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Why does my sink water smell?

The UK has a whole host of water treatment plants, with every region of the country getting its water from a different place. While this can often lead to differences in the water getting pumped into our homes, there are plenty of reasons why your sink water might smell.

This month we’re going to take a look at some of the common causes of water smelling or tasting odd.

My water smells of chlorine

In order to ensure your drinking water is safe, chlorine is added to it during the final stage of treatment. This is absolutely normal, with many people unable to taste the chlorine. Despite close monitoring of how much of this chemical goes in your water, it might be the case that you are more sensitive to this. Another factor on how strong the taste is has to do with how close your home is to the treatment facilities.

If you’d like to avoid the chlorine smell, you can refrigerate your water to reduce this. Some people like to use specific water filters, which can also help, but please be aware it must contain activated carbon to work.

My water smells like rubber/plastic


Any kind of rubber or plastic taste in your water is usually to do with the materials involved in the water supply to your home. Often, water can sit in pipes or come into contact with fittings and take of some of the taste when the substances of rubber or plastic dissolve in the water a little.

It’s hard to know which part of your supply could be causing this, but bringing in an experienced professional is probably the best idea if you’re unsure and don’t want to go tinkering yourself.

My water smells like petrol/diesel

This is one of the most dangerous smells or tastes your water can have. The advice is to not drink or use this water in any way. Often, the issue comes from leakages around your property from vehicles or your heating system when you’ve also had work done on the property.

If you have this issue with your water it is important to have your property assessed immediately by a professional or, if you believe the source is not on your property, your water supplier.

My water has a bitter taste

Similar to the rubber and plastic taste, some homes often find their water has a more bitter or metallic hint to it. This is usually from the use of copper, iron or other metal pipes in the water supply system of the home – usually limited to older properties which haven’t been updated.

In order to avoid this, it’s recommended you fill a washing up bowl of water to rid the system of the affected water each time you’re going to use the sink. Dispose of this water in the garden – to help your plants – and use the water from your tap after this.

My hot drinks taste funny

Almost everyone uses their kitchen sink tap to fill the kettle, so it stands to reason that if your water only smells or has a bad taste when you use hot water, it could be due to the kettle. Some kettles have either metal or plastic parts (or both!), which can begin to react with water after time.

You should either replace your kettle or, at the very least, rinse and thoroughly clean any kettle which may be causing the problem.

Other factors to consider

There are other factors you might want to consider if you think something is slightly amiss with your water.

  • Tap washers – There are some tap washers, whether it’s because they’re brand new or extremely worn, which cause the taste of water to change. It’s advised you replace washer for non phenolic ones to avoid this.
  • Hoses and valves – Similar to the issue with washers, you should ensure you have the best hoses and valves in place, both because of their material and their linkage to other water using appliances.
  • Drainage – Sometimes people mistake the bad smells from their drains with their water since it’s so overpowering. In this instance your water is safe but your drains might be hiding a deeper problem in need of inspection and remedying.

Here at 1st Call Drain Clearance we deliver professional drainage services, from drain jetting to clean any debris and blockage to the unblocking of toilets and sinks in your home. Contact our friendly team today for more details or to discuss your drainage query with us – we’re always happy to help.

Problems with your drains?

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Areas We Cover

We have engineers covering London, Central London and the Home Counties


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