Why does my water taste like chemicals?

Usually, your tap water should taste or smell relatively neutral. However, if there is a new or existing chemical taste in your water supply, that is a cause for concern.

What are the most common sources of chemical tastes in tap water?

There are many potential causes for a chemical taste in your water.


If it smells of gasoline or turpentine, it could pose a severe health risk, and you should stop drinking it immediately. The most likely cause of a gasoline or turpentine flavour is a leaking storage tank. If tap water tastes like either of those chemicals, it is likely to BE them. Fortunately, the most common chemical taste in water is chlorine which is relatively harmless.

Antiseptic/Cleaning/Chemical Taste

If you’re water tastes like an antiseptic or cleaning product then there is a chance that your appliances have been incorrectly installed and are allowing backflow into your pipes. This is especially true if you ‘recognize’ the taste/smell from a cleaning product you are familiar with.

Related Taste Series:

Why does my water taste like metal?
Why does my water taste like chlorine?

Do you need to worry about chlorine in your drinking water?

There may be a slight hint of chlorine in your drinking water. However this should dissipate if you leave the water out to off gas. Chlorine is a standard additive used in The EPA limits the chlorine in tap water to under 4 mg/l, however it is usually around 1 mg/l in most water supplies.

What if it tastes metallic?

A metallic taste could be something harmless in small amounts, such as iron, or it could be something more worrisome, like zinc or lead.

If you are unsure about your water source, it is best to get it tested by a certified lab.

How to remove the taste of chemicals from your water supply?

Depending on the source of the chemical taste or smell, there are many different ways to remove the contaminant. If it is just chlorine that you would like to remove, the easiest method is to leave a pitcher out and let it off-gas naturally. For other pollutants, you may need a more robust system such as a reverse osmosis filtration system.

Methods to Remove a Chemical Taste From Water

There are many methods of removing metals from your water; some require a whole home system, while others are treatments that can fix a specific cause of metal in your water. First, you’ll want to test your water and consult an expert to see which water filtration system works best for your situation.

Reverse Osmosis

Works by pushing water through a membrane that stops many harmful contaminants. Reverse osmosis is quite effective at improving water quality and will remove many dissolved solids and other chemical pollutants. In addition, it works to remove most metals, including copper, lead, magnesium, manganese, and iron.


Not my favourite form of water purification as it removes the most’ taste’ from the water; however, it is the safest. Distilled water is made by boiling water into steam; this leaves the chemicals behind. With proper usage, distillation will remove 100% of minerals from the water. However, it will not remove things with a lower boiling point than water, such as chlorine or gasoline (however, the chlorine will naturally off-gas). This makes distillation an excellent option for removing metals, however it may not successfully remove contaminants with a lower boiling point than that of water.

Activated Charcoal

Suppose you’re looking to improve the taste of your water while leaving behind some of the healthier minerals such as magnesium, potassium, sodium, and calcium. In that case, an activated charcoal filter might be right for you. While it will still leave behind some unwanted minerals, it can vastly reduce any that might cause health problems. For example, a properly maintained activated charcoal filter can remove many metals and some chemicals up to a 90% level. However, it won’t be able to remove the metals completely, so if you have a dangerous metal such as lead in your water system, you will want something more robust. It may not remove the specific chemical you are looking to remove, so make sure to get your water tested before investing in an act

Iron/Rust Filter

An iron filter is a replaceable cartridge that removes iron from your water supply. If your water tastes more like metal than chemicals than this might help you out.

Flushing Your Pipes

This is especially useful to remove rust from your iron pipes in a home or pipe that hasn’t been used often. It is the simplest solution. However, it doesn’t fix the root cause of the problem. If your water tastes metallic after flushing the pipes, you will need to address the root of the problem.

The Taste Series

Does your water taste a certain type of way? Find out why with our series of water taste articles.

Adam S

Adam S

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