Why Does Water Taste Funny To Me?

My favorite drink is water and I drink a lot on a daily basis. I believe it’s best to carry your own reusable water bottle and refill it regularly to stay hydrated. However, sometimes it’s unavoidable to drink bottled water, too. It happens that after a refill or opening a bottle the water I’m about to drink feels somehow weird. I’ve been trying to find answers to the question “why does water taste funny to me sometimes”, and I’m sharing here what I found.

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Drinking water should not have any unusual taste or odor. Still, there are a bunch of ways how water can taste funny. Let’s see them one by one.

Why Does Bottled Water Taste Like Metal?

There can be several different reasons why bottled water tastes like metal.

why does bottled water taste like metal

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The metallic taste can come from water bottle materials that leach chemicals or metal ions into the water. These can give a metallic taste to the water. It’s not necessarily the metal bottles that leach. Some compounds of older or lower-quality plastic bottles can certainly affect the taste of water negatively. There’s an especially high risk for this to happen if the bottled water is stored in high temperatures or exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods. It can result in the plastic breaking down and releasing chemicals into the water.

If the bottled water has a metal seal or cap, that can be the culprit too. If these components of the product are in contact with the water for an extended time, the metals can affect the water’s flavor.

A more natural cause is that some bottled waters can have a higher mineral content, including metals (like iron, zinc, or copper) that may make the water acquire a metallic taste.

The worst of all is probably water contamination. If there are metallic elements near the water source or they are involved in the bottling process, it may lead to contamination that can alter the water’s taste.

Fact is, the taste of water is subjective. What may taste metallic to one person may not be noticeable to another.

If you don’t like the taste of your bottled water or are concerned about the quality, consider trying different brands to find one that suits your taste preferences better. Try to choose brands that use bottles made from high-quality materials, such as BPA-free plastics to minimize the risk of chemical leaching.

Store your bottled water stack in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and high temperatures. Always keep an eye on the expiration date, so you can make sure the water is still fresh and hasn’t been stored for too long.

Why Does My Well Water Taste Like Metal?

If we are talking about well water, the metallic taste is less shocking than in the case of bottled water. Actually, the taste of metal in well water is a common issue. It can be caused by various factors related to the geology and plumbing of the well system.

Well water often has high iron or manganese content which can create a metallic taste and even cause the water to appear discolored or rusty. If it comes along with low pH, the water can become acidic and cause corrosion of metal components in the plumbing. Then this can release metal ions into the water, too.

Also, there are certain types of bacteria or algae that can thrive in well water, producing compounds that contribute to a metallic taste.

To determine the root cause of the metal taste in your well water, try to test the water to see its mineral content and identify any potential contaminants.

After you have the test results, you may consider installing a water treatment system (softener, oxidation and filtration, pH adjustment) specifically designed to address the high iron, manganese, or other mineral content in your well water.

Other than that, the regular maintenance of your well system, including proper disinfection and cleaning, replacing corroded or galvanized pipes, and occasionally flushing can help prevent bacterial and algae growth. For the most suitable treatment options for your well water, always consult with a qualified water treatment professional!

Why Does My Filtered Water Taste Like Metal?

Other than the reasons listed above for the bottled water or well water taste like metal, it’s possible the culprit is thee filter itself.

If the water filter is old, not properly maintained or replaced as needed, it can become contaminated with bacteria or other impurities, and lose their effectiveness completely. Contaminated or expired filters may not properly remove metals and, so the water gets a metallic taste.

Always make sure your water filter is clean and replaced regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations (definitely before the expiry date) to avoid the altered taste.

If you are still tasting metal in your filtered water, consider using a different type of water filter that is specifically designed to target the minerals or contaminants causing the metallic taste.

Why Does My Water Taste Like Blood?

Unless you’re a vampire of some sort, this sensation is likely rather unpleasant. It can be very much like the metallic taste. When the water is sourced from areas with high mineral content, there can be elevated levels of certain minerals, such as iron in the water. This can create a metallic or blood-like taste.

Some medical conditions, such as sinus infections, certain medications, or dental issues can also cause a persistent metallic or blood-like taste in the mouth. If you are consistently experiencing this taste with various water sources, you should make sure to rule out any underlying health concerns. Consider consulting a healthcare professional!

Why Does My Bottled Water Taste Sweet?

Similar to the metallic taste, there can be a bunch of explanations why bottled water tastes sweet.

why does my bottled water taste sweet

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I would say, the worst would be contamination by microorganisms. Certain bacteria or algae can produce compounds that taste sweet. This is another reason why you have to make absolutely sure the bottled water is stored properly to avoid microbial growth.

If the water bottle was handled or stored near or in contact with sweetened beverages or foods (if the bottling factory shares equipment with a facility that produces sweetened beverages, for example), there is a possibility of cross-contamination too. If there’s some residual sweetness, that can alter the taste of the water.

Of course, sometimes that sweetness is intentional. Always check the ingredients label on the bottled water because some may contain additives, flavorings, or sweeteners.

Again, taste preferences and sensitivities vary from person to person. Some people may perceive certain water profiles as sweet while others don’t. Drinking water should not taste sweet though, so if it does and you’re sure it’s not some intentionally sweetened product, you can do the following:

Check the water bottle for any visible signs of damage that may lead to contamination. Make sure that the bottle is properly sealed and hasn’t been tampered with. If the bottle appears compromised, do not drink the water! Always pay attention to the storage conditions and avoid exposure too direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.

