I think we’ve all seen an old concrete fountain or birdbath that has grown algae or collected mineral deposits. Stagnant water in birdbaths can create red or green growth, as well as cloudy water and sometimes a not-so-nice odor. There is also the problem with mosquito larva, which only take 24 hours to hatch. Female mosquitoes can lay 100-200 eggs at a time, which can cause problems if you turn your fountain off over night. Another creature that you may encounter with outdoor water features is the blood-worm. These aren’t necessarily bad, but it can freak some people out. Blood-worms are tiny red worms that hang out in clean water and ponds, and are also sold in stores as fish bait. You can get rid of them if you’d like, you’ll just have to clean out your pumps more frequently. There are many ways to clean concrete items in your garden, some safer or easier than others. Below we’ve listed a few of the methods we have tried in the past. Of course, if you use another method not listed here, LET US KNOW! We absolutely love learning new things, and can link to your blog as well!
1. The Bleach Method – You can use a cap or two full of bleach in a gallon sized bucket or sprayer (that you can get from Lowe’s or Home Depot) to apply to the concrete surface. We recommend removing all water from birdbaths before adding the solution. Take a small scrub brush and scrub all sides with the solution and leave for an hour or so. If cleaning a birdbath or feeder, something that can retain water that animals drink or eat from, you have to be very careful not to leave bleach in the birdbath when refilling. This can be very harmful for wildlife. Make sure to rinse the birdbath or feeder several times with water, refill, and you’re good to go! This is usually the easiest method because most households have bleach and scrubbies on hand at all times. Side Note: Bleach can ruin filters and pumps if cycled through them, and there are many other ways to get rid of residue!
2. Dish Soap – This is what people usually use for fountain maintenance as an alternative for buying expensive pond and fountain tablets and gadgets. If you’re cleaning a large fountain, this method will work best for you! Drain or siphon off all water and unplug pump(s). Use a little dish soap and water to scrub the walls and basin of the fountain, and rinse when done making sure no suds remain. You don’t want to turn on the fountain and get bubbles! This could destroy your pump!
To clean your pump, first remove the pump cover and take out any leaves or debris you can with your hands. Then soak in a mixture or 50/50 water and distilled vinegar to remove inside mineral deposits and algae. Rinse with water and place in fountain, replace the plug and then refill with water. To prevent mineral build up you can fill with distilled water, but sometimes this can be difficult to keep up with as usually fountains are outside and collect rain water.
3. Vinegar – Vinegar works well as a natural, less abrasive anti-fungal/bacterial solution. Drain all water out of your fountain, then add a mix of half-n-half white vinegar and water. Use a bristled dish brush to scrub away algae, and buildup. Before you re-fill your fountain, be sure to rinse the vinegar out completely.
4. Buy Chlorine Tabs – (and/or solvents from a home improvement store.) Simple as that! If you’ve got the money to spend, or just want to do an “overhaul” on your concrete garden decor, this is the simplest solution. The solvents sold for cleaning fountains are generally easy on water pumps and won’t erode the concrete. After this deep cleaning, your fountain can be easy to maintain with steps 1 or 2! Or, you know, just keep purchasing already made solvents to make your life so much easier!
I hope these answers help! There are many things that can bring you happiness, and that’s all we want for our customers! If you’ve purchased an item from us, or would like to in the future, don’t hesitate to ASK QUESTIONS! That’s what we’re here for! We’ve been in the concrete business for more than 17 years and love to see people happy with their new concrete garden items.
Also, if you know of a technique that has worked for you that isn’t listed, comment below or use our Contact Form and we will add it to our list and link to your blog or website!
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