How to remove copper stains from pool

Copper stains in your pool can be a real eyesore, transforming a refreshing oasis into an unappealing sight. These stubborn stains not only detract from your pool’s aesthetic appeal, but can also be challenging to remove. Fear not, pool owners! This comprehensive guide will equip you with effective strategies to eliminate copper stains, restoring your pool to its sparkling glory. From identifying the root cause to exploring various removal methods, we’ve got you covered. Bid farewell to those pesky stains and reclaim your pool’s pristine beauty.

remove copper stains from pool

The Copper Stains

Before diving into the removal process, it’s essential to understand the nature of copper stains and their origins. Copper stains can arise from various sources, including corroding copper pipes, pool equipment containing copper components, or even environmental factors like decaying vegetation or well water high in copper content. These stains often manifest as blue-green or brown discolorations on the pool surface, tiles, and other areas exposed to water.

Common Sources of Copper Stains

  • Copper Plumbing: Older homes or buildings may have copper pipes that can corrode over time, introducing copper into the pool water.
  • Pool Equipment: Some pool equipment, such as heat exchangers, pumps, and filters, may contain copper components that can leach into the water.
  • Well Water: If your pool is filled with well water, it may contain high levels of copper, leading to staining.
  • Decaying Vegetation: Decomposing leaves, twigs, or other organic matter can release copper ions into the water.

Identifying the Source

The first step in tackling copper stains is identifying their source. Inspect your pool’s plumbing system, equipment, and surrounding environment for any potential sources of copper contamination. Look for signs of corrosion, discoloration, or leaks. If you suspect your water supply is the culprit, consider having it tested for copper levels. Addressing the root cause is crucial to prevent future staining and ensure long-lasting results.

Chemical Methods for Copper Stain Removal

1. Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) Treatment

One of the most effective chemical methods for removing copper stains is ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C. This natural acid acts as a chelating agent, binding to the copper ions and helping to lift them from the surface. Here’s how to use it:

Materials Needed:

  • Ascorbic acid powder or tablets (e.g., Pool Rx Vitamin C Stain Remover)
  • Chlorine test kit
  • Pool brush or scrub pad


  1. Test the pool water for chlorine levels and adjust as necessary.
  2. Dissolve the recommended amount of ascorbic acid (follow product instructions) in a bucket of pool water.
  3. Apply the ascorbic acid solution directly to the stained areas using a pool brush or scrub pad.
  4. Allow the solution to sit for several hours or overnight, depending on the severity of the stains.
  5. Brush the area again to agitate the solution and help dislodge the stains.
  6. Vacuum or skim the pool to remove any loosened debris.

2. Muriatic Acid Treatment

Muriatic acid, also known as hydrochloric acid, is a powerful chemical that can effectively remove copper stains. However, it should be handled with extreme caution and proper safety precautions.

Materials Needed:

  • Muriatic acid (e.g., Muriatic Acid for Pools)
  • Protective gear (gloves, goggles, and respirator)
  • Pool brush or scrub pad


  1. Read and follow all safety instructions on the muriatic acid label.
  2. Dilute the muriatic acid according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  3. Apply the diluted solution directly to the stained areas using a pool brush or scrub pad.
  4. Allow the solution to sit for several minutes, but do not let it dry completely.
  5. Brush the area vigorously to dislodge the stains.
  6. Thoroughly rinse the area with clean water to remove any remaining acid.
  7. Test and adjust the pool’s pH levels as needed.

Safety Precautions:

  • Wear protective gear at all times when handling muriatic acid.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Avoid inhaling fumes or getting the acid on skin or eyes.
  • Have a neutralizing agent (baking soda or soda ash) on hand in case of spills.

Additional Chemical Options

  • Stain Removal Products: Consider using specialized stain removal products designed for pool applications, such as Jack’s Magic Stain Remover or United Chemical Stain Tec. These products often contain a combination of acids, chelating agents, and surfactants to effectively remove various types of stains, including copper.
  • Enzyme Treatments: Enzyme-based products, such as Natural Chemistry Pool Stain Remover, can help break down and remove organic stains, which may contribute to copper staining.

