How to Clean a Cat Water Fountain

Using a cat water fountain has many advantages, including the ability to feed your pet with fresh, clean water at any time of the day and the ability to give your pet the appetite to drink water from the stream of flowing water.

However, this all comes at a cost as the main real difference between a cat water fountain and a cat bowl is that the cleaning process is a lot more difficult with a fountain compared to a bowl. With a bowl, all you must do is rinse the bowl and wipe it with a towel. With a water fountain, you will have to take apart some parts and do a bit more then rinsing and wiping. Make sure it is clean for your pet to use.

Luckily in this article, you will learn the easiest and simplest way to clean your fountain. So that your pet will be drinking out of a fountain that is clean and well maintained.

Process of Cleaning a Cat Water Fountain

First, drain your fountain of all the water. This includes water in the canals and the main tank unit of the device. This is so that when we take apart the fountain itself to reach the motor, the water won’t flood anywhere.

Second, take out the main tank unit of the fountain, so that you can access the motor of the fountain. After this is done, take out the motor and you should be done with disassembly at this point unless you have a fountain that is a bit more complex. For more complex fountains, we recommend that you read the manual or watch a few videos online, as each model has different steps to disassemble.

Third, disassemble the motor unit by taking the front facing panel out using your fingernails if necessary. After this is taken out, you should be able to see the main rotating motor unit inside. This motor unit should be easier to take out than the front facing panel. It is secured using magnets and not as airtight as the front facing panel as its job is to keep the water out.

Lastly, rinse the debris inside the motor after taking out the rotating motor unit. Then the motor can run without any debris inside to disturb it. Clean the other parts of the fountain that were disassembled earlier. Most of the fountain units these days are washable by using your dish washer, so we recommend that you do so if you don’t want to wash it yourself.

Warning about water

Please do note that if you are going to be using the dish washer to wash the disassembled pieces of the fountain, you should wash it by itself and not with any of your other dishes. This is to prevent any diseases or bacteria from spreading onto your plates and possibly onto you if your pet did have in their body. This is especially important if you know your pet is sick, as it will most definitely transfer over to your plates and silverware.

Once the pieces are all rinsed and dried out, assemble it the same way that you disassembled it. Fill the water to the maximum and you have just cleaned your fountain in the simplest and most efficient way possible. As you only must wash your fountain every few weeks or every other week, we recommend that you wash your fountain according to our directions above, as it will make sure that everything is cleaned.

Maintenance Schedule – How Often Should You Clean A Cat Water Fountain?

Despite what you might have heard from other cat owners, there’s no real way to tell exactly when the right time to clean your fountain is. You can’t normally see the dirt, food, fur and other stuff your cat tracks in very easily.

As a result, you’ll probably want to clean it at least once a week. That should help to ensure hygiene without wearing out your unit due to overdoing it.

How Do You Clean A Drinkwell 360 Water Fountain?

First, you’ll want to unplug the unit completely from the wall. You can then disassemble the components by pushing your fingers against the sides of the seam on the side of the Drinkwell fountain.

Gently apply pressure until the water intake tube pulls away from the motor. Set the motor housing aside and clean the bowl just like you would clean any of your own dishes.

In fact, some pet owners have found that you can put it on the top rack of a dishwasher if you’re very careful!

Using every bit as much care, take off the impeller blades from the motor. You’ll want to make sure you don’t touch the edges since they’re sharp.

You can normally clean all these pieces individually as though they were silverware, though you shouldn’t ever put the motor housing itself in the wash.

How Do You Clean A Big Dog Fountain?

The actual disassembly process is almost the same! Once you have the unit apart, you can probably wipe most of the stainless steel components clean with a cloth.

Owners of messier dogs recommend periodically using a small bit of white vinegar to clean the impeller a bit more thoroughly.

How To Clean Drinkwell Mini Pet Fountain?

Mini fountains normally come apart rather easily because of their size, but it’s hard to take off the stator on most of them. This is a teardrop-shaped piece of plastic that’s right underneath the intake plate.

Once you use the same process to clean the bigger parts, you can slide your fingernail under the little lip and pull very gently. You’ll be able to remove the stator and clean any surfaces below.

How To Prevent Slime In Your Pet Water Fountain?

Changing the water regularly and making sure the bowl is clean is the easiest way to prevent slime from ever growing.

There’s dozens of gimmicks on the market that claim to eliminate slime, but it shouldn’t be an issue if you keep the bowl clean to begin with.

How To Clean A Stainless Steel Pet Fountain?

Slime is a bacterial film that starts to form as a result of microorganisms falling into your pet’s water supply. Sounds gross?

It is.

Changing the water weekly is the best way to prevent slime from growing in the first place. You’ve probably seen a whole mess of products that claim to do the job for you.

They don’t do much good in most cases, and might even make your dog sick! Don’t buy into any of the hype.

If you’re really concerned, then buy a pet fountain that’s FDA approved to ensure clean surfaces. Stainless steel, porcelain and hospital grade plastic will all slow down the growth rate of slime.

How To Clean A Ceramic Pet Fountain?

In most cases, disassembling a ceramic pet fountain isn’t much different from taking apart a plastic one.

The big benefit, though, is the fact you can clean the bowl like any other ceramic bowl.

That means you can clean it with warm water and dish detergent. Once you’re done, you’ll want to make sure to rinse it thoroughly.

What To Do When Your Drinkwell Mini Pet Fountain Stopped Working?

While it might sound stupid, make sure the cord is plugged in and the unit is on. Excited pets sometimes jerk their fountains out of the wall.

If that’s not the problem, then carefully ensure the unit is totally off and unplug it before disassembling it and looking for any potential signs of a clog.

How To Clean A Plastic Cat Fountain?

While you’ll want to clean a plastic cat fountain the same way you would any other pet fountain, you often can’t use extremely hot water to do so. The plastic on many models is just too soft.

Use warm water and make sure to scrub it clean. Standard detergent often works as long as you rinse well.

What To Do When Your Cat Water Fountain Gets Slimy?

Dump all of the water out, clean the unit like normal and let the entire thing dry before filling it again. Slime is caused by colonies of bacteria, and in doing so there’s a good chance that you’ll take take care of the bacteria in the process.

Cleaning the fountain on a weekly basis will normally prevent the growth of any film in the first place.


Cleaning your pet’s water fountain is the first step that you can take to ensure that your pet is healthy and is drinking clean water. Make sure that you do everything carefully, so that you get all the debris and possible germs inside, so that your pet doesn’t drink any of it if it does get mixed into the water. We hope that this article will allow you to clean your fountain a lot easier and simpler!

This was a guest post by Alex Brown, from Check out more information on the best cat water fountains from his site!

Bonus: How to Clean Your Drinkwell Fountain Pump by PetSafe®

How to Clean a Cat Water Fountain