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How to Clean Your Pool Floats or Toys

In Ask the Pool Experts by Swimming Pool Expert

Adding a few (or lots) of fantastic pool floats to accompany you and your friends in a pool is exciting.  Inflatable floats can liven up your water fun and add to the summer experience, remember your pool needs regular cleaning and maintenance – and so do your floats.

Not sure how to clean your inflatable floats?  We are here to help.  We will walk you through everything you need to know to clean your floats – the right way.

A Guide to Cleaning Pool Floats

Before you clean your pool floats, inspect them thoroughly.  You should replace them if it has any problems or unrepairable damage.  However, use your best judgment!  Your inflatable floats have been hibernating for many months and may need a thorough cleaning to come back to life.

Follow these simple steps to clean your floats:

Deflating the Float

It’s not a piece of cake to clean an inflated float.  The curves and folds of the float make it challenging to clean the whole thing properly.  So, deflate your float to make your life a little easier.

Cleaning the Float 

We prefer to avoid harsh chemicals as much as possible, so our methods below do not contain bleach or other harsh chemicals.

Before we get to the actual cleaning methods, you should first understand the three necessary steps:

  • Remove all excess water from the drained float.
  • Brush the float with the cleaning agent (as described in the methods below).
  • Dry the float completely

These are the best methods for cleaning your float after it is deflated:

Method 1: Soap Solution

It would be best to have a little soap (dishwashing liquid is enough), a sponge, warm water, and a cup. First, mix one-part soap and three parts warm water to make a solution in a cup.  Dip your dry sponge into the solution and start scrubbing the surface of your float.  You can remove all those pesky dirt stains with a bit of diligence, leaving your inflatable looking like new again. Use a garden hose or bucket to hose down the soaped boat with clean water, and then let it dry in the sun.

Method 2: Vinegar

Vinegar is not just helpful in the kitchen – it’s also an excellent natural cleaner and disinfectant, as its main ingredient is acetic acid.  The acidic nature of vinegar is so strong that it can dissolve dirt, grease, grime, and even bacteria.  Use white vinegar, clean water, a sponge, and a 16-ounce spray bottle.  First, mix one-part white vinegar and two parts of clean water in a spray bottle.  Spray your inflatable boat with the solution and scrub off the dirt with your sponge.  Then rinse your inflatable boat with a hose and dry it.

Method 3: Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural cleaning agent because it is a mild alkali and can easily dissolve dirt and algae in the water.  It deodorizes by converting acidic and alkaline odor molecules into a neutral, odor-free state; baking soda solution is better for cleaning your favorite swim gear!  You’ll need baking soda, warm water, a sponge, and a bucket.  Start the process by mixing about 1 quart of warm water with ¼ cup of baking soda.  Soak your sponge in the solution and begin scrubbing the surface of your float.  (If your float is small, it is better to submerge the entire item in the solution for maximum cleaning action). Once you have sufficiently scrubbed the surface, rinse it with a hose and place the float in the sun to dry.

Pool Float FAQ

How Often Should Pool Floats be Cleaned?

It is better to clean them after every use.  Once the floats get old and dirty, it’s much harder to clean them.  After each use, remove the water from your float and rinse it with fresh water.  At the end of the swim season, clean all your pool toys thoroughly, and let them dry thoroughly before putting them away.

What is the Best Way to Store Pool Floats?

Water damage can cause wear and tear to a pool float.  Before storing them away, make sure that they are completely dry.   Also, be careful not to store your pool floats outdoors or in freezing temperatures – they could break in the cold once folded up.

Should you Have Adequate Storage Space for Pool Floats?

Definitely yes!  As a pool owner, you must have adequate storage space for your floats, especially in areas that have harsh weather conditions during the summer months.  You need to make sure your floats do not blow away or get damaged.  After cleaning, store your floats in a locked, dry place until you need to use them again.  We already know how harmful UV rays are to our skin, but did you know they are harmful to floats?    Make sure you do not leave any pool floats out in the sun for days.

Why Does the Sun Cause an Inflatable to Lose Air?

Elementary, my friends!  Elementary science teaches us that air expands when it is warm and contracts when it is cold.  So, if you leave an inflatable in the hot summer sun may appear fully inflated.  However, it will have lost some pressure after being in the cool air overnight.  Use your air pump to quickly re-inflate your floats. 

Where is a Good Area to Store a Pool Float?

After using your float, we recommend deflating it, drying it, and storing it in a cool, dry place.  If you inflate your float overnight, it’s not a disaster, but we recommend you do not keep it in direct sunlight for an extended time so your float can last a few seasons!

Many fantastic floats like the Unicorn and Pink Banana Tube Float add fun to any pool party when it comes to swimming in the pool.  Remember that the items you use in the pool need to be appropriately cared for to increase their longevity.