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The sound of trickling water from a fountain adds a sense of tranquility to your outdoor space. Available in a wide range of sizes, outdoor water musical fountains rely on submersible water pumps to constantly circulate the water in the fountain, preventing algae buildup and stagnation. Even with a constantly running water pump, however, your fountain can accumulate mineral deposits and debris, requiring regular cleaning and maintenance to keep it operating smoothly.

musical fountain

1.Check the water level frequently and add more water as needed, making sure to keep the water pump covered with water at all times. Use distilled water, if possible, to reduce the amount of mineral buildup in the fountain and on the water pump.

2.Remove debris, such as leaves, twigs and insects, from the water several times a week, using a small net. Check the water pump to remove any debris that might clog it, preventing it from circulating water properly.

3. Unplug the pump and drain the water from the fountain at least once monthly or when the water appears dirty. Most fountains have a small plug on the bottom to make draining easy, otherwise scoop or siphon the water with a piece of tubing.

4.Remove the pump from the fountain and soak in a 50 percent solution of diluted distilled white vinegar to loosen tough mineral stains. Wipe the outside with a soft cloth.

5. Remove the pump cover and remove any large debris from the inside with your hands. Use an old toothbrush to clean and remove small deposits of algae and mineral buildup in hard-to-reach areas. Rinse thoroughly and replace the pump cover.

6. Scrub the inside of the fountain with a stiff-bristled scrub brush, hot water and mild dish detergent. If needed, use vinegar to soak off mineral stains or baking soda, which acts as a mild abrasive to loosen and lift stains.

7. Rinse the inside of the fountain thoroughly, wiping with a rag to ensure the fountain walls are completely free of detergent.

8. Replace the plug and fill the fountain with distilled water containing fewer minerals than tap water, if possible. For larger fountains requiring a lot of water, add a few teaspoons of chlorine bleach to tap water or treat the water with a fountain enzyme product designed to prevent mineral and algae buildup. Use only about one teaspoon of bleach for smaller fountains.

9. Put the pump back in the water, plug it into an electrical outlet and turn it on to begin circulating the water.

10. Drain, clean, disassemble and store your musical fountain indoors from early fall to spring if you live in an area with frost danger in which you can't operate the fountain year-round.

Things You Will Need

Distilled water


Distilled white vinegar

Soft cloth


Stiff-bristled scrub brush

Mild dish detergent

Baking soda

Bleach or fountain enzyme product


When cleaning powder-coated copper fountains, protect the coat with automotive wax after cleaning and drying the fountain. You can use furniture polish to clean natural copper fountains.

Vinegar is usually effective at removing calcium and lime buildup when the fountain is cleaned regularly. For severe buildup, however, a special calcium, lime and rust removal product can help restore the original beauty of the fountain. Never use vinegar or calcium, lime and rust cleaners on natural copper fountains because these remove the copper patina finish.

musical fountain

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