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Steps Staining


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#1 openbahr

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 06:06 PM

my steps get an orange-ish stain on them and the pool store sells me a small $30 bottle of hot tub salt which i put in a sock and rub the stain and it
works great but disolves fast. and stain keeps coming back. does anyone have any clue what is causing it?

#2 Seahunt

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 03:36 AM

Could it be yellow or mustard algae?

my steps get an orange-ish stain on them and the pool store sells me a small $30 bottle of hot tub salt which i put in a sock and rub the stain and it
works great but disolves fast. and stain keeps coming back. does anyone have any clue what is causing it?



#3 wsommariva

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 04:56 AM

I have a fiberglass pool. Brownish stains. Asorbic acid (vitamin C) removes them quickly but they come back. I'm told to use a metal sequestering agent, assuming the stains are iron or copper or tannin from trees. I'll try it next week. (apply a maintanance dose of SA every week.)

The products I used: Stainfree (AA); Metalfree, the sequestering agent.

I'm not saying that this will work, but maybe. As Seahunt says, maybe an algae.

#4 openbahr

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:17 AM

Fiberglass pool?


the pool is not fiberglass but the steps are.

I don't think it's an algae as it's not easy to get off that salt is the only
thing that works. Or a magic eraser.

Could it be tannins from a tree? I do have a tree that partially overhangs
the pool.

#5 wsommariva

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 08:02 AM

Hardest part is determining what the stains are from. If they are metals, then you need that sequestering agent. So I'm told. As I stated I'm trying this next week.

#6 openbahr

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 12:54 PM

Hardest part is determining what the stains are from. If they are metals, then you need that sequestering agent. So I'm told. As I stated I'm trying this next week.

any progress yet?

#7 jkusmier

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 08:46 PM

openbahr - do you have a vinyl-lined pool? Are the stains located along the waterline or underwater? If underwater, it is likely a metal stain and you can disregard the rest of this.

If along the waterline, it may well be a scum line caused by sunblock. I have a 3-year old vinyl-lined pool w/ acrylic/thermoplastic steps (an acrylic shell underlaid w/ fiberglass for reinforcement; the upper/exterior surface is acrylic) and have experienced yellowish stains along the waterline in my step section. I find the same thing in my skimmer box - clean plastic is a magnet for oily sunblock residue. I experimented w/ a lot of things (vinyl/tile cleaner, baking soda, sodium bisulphate and muriatic acid) and finally settled on a process of coating the scum line w/ vinyl/tile cleaner, letting it sit for 2-3 minutes, then rubbing (but not scrubbing) w/ a Magic Eraser. The longer the scum line sits, the more time it takes to remove, so I tend to hit it once soon after bathers exit the pool and again a few hours later or the next morning.

Confirm whether the surface of your steps is fiberglass or acrylic. If fiberglass, I would NOT recommend using a Magic Eraser - it will dull and eventually strip the gel coat. No worries about using a Magic Eraser on acrylic, although I avoid scrubbing very hard and cleaning them excessively. The staining doesn't appear as often since I implemented a sunblock rule: no lotions allowed, only waterproof/resistant clear sprays, which must be applied a solid 5 mins before entering the pool. The stuff is like glue, once it dries it tends to last a couple of hours in total immersion. I shudder to think of what the waterline (and my filter media) would look like after a party w/ 10-15 people wearing lotions/oils.

Finally, don't ever use a Magic Eraser on a vinyl liner. A weekly rubdown w/ vinyl cleaner and a sponge is all you need.

#8 openbahr

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 01:51 AM

openbahr - do you have a vinyl-lined pool? Are the stains located along the waterline or underwater? If underwater, it is likely a metal stain and you can disregard the rest of this.

If along the waterline, it may well be a scum line caused by sunblock. I have a 3-year old vinyl-lined pool w/ acrylic/thermoplastic steps (an acrylic shell underlaid w/ fiberglass for reinforcement; the upper/exterior surface is acrylic) and have experienced yellowish stains along the waterline in my step section. I find the same thing in my skimmer box - clean plastic is a magnet for oily sunblock residue. I experimented w/ a lot of things (vinyl/tile cleaner, baking soda, sodium bisulphate and muriatic acid) and finally settled on a process of coating the scum line w/ vinyl/tile cleaner, letting it sit for 2-3 minutes, then rubbing (but not scrubbing) w/ a Magic Eraser. The longer the scum line sits, the more time it takes to remove, so I tend to hit it once soon after bathers exit the pool and again a few hours later or the next morning.

Confirm whether the surface of your steps is fiberglass or acrylic. If fiberglass, I would NOT recommend using a Magic Eraser - it will dull and eventually strip the gel coat. No worries about using a Magic Eraser on acrylic, although I avoid scrubbing very hard and cleaning them excessively. The staining doesn't appear as often since I implemented a sunblock rule: no lotions allowed, only waterproof/resistant clear sprays, which must be applied a solid 5 mins before entering the pool. The stuff is like glue, once it dries it tends to last a couple of hours in total immersion. I shudder to think of what the waterline (and my filter media) would look like after a party w/ 10-15 people wearing lotions/oils.

Finally, don't ever use a Magic Eraser on a vinyl liner. A weekly rubdown w/ vinyl cleaner and a sponge is all you need.


yes, its from the waterline down. all of the steps under water. and the skimmer plastic.
It cant be sunblock anyway because when I opened the pool, it was fine and then within a few days the stains came back. before anyone went in.
if its metals what do I do?
its a rust colored staining.

#9 wsommariva

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 06:15 AM

I have not yet tried the Stainfree/Metalfree treatment as I am taking a short vacation. Once I do, I'll let you know the results. I know the Stainfree(asorbic acid) will remove the stains (probably iron/copper). I am hoping that the Metalfree maintanace treatment will keep them away.

#10 wsommariva

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 06:00 AM

This is what worked for me, what I believe to be iron stains. Stainfree(asorbic acid) followed in one hour by metalfree per instructions.

As maintanance, weekly metalfree but a double dose. Single dose did not keep the stains away for the week.

My iron just tested at .3




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