Mechanical Methods for Copper Stain Removal

1. Abrasive Cleaning

For stubborn copper stains that resist chemical treatments, abrasive cleaning can be an effective solution. However, exercise caution as excessive abrasion can damage the pool surface.

Materials Needed:

  • Abrasive cleaning pads or pumice stone (e.g., Scrub Pads for Pools)
  • Pool brush or scrub pad


  1. Wet the stained area with pool water.
  2. Gently rub the abrasive pad or pumice stone over the stained surface in a circular motion.
  3. Apply moderate pressure, but avoid excessive scrubbing that could scratch or damage the surface.
  4. Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water to remove any loosened debris.
  5. Repeat the process as needed until the stain is removed.

2. Acid Washing

Acid washing is a more aggressive approach that should be considered a last resort for severe copper stains that resist other methods. This process involves using a strong acid solution to etch the stained surface.

Materials Needed:

  • Muriatic acid or sulfamic acid (e.g., Acid Magic for Pools)
  • Protective gear (gloves, goggles, and respirator)
  • Acid-resistant brushes or scrub pads


  1. Carefully read and follow all safety instructions and guidelines for acid washing.
  2. Prepare the acid solution according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  3. Apply the acid solution to the stained areas using an acid-resistant brush or scrub pad.
  4. Allow the solution to sit for the recommended time, but do not let it dry completely.
  5. Brush the area vigorously to dislodge the stains.
  6. Thoroughly rinse the area with clean water to remove any remaining acid.
  7. Test and adjust the pool’s pH levels as needed.

Note: Acid washing should only be performed by experienced professionals due to the potential risks involved.

Prevention and Maintenance

While removing copper stains can be a challenging task, preventing their occurrence in the first place is the ultimate goal. Here are some tips to help keep your pool free from copper stains:

1. Regular Pool Maintenance

Maintain proper water chemistry by testing and adjusting pH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels regularly. This helps prevent conditions that can lead to copper corrosion and staining. Consider investing in a reliable water testing kit, such as the Taylor K-2006 Test Kit, to accurately monitor your pool’s water chemistry.

2. Inspect Equipment and Plumbing

Periodically inspect your pool equipment, pipes, and fittings for signs of corrosion or damage that could introduce copper into the water. Replace any corroded components promptly. Consider upgrading to non-metallic or corrosion-resistant equipment, like the Hayward Perflex Extended Cycle Pump, which features a corrosion-proof housing.

3. Use Stain Preventers

Consider using copper stain preventers or chelating agents designed for pool maintenance. These products can help bind and sequester copper ions, preventing them from causing stains. Popular options include Natural Chemistry Stain Preventer and Jack’s Magic Stain Preventer.

4. Install a Metal Removing Filter

Invest in a high-quality filter system specifically designed to remove metals, including copper, from your pool water. These filters can significantly reduce the risk of copper stains. Consider the Pura-Matic Pool Filter System, which features a specialized media cartridge for removing metals and other contaminants.

5. Shock Treatment

Regularly shock your pool with an appropriate oxidizing agent, such as chlorine or potassium monopersulfate. This process helps break down and remove contaminants, including copper, from the water. Use a quality shock treatment product like Shock Plus or Sustain Shock Treatment to maintain a clean and balanced pool environment.


Copper stains can be a frustrating challenge for pool owners, but with the right approach and perseverance, they can be effectively removed. By understanding the root cause, employing chemical or mechanical methods, and implementing preventive measures, you can maintain a crystal-clear pool that invites relaxation and enjoyment. Remember, addressing copper stains promptly is key to avoiding further discoloration and ensuring a pristine swimming environment. Embrace these strategies, and bid farewell to unsightly copper stains once and for all.

Sharing Is Caring:

As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.

Leave a Comment