How to Clean an Indoor Water Fountain

Home decorators use indoor water fountains to add interest to a room.

Hard-water Stains

These fountains offer the soothing, gentle sound of running water and enhance a relaxing atmosphere. Mineral deposits, hard-water stains and algae slime detract from the beauty of an indoor fountain and may clog the fountain pump if left in the fountain. Water in an indoor fountain may emit a foul odor, which signals the presence of bacteria. Cleaning an indoor water fountain extends the life of the water pump and restores the fountain's visual appeal.

Step 1

Remove the fountain's electric plug from the wall receptacle. Empty the fountain water by pouring it into the sink. Scoop the water out of the fountain with a small bucket or cup, or draw the water out with a wet-dry vacuum if the fountain is not portable. Soak up any remaining water with a rag.

Step 2

Fill the fountain with equal amounts of water and white vinegar to remove mineral buildup on the fountain pump's hoses and fountain surfaces. Plug the fountain in and let it run for three to four hours. Unplug the fountain.

Step 3

Submerge a sponge, rag or nylon scrubbing pad in the vinegar and water. Scrub the areas of the fountain that have hard-water mineral deposits until the mineral deposits disappear. Dip a soft-bristled toothbrush in the vinegar and water and scrub the fountain's recesses and crevices.

Step 4

Empty the vinegar and water from the fountain and rinse the fountain with plain water.


Step 1

Unplug the fountain from the receptacle. Empty the water from the fountain and pour it down the drain, or draw the water out with a wet-dry vacuum.

Step 2

Add water and 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach per gallon of water to the fountain. Plug the fountain into the wall receptacle. Run the bleach and water through the fountain for two to three hours to clean algae from the pump's hoses and to clean algae from inside the fountain's reservoir.

Step 3

Dip a soft brush, rag, sponge or nylon scrubbing pad into the bleach and water. Scrub the fountain until the algae is no longer visible. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush for small, hard-to-reach areas.

Step 4

Empty the bleach and water from the fountain, and rinse the fountain with warm water.

Dirty Fountains

Step 1

Take off all removable parts, and disassemble as much of the fountain as possible if the fountain has been sitting unused for a long time or has thick layers of dirt, dust or debris.

Step 2

Rinse the parts and pieces of the fountain with clear water. Scrub the surfaces of the fountain with a soft-bristled scrub brush or a rag. Rinse the dirt off the surface, and continue to scrub until all layers of dirt and dust easily rinse off the surfaces.

Step 3

Fill a tub, basin or large container with warm water and 1/2 cup of bleach. Place fountain parts that have remaining dirt or stains into the bleach and water. Let the fountain parts soak for one to two hours.

Step 4

Scrub the parts with a rag, sponge or soft brush to remove any remaining dirty stains. Rinse the fountain parts with water.

Step 5

Dry all fountain parts with a rag. Reassemble the fountain.

Things You Will Need

  • Small bucket or cup
  • Wet-dry vacuum
  • Rag
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge, rag or nylon scrubbing pad
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Tub, basin or container


  • Refill indoor fountains with distilled water to prevent hard-water stains.
  • Empty, clean and refill indoor water fountains every four to eight weeks.
  • Add an algae-inhibitor to fountain water to prevent algae growth in the fountain.
  • Place a decorative cloth under table fountains to protect the surface of the table from water splashes.


  • Do not submerge electrical plugs and wires in water.
  • Do not use scouring powder, steel wool or other abrasive products to clean an indoor fountain; these cleaners will scratch the fountain.
  • Do not use soaps or detergents in a fountain. Soap and detergent residue soaks into the fountain materials and hoses, which then creates bubbling.

About the Author

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.