As the swim season draws to a close, it’s time to thank your solar blanket for a job well done and put it away for the winter. These covers do a fine job of keeping heat in your pool throughout spring and summer, but we just don’t have any need for them in the winter. If you store them correctly, they’ll last way longer. There are four steps to putting away your solar blanket: clean, dry, fold, and store.
How do you find the space to clean such a huge thing? Driveways are a good option. You can leave most of the cover folded over to the sides and just lay it out a section at a time. You can also do it on the pool deck, as long as you use a cleaning product that won’t affect pool water.
An excellent cleaner choice is a specialty pool product such as Natural Chemistry’s Spray-On Cleaner. It’s a natural enzyme product that doesn’t affect pool chemistry while effectively breaking down contaminants. You just attach the bottle to a garden hose and spray it all over your cover.
Once your cover is clean, it needs a chance to dry on both sides. If it’s put away wet, it could get mildew. Not only does mildew smell and look icky, it’s also very hard to remove and actually weakens the material of your cover.
If you have a leaf blower, you can use it to remove as much water as possible. Then, you could try hanging the cover on a clothesline and flipping it once or twice. You could also try laying it out over a car, boat, patio furniture, or anywhere you can spread it out, really. Wherever you put it, remember to give both sides a chance to dry. Don’t lay it out to dry on grass in the sun – it could burn the grass.
If you don’t store your solar blanket on a reel, you can either fold it or roll it. If folding, start on the seam down the middle. Keep folding it in the same direction until it’s a manageable width (around 2’ to 4’). Fold it half the other way a few times until it’s a reasonable length.
If your solar blanket is small and round, you might prefer to roll it up to avoid wrinkles. An easy way is to fold it once along the seam before rolling, then using string or bungee cords to secure it.
You can store your cover in a shed, basement, garage, basically wherever you regularly store stuff. You might want to consider putting it in a deck box, large trash bin, or other container to protect it from little critters. Any sort of animal-proof container would work.
A lot of solar blankets are easier to keep on the reel. You should still clean and dry the solar blanket first, then cover it with a tarp. Wrap it carefully and secure it with string or bungee cords. It’s a good idea to push it under the eaves of your house or somewhere else slightly protected.
Properly storing your solar blanket will extend its lifespan and getting it clean and dry will make it way easier to open next spring. Good luck!