Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

Removing Foam from a Garden Fountain


“What causes the water in an outdoor fountain to look foamy? I have a concrete fountain in my garden, and the water appears full of foam or suds. Any advice?”

Foam is a common problem in both outdoor and indoor fountains, usually caused by an excess of proteins and other organic compounds left behind by bacteria, plants, or animals. The compounds form a slick layer on the surface, which is then churned up into foam by the splashing water. Here are some ways to reduce the formation of foam in your garden fountain:

  • Change the water in your fountain regularly to keep it fresh.
  • Move your fountain out of direct sunlight – the sunlight increases evaporation, which increases the amount of material left behind in the water.
  • If possible, use distilled water in your fountain to discourage mineral accumulation, algae, and bacteria.
  • If the foam persists, you can also try products such as Jungle Laboratories No More Foam for Fountains or Crystal Clear Foam B Gone. These nontoxic additives help to dissolve the substances that cause the foam buildup.
  • Clean your fountain with a scrub brush and water, or with a fountain cleaner, every couple of months. Never use regular soap or bleach – not only can these products harm the birds and creatures who may drink from your fountain, but they can also soak into porous concrete or stone and create foam of their own.


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7 Comments on “Removing Foam from a Garden Fountain”

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  1. The Skin Care Lady Says:
    March 7th, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Good thinking! Thank you for this article. I have an outdoor water fountain and it is in need of a spring cleaning.

  2. Veronica | wall fountain Says:
    March 26th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks for the advice. I just installed a new outdoor fountain and have been a little concerned about upkeep on it. I love it so much, and wouldn’t want it to get mold, algea or anything! I’ll have to try the distilled water.

  3. Joe Coleyu Says:
    March 26th, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I just cleaned and repainted my fountain (it hangs in our entryway) and I can’t seem to get rid of the foam. I’ll buy some of the product you mentioned but I can’t help but wonder what’s causing it. None of the solutions you suggest apply.

  4. Pat Onaindia Says:
    May 7th, 2012 at 7:48 am

    I have a water feature /pond with 7 koi fish. We started to get foam last week. Never before and we have had our pond 9 years. Our pond is about 17 ft long and 8 ft wide. In the morning the foam is there in the late afternoon it is almost gone. Any suggestions?
    Thanks, Pat

  5. Carolyn Elliott Says:
    August 30th, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    The water in my beautiful new outdoor fountain is covered in foam. I have gone to the retailer, and to 2 nurseries, with no helpful advise. I will order some of these products and hope it works. Can not for the life of me figure out why this condition was such a mystery to my contact. Thanks for your help.

  6. briddget Says:
    June 14th, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I just bought a better homes &garden fountain. I filled it with distilled water, made sure the water level was above the pump and from the very start, I have bubbles. I emptied it, rinsed it completely then refilled with distilled water again, and still have bubbles! Do you have any suggestions? Could it be drawing air from anywhere if the water level is above the pump?

  7. tiny bubbles Says:
    February 10th, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I set up a bamboo and ceramic pot fountain over the weekend and the foam has begun. Also noticed the foam building up on an exposed river rock forms a skin of whitish scum. In the past I used 3 types of drops that prevented algae, foam and mineral deposits and they worked fairly well. No mosquitoes and safe for wildlife when used as directed. Think I got it at the local big box mart.

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