Evidence Based

Cloudy Tap Water? Causes, Safety & Solutions (SOLVED!)

Does cloudy tap water fill your glass when you pour yourself a glass of water?

If so, you may be wondering, why is my tap water cloudy and is it safe to drink

There are a few reasons for cloudy tap water and they range from completely harmless to outright dangerous

But fear not, in just a few minutes you’ll become an expert in the field of cloudy tap water. 

What Causes Cloudy Tap Water? 

Cloudy tap water can be caused by one of the following 6 reasons.

For cloudy tap water from city pipes, the first 3 causes apply. While if you get your water from a well, all 6 causes could be responsible for cloudy tap water:

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

#1 Air Bubbles

cloudy tap water - air bubbles

Signs you have air bubbles in your tap water:

Fill up a glass of water, let it rest on the counter, and observe.

If in a couple of minutes the water clears, from the bottom to the top (just like the photo above) you most likely have air bubbles in your water. 

Now there are a few reasons on how air bubbles can get into your tap water: 

  • Trapped air in your pipes
  • Recent plumbing work
  • Increased water pressure in pipes

How to get rid of air bubbles: 

As water gets pulled into your pipes and put under pressure, this can put air into it.

This makes cloudy tap water in this situation harmless and requires no further action.

It is also likely that the air bubbles are temporary and should be gone in a matter of time. 

#2 Hard Water

hard water on bath tap

Signs you have hard water: 

  • Cloudy tap water does not clear
  • Visible white spots on glasses and dishes after washing
  • White mineral deposit builds up on water appliances over time

Hard water is water that contains a high amount of dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium.

This happens while rainwater is traveling to a water source like a river or lake and picks up minerals from the terrain along the way.

How hard or soft your water is depends on where you live.

If you live in the United States, you can take a look at the US Geological Survey map below(1).

As you will see, the east coast typically has softer water while places like Texas and Southern California have some of the hardest water in the nation. 

hard water concentration map, possible cause of cloudy tap water

Should you worry about hard water? 

There have been a few studies that have linked excess dissolved minerals to cardiovascular disease in men.

But these studies are weak and can not be taken seriously. 

The problem most people have with hard water is usually aesthetic (i.e taste, stains left on clothing, plumbing or appliances)

However, if you value your health and the water you drink, you should consider the health consequences of the invisible contaminants that are also found in your water.

  • Synthetic Estrogen
  • Pharmaceuticals 
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Fluoride 
  • Lead

The good news is that the best way to get rid of the cloudy tap water and these invisible contaminants is to get yourself a quality water filter. 

For example, as tested in does reverse osmosis remove fluoride, the reverse osmosis filter in my home filtered ALL fluoride from my home’s tap water. Which means it’ll also remove everything else including cloudy tap water.

But before we touch on the specifics, let’s first get through all 6 causes.

#3 Sediment


Signs you have a high concentration of sediment in your water:

  • Water does not settle by itself but becomes clear after passing through a water filter
  • There has been construction near your municipal water supply
  • Water may look dirty or as if things are floating around

This is another common cause of cloudy tap water.

Unlike air bubbles, cloudy tap water does not clear if it is high in sediment.

The way this is measured is with “TSS” which stands for is total suspended solids and refers to small solids that float around in your water but never settle.

Some of these solids include: 

  • Algae
  • Iron
  • Clay
  • Manganese
  • Sediment
  • Silt

This can be caused by runoff into the water supply or disturbances to the municipal water supply (i.e construction, major storms or drilling)

One risk associated with high concentrations of TSS is that high concentrations could lead to bacteria growth

How to get rid of sediment in water:

A problem more associated with well water, bacteria can accompany the high concentration of sediments.

You could boil your water to remove bacteria, but for the same reasons why boiling water does not remove fluoride, you’ll be unable to remove sediment and any other contaminants from your water.

Thus just like with hard water, your only option is to install a filter that would filter water as it comes into your home.

However, only specific filters can remove bacteria from water- with the main treatment method being ultraviolet light.

This means, not only will bacteria be removed but so too will high concentration of TSS that cause cloudy tap water.

How About Causes Of Cloudy Well Water?

In addition to the above 3 causes, there are 3 more that can cause cloudy tap water in well water.

