Cleaning Your Garden Fountain

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I have had fountains around my home for most of my adult life as I love the sound of water trickling; it produces such a peaceful and serene sound. Because my fountains were indoors, I never had to worry about algae growing on them or much scum forming. And, although it isn’t recommended because of the pumps, I would put in a small amount of bleach (about a teaspoon) and it didn’t appear to ruin the fountain pumps as I have read it would.

About fifteen years ago we purchased a 6′ multi-tiered fountain for our outdoor patio, which I keep running Spring through Summer. The biggest problem is keeping the water clear of scum and algae. I tried using small amounts of bleach, which has always worked on my indoor fountains, but it didn’t help as the fountain sits in the sun all day. I was reluctant to put too much bleach into the fountain as I didn’t want to chance ruining the pump plus I have birds of all types stopping in for a drink or bath and I didn’t want to hurt them in any way.

Hydrogen peroxide is the chemical compound H2O2 and is a highly reactive, strong oxidizing and bleaching (or whitening) agent. It is classified as corrosive at concentrations higher than 20 per cent. Because Hydrogen peroxide  breaks down into oxygen and water over time, and the formation of these by-products. it is considered to be relatively safe for the environment.

There are a lot of products out on the market now for cleaning fountains and keeping the water clear; but they all come with a pretty hefty price tag so I started searching for a more pocket-friendly way to keep the water in my fountain clear. After reading numerous articles, I decided I will try using food-grade 3% Hydrogen Peroxide in my fountain this coming Spring (in case you’re wondering, this is not an affiliate link) and will update this post later as to how it works.

Because there are no fish living in my fountain (yes, I’ve seen where people add fish to their fountains) and I will be hanging around on my patio after applying the  hydrogen peroxide to my fountain, I am confident it will break down into oxygen long before any birds approach the fountain, making it perfectly safe to use.

Note: Although it’s a little off-topic, I want to note that while hydrogen peroxide is relatively safe for the environment and around pets, I have also read warnings about using them around fish as it can burn their gills and even kill them if used incorrectly. I found a great article from The Fish Site, which details the use of hydrogen peroxide around fish that may be of interest.

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