How to Find the Source of Rusty Water and Remove the Stains it Leaves Behind

One of the worst feelings is turning a faucet on and having rusty water make its appearance. Not only is this dirty water bad for your home but it is bad for your health as well! Rusty water can lead to many different health issues and leave behind stains that can be hard to get rid of making the area affected an eyesore. Before you can get on to cleaning the rusty stains left behind it’s best to figure out the source of the rusty water and fix the issue at hand.

Signs and Causes of Rusty Water

If you have ever turned your water on and it has had a brown to orange color or just didn’t feel right you are most likely experiencing rusty water. This water can also present a foul smell and red flags go up right away that this is a problem that needs to be fixed promptly! Rusty water can occur for many different reasons with some of the most common listed below:

Sediment Build-Up

One of the most common causes of rusty water is build up in the pipes from accumulated dirt. This sediment will remain in the bottom of the pipes until pressure builds up enough to release it causing the rusty water to appear. 

Rusty Pipes

Some homes may have pipes made of galvanized steel and while they are built to last for 50 years or more they can begin breaking down causing rusty water. Having rusty water present is a good indication that the pipes are beginning to break down and not only leading to rusty water but lead contamination becomes a concern as well. 

Hot and Cold Causes

Sometimes rusty water happens no matter the temperature of the water being used but other times it can be specific to what temperature of water you are using. With hot water looking rusty it could be a problem with the hot water heater. Sediment can build up or cause the water heater to break down causing rusty water to be present only when the hot water is being used. If it happens only when the cold water is being used this could be an issue with a water supply line.

Is Rusty Water Dangerous

Having a little iron present in your water isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but having obvious rust or orange color could affect more than just color and taste. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing and when there is too much iron it becomes bad for you and your home.

Brittle and Damaged Hair

While drinking this water may not have fatal effects, it will do damage to both your skin and hair when bathing. For your skin and hair to stay healthy it needs to absorb moisture but with iron in the water, it is actually taking moisture away from skin and hair causing it to become dry. Your hair will turn from soft and silky to brittle and rough and this water issue can actually change the color of your hair causing either red tints or light hair to become darker. 

Clogged Pores and Wrinkles

Not only will this contaminated water dry out skin, but it can cause you to develop wrinkles earlier than you may like. The long-term damage of having skin over-saturated with iron is an increase wrinkles and dry skin. Other than dry skin there is more than this water can do to your skin that isn’t very pleasant. It may have been years since you’ve seen your last breakout but having rusty water can bring those breakouts right back. Even if you use all the right cleansers and take good care of your skin, having this type of water can clog pores rendering your routine useless. 

Discolored Clothes

Washing in this water can cause laundry issues that are less than desirable. You will never feel like your clothes are clean due to the smell that can come with rusty water as well as the discoloration that can occur. This water can cause uneven staining or yellowing that is unfortunately permanent. 

Bitter and Discolored Food

Cooking with contaminated water is no fun at all! Not only can it cause your food to become discolored but it can also give a bitter taste to the foods you love. Some of the most beautiful colored veggies even turn dark when boiled in this water and although most may not consider this water dangerous, the bitter taste your food develops will make your stomach turn and not want to eat it. 

How to Fix Rusty Water

Although rusty water can come from a few different places the most common is sediment that is present in the pipes. The easiest way to fix this is to have your pipes flushed to get rid of any sediment built up causing the issue. This can be a simple fix by turning your faucets on full and running the water for around 20 minutes or so to clear out the pipes. If the problem still occurs there may be a need to replace the pipes especially if they are corroded. Calling in a professional plumber is a great way to find out the best course of action to make sure the issue is taken care of promptly.

Cleaning Up After the Rust

Stains from these rusty water problems can become more apparent in bathrooms especially toilets, sinks, and tubs. No matter how much you scrub it may seem like these stains will never go away making it feel like your home is never clean and becoming an eyesore. As great as traditional bleach is, it won’t touch these stains even if left to soak. Some common DIY cleaners may not do the trick either, even the baking soda and vinegar mixture. The best bet to get these stains away is to find a specially formulated cleaner that is made for rust. CLR is a cleaner that is made specifically for calcium, lime, and rust stains that can take some of the hard work out of getting rid of rust stains. If you opt to go for a more natural approach, the baking soda and vinegar option is good to try but may need to sit for a while to penetrate the stain depending on how severe it is. Other natural options to try to include a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice. These stains can be a pesky eyesore but it is really a trial and error cleaning process to see what will get rid of your rust stains.