How to Get Leaves out of Your Swimming Pool

Leaves floating on pool water

Nick Daly/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Many times we have heard the complaint that it takes too long to scoop out the leaves from the swimming pool. Upon investigation, we find that the swim pool owner is using a leaf skimmer to scoop out the leaves. No wonder it takes the pool owner so long! There are three simple things you can do to speed up the removal of leaves from your swimming pool.

Leaf Rake

First, use a leaf rake.  A leaf rake is like a leaf skimmer but has a deep bag-like net instead of a flat net. This allows it to hold much more leaves with each scoop. Also, a leaf rake allows the water to pass through much easier when it has leaves in it than a leaf skimmer does, thereby preventing the water wave you can get in front of a leaf skimmer pushing the leaves away from it. The leaf rake is also much easier to use when scooping leaves from the bottom. When scooping the bottom, extend your pole out as far as you can, face the leaf rake back towards you, and pull towards you. This will scoop up the leaves as you pull.

Tips for choosing a leaf rake: READ REVIEWS! If you don't want to replace your leaf rake every season, or every other week, read the reviews before you buy. Yes, a good price is attractive, but not if the rake is cheap. Read online consumer reviews, ask your pool professional, and make sure your new rake comes with a warranty that meets your needs. 

Leaf Eater

Another great device for lifting leaves off the bottom is the leaf eater. The leaf eater has jets in it that force water through its deep net bag, creating a suction that will lift debris off the bottom of the pool and into the bag. The jets are powered by water from your garden hose or the booster pump of your automatic pool cleaner. The jets will actually "pack in" the leaves, thereby holding a tremendous amount of debris before it needs dumping. The leaf eater comes in two versions: the wheeled model for concrete pools, and the brush model for vinyl pools. We would suggest using the wheeled model for all types of pools because the brushes on the brush model tend to push a lot of leaves away from it.

Prevention Is Key

The best way to keep leaves out of your pool in the first place is to empty your skimmer basket(s) as often as needed. Rather than letting the skimmer basket fill up, choking off the skimming action, dump the basket as often as it needs it. This may be several times a day, but this is still a lot easier than getting leaves off the bottom. If you have your swimming pool pump on a timer, you may want to run it longer so that the skimmer(s) are working longer.


When buying leaf cleaning products, compare prices, read reviews, and verify warranty coverage. When buying pool products, it is best to make purchases with your credit card when you can so you can benefit from extended warranty services, easy returns, and in some cases, money back if your item goes on sale within weeks of making your purchase. Warranties are important, as well as replacement parts. Don't buy cheap products online that you can't replace or find replacement parts for here in the US.

If you constantly experience leaf problems with your pool, consider investing in a pool cover to keep the leaves under control when you are not swimming. If you do tackle your leaf issue with a leaf rake, make sure you don't scratch or pierce the liner if your pool requires one. Get the leaves out and keep swimming!

Updated by Dr. John Mullen