When most people visualize life in Florida, they envision sunshine 🌞, palm trees 🌴, beaches 🏖, and many other summer related activities. I can't think of a better summertime activity than swimming! (I'm sure most people would agree with that.) And the best part? Summertime in SWFL is practically a year-round season!
Many homes have a built-in pool; some with pool heaters that allow homeowners to swim even in cooler temperatures. A feeling of tranquility takes place when one takes a dip in the pool after a long day 🤽. The feeling of detaching from the hustle and bustle of everyday life is euphoric and ultimately should become an essential part of life. Pool screen enclosures (a.k.a. lanai enclosures or pool cage enclosures) quite often become the main attraction for some homeowners. It becomes the personality and focal point of the residence, a year-round vacation spot of family gatherings 🥳, BBQ cookouts 🌭, hosting parties, or it could be as simple as sitting outside listening to nature while enjoying a hot cup of joe 🍵 in the morning. The selling points are endless!
The Pool Cage Lifestyle is an excellent option for anyone wishing to improve their quality of life. The benefits of having a pool cage enclosure are abundant and substantial. There is the barrier of safety and privacy, adding value to your home. Now, the maintenance of keeping up with the pool cage enclosure comes to mind. So, let me ask you :
- How often would you have to clean your pool if there was no enclosure?
- How much debris would find its way into your pool?
- The Bugs!?!?! The Mosquitoes !?!?! 🦟🦟🦟
- How many citronella candles will you have to purchase on a weekly basis to enjoy your pool experience? 🕯🕯🕯
- Pool scum? Mold? Green gunk build-up?
I think we all can agree that having a pool screen enclosure will make maintenance on the pool itself much easier and is a great investment for your home. But with the substantial benefits comes the responsibilities of maintaining your enclosure, and this is NOT to be understated! Make no mistake, maintaining your pool cage enclosure will require some effort. They are great for fending off debris and bugs 🦟🦟🦟, but not even the tightest woven screens can repel pollen. Mother Nature will always run its course, and over time, pollen accumulation is inevitable. 🤧
To preserve the tranquility the detachment we so desire at the end of a hard day, then a pool screen cleaning must be an essential part of every homeowner's checklist. Dirt, algae, and mildew will start to form and build up on the aluminum railings and screens of your enclosure.
Surface dirt and grime mixed with the aforementioned organic growth are unsightly and, if left uninterrupted, can cause health problems for people with severe allergies, skin rash sensitivities, as well as asthmatic folks. This buildup will turn into a green-yellowish film. This unsightly build-up is what I refer to as the GREEN NASTY. This organic film will stick to your pool screen enclosure and spread as the weeks and months go by.
But, with a little bit of knowledge, elbow grease, and some cash, your pool cage can remain looking fresh all year round. As you read on, we will discuss techniques, different types of detergents, as well as different kinds of equipment needed to keep your tranquil area looking pristine all the time!
So Let's Dive In!
KEEP IT SIMPLE
One of the simplest methods for pool screen cleaning is a basic manual brush and rinse method. What you will need :
- Bucket of warm water
- Small bristle soft brush
- Extension pole (for scrubbing overhead)
- Garden hose
- Garden hose nozzle
- Dish soap
- Chamois towel
Step 1: Dry Brush
You can dry brush the screens to remove or loosen any debris or leaves that are attached. Always scrub with an up-down motion or even side to side. The most important thing is to make sure your strokes are gentle so that the enclosure is not damaged in the process.
Note: Use only a soft bristled brush as a hard bristled brush will snag into the screen and wind up pulling them out of the seams or possibly rip it altogether.
Step 2: Pre-Wet
After you have finished dry brushing the screens it is time to pre-wet your enclosure with your garden hose and nozzle. Soak all the railings and screens thoroughly. Soak it Good!
Step 3: Brush with Soap
Once everything is good and wet, grab a bucket of warm water mixed with dish soap. Use your soft bristled brush and apply the soap to the area you are cleaning using the same aforementioned motions as when you dry brushed it. Allow soapy mixture to dwell for 5-10 minutes.
Step 4: Rinse & Dry
Rinse thoroughly. You can let your enclosure air dry or you can wipe down the railing with a chamois towel.
Repeat Process if Necessary!
This process will ensure your pool screen enclosure looks pristine. I recommend pool screen cleaning twice a year if using this process.
- Using a leaf blower to blow all loose debris off screens and pool deck
- Buy an extended (telescopic) pole to reach the high railings over the pool. You can purchase an extension pole of up to 24' if necessary.
STILL KEEPING IT SIMPLE
The most effective way to remove algae, pollen, or any other organic matter is to use pool shock (a.k.a. bleach). The tropical environment in Florida creates a perfect environment for algae and mold to thrive. So let us discuss how we can use bleach for pool screen cleaning. What you will need:
- Same as above - (in Keeping it Simple)
- Bleach (pool shock, Clorox, chlorine)
- Pair of nitrile gloves
Step 1: Rinse Vegetation
Before you start your pool screen cleaning with bleach be sure to saturate all nearby vegetation (plants, trees, and bushes) with your garden hose nozzle. This process is time consuming but is essential to protect the vegetation from harmful chemicals.
