A few years back, I installed a Saniflo pump to service a basement toilet + shower. Putting it in was a lot of fun, but I've always been worried about having it break. So every once in a while I try to descale the inside.

But what product to use?

In some countries, you can buy a branded product to clean these units. It's not sold in New Zealand where I live. When I asked the local rep, he said they've had good results with hydrochloric acid (well diluted). I've done this a few times, then noticed on a brochure that hydrochloric acid is the one thing they recommend you don't use as it can eat into the seals.

Would anyone happen to know what's in the official product, or be able to recommend a product that's an effective descaler but won't damage the seals (if that even exists)?


White Vinegar, as in regular household, kitchen variety. Vinegar will do the job without harming rubber seals. It will easily descale most lime build ups. You should likely mix with plain water in a 25x75 mix, depending on how much you intend to use. For mine, I use just enough total mix to completely cover the base of the pump base. up above the grinding blade, so, roughly 2 gallons total mixture with 1/2 gal US or 1.5 liters metric of vinegar with 3 times more of water.... so 1/2gal vinegar, 1.5 gallons of water, is enough for the fluid level to be above the actual grinding blade in my particular pump. I let that stand for at least an hour, then flush the whole system with clear water.

The advantage to vinegar is that while it is acidic, it is not enough to kill off the useful bacteria in the entire waste system nor is it so strong as to damage plastic or rubber seals.

  • Thank you for your answer! Sounds like you have a Saniflo too, awesome. Do you descale often? Vinegar is what we use in the upstairs toilet, for some reason I wasn't sure about using it in the Saniflo. I'll accept an answer within a couple of days, in the meantime thanks and +1 :) – zx81 Oct 20 '15 at 6:09

This would depend on how hard your water truly is, ie, how quickly you get a build up of scale. For the saniflo, since what you should be most worried about it blockage, and NOT looks, Ie you are worried about the interior not the exterior as it is never viewed, then you would likely only need to remove the scale once per year, possibly even less than that. In my case, I have very hard water, I get enough scale in 2 years to block the fill valves in a toilet etc, so I flush them with the vinegar every fall/early winter. Before first freeze, so that I don't have additional icing issues. I have waited a little over 3 years once, and that proved to be too long to wait... so, once per year is what I keep up with now, and just do it when I start the normal fall clean up, like after I finish clearing all the leaves out of the gutter systems, then I go and flush the entire system with vinegar... typically I go through about 2 gallons of vinegar with the various toilets and pumps that I have to clean up. Good luck with yours.

  • By the way, don't you find that you start getting a bit of a smell after a few months? I'm surprised about your once-a-year rhythm, although of course it depends on how much you use it. – zx81 Oct 23 '15 at 2:01
  • My Second "answer" was actually in reply to your 2nd question, IE how often to do it. The comments only allow x number of characters and my "comment" was longer than allowed so I had to add it as a reply instead of a comment to a comment. – user3728148 Oct 25 '15 at 17:48
  • Regarding smell... sometimes, I typically use the product called "Rid-X" which you can find almost anywhere, like Walmart, Target, some grocery stores etc. It is for treatment of septic systems. I use that monthly, helps to process waste which also helps eliminate smell. – user3728148 Oct 25 '15 at 17:50
  • Regarding usage amount... There are only 2 of us here... so not a big family with lots of extra waste, seldom have quests, so no additional, only 1 Toilet and bathroom in home etc... so not a great deal of use. Hard-water wise, we are off the normal scales for hard-water IE VERY HARD water. The once per year works for us, but your mileage may vary. – user3728148 Oct 25 '15 at 17:52

Just thought I'd throw my answer in here for others searching, I found a post somewhere advising Zep Drain Care Buildup Remover, an enzyme cleaner. Found it at Home Depot. I followed the instructions on the bottle, probably used a little more than recommended, I used about 3 gallons of hot water to flush it first, dumped in some Zep, and poured in maybe another gallon of hot water and let it sit 6 hours then flushed with 3 gallons of hot water, repeat 3 times. My 10+ year old sani-flo no longer smells musty! Yay!


I'm a Saniflo repair specialist in the UK, don't use vinegar or other concoctions like Coca-Cola etc to clean out a Saniflo macerator as it does not work. Saniflo's that are not descaled will eventually start misbehaving.

Saniflo Descaler is a phosphoric acid based descaler, there are other alternatives out there like Prokleen which is available in the UK, see link below for more info on how to descale your Saniflo.


protected by Community Mar 16 '17 at 10:33

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