Try a different batch of water of the same brand or try an entirely different brand to see if the sweetness persists. Ensure the water comes from a reputable and reliable source. Consider contacting the manufacturer of the sweet-tasting bottled water as they may be able to help you rule out any potential issues, provide more information, or investigate if there have been any reported quality issues.

Why Does My Filtered Water Taste Sweet?

Some water filters have added flavor cartridges that may intentionally add sweeteners or flavors to the water.

If that’s not the case, you might have a carbon filter that removes certain compounds that cause a bitter or unpleasant taste, leaving behind a smoother and sweeter-tasting water.

One of the most common reasons for filtered water taste sweet is the removal of chlorine which has a slightly bitter taste. The water without chlorine may taste sweeter. It’s the same with minerals like calcium and magnesium which also have hard taste. Reducing them in the water makes it taste milder and sweeter.

If your water filter is an alkaline filter it adjusts the pH level of the water to make it less acidic and more alkaline, which can make the water taste sweeter too.

Last but not the least, it’s always possible there’s some residual taste in your pitcher, glass or water bottle. Always make sure you clean your water containeer and replace your filter regularly to avoid residual flavors.

Why Does My Water Taste Like Salt?

The reason why your water tastes like salt can be mostly anything that are listed for the other funny tastes, but it has some specific ones, too.

The presence of certain minerals, such as sodium, calcium, or magnesium, can give water a salty taste. If your water source is in an area with naturally high mineral content or if it passes through salt-rich rocks, it can pick up these minerals, leading to the salty taste. Also, near coastal regions or areas with seawater intrusion may contamine the water with saltwater, resulting in a salty taste.

If you have a water softener system that uses salt to remove hardness minerals, make sure you check the system ’cause it may add some excess salt to the water supply by fault. Some water treatment processes, such as water disinfection or desalination, can also add sodium to the water, making it taste salty.

In order to remove the salty taste, you might consider using a reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration system, which is effective at removing a wide range of minerals, including salt.

Why Does My Water Taste Like Lemon?

why does my water taste like lemon

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Isn’t it a lemonade you’re drinking? Just kidding!

Is it bottled water or tap water in your reusable water bottle? Whichever, actually, try to figure if the water source is near lemon trees or other citrus plants. There might be a chance of some natural leaching of citrus oils or flavors into the water.

In case it’s bottled water that tastes like lemon, some cross-contamination also can happen if the water containers or pipes have been previously used to store or transport citrus fruits or juices. The residual flavors can add a lemony taste to the water. Double-check the label to see if it’s not some intentionally lemon-infused, flavored water.

One of the worst-case scenarios is that certain bacteria produce compounds that taste and smell like lemons and your water supply has bacterial contamination.

Also, if your water has a sour taste, it’s possible there’s an issue with its pH level. This can be a big problem because a low pH can be highly corrosive. Older plumbing systems could then have lead leaching into the water and basically poison it. A water filtration system can help avoid this.

If it feels weird for the water to have this lemony taste, stop drinking! You can try to investigate what causes it, and in the case of bottled water contact the manufacturer, or consult a water quality professional for further guidance.

Why Does My Water Taste Like Bleach?

This sounds really bad, doesn’t it? If your water tastes like bleach, it’s likely that there is an elevated level of chlorine or chlorine-based compounds in it.

Chlorine is a disinfectant, commonly used in public water supplies to kill bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. It is generally safe to consume in small amounts, but higher concentrations can give water a noticeable bleach-like taste and odor.

If your tap water tastes like bleach, try running the tap for a bit to allow the chlorine to disappear. Water that has been sitting in the pipes for a while has a stronger chlorine taste than freshly drawn water. Alternatively, you can let your water sit for a short period in your water container, so chlorine can naturally evaporate. Refridgerating the water can help reducing the bleach taste too.

There are water filter that are certified to remove chlorine and its byproducts, meaning the odor and bleach taste are removed too.

If nothing helps to remove the bleach taste, you may consider having your water tested by a certified laboratory to ensure the chlorine levels are within the acceptable range for safe drinking water. Make sure you consult with your local water utility or water provider for further information and guidance on chlorine levels in your area and treatment processes.

Why Does My Water Taste Like Dirt?

I like the touch of nature, but certainly not in my water. If your water tastes like dirt, you can become suspicious of either of these possibilites:

why does my water taste like dirt

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Your well or surface water source picked up some natural organic matter or sediment from the ground, giving the water the dirt-like taste. We can call it earthy, but it doesn’t make it more pleasant to be honest. Decaying leaves, plants, or other organic materials near to the water sources can lead to a taste of dirt in the water too.

Algae or bacteria in water bodies can do nasty things as well, certain types can produce compounds that create an earthy or musty taste in the water.

In poorly maintained or simply older plumbing systems, rust, sediment, or other contaminants can build up in the pipes, affecting the water and make it taste like dirt.

And what you can do about your water taste like dirt? You can try to flush the system to remove any buildup in the pipes. If you suspect the water source is contaminated, try to test the water and investigate the issue based on the results with the help of your local water experts to find the solution.

You can also consider using a water filtration system that is designed to remove sediment, organic matter, and other impurities, or activated carbon filters that are effectively removing earthy or musty tastes caused by organic matter or certain compounds.

Again, ideally drinking water should be odor-free and taste like water, nothing else. If you experience some funny taste or smell, stop drinking it and try to investigate the root cause. If you find the culprit, you can try fixing it alone or with professional help. What’s important is that you always make sure the water you drink is clean and safe!


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Photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash

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