What Can I Use Instead of a Pool Pillow? Top 18 DIY

Sandbags or old towels can be used instead of a pool pillow. These alternatives are effective in preventing ice damage and helping with water drainage.

If you’re tired of buying pool pillows yearly, this article is for you. Having a pool requires maintenance, and one of the most crucial aspects of that maintenance is protecting your pool from the elements. A pool pillow helps prevent damage caused by ice and snow, but it’s not the only option.

This article will explore alternatives to using a pool pillow, from sandbags to old towels. You’ll be able to find the perfect solution for your pool while also saving money and reducing waste.

1. Pool Noodles

Pool noodles are a versatile and readily available alternative to traditional pool pillows. These colourful foam tubes are used for various pool activities and can be used as a makeshift ice compensator in winter. Cutting the pool noodles to the appropriate length can create a barrier around your pool’s perimeter, preventing ice expansion from causing damage.

2. Inflatable Pool Toys

Inflatable pool toys, such as large floating rafts or inflatable animals, can serve as temporary pool pillows during the colder months. Simply deflate them slightly and place them strategically along the pool’s edges. The air-filled cushions will help prevent ice from directly contacting the pool walls.

3. Bubble Wrap

Surprisingly, bubble wrap can be a cost-effective solution to replace a pool pillow. Wrap the bubble wrap around the pool’s inner walls, ensuring it covers the water’s surface. The air-filled bubbles will act as insulators, minimizing the pressure caused by ice expansion and protecting your pool.

4. Water Tubes

Water tubes are commonly used to secure pool covers. These long, cylindrical tubes can be placed along the pool’s edges as a buffer between the ice and the pool structure. Ensure the water tubes are filled partially, leaving room for ice expansion without causing any damage.

5. Styrofoam Panels

Styrofoam panels, typically used for insulation purposes, can be employed as an alternative to pool pillows. Cut the Styrofoam panels to the required size and place them on the water’s surface. They will provide buoyancy and help prevent ice from pushing against the pool walls.

6. Air Pillows

While the focus is on alternatives to traditional pool pillows, it’s worth mentioning air pillows as an option. Air pillows are designed for winter pool care and come in various sizes. They can be efficient if you want a dedicated and effective ice compensator.

7. Empty Plastic Containers

Recycle empty plastic containers, such as large detergent bottles or milk jugs, by filling them with water and placing them in the pool. The water-filled containers will act as makeshift pool pillows, protecting your pool during winter.

8. Foam Mats

Interlocking foam mats, often used as play mats for children, can be a practical substitute for pool pillows. Arrange the foam mats along the pool’s perimeter to create a protective barrier. Their buoyant nature will ensure they float on the water’s surface, preventing ice damage.

9. Beach Balls

Yes, even beach balls can be utilized as a makeshift pool pillow. Partially deflate the beach balls and place them in the pool. While they may not offer the same level of insulation as other options, they can still provide some protection against ice expansion.

10. Bubble Pool Cover

A bubble pool cover is another alternative worth considering. While primarily used to retain heat and reduce water evaporation, it can also offer protection against ice during winter. The bubbles will create an insulating effect, minimizing the impact of freezing temperatures.

11. Pool Inner Tube

If you have an old pool inner tube, put it to good use as an ice compensator. Place the pool inner tube along the pool’s edges, acting as a buffer between the ice and the pool structure.

12. Rubber or Vinyl Mats

Rubber or vinyl mats, typically used for anti-slip purposes, can be repurposed to protect your pool during winter. Place these mats around the pool’s interior to provide a layer of protection against ice expansion.

13. Air Mattresses

Unused air mattresses can be inflated and placed in the pool as an alternative to pool pillows. They will help disperse the pressure caused by ice, reducing the risk of damage to the pool walls.

14. Foam Pool Rings

Foam pool rings, often used as swim aids, can serve as temporary ice compensators. Arrange these rings along the water’s edge to prevent ice from directly contacting the pool walls.

15. Water Wings

Lastly, if you have water wings or arm floaties, they can act as mini ice compensators. Though not the most effective solution, they can still protect during milder winters.

16. Natural Alternatives

Using natural alternatives such as pool pillows is an eco-friendly approach that also helps you save money. You can opt for beach balls, life jackets, or inflatable water toys instead of using a dedicated pillow. While beach balls are budget-friendly, they may not work well when keeping your pool safe in rough weather conditions.

