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How to Clean Stainless Steel Pool Ladders

How to Clean Stainless Steel Pool Ladders

Although stainless steel pool ladders are rust and corrosion-resistant, a harsh pool environment can cause them to corrode.

Pools are regularly sanitized with chlorine and bromine substances, making stainless steel metals prone to rusting or staining. As such, you should learn how to clean stainless steel pool ladders for routine maintenance.

Especially for indoor pools, staining of pool ladder rails and steps will occur due to high moisture in the house. To protect your stainless steel ladders from corroding and protect yourself from health hazards, regular cleaning and maintenance using appropriate methods is the key.

Other several factors contribute to the rate of corrosion in stainless steel pool ladders, such as;

  • Outdoor pools
  • Coastal area pools
  • Sanitizing products used.

Depending on your location, you’ll have to decide on how to carry out regular maintenance to protect your pool ladders.

Understanding Stainless Steel Pool Ladders

Regular steel is manufactured by combining iron with carbon. As that’s the case, the metal is prone to rust and corrosion if oxidized. When oxidized, it forms a ferric oxide, the red-brown color we normally see.

On the other hand, stainless steel is different because it’s reinforced with around 30% chromium. Additionally, nickel and manganese can be added. Chromium is more resistant to rust and corrosion, but chlorine and trihalomethane substances added to pools for sanitization eventually corrode it with time.

The worst happens to indoor pool ladders, as earlier discussed when these pollutants get into the air. They combine with high moisture, which later condenses on the metal surfaces. With time, the stainless steel thin chromium layer weakens.

Read: Monthly ladder inspection checklist

How to Clean Stainless Steel Pool Ladders

To avoid rust and corrosion, you should regularly clean your stainless steel pool ladders. But first, you should remove the ladder from the pool for easy cleaning.

Removing Stainless Steel Pool Ladder for Cleaning

The ladders are usually wedged in sockets known as deck anchors. Carry out the following procedure to remove;

Step 1: Raise the escutcheon plates to see the mounting bolts on the deck anchors.

Step 2: Use a wrench to unscrew the bolts from the socket.

Step 3: Raise the ladder up to disconnect from the sockets and take it out for cleaning

Step 4: If stuck, use a rubber mallet to bang and free it. This happens if some rust has started to build up.

Step 5: If the ladder still cannot come out, use a car jack to push it upwards by applying force. Make sure not to jerk hard and bend the ladder rails.

Regular Cleaning of the Stainless Steel Pool Ladders

You should regularly clean the ladders daily and weekly, depending on how regularly you use the pool. Additionally, you should learn how to clean pool ladder steps to avoid sliding.

  • Soft cloth
  • Freshwater (not from the pool)

Procedure For Daily Cleaning

Step 1: Use a clean, soft cloth to scrub the stainless steel pool ladder parts.

Step 2: Rinse with fresh water.

Procedure For Weekly Cleaning


  • Soft cloth
  • Warm water
  •  DHC mild soap
  •  Car paint wax

Step 1: Dampen the soft cloth with warm water and apply some soap.

Step 2: Gently scrub the ladder rails and steps until they shine.

Step 3: Rinse the ladder with fresh water and thoroughly dry it.

Step 4: Apply car paintwork wax using a clean cloth and buff it for the metal to shine.

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Cleaning the Rust and Staining

If your ladder is stained, you’ll have to use other complex methods, unlike regular cleaning. Take a look at the methods;

Using Powdered Cleanser


  • Scotch-Brite heavy-duty pad
  • Freshwater
  • Powdered cleanser
  • Soft cloth
  • Car paint wax


Step 1: Wet the pad with fresh water and apply a powdered cleanser.

Step 2: Gently scrub the stained areas in one direction.

Step 3: Rinse your ladder with fresh water and thoroughly dry it using a soft cloth.

Step 4: Apply car paint wax and buff it to shine using a clean, soft cloth.

Using Naval Jelly


  •  Plastic scouring pad
  • Freshwater
  •  Naval jelly
  • Car paint wax
  • Soft cloth


Step 1: Apply naval jelly on the plastic scouring pad.

Step 2: Gently scrub the stained areas.

Step 3: Rinse with fresh water to remove stained residues.

Step 4: Dry the ladder with a soft clean cloth.

Step 5: Apply wax and buff it to shine using a clean, soft cloth.

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Using Baking Soda and Powdered Cleanse

If your ladder is highly stuffed with stubborn stains, use baking soda and powdered cleanser.


  •  Baking soda
  • Powdered cleanser
  • Mixing container
  • Freshwater
  •  Nylon scrubber
  • Soft cloth
  • Car paint wax


Step 1: Add a cup of baking soda and a cup of powdered cleanser into the mixing container.

Step 2: Add some water and stir until it turns into a thick paste.

Step 3: Coat the ladder surface with the paste and scrub using the nylon scrubber.

Step 4: Use a hose pipe to rinse the ladder. If the dark spots are visible, repeat the process until clean.

Step 5: Dry the ladder using a clean, soft cloth and apply wax in circular motions.

Step 6: Buff the wax with a clean cloth and allow it to dry for 30 minutes.

Things to Avoid While Cleaning Stainless Steel Pool Ladders

  • Don’t use steel wool or sandpaper.
  • Avoid mineral acids, bleaches, and chlorine cleansers.
  • Don’t add chlorine to the pool near the pool ladder.

Pool ladder for heavy person

FAQs on Cleaning Stainless Steel Pool Ladders

How Do You Clean an Above Ground Pool Ladder?

Above ground pool ladder can be easily cleaned with a nylon brush, mild soap, and freshwater. Ensure you don’t use pool water.

How Do I Get Algae Off My Pool Ladder?

You can remove around 90% of the algae by using water and scrubbing. But in other cases, you may need an algaecide for effective treatment.

How Do You Remove Stains from Pool Steps?

Use rubber gloves to protect your hands and rub chlorine tablets against the stairs with a tile scrubber.

Note that it may take some minutes to shine clearly. How to clean stainless steel ladders is a simple exercise to learn. Use the above tips for pool hygiene.

References and Citations:

Health and Safety Executive (HSE): Stress corrosion cracking of stainless steels in swimming pool buildings-

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