How to Break Up Laundry Soap Enzymes in a Sump Pump

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Water filled with laundry detergent can prove damaging to a sump pump over time.
Water filled with laundry detergent can prove damaging to a sump pump over time. (Image: dirty laundry image by jedphoto from Fotolia.com)

Sump pumps are important tools to use to help keep homes safe and dry. Durable and strong, the machines rarely fail unless due to mechanical issues. However, something as innocent and simple as laundry water can cause the water removal work-horses to shut down and cease to function. The buildup and collection of enzymes from laundry soap can lead to plumbing problems and damage to a sump pump. With a few steps and use of store-bought solutions or household chemicals, a sump pump can be cleaned and maintained for future use.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Bio-Clean cleaning solution
  • Disposable rag
  • White vinegar
  • Empty gallon jug

Open and clean the sump pump and connected plumping. Using the screwdriver, remove the covering plate underneath the sump pump. On most devices this is the location of the screen where the pump pushes through water. Running laundry backup through the unit over a short period of time can lead to detergent buildup on the screen and filter. Using a disposable rag wipe clean the screen, filter and any other components.

Run cleaning solution through sump pump. A cleaning solution such as Bio-Clean is designed for this purpose. Bio-Clean is a cleaning solution that is a blend of enzymes and bacteria. The solution is designed to be nonpoisonous, devoid of heat and fumes and does not require heating. It is safe to living organisms but designed to eat away at chemical buildup in plumbing and drains. The cleaning solution typically takes one to two days to dissolve buildup.

Flush with white vinegar. White vinegar is highly acidic and has cleaning properties for removing buildup of waste, clumps and general refuse collecting in plumbing. Flushing the sump pump with hot water and two cups of white vinegar will help dissolve buildup. For regular cleaning with white vinegar, prepare a solution of one gallon of vinegar and two gallons of water. Flush the sump pump with this liquid mix every six months.

Regularly run the sump pump. Sump pump maintenance is important to keep the piping, filter and screen from gathering buildup such as soap enzymes. One of the aspects of maintenance is to regularly run a flow of water through the pump. Set the sump pump in a sink basin or area where water can be filled high enough to trigger the pump’s water evacuation and allow it to run. Performing this maintenance at least twice every six months will keep it clean and void of buildup.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the pump continues to show issues of backup, consider contacting a licensed plumber or the vendor of the sump pump.
  • Make sure the sump pump is unplugged when opening and cleaning the device.

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