Does Your Water Taste Weird? This Could Be Why

weird water taste

Water is such a simple beverage that it seems like it should always taste the same, no matter where it’s from or what form it’s in. And for the most part, it usually does. But you might sometimes notice that your water tastes a little funky. Maybe it leaves a strange taste in your mouth, or maybe it seems to have a different flavor that you can’t really pinpoint. Either way, you might start to feel alarmed, wondering if there’s something in your water that shouldn’t be there… or you might just hope it’s no big deal. So why does your water taste weird sometimes? There are a few possible explanations.

For one thing, even though water is so basic, it actually does have different flavors — that’s why some people prefer certain bottled waters to other brands, or certain tap waters to others. It’s easy to assume that water that tastes off has something wrong with it, but that isn’t always the case. It could be that you’re just experiencing a flavor you haven’t had before. And not to freak you out, but harmful substances in water aren’t always that obvious. As LiveScience points out, dangerous things like arsenic, nitrates, lead, and viruses don’t have a strong flavor.

So what could be going on? Here are a few possible reasons your water tastes funny.

You might be sick.

If you aren’t feeling 100 percent, you might notice that when it comes to the way your water and food tastes. According to Healthline, having a cold or bad allergies can change your sense of taste. If you have a post-nasal drip, mucus is dripping from the back of your nose to your throat, mixing with your saliva and making everything taste salty. If your illness affects your sense of smell, that could also mess with your tastebuds.


It could be the chemicals used to treat your water.

If you notice a chemical taste, almost like bleach, it’s probably traces of the chlorine used to disinfect your water supply. Don’t worry, though — the small amount of chlorine present in treated waters is safe to drink. If your water tastes bitter or medicinal, it could be small traces of copper, which again, isn’t harmful at those levels. A metallic taste could also be the result of zinc, iron, and manganese, which can be from plumbing or a buildup in water heaters.

It could be bacterial growth or algae.

Does your water taste fishy, earthy, musty, or moldy? That sounds scary, but LiveScience says it’s probably just algal blooms in the source water. And although there shouldn’t be any actual algae in there, the taste can linger. Bacterial grown within the water system or in someone’s sink could also change the flavor — both are usually harmless.

There might be some harmful bacteria in there.

Of course, it’s not always a harmless situation. If your water tastes or smells like wet dog (we all know that unpleasant scent), it could be caused by bacteria, metal plumbing, treatment chemicals, or organic material in the source water. Waterlogic says the water is probably safe to drink,  butshould be tested.


It might be the minerals and compounds that make their way into your water.

Chemistry professor at the University of South Carolina, Susan D. Richardson, told Cook’s Illustrated that the flavor of water depends on where it’s coming from. The smell could be off as the water picks up minerals and other compounds during its journey to you. It could taste chalky if it’s coming from a well, too. If the water is near the beach, it might have a slight scent of sulfur because of sulfur-producing microbes in groundwater. And reservoir water from distant mountains can be packed with minerals that change the flavor.

You left it sitting for too long.

If you pour yourself a glass of water, then let it sit for a few hours or even overnight, you might drink it later and find that it tastes quite odd. There’s a reason for this, and it isn’t that the water went bad. According to Spoon University, as the water sits, gases dissolve, like carbon dioxide and acetone. As it dissolves, the acidity increases and the lowers the pH, leaving it tasting stale and weird. It could also simply be that your water is no longer cold, which also changes the taste.

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