The Grounds Guys
Soup bubbles in fountain

You’ve Been Soaped! Now What?

Soaping. It’s a prank as old as toilet papering someone’s house, but it can be even more destructive. It’s when a prankster dumps laundry detergent, shampoo or dish soap into a fountain so the churning water produces suds.

Soaping may sound like harmless fun – a way to turn a public water feature into a giant bubble bath for a day – but the vandalism can result in expensive cleanup and have a lasting impact on the fountain. If you’ve been soaped, The Grounds Guys offers you some tips for cleaning up the mess and how to protect your fountain against future pranks.

Damage Caused to Soaped Fountains

Fountains on the Lee Clarion University campus in Cleveland, Tennessee are historically prone to vandalism. One particular event in August 2010 cost the university $1,000 in materials alone to drain the fountain, clean all surfaces, chemically remove the suds and flush the pipes, not to mention add important chemicals back in to prevent algae growth and keep the water crystal clear.

More recently in July 2014, a soaped fountain in Eau Claire, Wisconsin kept city workers busy for days cleaning up the mess. Crews had to clean out the whole fountain, backwash the filters, rinse, wash and repeat multiple times before all the soap was cleared out of the system. It took hours of manpower and several days before the fountain was back up and running.

Tips for Cleanup

If your fountain or waterfall fixture has been soaped, you’re undoubtedly quite annoyed. Not many people know the damage they cause when they pour soap into a fountain; they just want to pull a silly prank.

Regardless of the vandal’s intentions, the deed is done. Here are some tips for getting your water fixture soap-free once more.

  • Drain and rinse the fountain: Get as much soap out of the water as you can by draining it completely. Refill it and drain it again to rinse more suds from the fountain.
  • Add anti-foaming agents: Cleaning a soaped fountain is not as simple as pumping water out and replacing it. Residual soap will continue to foam until you add a nontoxic anti-foaming agent to the water.
  • Replace the filters: They’re probably all gummed up from the soap and need to be replaced, possibly even multiple times during the cleanup process, depending on the size of the fountain and how much soap the vandal added.
  • Restore the proper chemical balance: To restore the fountain to its former glory, add the proper chemicals to thwart algae growth.
  • Call in the pros: If your personal fountain gets soaped and you have no idea how to clean it, don’t risk making matters worse. Leave fountain cleanup to The Grounds Guys®.

Tips for Protecting from Future Pranks

Unfortunately, the only way to protect your fountain from vandals is to either put it under lock and key or stand guard 24/7. If the fountain is on your private property, add locks to your gates to help keep trespassers out. Whether the fountain is in a public or private area, you can install surveillance cameras to catch any future perpetrator in the act.

For more help de-sudsing your water fixture, please contact The Grounds Guys. We offer both residential and commercial aquatic management services. Speaking of cleaning, check out Molly Maid, our fellow Neighborly company, for help indoors!

Did you know? The Grounds Guys is a Neighborly brand. Discover an entire network of professionals to assist with any of your home service needs at