Informational Guide

How To Eliminate Sump Pump Odor (DIY Guide)

by Andrew

If you reside in an area with excess moisture, your basement is always prone to flood. However, getting a quality sump pump will help protect your home's foundation.  

Remember, a sump pump should work for around ten years without any need for replacement, yet in the meantime, they do require frequent maintenance.  

This guide is here to help you understand the reason behind those sump pump odors and how to eliminate sump pump odor.  

Soap residue, algae, and detergent will accumulate on the concrete sump pump lining over the years.  

Additionally, since they are also used in car repair shops or hospitals collecting various liquids, they tend to hoard contaminants. 

Therefore, you must periodically clean your sump pit to keep those foul smells to a minimum. So if there is odor exuding from your sump pump hole; here is how you can deodorize your sump pump:  

Things Required 

Before we move on to the process of cleaning your sump pump to get rid of the foul smell; here are the materials you will need to start the cleaning process: 

  • Water 
  • Bleach 
  • Garden hose 
  • Scrub brush 
  • Heavy gloves 
  • Work lights 
  • Oil 

Sump Pump Odor Control 

  • First, remove the pit cover and disconnect your sump pump power by disconnecting the electrical outlet or lowering the breaker. 
  • Spray the bottom and walls of your sump pit by using a garden hose. If the garden hose cannot reach those hard-to-reach parts, scoop and scrape the crud from the pit walls. 
  • Continue to spray until the water in the pit is clear 
  • Clean your sump pump pit walls via a scrub brush and bleach 
  • It is important to note that use a bleach-to-water ratio of 1:10, so it does not damage the walls of your pit 
  • Pour this mixture inside a spray bottle and spray the pit walls as you are scrubbing 
  • Once the pit is clean and you can smell no odor coming from it, add one to two tablespoons of oil to your sump pump crock 

Tip: Remember to scrape and wash the gunk off your sump pump. You can also hook up work lights if required and never forget to protect yourself by wearing heavy gloves and disconnecting the power.  

What Causes Sump Pump Odor? (Why Your Sump Pump Smells) 

So, without wasting any time, if you can smell unpleasant odors coming from your sump pump pit, here is the reason:  

  • Dry Sump Pump 
    Your sump pump has a basin that must always have water. The water covers all drain openings and keeps gases back inside the house. But if a sump pit dries out, gases will escape and fill the basement with a foul smell.  
  • Waste Build-Up – Sewage in Sump Pump 
    The sump pump might have a foul odor in some cases because of sewage infiltration. The problem occurs if your main sewer line is damaged and the sewage is seeping into the groundwater.  
  • Stagnant Old Water 
    Even though your sump pump must not dry out, however, it also should not have standing water.  Water stagnation happens when your sump pump basin has water but not enough to start operation. Stagnant water will lead to mildew and mold growth, leading to a bad smell.  
  • Cracked Or Broken Sump Pump 
    Worn out or damaged parts inside your sump pump might also cause foul odors. For instance, damaged seals and gaskets can let pungent smells flow back into your house.  
  • Dirty Sump Pump 
    The water going through your sump pump is not exactly clean. Sometimes, the waste in water accumulates and clogs. Over time this waste starts to decompose and smell.  
  • Mechanical Issues 
    Your sump pump might also have specific mechanical issues. For example, any component can fail, resulting in the water not pumping as it should and creating a stale, stagnant pool of smelly water.  
  • Odor After Rain 
    Your pump must deal with excess water when it rains. A failed or inefficient pump will leave behind a pool of stagnant water, causing that standard foul sump pump odor after rain.  
covering sump pump

Is Sump Pump Odor Dangerous? 

Sometimes, a sulfur-like smell exuding from your sump pump is nothing more than an indicator for some minor maintenance requirement.  

However, other times, a foul odor can indicate a much extensive issue with your sump pump and sewer line.  

So if the sulfur is very intense, it might indicate the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas inside your sump pump. 

Hydrogen sulfide gas is commonly known as 'sewer gas' since it is typically produced during the waste-breakdown process.  

This gas has a strong odor akin to rotten eggs, and you can typically breathe it at lower levels without any adverse effects on your health.  

But at higher levels, this gas can prove to be fatal. So much so that your nose might not be able to smell it. 

Therefore, if there is a sulfurous odor coming from your sump pump, have it cleaned and checked as soon as possible.  


Are sump pump fumes toxic? 

In some cases, sump pump fumes are toxic. Like if you have been smelling a sulfur-like odor coming from your sump pit for a long time and suddenly it stops coming, it can indicate high levels of hydrogen sulfide that can prove to be toxic.  

Can I put a chlorine tablet in my sump pump? 

If there is excess odor exuding from your sump pump, dropping chlorine tablets inside the sump pump basin every 2-3 months will help you get rid of any source (like algae growth) causing that smell.  

Should I put bleach in my sump pump? 

Yes, you can, but only diluted bleach. A bleach solution diluted with water will not damage your sump pump. Typically, sump pumps are thermoplastic or cast iron and can be safely cleaned via bleach.  

Can you put vinegar in a sump pump? 

Yes, you can. The regular household white vinegar is one of the best sump pump cleaners. Not only is it cheap, but it will remove all types of dirt and prevent future smells. Just mix equal parts of vinegar and water and use a rag to wipe down the sump pump.  

How often should you clean your sump pump pit? 

It would help to clean your sump pump once every three months; however, all homes are different. Therefore, if you observe that your sump pit is collecting higher build-up than average, increase the cleaning frequency. 


There are various sump pump odor causes: the sewage seeping into the pit, a dirty sump pit, stagnant water in the pit, or broken parts in your pit. 

 Yet, cleaning your sump pit is relatively easy, and you can keep it maintained, so there is less of a need for constant cleaning.  

We hope this guide was able to help you understand how to get rid of the sump pump odor. However, if you feel stuck or unable to DIY it, don't hesitate to speak to a professional.