Cloudy tap water? Causes, Safety, and Solutions

If you don’t know much about cloudy tap water then you are in the right place. Do you happen to get a glass of cloudy water from the tap at home instead of a clean and pure glass of water? If so, you definitely may be wondering at the back of your mind, why is my tap water cloudy and is it safe to drink? In just about a few minutes you will be able to have all the answers you have been waiting for to your questions.

Now this problem has a few causes which can probably vary from being absolutely harmless to quite dangerous. But do not worry a lot, by the end of this article you will be able to elevate your knowledge about cloudy tap water to a whole new level. At times, the main reason for cloudy water can just be some amount of air trapped in your water pipes, which has been accumulated there for quite some time now.


What Causes Cloudy Tap Water?

There is not just one reason for this issue but six reasons in total. Now, your water can be coming from the city pipes or well water too. If your water is being sourced from well water then all the six reasons can be the causes of your water being cloudy and for cloudy water that comes from city pipes, the first three reasons can apply.

  1. Air Bubbles
  2. Hard Water
  3. Sediments
  4. Methane Gas
  5. Well Residue
  6. Excess Surface Water

1. Air Bubbles

Air Bubbles

Signs that you have air bubbles in your tap water : 

Fill a glass of water, keep it aside, let it relax, and observe.

If your tap water clears from the extreme bottom to the extreme top in a few minutes then your water likely has air bubbles in it.

 To this there are a few reasons why air bubbles come into the picture :

  • Trapped air in your water pipes
  • Recently done plumbing work
  • Increased water pressure in your water pipes

How To Get Rid Of Air Bubbles :

As soon as the water gets pulled inside your pipes and it is put under pressure, this action can put air into it. In this situation, the cloudy water is completely harmless and it does not require any action to be taken further. 

In cases like these. Air bubbles are likely temporary and they can disappear from your water in a very short span of time.

2. Hard Water

Signs that you have hard water :

  • The cloudy tap water does not happen to be clear
  • You can spot some very visible while stains on your dishes and glasses after washing
  • Your water appliances have white mineral deposits all over

Hard water is water that possesses really vast amounts of calcium and magnesium in it. Basically, it contains any sort of dissolved materials, like calcium and magnesium are dissolved minerals. This usually happens when rainwater passes through lakes, rivers which consist of earthy minerals.

The hardness as well as the softness of your water depends on where you stay. If you are living in the United States, you can take a look at the US Geological Survey map.

You will come across some information that goes like some places like Texas and Southern California have hard water whereas the east coast happens to have soft water.

Should you worry about hard water?

There have been cases where excessive exposure to dissolved minerals leads to cardiovascular diseases in men. But these particular studies have not shown much proof and hence, cannot be taken seriously.

If there has been a problem that people have faced through hard water is possibly all aesthetic, to be precise stains on clothes or maybe any appliances too and even the taste of the water.

However, if you really are very concerned about the contaminants that aren’t possible to be noticed with a naked eye you should consider the health issues of these impurities.

  • Fluoride
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Lead
  • Synthetic estrogen
  • Pharmaceuticals

But do not stress a lot since there is a really good part of this whole topic as well and it is that this problem has a solution. All this can be solved by making sure to purchase an extremely good quality water filter.

3. Sediments


Signs that you have good amounts of sediments in your water :

  • Water may happen to look dirty or you will spot contaminants floating around
  • There must have been some construction near your municipal water supply
  • Water does not seem clear at first but it may seem clean after being passed through a water filter

Sediments are another main reason for the water being really cloudy. Cloudy tap water does not clear if not for high amounts of sediments in it as it does in the presence of air bubbles. This is measured with TSS (total suspended solids) and is all about the tiny solids that lurk around in your water but never settle at the bottom.

These solids include :

  • Algae
  • Iron
  • Clay
  • Silt
  • Manganese
  • sediment

One of the main issues here is that really high concentration of TSS can lead to bacteria growth. The entry of sediments into water happens because of any slight disturbances in the municipal water like any construction work nearby, storms, etc.

How to get rid of sediments in the water?

The major problem that comes along well water is that bacteria can accompany the really high amounts of sediments in your water.

You may think of boiling your water to remove all the bacteria in there and it will eventually work, but what about the removal of other sediments and impurities? You just will not be able to eliminate other sediments and contaminants from your water through the process of boiling your water.

For more about the process of boiling water, you can refer to does boiling water removes fluoride?

Hence, your best option here is to find yourself a good quality filter to filter out the water that comes into your home like mentioned in the hard water section. However, one of the best methods to make bacteria disappear from your water is ultraviolet rays.