On the other hand, life jackets are durable, support buoyancy, and are easy to store. But they are not that aesthetically pleasing to look at. Inflatable water toys are the most similar to pool pillows, with a larger surface area than other alternatives.

However, they may be more expensive than other natural alternatives. Your final choice depends on your budget, pool size, weather, and how you plan to use the pool. Consider all factors and make a wise decision.

17. DIY Solutions

Pool pillows are crucial to maintaining the longevity of your pool cover. However, not everyone has access to pool pillows or may not be readily available in their area. Fortunately, there are DIY solutions to create pool pillow substitutes.

One option is to use foam, which can be cut to size and placed strategically on your cover. Another solution is to use pool noodles stacked on each other to create a makeshift pillow. PVC pipes, cut to length and capped at the ends, also make great substitutes.

To create these DIY solutions, start by assessing the size and shape of your pool cover and then gather the necessary materials. With these easy and affordable solutions, you can keep your pool cover well-maintained without breaking the bank.

18. Commercial Alternatives

Looking for an alternative to a pool pillow? Consider inflatable pool domes, pool cover pumps, and aqua blocks. These commercial products merit consideration for pool owners who would like a pool pillow substitute. Each product’s effectiveness, cost and installation process needs to be carefully evaluated.

Inflatable pool domes, for instance, can be costly but offer excellent insulation. Pool cover pumps, conversely, are cheaper and keep the pool clear of debris but do not provide insulation. Aqua blocks, while not as visually appealing, are cheaper than inflatable pool domes and provide insulation.

Choose the alternative that best suits your pool’s needs and budget.

19. Maintenance Tips

Pool pillows are essential for maintaining a clean and well-maintained pool. However, there may be times when a pool pillow is unavailable for replacement. In such cases, finding a suitable substitute to help keep your pool in top condition is essential.

Regular monitoring and cleaning of the pool are necessary to prevent debris buildup and ensure proper maintenance. Using a substitute should be done carefully to avoid contaminating the pool. Proper storage of the substitute pillow and regular cleaning is essential for keeping it in good condition.

With proper care and maintenance, a substitute pool pillow can be an effective alternative to the real thing.

Frequently Asked Questions For What Can I Use Instead Of A Pool Pillow?

What Is A Pool Pillow Used For?

A pool pillow protects your pool during the winter by absorbing the pressure of ice and snow. It helps to prevent damage to the sides of your pool and the surrounding area.

Can I Use Something Else Instead Of A Pool Pillow?

Yes! You can use other materials, such as sandbags or old towels, to protect your pool during the winter. Ensure that they are placed in strategic positions to distribute the weight evenly.

How Do I Prepare My Pool For Winter Without A Pool Pillow?

When preparing your pool for winter without a pool pillow, drain the water below the skimmer and use a winter cover to protect your pool. You can also use a pool closing kit to help maintain your pool during the cold months.

Where Can I Purchase A Pool Pillow?

You can purchase a pool pillow at your local pool supply store or online. You can also opt for alternative materials, such as water bags or inflatable tubes.

How Long Do Pool Pillows Last?

Pool pillows can last up to two seasons if properly stored and maintained. It is essential to clean and dry the pool pillow before storing it in a dry and cool place.

Can I use a regular pillow as a pool pillow?

While a regular pillow might float, it is not designed for outdoor use and may deteriorate quickly when exposed to pool chemicals and weather conditions. It’s best to use dedicated alternatives like the ones mentioned above.

Are pool pillows necessary for all types of pools?

Pool pillows are essential for above-ground pools, which are more susceptible to ice damage. In-ground pools may also benefit from ice compensators, but the risk is generally lower.

Do pool pillows prevent the pool from freezing?

Pool pillows don’t prevent the pool water from freezing entirely. Their primary purpose is to prevent ice expansion from damaging the pool walls.

Can I leave the pool pillows in the water year-round?

Removing the pool pillows once the ice has melted is advisable to avoid any potential issues during the swimming season.

What other winter pool care tips should I follow?

In addition to using ice compensators, consider using a pool cover, lowering the water level, and maintaining proper chemical balance throughout the winter season.


So there you have it, folks! If you’re searching for alternatives to the traditional pool pillow, many options are available. From using an air mattress or beach ball to repurposing old blankets or towels, there are inexpensive and creative solutions to help protect your pool during the winter months.

While a pool pillow can be effective, it’s important to remember that it’s not the only option. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different materials to find what works best. And always make sure to properly winterize your pool before the cold weather hits to prevent any damage.

Happy swimming (or winterizing)!

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