Removing Stains & Mineral Buildup in your Water Feature

Posted by Daniel Bogdan on

If you use "regular" (tap) water instead of distilled water for your fountain, over time, stains may appear due to the minerals and impurities in the water. While enzyme formula can keep water running cleanly through the pump and tubing, it does nothing to remove or control mineral stains.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your fountain looking like new over time with minimal effort and cost.
A solution of slightly diluted vinegar and a small amount of baking soda can often clean off the buildup of minerals and discolorations caused by impurities in water with a little amount of manual scrubbing. It should only take a few minutes.
Completely empty your fountain and remove the pump if possible. Then, pour in a small amount of vinegar into the basin of your fountain. Using a small, soft brush or sponge, gently scrub away the white calcium powder or reddish colored stains where you see them. Adding more water (preferably distilled) as you go along, use a small amount of baking soda on the scrub brush/sponge for the more stubborn build-up until you have removed the majority of the stains or discolorations. When you’ve removed the buildup or discoloration to your satisfaction, completely empty the fountain and thoroughly rinse it out with fresh water (again, preferably distilled) to remove any residue. Then, replace the pump/tubing as required, fill your fountain up with fresh, clean (distilled) water and algaecide (if needed). Voilà! You should be good to go…
For a more "automated" and thorough cleaning process, we suggest using an over-the-counter solution of calcium, rust and lime remover that can be purchased at your local hardware store, or a big-box store like WalMart, Home Depot or Lowe’s. The most recognizable brand name is "CLR," but many stores carry a generic version of the solution that works quite effectively at removing undesirable stains from hard water. Pour a small amount into your empty fountain basin and using a small, soft brush or sponge to test how effective it may be (full strength). If a "bleaching" effect occurs, dilute the solution with distilled water. You may want to remove the water pump, but it may benefit from the solution removing mineral buildup in its interior parts as well.
Gently scrub/sponge the areas that are affected or let the fountain run for a few hours on its own, to slowly remove any buildup. This may work adequately for minor stains and discolorations, but we recommend manually scrubbing the affected areas to completely remove all discolorations or stains. Once you’ve cleaned it to your satisfaction, empty the fountain, rinse it thoroughly, add more (distilled) water to fill it up, and enjoy your rejuvenated fountain.
To keep from having to frequently repeat the cleaning process, always using distilled water, as it contains a much lower concentration of minerals and impurities than "regular" tap water. Thus, it will take much longer before you’ll see a buildup again.
We hope you find these quick cleaning tips useful. When used along with algaecide to keep water running clear, you will prolong the life of your water pump, keeping "gunk" from forming in the pump and tubing. Using distilled water when available will keep your cleaning sessions to a minimum and help keep your fountain looking like new for years of enjoyment.

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