Why are my Pool Steps Turning Brown?

As a pool owner, I often wonder why are my pool steps turning brown. Although it can be alarming to see brown patches on the steps, it is actually a common phenomenon, and it is caused by a number of factors.

Moreover, pool steps turn brown mainly when the iron concentration in the pool water becomes too high. Calcium, in hard water areas, comes out of the solution it mixes with the dirt and oils, and after that, it retains itself on steps in a brownish color.

In this article, I’ve put together all the easiest and most popular techniques to overcome this problem. Therefore without further ado, let’s dive straight in.

Remember: Generally speaking; the discoloration is caused by algae growth, a type of bacteria that thrives in warm and moist environments such as swimming pools.

Why are my Pool Steps Turning Brown?

With time your pool steps become stained; therefore, you must know why they are turning brown to avoid them and keep swimming in the best environment.

There can be plenty of reasons behind the brownish color of your dirty and dated pool steps. Let’s have a look at some of the main reasons behind them.

1. Addition of Pool Chemicals with Heavy Components

Sometimes, pool chemicals can contain heavy compounds that cause your pool steps to discolor. The brown steps indicate the presence of Iron in the water, a serious issue that must not be overlooked.

In addition, there is a chance that the water contains Magnesium due to the metal in the well water. One of the simplest solutions to this problem is to purchase a metal removal product. Simply apply it and wait for the results.

2. Algae Accumulation

Algae accumulation is one of the most common reasons that turn the pool steps brown. You can prevent this problem by vacuuming the pool steps manually to remove them quickly.

Then, at that point, check the water balance by utilizing a fluid unit test. The alkalinity and pH level will guarantee your sanitizer will be compelling against the algae. Add the algaecide according to the directions written on the packet so you can do it properly.

Pro Tip: Regularly shock the pool and brush the steps to prevent algae buildup.

3. The Unbalanced pH Level of Water

To make your pool stairs stainless, you have to balance the pH level of your pool; otherwise, it will damage your surface. Notably, it will be dangerous for your pool water when pH levels become low or high. 

However, to make your pool water pH balanced, test the water through a test kit and apply the solution according to your pool pH level.

  • If the pH is too low (acidic), mix a solution of baking soda and water and add it to the water to raise the pH.
  • If the pH is too high (basic), mix a solution of white vinegar and water and add it to the water to lower the pH.

4. Increased Quantity of Zinc and Manganese in the Pool

The metals that can get into your pool include manganese, zinc, Iron, and copper. On the off chance that there are corroded shaded stains in the means, the source is reasonable metal.

Moreover, when stains occur due to a lot of Zinc and Manganese, it becomes difficult to remove them, so call the expert to make your Pool stainless and balanced water.

Pro Tip: Regularly apply a sealant to the steps to protect them from the sun, chlorine, and other elements. This will help keep the pool steps looking new for longer.

How to Clean Pool Steps?

Pools require regular maintenance to look their best and provide a unique environment to spend some hours of your routine. In pool maintenance, steps are the main part of cleaning them. I’ve discussed a complete step-by-step guide to clean your pool steps easily at home.

How to clean pool Steps

Required Supplies

  1. A Scrub Brush
  2. Pool Vacuum
  3. Pool cleaning chemicals
  4. A Sponge
  5. A Hose
  6. A Bucket

1. Remove debris

First, use the pool vacuum to remove any visible debris from the pool steps. Ensure that all leaves, twigs, and dirt are removed.

2. Scrub The Steps

Now with the help of a scrub brush, remove any dirt and grime from the steps. Pay special attention to any corners or crevices that may be difficult to clean because they are often left ignored.

3. Rinse The Steps

After that, use a hose to rinse off the steps. Ensure the water pressure is not too strong, as it could cause damage to the steps.

4. Clean The Stairs With A Sponge

Now it’s time to mix the cleaning solution. Dip a sponge into a bucket of cleaning solution and scrub the steps. Be sure to rinse off the steps with the hose after scrubbing.

5. Apply Cleaning Chemicals

Add the appropriate amount of Pool cleaning chemicals to the pool water. This will help keep the steps clean and free of algae growth.

6. Allow The Steps To Dry

Lastly, give pool stairs steps time to air-dry before using them. This will help prevent any slipping hazards. This way, you can easily clean your pool steps and stop them from getting brown.

Moreover, If you’re having difficulty with any of the steps above, simply watch this video for a more detailed explanation.

Why is my Pool Brown?

Sometimes not only the pool stairs but the whole pool starts appearing brown, what can be the cause of this. Don’t worry; you would not be surprised to hear that they are also due to the same reason, the presence of metal and Magnesium.

If the pool is located near a river or lake, it could be due to the natural runoff of these metals into the pool. Notably, It could also be due to corrosion of the pool’s metal components, such as ladders or pool toys.    

However, more than likely, what your pool have is a metal problem. Metals are mainly copper and Iron in your swimming pool, and you need metal sequestering to solve this problem. Sequestrants don’t remove metals from the water; they hold it in the solution until it can get filtered and back washed out; you want to keep it in the solution.

FAQs: Why are my Pool Steps Turning Brown?

How to Clean Pool Stairs?

Start by brushing the stairs with a stiff-bristled brush to remove dirt and debris. Use a pool vacuum to remove any remaining debris, then rinse the stairs with a garden hose. Finally, use a pool cleaning solution to scrub the stairs and rinse them off with the garden hose again.

How to get Brown Pool Water Clear?

The best way to clear brown pool water is to shock the pool, balance the water chemistry, and vacuum the debris from the bottom of the pool.

Will Baking Soda Remove Iron from Pool Water?

Yes, Baking Soda removes Iron from pool water. Baking Soda is also known as Sodium Bicarbonate; it will raise both the pH and Alkalinity of your pool, improving stability and clarity. It is one of the main active ingredients to remove Iron from pool water.

What Causes Yellow Stains on Pool Steps?

The most common cause of yellow stains on pool steps is Iron and/or manganese in the water. These metals react with chlorine, creating a yellow stain.


The likely cause of your pool steps turning brown is algae growth. Algae thrive in warm, moist environments and can easily spread throughout your pool step surfaces. Algae can also be caused by a lack of chlorine or other sanitizers in your pool, as well as decaying organic matter or high levels of phosphates.

To stop algae growth and restore your pool steps to their original color, you must ensure your pool is properly chlorinated and that the water’s pH is balanced. You may also need to use an algaecide to kill off any existing algae and prevent it from returning.

Notably, Regular pool maintenance is essential to keep your pool clean and safe. Get your pool to keep running in tip-top shape with our guide.