Here's How You Should Really Be Storing Your Winter Pool Cover This Summer

At the first hint of summer weather, the temptation for most backyard pool owners is to fling the cover off the pool as fast as possible and dive in. Take a minute, though, to think about how you plan to store your winter pool cover during the summer swimming season.The last thing you want is to crumple up the cover in a corner of the yard all summer and forget about it, only to discover it's dirty, moldy, and generally gross when it's time to place it over the pool again.

Improperly storing your winter pool cover could even lead to damage that forces you to shell out money for another cover. River Pools and Spas estimates a replacement tarp cover costs $75 to $225, while a solid vinyl cover costs $1,200 to $3,000. A few months down the road, when swimming season is over and it's time to winterize the pool, you'll be glad you took the time to store your winter pool cover properly.

First, though, you need to properly remove and clean the pool cover.

How to clean the pool cover before storing it

First off, you'll want to pull the winter cover off the pool carefully. After all, the pool cover catches debris and leaves all winter, keeping them out of the water underneath. All-Safe Pool Fence & Covers recommends folding the cover over itself accordion style to keep the debris inside the cover and out of the water during removal. If your pool cover includes anchors and springs to hold it in place with tension, always move these out of the way before removing the cover. These items can snag and tear the cover.

With the cover off, spread it out flat in the yard and use a broom to sweep dry debris away. Then use a garden hose and sprayer to rinse the cover. After adding water, use the broom or a cleaning brush to gently scrub any areas with stubborn dirt and grime. After loosening the grime, rinse it away.

Leave the cover in the sun for a few hours until it dries. You don't want to store it wet, or you could end up with mold and mildew forming on the material. After one side dries, flip the cover over and rinse it before allowing it to dry.

How to store your pool cover

After drying the cover, it's ready for storage. The best option is to fold the cover like you'd fold a large tarp. Fold it in half over and over until it is a size that you can store. Some covers ship with a mesh or vinyl protective bag with a zipper. Slide the folded-up cover into the bag and close the zipper. Then you can hangĀ it in a garage or shed. Try to avoid storing the bag directly on the ground where moisture could penetrate the bag's material.

A more secure option is storing the cover in a hard plastic bin with a tight cover. This bin keeps moisture away from the cover, while also thwarting rodents and insects. Such pests may try to make a nest in the cover, especially if it has any remaining moisture at the time of storage. You also could try rolling it tightly if you have a tall shed or garage area where you can store it vertically. Use a section of PVC pipe to serve as the core if you want to roll it.