Clean Your Sump Pump In 7 Easy Steps

image of a sump pump and sump pump pit

Basement flooding is a common problem in the US, making sump pumps vital. However, dirt and debris that come with groundwater can clog your sump pump, causing it to malfunction, and therefore, exposing your home to water damage. To avoid this, you need to clean sump pump regularly. The cleaning frequency generally depends on several factors including your location and the manufacturer’s instructions. For the best results, you should get a qualified plumber to clean your sump pump, especially if your pump is faulty or requires maintenance. However, if you prefer to clean your pump by yourself, here’s how to do it.

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How To Clean Your Sump Pump

Follow the steps below to clean your sump pump.

Sump Pump Cleaning Safety Precautions

image of safety first sign depicting sump pump cleaning

Before you start cleaning your sump pump, you should take all the necessary safety precautions. In particular, ensure that no one is using appliances such as a washing machine, which drains into your sump pit. You also need to make sure that there isn’t any basement water that’s draining into the pit. Moreover, wear protective gloves to protect your hands from the resulting sullage.

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Sump Pump Cleaning Instruments

To clean your sump tank, you’ll need the following cleaning tools:

  • Plastic sheeting
  • A large bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Scrapping tool

Sump Pump Cleaning Procedure

1. Disconnect Power And Any Other Accessory

To start off, disconnect your sump pump from the power source and any other accessory (such as an alarm or backup battery). This is important to avoid potential electrical accidents including electric shock and burns.

2. Detach Sump Pump From Discharge Pipe

image of removing sump pump from pit

Carefully undo any fasteners or screws attaching your sump pump with the discharge pipe and slide them apart. If you feel any resistance, that could be a sign that there is a buildup of mold between the pump exit and pipe. To eliminate the mold and keep it away, use a disinfectant or bleach to clean this part. If you struggle to separate the pipe and pump, you can use a lubricant, such as WD-40, to help loosen the stuck parts.

3. Remove The Sump Pump From The Pit

To ensure you clean your sump pump properly, remove it from the pit. If you want to clean the pump and basin thoroughly, you should wrap it with a plastic sheet and take it outside your house, allowing you to access every part of your pump.

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4. Clean The Sump Pump

Once outside, you can start the cleaning process. One of the most effective ways to do this is to use a warm cloth, sponge, plastic scraper, or a putting knife to scrape off any buildup or mold. If it’s accumulated so much that you can’t scrape it away by hand, you can blast it off using your garden hose. While at it, inspect your sump pump for rust or any kind of corrosion, particularly on the pump body and power supply. Your metal pump will have a significantly shorter life span if you let it rust.

5. Disinfect The Pump And Basin

Once you’ve cleaned off all the mold and grime, you should disinfect the sump pump as well as the pump basin. Wipe the pump’s exterior with a disinfectant and ensure you disinfect all cracks and crevices where mold tends to thrive. Additionally, clean other components such as the float switch and the check valve. Lastly, clear any build-up and disinfect the sump pump basin.

6. Vacuum The Sump Pit

wet dry vacuum for sump pump maintenance

To remove all the debris and standing water from the sump bit, use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner. Remember to empty your vacuum cleaner once you’re done vacuuming. You don’t want it to sit overnight with the dirty water that’s full of mold.

7. Reconnect Your Sump Pump And Test

Once you’re done cleaning your sump pump and sump pit, reattach your pump. Start by reconnecting the discard pipe, add the supports, and finally plug it into the power source and reconnect it to the other accessories. Once you’ve set up everything correctly, fill the basin with water and check if the pump works.

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Important Sump Pump Cleaning Tip

If you live in an area with considerable groundwater or that is prone to heavy flooding, you should clean and test your sump pump system at least every month. Also, give it a quick check after every heavy snowfall or storm. In case your sump pump is faulty or damaged, you should hire a certified plumber to inspect it and do the necessary plumbing repairs. This is particularly important because sump pump repairs typically require specialized skills and tools.



Your sump pump protects your home from flood damage by collecting groundwater and channels it safely away from your home. Without a sump pump, the groundwater can easily accumulate and seep through your foundation. Flooding is dangerous, costly, and damaging, so a well-functioning sump pump is essential for your home’s safety. If your pump is faulty, or if you want a sump pump installed, you should hire a qualified plumber to do the job.


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Contact Robinson Plumbing, one of the most trusted plumbing companies in the Lehigh Valley, for reliable plumbing services. We have lots of plumbing services ranging from sump pump repairs and upgrades, toilet repairs and replacements, faucet upgrades, water leak repairs, and more. We always give a wide range of solutions when possible for any plumbing repairs. This allows you to choose the best options for your budget and home.

We proudly offer the most affordable and best plumbing services in the Lehigh Valley area. Our plumbers all have the proper licenses and expertise to ensure your satisfaction. All of our work comes with a guarantee. Contact Robinson Plumbing today and schedule your free estimate.

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