As explained in does well water have fluoride, unlike municipal systems, private wells are not treated for contaminants.

In fact, they’re not even regulated by the EPA(2). Placing total responsibility on the owner of the well.

#4 Methane gas

methane gas

Signs you have methane gas in your tap water: 

  • You use well water
  • Water sputters from the faucet 
  • White air bubbles in the water

Methane gas naturally occurs in well water.

Now the tricky thing is methane is colorless, odorless and tasteless.

However, according to the U.S Department of Interior, these are the guidelines you should follow when it comes to methane gas in drinking water(3): 

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

Now instead of getting a plumber to come in and paying him a pretty penny to figure out whether methane gas is the cause or not (recommended option) you can do a little experiment.

Fill an empty jug halfway with the suspected water, close the lid and put it aside for an hour, allowing any gas to rise to the top.

When you open the lid, light and hover a match above the jug. Now since methane is flammable, the flame of the match will flare up if you have methane in your water.

How to get rid of methane gas:

This is the most unlikely cause of cloudy tap water and there should be no need to worry.

The cause of your cloudy tap water most likely came from any of the other 5 causes.

However, if you do think you may have methane gas in your water, you’ll first want to get your water tested for methane gas levels to see where you fall within the guidelines.

#5 Well Residue

well residue

Cloudy well water that clears from the bottom-up, is a result of air bubbles.

However, cloudy well water that clears from top-down, can be a result of well residue.

This can indicate the presence of dirt, rust, or silt residue in your system.

If these impurities are present in your water source they will be pumped alongside the water through your pipes and out of your tap.

How to get rid of well residue:

To solve this issue you can under-go a full well rehabilitation, however this is expensive and won’t provide you with complete peace of mind when it comes to the water you drink.

As there are many other factors that play a role in water quality.

#6 Excess Surface Water


Did your water suddenly become cloudy after a large rainfall?

This could be a sign that surface water is leaking into your well.

A very serious issue considering toxic chemicals, bacteria, and other contaminants can accompany surface water into your water source.

But how does this happen?

This can happen as a result of your well not being probably sealed.

How to deal with excess surface water:

Excess surface water should not be entering your well.

However, problems with the well casing can result in contaminants and less desirable water from entering and mixing with your drinking water(4).

Now the only way to truly know is to get a professional to conduct a check-up and then fix the well casing if that’s the issue.

But there is a more simple solution, one that will provide complete peace of mind and control over the quality of your water.

And I’ll tell you exactly how to do that right now…

Is Cloudy Tap Water Safe To Drink?

child drinking water

If you’re searching this topic it’s safe to assume you’re worried about the quality of your water.

Considering you, your family and even your pets drink this water on a daily basis, this is a very smart and responsible thing to do.

Now since well water and even tap water quality can change very quickly, the only way to know if cloudy tap water is safe to drink is to get it tested often.

However, this won’t give you the peace of mind you’re looking for.

Maybe your test results come back fine but what if the quality of your water changes before you get a chance to test it again?

For example, one toxin that’s found in well water and tap water is fluoride.

Now if your a daily reader of Truth About Fluoride, you’ll know daily exposure to fluoride leads to several serious health outcomes:

But putting fluoride aside, there are hundreds of different contaminants that can find their way into your water and several reasons for cloudy tap water.

All require and can be fixed with one solution.

How To Fix Cloudy Tap Water?

Of the 6 main causes of cloudy tap water, unless you believe methane gas is the cause, the solution is very simple…

Get a quality water filter.

Filtering water right before it comes out of your tap, guarantees zero chance of anything going wrong with the quality of your water.

Now considering fluoride is a very stubborn contaminant to filter, it means water filters that remove fluoride can also filter everything else.

Most importantly transform your cloudy tap water to crystal clear, healthy water.

In addition, not only is this the best option it is also the most wallet-friendly.

But I’ll leave that for the water filters guide to explain.

See you there!

Casey J Krol

Casey J Krol

The guy exposing the truth about fluoride, one great article at a time. Now if you’d like to support what I do, click the “donate” button below. While for any questions, use the other buttons to get in touch with me (IG or Twitter). Better yet, sign up with your email on the website and get access to my personal email.

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