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Water Odors:
How to Identify & Cure Other Smells & Tastes in Drinking Water

  • WATER SMELLS or ODORS, OTHER - CONTENTS: What are other common odors in drinking water and what causes them? How to get rid of chlorine odors, musty odors, sweet or soapy odors in drinking water
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about tracking down other water odors such as chlorine, bleach, musty smell, moldy smell, soapy smell, etc.

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Other water odors & smells, diagnosis & remedy:

Here we describe other, less common sources of water odors or smells.

This article series, beginning at WATER ODORS discusses how to identify, diagnose, and cure common as well as unusual odors that may be present in drinking water.

We also discuss which of these odors may warn of unsanitary conditions.

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Other Common Water Smells or Odors

Let's take a closer look at some other reasons why drinking water may be smelly be and what you should do.

  • Chlorine odors in drinking water: While we can't cover all of the possibilities here, we can talk about some different odors and their causes. If your water smells like chlorine, you're most likely on a municipal system and it is chlorine that you smell.

    Chlorine is quite volatile and doesn't stick around in water - if you run water from a tap into a pitcher and let it sit, the chlorine will dissipate pretty quickly. People who want to avoid chlorine in their water can install a treatment system such as charcoal filtering to remove it.

    If your home water smells like chlorine and you have a chlorinator installed for water disinfection, make sure the equipment is properly adjusted.

    If you have just shocked your water well to try to sanitize the wellit is possible that you have not run enough water to flush out all of that chlorine (bleach).

    If you have just followed the procedures at SANITIZE the WATER SOFTENER it is possible that you have not run enough water to flush out all of that chlorine (bleach).

    See CHLORINE SOURCES in DRINKING WATER for details about how chlorine may be appearing in drinking water.
  • A musty, dank, or brackish odor in water is often times attributed to chloride in your water, but it could also be 2-methyl-isoborneal (MIB).
  • A sweet, organic smell in water might indicate m-xylene, and styrene in your water will make you think of model airplane glue.
  • A "greenish -chlorophyll-like" odor in water might be grass in your well, but is probably an algae growth.
  • Soap or rubber odors in water: Some things are just what they smell like, for example soap will smell like soap, and rubber hose will smell like rubber hose!
  • Other sources of odors in water are discussed in our edited EPA article on water pollution:
    see WATER POLLUTANT SOURCES for those details.

Before Buying Water Treatment Equipment

A water treatment company will often be willing to test your water and will recommend just what equipment you need. Just be sure first that the odor source is a problem in your water source and not in the building piping or equipment.


Continue reading at WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

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WATER SMELLS or ODORS, OTHER at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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