral deposits, breaking them down so they can be easily wiped away. It’s the perfect solution for large pools that have been poorly maintained, and even for professional pool technicians who need an industrial-strength cleaner for their day-to-day work.
Because of its powerful chemical formula, it’s important to take precautions when using Bio-Dex’s tile cleaner. That includes wearing gloves and goggles when applying the cleaner as well as potentially draining the pool to avoid the chemistry of the water being affected. Before conducting a complete cleaning, the company also suggests applying a small amount of the formula to test how long it should be left to sit in order to avoid corroding the tile itself.
- Type: Acidic liquid
- Best for: Heavy mineral deposits
- Quantity: 1 quart
- Industrial-strength formula breaks down tough calcium and limescale buildup that other tile cleaners may not be powerful enough to remove
- Works quickly and effectively, making it easy to scrub or wash away the residue
- Effective on all kinds of tile and grout
- Strong enough to tackle large pools with years of mineral buildup
- Safety gear needed to protect skin and eyes from toxic chemicals
- Could corrode tile if left on too long
- Acidic ingredients may upset pH balance of pool water
Get the Bio-Dex pool tile cleaner at Amazon or Walmart.
Many pool tile cleaners on the market will help remove hard-water stains and calcium buildup, but the best way to treat these deposits is to keep them from happening in the first place. That’s where this EasyCare Products BeauTec preventative cleaner shines. Rather than being applied to existing deposits, this cleaner is designed to be added to pool water every month, which helps to prevent buildup before it occurs. One bottle is enough to treat 10,000 gallons of water over the course of 12 months.
Unlike remedial cleaners that may contain harsh chemicals intended to break down mineral deposits, BeauTec prevents scale and stains by controlling the level of hard metals and minerals in the water itself. This includes heavy metals like iron and copper, but also hard minerals like calcium and silicate. At the same time, it doesn’t include any acids or phosphates, so it won’t affect the pH balance of the water. The solution also helps descale and protect salt cell chlorinators, thus making it compatible with saltwater pools.
- Type: Liquid
- Best for: Controlling mineral and metal levels
- Quantity: 1 gallon
- Helps prevent mineral deposits from forming, making pool maintenance easier in the long run
- Acid and phosphate-free formula won’t interfere with pH balance of water
- Helps descale and protect salt cell chlorinators without the need for scrubbing
- Safe for saltwater pools
- Won’t help much in removing existing mineral deposits and hard-water stains
- Some scrubbing may still be required to remove deposits
- Using too much may upset pool water chemistry
Get the EasyCare Products pool tile cleaner at Amazon or Walmart.
Or, DIY Your Own Pool Tile Cleaner
Name-brand cleaners aren’t the only way to keep pool tiles free of gunk and grime. Just like floor or wall tile, pool tiles can be kept spick-and-span with staple products already lying around the home. With the right ingredients and a little elbow grease, these cleaning solutions can fight mineral deposits and hard-water lines—often at a lower cost to the environment and your wallet.
For example, a solution of vinegar and water can work on pool tiles. Simply mix equal parts white vinegar and water. Its mild acidity can help dissolve calcium buildup and grime, which can then be wiped away with a sponge or brush. Another household product with similarly acidic properties is lemon juice, which can be sprayed onto scale or stains without damaging the tile itself. Hydrogen peroxide is a great choice for organic stains and algae. It can be used in varying concentrations depending on the amount of buildup. For especially stubborn deposits that require scrubbing for removal, baking soda is an effective abrasive that’s gentle enough for tile.
What to Consider When Choosing a Pool Tile Cleaner
When shopping for the best pool tile cleaner, it’s important to consider your own particular needs and pool setup. That includes the type of pool tiles (such as ceramic, glass, or stone), the severity of the stains and deposits, and the strength and ingredients in the cleaner itself. Look for products that are effective against your specific cleaning needs, whether it’s algae, mineral deposits, or general grime. You will also want to think about how much maintenance the pool requires and whether the product is suitable for spot treatment or a deeper clean. Also consider whether the cleaner requires any additional tools for the job, such as sponges, brushes, or protective gloves and eyewear.
Mineral Deposit Type
One of the most important factors involved in choosing a pool cleaner is what kind of deposit needs to be removed. While some cleaners are general purpose, many are specifically formulated to tackle certain types of imperfection. Mineral deposits, for example, are some of the most common varieties of buildup. These can include calcium or limescale, which is caused by high levels of calcium carbonate in the water and can appear as a white, chalky deposit on pool tiles. They can also include silica scale, which is the result of high levels of calcium silicate in the water and can be even more difficult to remove.
