How to Clean a Sump Pump Pit?

A sump pump is an essential piece of equipment for any home or business that needs to collect and remove water from a basement or crawlspace. The best way to keep your sump pump running for years is to regularly clean the water from the pump’s pit. But if you’re like most people, you just don’t know how to clean a sump pump pit. So, here we have described in detail with additional information about how to clean a sump pump pit, and also other parts. You will also get an easy maintenance guide.

11 Steps to Cleaning Your Sump Pump Pit and Keeping it Clean for Years

1. Turn off the power to the pump. Remove the cover from the outlet box. Pull out the screws holding the box in place.

2. Use a screwdriver and pry up the cover and lift it up. The drain pipe is usually attached to a large rubber hose that is connected to the pump. The hose can be removed.

3. Remove the hose from the pit. Remove any remaining debris from the pipe.

4. Fill your sump pit with water. Then pour in a quarter cup of liquid dish soap. Let the mixture stand for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes have passed, drain out the water.

5. Pour your mixture into your garden hose and run it through your yard and down the street until it is completely drained.

6. When your sump pit has been completely drained, empty the entire sump pit.

7. Once your sump pit has been emptied of its contents, put a tarp or other cover over it. This will keep animals and insects away from it.

8. On the other hand, place the drainpipe in a bucket of water. Let it soak for about 5 minutes.

9. Pour the water out of the pipe. If there are some pieces of debris that have stayed in the pipe, pour them out.

10. Clean the pipe with a wire brush or a garden hose.

11. Once the pipe is clean, replace the cover on the outlet box.

Sump Pump Cleaning Tablets: What to Use to Clean Sump Pump Pit?

The bad odor of the sump pump can be removed effectively using sump pump cleaning tablets. So, instead of scrubbing or cleaning it manually, simply use a tablet to remove the dirt and smell.

Simply take out a tablet from the pack, and drop it on a clean basin to deodorize it. This works similar to a body deodorant.

Besides, this method is super easy for regular cleaning and sanitizing the whole basin, which might reduce the need for frequent thorough cleaning.

Zebra Skimmers Sump Odor Control Tablets

Here we have one of the best sellers for sump cleaning tablets, the Zebra Skimmers Sump Odor Control Tablets. We have this to protect the sump from a bad smell that refuses to vanish even after proper maintenance.

While this is a temporary solution, it can easily keep the pH balanced. Even if the machine doesn’t have the right airflow, this tablet can help to control the smell.

It will work to remove bacteria that emit the chemicals to produce the odor and clean a sump pump pit.

This is also safer to use with little or no harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and works great with an Oxygenator.

How to Clean Sump Pump Pit Bleach?

Another more universal method of cleaning anything involves a bleaching solution. We can easily make it a DIY technique and safely disinfect the whole sink or basin.

  1. Use equal volumes of freshwater and bleach.
  2. Then mix them together to make the cleaning solution.
  3. Pour the whole solution carefully into the basin. The float switch will be activated by the water level so that the sump pump becomes switched on.
  4. Then the bleach can effectively remove dirt and germs to free it from bad odor.
  5. Mostly, bleach can kill germs and bacteria that are hard to remove by manual cleaning. But after adding the bleach solution, scrubbing also gets easier with better results. Cleaning the sump pump pit with bleach is a highly recommended method by several users.

How to Clean Iron Ochre from Sump Pump Pit?

The best method to remove iron ochre from the sump pump pit is mostly prevention of this from happening. But when the damage is done, you don’t need to worry. It might sound complicated but the task isn’t impossible.

  1.  Take the pipe opening and add it to the drain cleaner before squeezing the trigger.
  2. Now pull back around half a length and scrub thoroughly the iron ochre inside as much as possible.
  3.  After you feel that the pipe is clean enough, pull out the drain cleaner again. Iron bacteria may not be much of a harm to human health, but it makes the pump pit lose its outlook. Since cleaning is quite difficult, avoid its accumulation by regular cleaning.

Cleaning Sump Pump with Vinegar

One of the best ways to clean a sump pump pit according to many users is perhaps by using a vinegar solution. This is cheap and safe, and very effective for use.

Simply use your regular white vinegar and mix it with fresh water to make a solution. Then use a washcloth to scrub and wipe the dirt and germs.

Since vinegar is an acid in nature, it can easily remove germs, grime, and dirt.

Besides, it can also remove the bad odor caused by germs. It has enzymes to get rid of the most stubborn dirt.

So, instead of getting a powerful and expensive cleaner or tablets, you can easily just use a vinegar solution to work as a sump pump cleaner. 

How to clean black sludge in a sump pump hole?

The black sludge causes many problems and needs heavy cleaning.

  • First, separate the pump by unplugging it, or switching off the power supply. Use a water source to clean from outside.
  • Then scrape off dirt, grime, and the sludge using something strong and sharp like a knife or a scraper.
  • After cleaning fully, use water to rinse it properly and then let it dry. You can even use a vacuum to dry the pump well.

How much does it cost to clean a sump pump pit?

While sump pump cleaning costs differ depending on the method used, this might be more different for professional cleaning. We can easily reduce the cost of cleaning products using regular maintenance and homemade solutions.

However, if this isn’t possible, then we can ask for professional services. Plumbers and similar other workers’ charges start from $45 by the hour. The maximum cost can reach around $1500. Usually, the average cost ranges from $200 to $870. 

Sump Pit Maintenance

As mentioned, prevention is better than cure, so regular maintenance of the pump is vital. This doesn’t need a lot to do either. Simply test the sump pump by pouring water to see if the float rises.

Then use regular cleaning methods to keep off a bad odor.

In addition, clean the sump pit thoroughly. Since nothing lasts forever, using a backup is necessary as well.

Besides, use some kind of warning signal to alert you of any problem. 

How to Clean Ejector Pump Pit

Mainly, use a cover on the ejector pit to remove dirt and debris. It will also reduce any odor from the pump. You can also use some cleaning agents to unclog it.

Ensure that the vent is in good shape and remains clean. Regular cleaning products can also be used for the ejector pump pit.


In conclusion, there are two types of sump pump systems: “gravity-fed” and “pump-fed”. A gravity-fed system uses a sump pit (also known as a sump or a sump basin) to collect water from the sump pump. The sump pump is placed on top of the sump pit and water flows down into it. A pump-fed system has a pump that sits in a sump pit. When the sump pump turns on, water is pumped into the sump pit and then back out through a discharge line. Some homeowners don’t have space for a sump pit. If you want to clean out the sump pump pit, you need a bucket with a long handle. You also need a long stick to help you reach into the hole.

I would recommend installing a sump pump in a pit if you want to prevent flooding during heavy rain. It is also good to clean your sump pump regularly to avoid any future problems.

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