Recycling phosphogypsum (PG) for cemented paste backfill (CPB) has been widely used at phosphate mines in China. However, the impurities in PG prolong the setting time and reduce the uniaxial compressive strength (UCS), limiting the engineering application of PG. This paper aims to investigate the feasibility of treated PG (TPG) washed repeatedly using deionised water (DW) for CPB. A water-washing pre-experiment was first conducted to find the proportion with the least DW demand and the effects of water-washing on ordinary PG (OPG). Then, based on the PG:DW ratio obtained from the pre-experiment, the properties of the OPG-based CPB (OCPB) and TPG-based CPB (TCPB) were tested using slump tests, UCS tests, and microstructural analysis. The results show that (1) after 11 water-washings at the PG:DW ratio of 1:1.75, the pH of the supernatant (pH = 6.328) meets the requirements of Chinese standard GB 8978-1996. (2)Water-washing improves the particle gradation quality of PG and removes the soluble impurities adsorbed at the surface of PG crystals. (3) The initial slump values of TCPB are 0.19-1.15 cm higher than that of OCPB, furthermore, the diffusivity values of TCPB are better than the performance of OCPB, with 0.61-1.68 cm of superiority. (4) The UCS values of TCPB are up to 0.838 MPa, 1.953 MPa, and 2.531 MPa, after curing for 7, 14, and 28 days. These are 0.283 MPa, 0.823 MPa, and 0.881 MPa higher than that of OCPB, respectively. It can be concluded that water-washing pre-treatment greatly improves the workability and mechanical property of PG-based CPB. These results are of great value for creating a reliable and environmentally superior alternative for the recycling of PG and for safer mining production.