How To Deodorize A Smelly Sump Pump | A Detailed Guide

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Whether you are using your sump pump occasionally or all year long, it can give rise to many issues if it is not regularly maintained. Among which foul smell is a hard hit, especially for people with sensitive noses. Unfortunately, many don’t know how to handle it.

So, to deodorize the sump pump, you can:

  • Cover the pit with an airtight lid
  • Use bleach
  • Block the drain lines with water
  • Use vinegar
  • Cleaning drain lines
  • Don’t leave water stagnant for too long

Using the above methods, you can tackle almost any type of odor-related issue and have a healthy living environment.

Note: If by any chance, the foul smell still lingers, we would recommend consulting a professional.

How to Deodorize a Smelly Sump Pump

Ways to Deodorize a Smelly Sump pump

1. Use an airtight lid

This is one of the easiest and labor-free ways of getting rid of the foul odor. You can use an airtight lid or a basin cover over the sump pit. It will prevent the smell from creeping out of the pit. So, even if you cannot find a lid that fits the diameter of the pit perfectly, use one that you can jam in as much as possible.

2. Use bleach

Deodorize a Smelly Sump pump

Regularly cleaning the pit with bleach and hot water will take care of the smell and also of the harmful scum that gets deposited at the bottom. The sludge that gets collected in the pit contains a large number of harmful bacteria, chemicals, and debris. The pump drains out the sump water, but the heavier debris gets left behind and settles at the base. With time, it can start stinking up your basement and also make the pit unsanitary. That’s why cleaning the pit, and the pump with bleach and water on a regular basis is recommended.

For better understanding, read our DIY guide on cleaning the sump pump.

3. Keep water covering the drainage system

Sometimes the source of the smell can be the fumes coming out of the drain pipes. This happens when the pump is inactive, and the pit is empty; the smell from the drain holes can make its way out. So, to keep the pipes blocked, you can fill the pit with water. Make sure that the water is clean. This can help in controlling the level of odor coming out of the pit. You can try doing this after cleaning the sump pit.

4. Use vinegar

After bleach, vinegar is also a suitable cleaning agent. It can get rid of the rotting smell. All you have to do is, take a bucket of hot water and add vinegar to it. With the help of a sponge, start scrubbing down the sump pit. You can also use it on the surface of the pump and wipe the rust and gunk off it. After you are done, dry out everything to prevent any future oxidation from happening.

5. Maintaining drain lines

The drain lines are the perfect breeding place for mold and mildew. It is dark and dingy. Also, it is a tough spot to clean, that’s why it is often neglected. By not cleaning the pipes, all your hard work in maintaining the pump and the pit will be of no use. So, to properly clean the lines, you can use a hose and blast the discharge lines with hot water for a couple of minutes. You can also add a little bit of bleach and soap for the cleaning process to be more effective.

6. No stagnant water

The floodwater carries a number of rotting debris that can release an awful smell. If the height of the water is below the float switch activation level, then it can sit there for hours until the pump gets switched on. So, check the float switch and make sure there is no water just lying in your basement going unchecked. If that happens often, adjust the float switch positioning a little, and there should be no stagnant water.


When you are dealing with ‘smelly’ issues, you also need to know how to identify the smell. This will help you in pinpointing the source of the problem and also figure out if any of your equipment is malfunctioning. We understand that maintaining a sump pump can be a lot of work. But if you stick to it, not only does it increase the sump pump’s lifespan, but it also gives you a clean and water-free basement. By applying these methods, you can save your sump system from emitting any disgusting smells.

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