Step 2: Mixing Bleach
(Note: when adding bleach into your bucket make sure you are wearing nitrile gloves to avoid chemical burns on your skin.)
Mix bleach and water into a bucket at a 3:1 ratio (3 parts water, 1 part bleach ). The strength of your mixture can be adjusted by adding more bleach and less water if needed. Also, you can add a few oz. of dish soap as well.
***Disclaimer *** Some dish soaps do not react well with bleach. Please read all labels as they will tell you if they can be used with bleach. Use at your own risk. I prefer to use Gain Liquid Dish Soap.
Adding dish soap serves as a thickening agent and will allow your solution to stay on the surface longer before dripping off.
Step 3: Brush with Solution
You can proceed with your pool screen cleaning in the same manner as we discussed earlier. After applying your solution you will want to let your solution dwell for about 10 minutes or so before rinsing. Do Not Let Your Solution Dry !!! This could adversely affect the railings and cause discoloration if left unrinsed.
Step 4: Saturate Vegetation Again
As you are waiting for the solution to do its magic you should rinse the vegetation again to avoid contamination.
Step 5: Rinse & Dry
Rinse thoroughly. You can let your enclosure air dry or you can wipe down the railings with a chamois towel.
DON'T LIKE BLEACH?
There is a gentler solution you can use when cleaning your enclosure. Aside from bleach, you can use white vinegar and warm water. Vinegar is effective when trying to remove any organic matter.
- You can mix it at a 3:1 ratio (3 parts vinegar 1 part water)
- Apply it to your enclosure with your brush to remove the GREEN NASTY!
- You can rinse the enclosure thoroughly or leave it to air dry. The vinegar solution will leave a residue that hinders organic growth.
- If the smell is bothersome you need not to worry, it will dissipate once it's dry.
Pro Tip :
- nstead of using a bucket, you can apply your bleach solution or vinegar solution with a pump-up sprayer or even a spray bottle. Whatever works best for you. (***just remember to wear your nitrile gloves when using bleach!)
- If you can't find an extension pole you can always use a ladder to help reach the higher railings. As always, use extreme caution!
If using vinegar is not in your wheelhouse, there are garden hose attachment products as well. One of the most popular ones can be found in your local hardware store or at your local supercenter in the garden aisle. These products fall somewhere in between vinegar and bleach, on the strength spectrum. They are very user-friendly, and make a pool screen cleaning, not such a daunting task. The main ingredient in these products is alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride. This ingredient can be found in most household sprays and in anti-bacterial wipes. These products don't contain the harsh chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, or even sodium hydroxide which is the major selling point for these types of products.
My Professional Take:
These products are for preventative maintenance. If you are using this product to eliminate the organic growth that has accumulated over the years then this product is not for you. If your pool cage enclosure is minty fresh then this product is a tool homeowners can use to keep the organic growth at bay. By their own admission, the product description tells you it takes 2-3 months to see results on heavy growth, and you will still need to scrub it off or use a pressure washer. If you are patient and dead set against using bleach, this may be the right product for you.
PRESSURE WASHER TIME
One of the most convenient methods to clean a pool screen enclosure is to use a pressure washer. The high pressure combined with your solution will make cleaning those grimy areas much easier! ( think High railings above the pool). What to do:
- Apply solution to the enclosure. Whether it is bleach or vinegar, you apply it the same.
- Next, follow all guidelines and safety precautions to use your pressure washer in order to rinse off the solution. The combination of high pressure and your solution will break up and remove the GREEN NASTY!
- DO NOT apply pressure onto the seams (this is where the screen meets the railing.) Hitting the seams with constant pressure will indulge in your chances of pulling the seams out or even ripping it altogether. Use the pressure washer wand with caution!
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Wipe off rails with a chamois towel or let air dry.
- If you do not have a pressure washer you can rent one from a local hardware store.
- Also, some pressure washers will allow you to apply your solution through the pressure washer hose, called a downstream method. You will need a black (soap) tip to put on your pressure washer gun to apply your solution. Ask the associate for a pressure washer with a downstream attachment.
CALL A HIRED GUN
When all else fails and you still can't get your pool cage to shine, that means it's time to call a hired gun! If you do not have the time and your in-laws will be at your doorstep in days, while there's a ton of other things to do, then you might want to call a reputable professional pressure washing company.
Before & After!
There are plenty of risks too, if you decide to pressure wash a pool screen enclosure on your own.
- Damage to Enclosure
- Hurting Yourself - Let's Face It! Homeowners have very limited experience using a pressure washer or none at all. This lack of experience leaves you open to bodily harm.
To avoid these risks, hire an expert who has the experience and professional equipment to clean your pool cage safely and efficiently. There is a profound difference between the pressure washers you purchase at a local hardware store from the ones professionals use. The experience of a professional can never be overstated. There are the "know-how" of when and where to hit certain spots with as much as 4000 PSI, at a premium!
PDUBBZ POW-R-KLEEN are fully trained and have the knowledge and experience to make your pool screen cleaning project a piece of cake.
PDUBBZ POW-R-KLEEN service areas that extend from North Port to Punta Gorda, and to Lakewood Ranch to Siesta Key.