Animals in the wild seek out cool, moving streams to quench their thirst, and a freshwater fountain recreates this healthy experience in your home. If you live in an area with hard water, your pet fountain will eventually collect hard water deposits that are not only unsightly, but eventually cause the fountain to become clogged. Remove hard water deposits twice monthly to keep your fountain in good working order.
Get Ready to Clean
Hard water stains are easily removed from pet fountains using basic household supplies such as salt, vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. A plastic mesh scrubber and a small bristled cleaning brush available at an aquarium supply store are suitable for most surfaces. Refer to your pet water fountain's owner's manual for specific instructions on how to disassemble your particular model for cleaning. Unplug the water fountain and remove the filter before attempting to clean your fountain.
Spiffing Up Plastic
Hard water spots are easily removed from plastic pet fountains with just a bit of salt. Empty the water out of your fountain but do not dry it. Sprinkle salt liberally over the hard water deposits in the damp fountain. Moisten a plastic mesh scrubbing pad and scrub over the salt so it forms a paste. Rub the paste into the deposits with the scrubber and they will loosen up easily. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Sparkling Clean Ceramic
Ceramic fountains are easily scratched with harsh scouring powders or abrasive substances, leaving unsightly hairline cracks where mineral deposits collect easily in the future. Apply distilled white vinegar directly to the hard water deposits in your pet's ceramic bowl and allow it to soak in for 10 minutes to loosen deposits. Apply vinegar a second time and sprinkle baking soda on the vinegar. It will bubble and fizz as it goes to work. Scrub gently with a non-scratching plastic mesh to remove stubborn deposits and rinse well.
Shining Stainless Steel
As stainless steel develops scratches with use, hard water deposits cling stubbornly to their crevices and are difficult to remove. Get your stainless steel looking bright and shiny again with an acidic cleaning agent such as vinegar or lemon juice. Make your own power-packed stainless steel cleaner by putting grapefruit or lemon peels in a mason jar and covering them with white vinegar. After two weeks, the cleaner can be transferred to a spray bottle and used in conjunction with a plastic mesh scrubber to remove even the most stubborn stains.
Soak small parts -- such as intake tubes, impellers and spouts -- in a bowl with white vinegar for 15 to 30 minutes. Use your aquarium tube brush to slide into hard-to-reach places to loosen mineral deposits. Rinse thoroughly under warm water until you no longer smell vinegar on the pieces.
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