The Difference Between an Ejector Pump vs. Sump Pump

How to Clean your Sump Pump

Is there something not quite right with your sump pump? Regular cleaning will keep your sump pump functioning properly, so it’s always prepared for when you need it most. Most models should be cleaned once a year, but be sure to check your manual for more detailed information. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning it yourself, that’s okay! An expert can always do it for you, but either way you should familiarize yourself with the process.

Best Sump Pump Cleaners

Cleaning your pump is a daunting task, which is why we decided to take one “to-do” off your list–finding a good cleaner! The two simple yet effective household products discussed below will help you get the job done and kill any mold that is growing.

One of the most popular ways to clean and disinfect a sump pump is to wipe it down with hot water and bleach. Using bleach is a sure-fire way to kill and bacteria and germs that may be living in the dark damp pit. You don’t need much bleach for it to be effective–only a few capfuls mixed into hot water will do the trick.

If you don’t want to deal with the harsh smell of bleach, vinegar is just as effective. Not only is cleaning a sump pump with vinegar effective, but it’s also easy and aids in the prevention of clogs. The best kind of vinegar to use is household vinegar, not the kind you use to cook with, the kind that’s designed with cleaning in mind. It’s also one of the best emergency cleaners because almost everyone has some vinegar in their house already!

Tools and materials


  • Bucket
  • Scraper
  • Spray bottle
  • Sponge
  • Garbage bag
  • Shop Vac
  • Gloves
  • Flashlight



  • Soap
  • Vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Hot Water


Step 1: Disconnect the Power

The first step is to properly disconnect your pump from the electricity and other accessories. Things are going to get wet and there will be standing water so we don’t want to damage the internal electronics. The last thing you want to do is ruin your pump while doing regular maintenance.

Step 2: Disconnect the Pump from the Discharge Pipe

The next step is to disconnect your pump from the discharge pipe. Carefully loosen any screws or fasteners and the pump and pipe should slide apart. If you feel resistance it may be a sign of moldy buildup. Make sure to clean this area with bleach or vinegar to kill any growth.

Step 3: Remove the Pump from the Pit

One common mistake a new homeowner makes is trying to clean their sump pump while it’s still in the pit. Cleaning the pump inside the pit only moves around the mess. If you want to get everything truly clean the best way to do that is to take the pump somewhere else. We recommend placing it in a trash bag and taking it outside. Once outside you have a lot more room to clean plus you do not have to worry about spilling grime in your basement.

Step 4: Scrape away the Mold and Sludge

Once you are outside it’s time to start cleaning. The best way to start is use a sponge or scraper and scrape away any mold, mildew, or material build up. If there is too much to remove by hand, you can blast it off with a garden hose. Keep a close eye out for rust or other metal corrosion–especially near the power supply and pump body. If you let your pump rust it will significantly decrease its lifespan!

Step 5: Disinfect the Pit and Pump

Disinfecting your pump’s pit is just as important as disinfecting your pump. Build up can collect overtime in the bottom and on the sides of your sump pump pit. Don’t forget to give your cover a good wipe down as well. Using bleach or vinegar wipe down the exterior of the pump and the pit. Make sure to disinfect the entire unit as mold mildew and other germs can live in cracks and crevices.

Step 7: Clean with a Shop Vac

Use your Shop Vac to remove remaining water and debris from the bottom of the pit. Cleaning all of the leftover water and particles by hand is nearly impossible–with a shop vac you can quickly and cleanly get your pump pit looking like the day you bought it. Always remember to empty the shop vac when you are done.

Step 8: Reattach and Test

The final step in the cleaning process is the reattach the pump. Start by reattaching the discharge pipe, then add any supports and finally plug in any accessories. Once everything is in place fill your basin with a few buckets of water and make sure the pump works!

Get Super Terry!

If you’re unsure if your sump pump is functioning properly always call a professional. With proper cleaning and maintenance, the average sump pump should last around ten years. If anything goes wrong before then, call Super Terry or check us out online!