How to Keep Your Outdoor Fountain Water Clean - Backyard Boss
We are reader supported. External links may earn us a commission.

How to Keep Your Outdoor Fountain Water Clean

A backyard fountain is a great water feature that can give you the nice, relaxing sound of a babbling brook while also providing a visual accent. However, one of the biggest hassles with a backyard fountain is keeping it clean. If you let it go for too long, the water can become cloudy and unsafe.

In this article, we have laid out some ways that you can keep your beautiful backyard fountain clean that are simple to do and easy to remember. By finding a solution that works for you and that you can keep up with consistently, you can enjoy your fountain without having to worry about constant maintenance.

What You Will Need to Keep Your Fountain Clean

Backyard Fountain
Image credits: Mark Timberlake via Unsplash

Scrub Brush

A scrub brush with a handle is one of the best tools you can own for cleaning your fountain. You can get good leverage to apply the correct pressure and also keep your hands from touching the dirty areas.

Pruning Shears

A good set of pruning shears can help you keep the surrounding plant life at bay and keep it out of your fountain’s water. A high-quality, sharp pair of shears makes it much easier to keep up on.

White Vinegar

As a non-toxic, natural cleaning solution, white vinegar can’t be beaten. It is always good to have around and can be diluted enough that a small bottle can last you quite a long time.

1. Trim Surrounding Vegetation

Backyard Fountain
Image credits: Tom Wheatley via Unsplash

One of the best ways to keep the water in your fountain clean is to keep debris like leaves and branches out of it. Whenever vegetation ends up in water, it tends to be a breeding ground for bacteria and other animal life. By keeping the trees and bushes around the fountain pruned, you can be sure that any falling debris won’t end up in the water.

This method is a great way to not only keep your fountain clean, but also keep your backyard greenery maintained. But it can be difficult to keep up on this task consistently enough, especially if you don’t usually do a lot of work in the yard. So be sure to plan ahead.

2. Keep It in the Shade

One of the biggest hazards that can grow in your fountain is algae. However, algae needs sunlight in order to grow just like any living thing. If you keep your fountain in the shade and out of direct sunlight, this can stop the proliferation of algae before it even begins.

The upside is that finding a shady spot to put your fountain is easy to do and can go a long way towards keeping the water clean without having to do much else.

On the flip side, you may want your fountain to catch the sunlight in order to keep up its visual appeal. You may also not have a shady spot that isn’t under a lot of molting vegetation. If this is the case, you probably want to try one of the other methods.

3. Regularly Clean Debris With Vinegar

No matter how well you try to keep your backyard fountain from getting dirty, you will always run into some kind of buildup just from the simple fact that it’s outside. When this happens, vinegar is a great, child and animal-safe option that can get the job done. Simply douse a scrub brush with a vinegar solution and scrub down the exposed areas of the fountain. You can also use pipe cleaner to clear out the tubes and small pipes that the water runs through.

    Lucy's Family Owned - Natural Distilled White Vinegar

White Vinegar
    White vinegar is a great, eco-friendly way to clean your fountain and keep it safe for kids and animals

This is a very effective way to get rid of organic matter that builds up over the course of the fountain being outside and it is safe and non-toxic for all the animal life that calls your backyard home. However, this method won’t prevent the growth of algae and bacteria and is only effective once the fountain has already become dirty.

4. Use a Phosphate Remover

For a preventative approach, a phosphate remover might be a good choice. Phosphates are food for algae and if your fountain water doesn’t have any in it, no algae can grow. All you have to do is add a capful to your fountain’s water and it will keep any blooms from starting.

    Orenda PR-10000

Phosphate Remover
    Phosphate remover stops the proliferation of bacteria and toxic algae blooms before they even have a chance to start to grow.

This is one of the easiest methods since all you have to do is put the phosphate remover in as an additive. Just keep in mind that phosphate remover will not get rid of algae that has already grown, so if your fountain is dirty, this will not clean it. You will have to get rid of the debris first and add this to prevent the growth of algae in the future.

5. Use a Vacuum Fountain Cleaner

For a high-powered solution, a commercial vacuum fountain cleaner is a great way to quickly get any debris out of the water without having to mess with any nets or scrub brushes. A vacuum fountain cleaner will use suction to pull any debris or buildup from your fountain quickly and easily. Most of them come with a scrubbing attachment that can scrape any dirt from the sides as well as pull any leaves or twigs from the surface.

    Pool Blaster Max

Vacuum Fountain Cleaner
    A vacuum powered fountain cleaner can remove large debris and scrub the sides of your fountain to help you get rid of algae and other buildup.

This option is great if you don’t want to get your hands dirty with a lot of manual scrubbing and scraping. While some commercial vacuum fountain cleaners are very powerful, depending on the amount of buildup and debris, you may end up having to use a little elbow grease anyway to get it all the way clean.

Keep It Clean

No matter how hard you try to prevent debris and buildup in your backyard fountain, you are going to have to clean it at some point. We understand how difficult it can be to keep up on your backyard maintenance and if you can make things as easy for yourself as possible, you can keep your fountain clean and sparkling with just a little bit of effort.

Do you have a simple, easy way to keep your backyard fountain water clean? Let us know in the comment section below!