So, choosing a filter that works with the help of Ultraviolet rays would be a really smart decision for you to make. And this means not only bacteria will be removed but also the other sediments will be eliminated from the water in your home.

How about the causes of cloudy well water?

The above three causes are especially for water that comes from city pipes but also well water. Now in addition to the list of causes of cloudy water, there are three more which apply to well water mainly.

4. Methane Gas

Methane Gas

Signs that your water consists of methane gas :

  • You possess well water
  • The water happens to sputter from the faucet
  • There are air bubbles in the water

There are some substances that naturally occur in water. For instance, fluoride is a chemical that naturally occurs in your water. Similarly, even methane gas naturally occurs in your water. But the big issue here is that methane is colorless, odorless as well as tasteless.

There are some guidelines to be followed when it comes to the consumption of methane gas made by the U.S. Department of Interior. Here are the few guidelines that you have to follow when it comes to the presence of methane gas in your water :

  • Below 10 mg/L is considered to be safe.
  • Between 10 mg/L and 28 mg/L should be regularly checked.
  • Over 28 mg/L requires immediate action to be taken.

You can do a little experiment to figure out if the real reason is methane gas or not instead of calling a plumber and wasting your money on him when you can do it yourself instead.

How to conduct the method?

  1. Fill an empty jug halfway through with the water that you suspect and cover it with a lid and keep it aside for an hour, letting all the possible gas in the water come up to the rim. 
  2. Later, light and hover a match over the jug. This is because methane is said to be flammable so when you do this step the flame of your water will flare up if there is any amount of methane in your water.

How to get rid of methane gas?

There should be no need to worry since methane gas is the most unlikely cause of cloudy tap water. Mostly the cloudiness in your tap water has come from any of the five causes mentioned earlier.

However, it is best to make sure if your water really consists of methane gas or not rather than just assuming it does. So, you should get your water tested for methane gas to know where you fall among the guidelines given by the U.S. Department of interior.

5. Well Residue

well residue

The cloudy water that clears from the bottom to the top of your glass is a sign of air bubbles in it. But when the exact opposite happens, that is when the water clears from the top to the bottom it is a sign of well residues existing in the water which shows the presence of dirt, dust, or rust in your system.

How to get rid of well residue?

You can undergo a full well rehabilitation but this will turn out to be really expensive and might not fulfill your purpose of getting rid of well residues completely. There are many other factors that play an important role in water quality.

6. Excess Surface Water

If you happen to notice that your water has turned cloudy after a rainy day then it is safe for you to assume that there may be surface water leaking around in your well.

This becomes a very serious issue since there are chemicals, bacteria, and other contaminants in surface water that could ruin your well water. But the main question is, how does this happen? This can be a result of your well not being sealed properly and tightly.

How to deal with excess surface water?

Firstly, you need to take utmost care of your well water not being mixed with surface water at any cost. 

The only issue here is if you can be able to consult a professional regarding the well casing and then take a step towards fixing the well casing in case that turns out to be the issue.

Is Cloudy Tap Water Safe To Drink?

Is Cloudy Tap Water Safe To Drink?

You are definitely worried about the quality of your water and that is exactly why you are searching for the right answer to the question: is cloudy tap water safe to drink? 

The only way to know the exact truth about your water is to test it quite often since the quality of tap water, as well as well water, can easily change with time. And to put in efforts to test the quality of your water is nothing compared to putting the lives of your dear ones, pets, and yourself at stake.

However, these results will not satisfy you at all. Since the quality of your water can change anytime without you being aware of it. What if the quality of your water changes way before you get the chance to check it again?

For instance, one of the main and most found toxic elements in tap water, as well as well water, is fluoride. And if you are aware of the adverse health effects of fluoride you will never want to let fluoride lurk around in your water at all.

How to fix cloudy tap water?

The solution to this can be only buying a good quality water filter. If you decide to filter your water just before it comes out of your tap there are absolutely zero chances of anything going wrong with the good quality of your water.

Keeping in mind how difficult it is to filter out fluoride from water, the water filters that remove fluoride can easily eliminate the other contaminants from the water as well.

The best filter can be a filter that works by the process of reverse osmosis. Reverse Osmosis is a very effective way of eliminating fluoride from your water making it absolutely safe for consumption.


Cloudy water can also be called white or milky water and as mentioned earlier sometimes it either be safe or risky. It depends on what is the reason behind it and from where your water is sourced. According to the signs, your water shows you will know how to treat the water.

Jhon Lawrence