Has Fall Landed in your Pool? Extreme Leaf Removal


Autumn breezes and warm fall days. Beautiful to look at, but if your pool is surrounded by lots of deciduous trees – it can also make a lot of work to keep the pool clean.

I consider myself an expert in pool leaf removal, having personally removed over a million floating and sunken leaves, by my own estimation.

Here’s how to reduce the work, and get the leaves out of your pool with less effort.

Optimize the Skimmer Flow

Adjust the skimmers so that they are pulling at their strongest. You may want to close or nearly close the main drain valve to increase skimmer suction.

weir-2Check to make sure that skimmer weirs? are in place. These help to speed the flow of water into the skimmer, and help to lock leaves inside the skimmer when the pump shuts off.

Skim-It attaches easily to most inground and aboveground pool skimmers, an arm that reaches out and grabs leaves passing by, directing them into the skimmer. One of our best sellers, it can increase your skimmer performance, and the spring loaded design installs or removes in seconds without any tools.

Optimize the Return Flow

A circular flow of water around the pool helps to gently guide floating leaves in front of the skimmer, helping to trap them before they sink.

water-flowUse eyeball fittings, or 90 degree wall fittings on the returns, to direct the water flow from all returns, in the same direction of flow.

Aim the wall fittings slightly towards the surface, to get a small amount of surface action or ripple in the water.

Extreme Leaf Removal Tools


Leaf Gulper: When the leaves are so deep that they are clogging up the vacuum head or you need to empty the basket every 5 minutes, the Leaf Gulper is the answer.

Modeled after the Jandy Leaf Master, it works with the pressure from your garden hose, the better the hose pressure, the better and faster it will vacuum.

leaf-rakes-for-poolsLeaf Rakes: Still using the dip ‘n flip type of pool skim net? For heavy pool leaf problems, there is no tool better suited than a good Leaf Rake. For surface work, you can drag it behind you at the tile line, or use a push and pull method across the pool surface, from side to side.

Leaf Rakes are also great for scooping leaves off of the floor. When you get really good at it, you can move faster than with a Leaf Gulper. Push the net slowly across the floor bouncing just slightly to create a small current. Do a quick flip turn and hard pull back when you reach the end of your pole, or the other side of the pool.

Skimming leaves can put a strain on lower back swivelskim-elitemuscles when the pole is fully extended. Introducing the SwivelSkim Elite, the floating and swiveling leaf rake that removes the force of gravity, and does a quick swivel flip with a flick of the wrist.

Leaf Catchers: Catching the leaves before they fall into the pool – now that’s genius! Leaf catchers are commonly used to go over top of a solid pool cover, and then removed (with all of the leaves) once the leaves have fallen.

leaf-catcher-closeupLeaf Catchers also be used without a cover, as a leaf guard during autumn. Use the grommets in the corners to pull the Leaf Catcher tight over the pool, so that leaves stay dry, and can blow off the cover.

Leaf Canisters: If you are vacuuming a lot of leaves in through the skimmer, you know how quickly the pump basket can fill up. You can use a Skimmer Vac Adapter, and vacuum into the skimmer basket instead, which is much larger.

leaf-canisterFor those really big jobs however, the skimmer basket is even too small. With the Hayward Leaf Canister connected to your vacuum hose, you can vacuum for longer without stopping. The design allows for consistent suction, even when the canister is full of leaves.

Leaf Baskets: Not just any skimmer basket, but a SkimPro skimmer basket with a tower design that allows water flow to continue even when the basket is jammed full.swim-pro-basket

If you’ve ever had a skimmer basket break due to getting clogged with leaves, you’ll appreciate the smart design. The tower also functions as a handy handle to lift the basket out easily, even with strong suction skimmers.

Extreme Leaf Removal Tips

  • Start by skimming around the edge 2-3 times, then move inward.
  • Use a Leaf Gulper or Leaf Rakes to dredge leaves from the floor.
  • Clean off the pool deck with a blower before starting.
  • Place a few tall trash cans on deck to dump leaves.

Pool Stains from Leaves

After correcting a leaf overload problem, plastered pools may be stained from the tannins in the leaves. Balancing the water and shocking the pool will usually remove leaf stains. Extreme leaf stains in a plastered pool may require acid washing to see any real removal success.

Stain Free is an amazing pool stain removerVinyl pools may stain on the steps and ladders more easily than the vinyl. If balancing the pool and raising the chlorine level for a few weeks doesn’t help to remove leaf stains on a vinyl pool, look to Stain Free to remove it naturally, with Vitamin C!

Do you have any horror stories of extreme leaf removal? (I’ve cleaned many pools more than a foot deep in leaves), share with us in the comments below!

Happy Fall!

Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor



Has Fall Landed in your Pool? Extreme Leaf Removal — 2 Comments

  1. I have seen hotel pool guys put a liquid on the surface that forces leaves into a tight circle. He then scoops them all up with one or two basket swipes. What is that liquid?

    • Hi, there are a few brands, but one I know of is jacks’ magic surface magic. Just a few drops, and it lowers surface tension, allowing leaves and debris, even dust – to quickly blow to one side or corner of the pool.

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