How to Clean a Sump Pump?


Everything has an end. Even the most expensive and top-rated machine will eventually come to its retirement too. This principle applies to our sump pumps, but it does not have to end so soon. The key to prolonging your sump pump’s life and integrity is by making sure you do proper maintenance on a regular basis. Knowing how to clean a sump pump is a necessity, especially if you want to cut costs on repairs and replacements of the unit. If you have been hiring experts to do it for you, then, well and good, however, you can definitely save more by doing it yourself.

Clean a sump pump

A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning a Sump Pump

First, you should know that your sump pump should be cleaned at least 3 to 4 times a year to make sure it operates well and is free of infestations.

  • Gather everything you need

Before working on your sump pump, you have to make sure that you have everything you need within arm’s reach. For the cleaning process, you will need ample lighting, a flashlight for additional illumination, plastic gloves, a garbage bag, a sponge, a spray bottle, a screw driver, a vacuum, a bucket of hot water, and cleaning agents such as bleach, vinegar, or soap.

  • Disconnect your pump

Since you will be cleaning your sump pump, you should make it a habit to properly unplug and disconnect your pump from electrical sources and accessories. This includes your battery and alarm. It is important that you pay importance to this precaution for the pump and your overall safety. Before proceeding to the next step, you can wipe the surface of the entire pump with vinegar or bleach.

  • Detach from the pipe

Using the screw driver, unfasten or unscrew all the screws that are used to attach and secure the pump from the pipe. Clean all the areas especially when you encounter resistance when taking it apart. Practice extra caution when disconnecting your pump from your discharge pipe. If difficulty in disassembly is encountered, you can always resort to WD-40 for better results.

  • Make room for cleaning

The last thing you need is a damaged and poorly cleaned sump pump. To make sure you eliminate the chances of sump pump damage, take the sump pump out of the pit and situate it in a more spacious area. In this way, you can be sure that every corner and every part of the sump pump is cleaned thoroughly. It is recommended that you take it outside the yard to spare your basement from mess and grime.

  • Scrape properly

Expect to see mold, mildew, or rust buildup in your sump pump, especially when it has taken you a while to clean it. With a sponge drenched in warm or hot water, scrape the surface of the sump pump. Make it a goal to dislodge or remove mildew, mold, or material buildup on the surfaces. Pressure cleaning using a hose can help. Scrape properly and do not leave any remnants of the contaminants, especially rust as this can damage and destroy your unit over time.

  • Clean the basin

Pay attention to the basin as much as you do for the pump. This area is prone to mildew, molds, and material buildup, so make sure to disinfect and clean it as neatly as you could. If you see cracks and crevices, make sure to give extra effort in cleaning it up as it is a good venue for accumulation.

  • Clean the pump

As you clean the pump, take note that this is also a good time to check on your pump’s parts. Start by removing grime and mold through the method mentioned above. After that, proceed to disinfect the pump by applying or wiping its exterior with vinegar, bleach, or any type of disinfectant. Again, pay attention to cracks and crevices as this can be a good spot for bacteria, mold, mildew, and debris accumulation.

  • Vacuum correctly

After cleaning the basin and sump pump, you can then go ahead to the vacuuming. This is done to make sure you get all the debris and excess water out of the pit before placing it back. You can always do this manually, but it will definitely take more time and effort to get rid of it. Always remember that a moist or wet environment harbors and lets bacteria, mildew, and mold thrive. So make it a habit to leave everything dry before placing back the unit.

  • Place the pump back

After ensuring that the space is completely dry and clean, you can then proceed to connecting the pump and placing it in its proper place again. Carefully attach the pump to the discharge pipe while making sure that all the screws and connectors are screwed and secured back in. From there, you can go ahead and add the backup battery and alarm to the main power line or source.

  • Test your unit

Do know that placing the unit back is not enough. You have to make sure that everything is well and working. To do that, get a couple of buckets of water and fill the basin. Let the machine operate and check if the entire pumping mechanism goes smooth and is able to pump the water out effectively without encountering issues. Once you are sure that everything is set, schedule your next cleaning session and put it in your calendar.


Cleaning a sump pump can be a dreadful thought for many, especially to those who have not yet experienced doing it in the past. While there are experts who offer their cleaning services, it may be a costly expense as you go overtime. The process is fairly easy, you just have to know the steps and the important details you have to take note of when doing them. Try following the steps mentioned above and check out the results. You will be surprised to see your sump pump looking great and functioning well without spending an arm and a leg for professional service.

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