How To Fix Cloudy Tap Water

Perhaps you turn on your faucet, expecting to see crystal clear water pouring from the spout, only to find a surge of cloudy, milky white water. The strange color is probably enough to raise some questions. For instance – is it safe to drink? What causes cloudiness? Do I need to call a plumber? 

These are all fair questions, and we’re here to answer them. So, if your faucet suffers from this particular issue, keep reading to learn more!

Why Is My Tap Water Suddenly Cloudy?

Cloudy or milky tap water is disconcerting at best. However, cloudy tap water is often normal despite its concerning cloudy appearance. Typically, the random cloudiness in your water is due to abnormal air content. 

Yes – it is as simple as too much air in the water. You may notice cloudy water coming from all of the taps in your home, or you might notice the issue isolated to a single faucet. Or, maybe you only notice the problem when you’re running hot water

Bathroom Sink Faucet

Although cloudy tap water isn’t usually harmful, there are some cases where it can be an issue. However, you’ll need to do a bit of sleuthing to figure out the ins and outs of when it occurs. Don’t worry – we’ll walk you through it. 

How To Fix Cloudy Cold Tap Water

If you seem to notice cloudy water from all of your taps when the water is running cold temperatures, there’s a quick way to determine the issue. Start by filling clean glasses with cold water. Then, allow them to sit for a few minutes. 

If the water from every fixture is cloudy, it might be an issue with the air in the municipal supply (if applicable). The water should clear up as the air bubbles dissipate within a few minutes to hours. However, if the cloudiness persists after 24 hours, call your local water company to see if maintenance is being done or if there is an issue with the water supply. 

How To Fix Cloudy Hot Tap Water

If you only notice the tap water is cloudy when you run hot water, there could be a few things going on. We’ll follow the same steps outlined above. Start by running the hot water for a few seconds.

Once the water is hot, fill a clean glass with water and check the cloudiness. Keep an eye on the glass of water – if the cloudy water clears starting from the bottom and working up, the problem is simply due to pressurized air being released. 

However, let’s say the water dissipates starting from the top, and you see small particles settling in the bottom of your glass. In this particular case, the issue may lie with your water heater. You’ll need to have a plumber come in and check the system to see if it needs flushing. If it requires flushing, the process will help remove the sediment that is clouding your tap water. 

Or, you might need a new dip tube in the system. It’s typically best to call in a plumber to handle this process instead of trying to tackle it yourself. 

How To Fix Cloudy Tap Water From One Faucet

Cleaning The Aerator

If the cloudy tap water in your home is isolated to one or two random faucets, the problem may lie with the aerator in the faucet spout. The process you’ll need to follow depends on the type of faucet you have. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Soft cloth (as necessary)
  • Adjustable wrench (as necessary)
  • Aerator key (as necessary)
  • Flathead screwdriver (as necessary)
  • Vinegar
  • Water 
  • Small bowl

For example, if you have a kitchen faucet, the aerator design varies drastically from one tap to the next. Use this guide to remove your kitchen faucet’s aerator. 

On the other hand, if you have a bathroom faucet, the design is usually somewhat similar from one model to the next. Of course, some brands have fancy, intricate designs that can be confusing, but most aerator designs are reasonably straightforward. 

2 Pack 2.2 GPM Sink Faucet Aerator, Male and Female Dual Thread Aerator, Regular/Standard Size, Chrome by NIDAYE

If you have a bathroom faucet with a twist-on aerator, all you’ll need to do is twist it off. The aerator is the little screen that sits at the tip of the spout. If it isn’t recessed, simply twist the aerator counterclockwise to remove it. If you can’t get a good grip on it, use a soft cloth and an adjustable wrench. The fabric will help protect the finish. 

Or, if you have a bathroom faucet with a recessed aerator, you’ll need a tool to complete the job. Many faucets come with an aerator key that easily removes the aerator. However, if you don’t have one, you could also use a flathead screwdriver to achieve the same result. 

Once the aerator is free of the faucet, prepare a solution of vinegar and water in a small bowl. Use a 50/50 mixture, using plenty of each liquid to submerge the aerator completely. Allow the aerator to soak for a few hours or overnight if you can. 

After the aerator has soaked for a while, remove it from the solution and rinse it in clean water. If there’s residue in it, use an old toothbrush to brush it out. Then, reattach the aerator and check your handiwork.

Is It Safe To Drink Cloudy Tap Water?

Tap Water

In most cases, cloudy tap water is perfectly safe to consume. When you fill an open cup with tap water and leave it to sit, you will probably notice minuscule bubbles rising to the top and disappearing. The bubbles will disappear as they rise and burst, releasing them into the air. 

The water shouldn’t taste any different, but the appearance will look different.

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