Why Does My Water Smell Bad?

Why does my water smell bad? A man holds his nose with his left hand while pushing a glass of water away with his right.

Sometimes, and without warning, your home’s water can have an unpleasant smell. It can be caused by a couple different factors, which each could lead to a couple distinct odors. Identifying these odors and knowing the best way to treat and prevent them can help you return to the safe drinking water that you need.

The first step is to figure out where the source of the smell is coming from. It may not always be the water itself, but the smell could come from the sink or the drain. To know for sure, fill a glass of water from the faucet and move away from the sink. If the water in the glass is free of odor, then there is a problem in your sink. An odor from all the faucets might point to the water supply as the source of the odor. 


There may be a sign that the problem is in your drain. When bacteria builds up in the drain, the water itself will smell normal, but the sink will smell of sewage. To remove the bacteria that has built up in the drain, you can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to disinfect the area, then pour boiling water down to wash it away.


A musty smell could show erosion in your water pipes. For those with water softeners, some maintenance is required. You should pour a 16 ounce bottle of cleanser down the brine well and get into the habit of doing so once every four months. 

Rotten Eggs

Sulfur bacteria or hydrogen sulfide. If the smell only occurs when you are using warm water from the faucet, then there could be a problem in your water heater. When using either hot or cold water and the smell continues, it could be because of the water softener, the distribution system, or the groundwater. 


If you live in an old house, metallic tastes can be from the deterioration of old piping. Often the traces of metal are not harmful, but there is always the possibility of lead in the water. You can request a water test from your city’s water treatment center, which might also show that there is a lower pH level.

More often than not, the odor in your water is caused by iron. Filtering the iron from your water can solve most problems, meaning that an investment toward a water filtration system is right for your home. Having safe drinking water at home is now easier than ever, and Gordon Water Systems is there to help. For more information on safe drinking water, call Gordon Water Systems today at 616-776-3800. We love improving people’s quality of life by giving them great water.