There are so many reasons that water can taste like rotten eggs, but the most common reason is because of a sulfur odor in the water.
Occasionally bacteria get into a well or lake and cause the problem. Generally, it’s only temporary since municipal systems should monitor their water for any sign of contamination.
In this article, we will discuss what causes this to happen and how you can take action.
Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs? The Most Common Reasons
Sulfur compounds are usually the cause of a rotten egg smell in the water. The sulfur gas is created when anaerobic bacteria feeding on organic matter decompose the organic compounds releasing hydrogen sulfide gas.
Other sources of sulfur can include well water, geothermal discharge, sewer lines, and industrial boilers.
It is usually due to hydrogen sulfide gas which gives off a distinctive rotten egg-like smell and taste to drinking water or hot tap water that has not been used recently. Such gases are produced from geothermal sources where sulfur-rich, deep bedrock comes in contact with groundwater at higher surface elevations and at discharge points such as springs, riparian wetlands, lakes (thermal) belts, or coastal lagoons.
If your tap water smells like rotten eggs, it could also be coming from the foundation or pipes in your home. This can happen when water sits for long periods of time in the pipes without being used. The moisture in the water mixes with sulfur-based minerals inside your home’s pipes and creates a smell.
How you can take action
A sulfur taste or odor in your drinking water can be extremely unpleasant; however, it won’t usually pose any health risks.
Here are a few tips you can take to reduce or eliminate the rotten egg smell in your tap water:
If you are using a water softener, they can combat this issue. The product will remove the sulfur from the water as it works to soften the water.
Filters can help to reduce or eliminate the odor as well. The most common options are carbon filters. They can remove the sulfur from the water. Be sure to use a filter that is up to the task, and check with a professional to determine if you need additional filtering.
Boiling your water before use
When you first smell the rotten egg odor, try boiling your water for at least one minute and then cooling it immediately in cold water. This should eliminate the smell.
Commercial filters and treatments
If your water comes from a private well, commercial water treatment systems can be used to eliminate sulfur smells and tastes from your water.
Using bottled drinking water
Don’t drink water if you smell a rotten egg odor. Be sure to use bottled water for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula.
Installing an aerator on your faucet
An aerator (or water filter) can be installed on your faucet to reduce the sulfur smell from your tap water by allowing air into the water stream which helps eliminate the odor. This will not remove any sulfur from the water, but it will improve the odor.
Contact your local health department and/or water supply company
If you continue to have issues with the odor in the water, make sure you contact your local health department and/or water supply company. They will be able to test the water for the presence of sulfur and possibly find a cause.
Tips for Removing Rotten Egg Smell from dishes
If your water has a rotten egg smell and you are washing dishes you will probably get that smell on your dishware.
Here are a few tips to help remove the odor:
Soaking them in soda ash solution (sodium carbonate)
Soda ash is often used in swimming pools to remove chlorine and smells. It will help eliminate the smell from dishes that have been washed in sulfur water. Soda ash is sold at most pool supply stores.
Boiling them in vinegar or lemon juice
Boil the dishes in vinegar or lemon juice and then rinse with cold water to remove the smell.
Soaking them in dishwasher detergent
Add a cup of dishwasher detergent to the water and run the cycle through a wash cycle. This will remove any smells that might be in your water or dishes.
Boiling them in water with baking soda or vinegar
Boil the dishes in water and add a small amount of either baking soda or vinegar. This should help eliminate the odor as well.
Q: Why does my water have a rotten egg smell?
A: It could be due to the pipes in your home, or it could be due to the water you buy from your local water department. Either way, it’s a problem that can be easily fixed.
Q: Can this cause health problems?
A: Yes, if you have no idea what’s causing the issue, it could lead to health problems. It can be dangerous for folks with asthma or other respiratory problems. Moreover, babies and young children can develop colic symptoms or digestion issues if they drink the water.
Q: Is this a problem that will go away?
A: Not necessarily. Some homeowners have this problem for months at a time, while others have it for few days depending upon the cause of the problem. It’s best to take care of the issue as quickly as possible.
Q: What are some solutions to counteract this?
A: One solution is to install a water filter. However, it is best to contact your local water department to understand if there is a way to improve the taste of the water. If they determine that it’s not safe for consumption, they will also confirm that whether the issue is on their end or your end.
The smell in your water is likely caused by hydrogen sulfide, which can be traced to several sources. If the smell persists, contact a plumber or call your local utility provider for information on how to alleviate the problem.
To remove odors from dishes and other items exposed to smelly water we have provided few simple and effective methods.
We hope this article helped you understand what causes that awful rotten egg odor in your tap water as well as some solutions so it doesn’t linger around any longer!