How To Clean Basement Sump Pump [With 3 Maintenance Tips]

Basement sump pumps can malfunction or fail if left without routine cleaning and maintenance. At this point, you’re wondering how to clean your basement sump pump to ensure its serviceability. We researched for your convenience and here’s the process that we found.

Homeowners may use commercially-prepared chemicals, such as rust stain removers, to clean and eliminate corrosion from their sump pumps. Achieve satisfying results by following these steps:

  1. Mix a cup of rust stain remover with warm water and pour the solution into the sump pit.
  2. Stroke the pump and pit with a toilet brush.
  3. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes. Then, drain the water.
  4. Repeat as many times as necessary.

Aside from rust stain removers, you can also use household products like bleach and white vinegar to clean basement sump pumps. Keep reading as we talk about these cleaning solutions in greater detail. We’ll also discuss some sump pump maintenance tips to help you keep this machine working efficiently.

Submersible water Pump for flood prevention in a wet and dark concrete basement, How To Clean Basement Sump Pump [With 3 Maintenance Tips]

What Can I Use To Clean My Sump Pump?

Homeowners can use bleach or vinegar to clean their sump pumps. Commercially prepared products are available but certain options may contain harsh chemicals. Using these highly potent products may remove dirt and gunk buildups in water-discharging pumps -but they may also strip some of the materials’ protective finishes.

The concept of housework for cleaning kitchen utensils with eco-friendly food powder and vinegar

Here are some additional details about using bleach and vinegar to clean a sump pump:

With Vinegar

Vinegar is an acidic compound that can work as a condiment and a cleaner. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn’t approve vinegar for cleaning, many anecdotal pieces of evidence exist to prove the efficacy of this substance in removing harmful and unclean substances.

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With Bleach

Bleach is a combination of different chemicals, namely chlorine, water, and caustic soda. This concoction creates a potent cleaning solution that can remove filth and gunk buildup.

Take note that you only need a fairly small amount of bleach to remove muck from sump pumps. Applying a significant amount of this product may cause unwanted corrosion.

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How Do You Keep A Sump Clean?

A sump pump installed in a basement of a home with a water powered backup system.

In this section, you’ll learn how to remove iron ochre, a bacteria that appears when metal objects get in contact with the atmosphere, from the sump pump. Take note that if you leave this substance alone, it can create backflow and block drain pipes.

It’s also a good idea to wear protective gear like a respirator and a pair of latex gloves. The iron ochre smell can be fairly strong, and breathing without the face-covering within the sump pit's vicinity can be challenging.

Additionally, ensure that you disconnect the sump pump from its electrical power source temporarily. Doing so will prevent other health hazards while working with this plumbing system.

After completing the necessary arrangements, you can proceed with this task:

What You’ll Need

  • Rust stain remover
  • Warm water
  • Toilet brush

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Dilute one cup of rust stain remover with warm water of the same amount. Pour the mixture into the sump pit.
  2. Use a toilet brush to remove the iron ochre from the pit and pump. Stir the solution in the sump pit as frequently as possible to help the solution mix with the sump pit water.
  3. Let the solution sit for a few minutes once you’re satisfied with the initial cleaning.
  4. Drain the excess water from the sump pit.
  5. Add more of the rust stain remover solution and clean the rest of the pit and pump.
  6. Repeat steps 2 to 5 until satisfied.

Take note that you may need to use more of the rust stain remover solution if the iron ochre surrounding your sump pump is quite significant.

Watch the video below to see the steps mentioned above in action:

Aside from using rust stain remover, you can also use white vinegar and other organic materials for this operation. Also, keep in mind that bleach can’t remove rust-related messes, particularly for your sump pump.

However, you may use bleach with vinegar or rust remover to disinfect the sump pit and pump after cleaning them.

While you’re cleaning the sump pump, you might also notice that your basement drain has a blockage. If so, read our guide on how to unclog a basement drain for you to know the solution to this problem.

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How To Clean Your Sump Pit?

An unclean sump pit can also invite problems like clogs and malfunctions. The first step is to remove the pump from the pit. You can clean the water-discharging device at this point. Then, use a wet/dry vacuum to remove leftover moisture from the pump’s container.

If you’re dealing with hard debris and sludge, use a scraping tool to strip the gunk from the pit’s floor and walls. Then, apply a soap and mild detergent solution to the pit. Scrub the cleaning mixture with a clean cloth or rag.

Once finished, return the pump and its parts to the pit. The last step is to restore power to the pump. An unclean sump pit may also be the reason why your basement smells like sewage. If so, read our post on how to eliminate foul smells from your basement for the solution.

How Often Should A Sump Pump Be Cleaned?

Typically, homeowners should clean and care for their sump pumps at least once per month. Light cleaning may only involve scrubbing the sump pit and pump with a mild cleaning solution. On the other hand, a deep cleaning may require users to take the machine out of the pit.

How Do I Maintain My Basement Sump Pump?

Replacing the old sump pump in a basement

Different methods exist to help homeowners maintain their basement sump pumps. Routine care won’t only keep the machine running at optimal efficiency but doing so may also extend its serviceable life.

Also, make sure that you disconnect your sump pump from its power source every time you initiate a maintenance procedure.

Moving forward, some of the ways to maintain a basement sump pump are:

Regular Inspection

Take out the sump pump from its pit at least once a year regardless of the device’s condition. Check the different parts, such as the float and inlet screen, to ensure that they’re working as intended.

Lubricate the Parts

Check the pump's owner's manual if the device needs regular lubing. Otherwise, the motor and other parts may grind roughly, increasing the risks of machine failure.

Keep in mind that not every submersible pump needs a routine lubing program. Some models have brushless motors that significantly reduce or eliminate this requirement.

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Check the Power Cord

Faulty power cords may trigger the alarms built into some sump pumps. Breaks or strips on the wire may also increase the risks of short circuits and can make the immediate environment dangerous to household members, guests, and pets.

If you find these faults in a sump pump’s power cord, you may apply electrical tape to the offending area. But think about replacing the part to reduce or eliminate safety hazards.

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Watch the video below for more information on how to maintain your basement sump pump:

Final Words

Cleaning a basement sump pump doesn’t often require special tools or heavy equipment. It’s possible to clean and maintain this water-discharging system by using household solutions like bleach and white vinegar. Still, make sure to use the correct product in tackling gunk and stains to achieve satisfying outcomes.

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