Pools in areas with hard water can also suffer from heavy metal stains along the edge of the water surface. If the pool water has high copper levels, it can lead to bluish or greenish stains on the tiles. Similarly, high iron levels in the water can result in rusty, brownish stains, while elevated manganese levels can cause dark brown or black stains on tiles. Finally, organic stains and algae can form on tiles in pools with poor filtration or low chlorine levels, though these are often easier to remove than mineral or metal deposits.
Manual vs. Chemical
Beyond mineral deposit type, pool tile cleaners fall into two main categories: manual or chemical. Manual pool tile cleaning involves physical scrubbing or brushing to remove dirt, stains, and deposits from pool tiles. One of the most common examples of a manual pool tile cleaner is the pumice stone, which is made of abrasive volcanic rock that can be scrubbed across mineral buildup to remove it. While pumice stones and other manual cleaners offer greater control over targeting problem areas than chemical cleaners, they can also be more labor-intensive and time-consuming, especially for larger pools and tile surfaces.
Chemical solutions, on the other hand, rely on specially formulated cleaning agents that break down and dissolve mineral deposits, algae, and other contaminants on pool tiles. These chemicals are designed to work with minimal manual effort. While chemical solutions can be highly effective in removing tough stains and mineral scale, they may require careful handling and can introduce chemicals into the pool water, upsetting its pH balance. No matter what kind of pool cleaner you choose, it’s essential to carefully follow manufacturer instructions and safety guidelines.
Types of Pool Tiles
It’s also important to consider the type of pool tile in need of cleaning, as some cleaners work best on specific materials. Ceramic and porcelain are among the most common materials found in pool tiles, and most cleaners are safe to use on them. But more porous materials, such as concrete and certain types of stone, may require specialized care and cleaning.
Tips for Using Pool Tile Cleaners
To ensure maximum effectiveness from pool tile cleaners and minimize any negative impacts, it’s important to follow a few general rules. If it is an industrial-strength or highly concentrated cleaner, be sure to wear protective gloves and even eyeglasses to prevent skin exposure and irritation. For especially heavy kinds of buildup or big cleanup jobs, it may also be worth investing in abrasive tools and brushes to scrub any deposits left over after a chemical cleaner has been applied. Also note that while most cleaners recommended here are nontoxic and chemically neutral, others may contain harsh acids and formulas that can upset the delicate chemistry of pool water, so it may be necessary to drain the pool or part of it before application.
Perhaps the best pool tile cleaning tip is prevention. Because many mineral and metal deposits are the results of imbalances in the chemistry of pool water, the most important thing owners can do to prevent them is to ensure their water remains clean and balanced with regular maintenance. This includes regular manual cleaning of the pool itself as well as treatment of the water with additives designed to control the pH, calcium hardness, and alkalinity levels. Using a filter and a suction pool cleaner can take some of the manual labor out of this process while covering the pool when not in use can shield the water from debris and the elements.
- Choose a cleaner that is designed to treat the kind of deposits in the pool in question.
- Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper use of the cleaner.
- Take preventative measures, including installing a filter and pool cover, to stop deposits from forming on tiles in the first place.
Still wondering how to properly care for your pool tiles? Read on to discover more commonly asked questions about pool tile cleaning and pool maintenance in general.
Q. Do pools need daily maintenance?
Most pools require daily maintenance in order to keep the water clean, clear, and free of debris. But certain practices, including using a pool filter and cover, can take much of the labor out of this maintenance. You could also consider investing in a robotic pool cleaner.
Q. How often should you clean your pool tile?
This depends on the size of the pool and the quality of the water. In areas with hard-water tables, it may be necessary to clean tiles weekly to prevent deposits and stains.
Q. What is the best thing to clean pool tiles with?
The best cleaner depends on the type of tile, mineral deposit, and amount of cleaning in question. Stubborn deposits may call for professional-strength chemical cleaners, while more delicate kinds of tile may require manual cleaning with brushes and specialized abrasive tools.
Q. Can you pressure-wash pool tiles?
Using a pressure washer can be one of the fastest and most convenient ways to remove light dirt and grime from tiles. More stubborn mineral deposits, however, may require chemical treatment and scrubbing.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.