Does Hard Water Smell Bad?

Does Hard Water Smell Bad

Have you ever experienced different smells coming from your water? Mold, chemicals, minerals, and other factors can leave an unpleasant odor in tap water. However, does the hardness of water affect its smell?

Hard water often has a strange smell, which comes across as unpleasant. It likely has a high iron content if your hard water smells like metal. If it smells like rotten eggs, the water may have hydrogen sulfide gas or magnesium reacting with bacteria to form sulfates.

There can be different reasons behind your water smelling bad, but the most likely reason is that you have a hard water supply. So, why does your water smell bad, and what can you do about it? Let’s dive into the details!

How And Why Does Hard Water Smell Bad?

Hard water comes from bedrock and comprises sedimentary rocks like sandstone, limestone, chalk, etc. It also contains a lot of other minerals like magnesium and calcium.

Hard water can give off a pungent smell, but most people don’t know why that happens. Hard water has a lot of minerals, but what causes that weird smell? Based on what your hard water contains, the odor will vary.

If you notice a metallic smell or taste in your water, it can be due to a high iron content. Sometimes, your water may give off a rotten egg or sulfur-like smell.

When this happens, magnesium in the water reacts with bacteria or sulfide gas giving off a foul smell.

Hard water can also sometimes taste and smell like dirt. The reason for this can be due to old pipes, algae, sediment, or soil. So, any number of these factors can cause your water to smell bad.

Does Hard Water Make Laundry Smell Bad?

If you use hard water for your laundry, you may notice a weird smell after washing. However, you may be surprised to learn it is not the hard water alone that causes this smell.

Instead, hard water makes it difficult for you to wash your laundry properly!

Hard water contains a lot of minerals that clog your clothes’ fabric. As a result, it becomes harder for water to move through the clothes during the washing cycle.

That results in soap build-up, allowing grime and dirt to collect inside your machine’s drum and seal rubber.

All these things combined give off the cheesy, moldy, and sweaty smell you notice in your clothes and washing machine.

How To Remove the Hard Water Smell from Washed Clothes?

If you notice a little smell in your clothes after you’ve washed them, try to rewash them with one cup of bicarbonate of soda or white vinegar. These agents effectively remove hard water odor from clothes.

If the smell remains, you’ll need to choose something stronger. For example, mix one cup of warm water with a borax substitute. Add this solution to your machine and rewash the clothes.

If you want to prevent the odor from entering your clothes in the first place, try using a detergent specifically designed to reduce hard water effects. If you’ve used less detergent, try adding more.

A higher water temperature can also effectively reduce the harmful effects of hard water. That’s because high temperatures can kill the bacteria in your water. However, most detergents will work fine at 30 degrees.

What To Do If Your Hard Water Smells Bad?

Whether your water smells like metal or rotten eggs, you should address the issue as soon as possible. Here are some ways you can save yourself from smelly hard water!

1. Install Water Softeners

If your hard water smells bad, one of the simplest solutions would be to use a water softener.

These intelligent devices use ion exchange technology to remove mineral ions from water and soften it. As these minerals are removed, your water becomes soft and no longer smells bad.

2. Disinfect Your Sinks

Besides hard water, the sink or drain may be what’s causing the bad smell from your kitchen or bathroom.

You may notice a foul odor if you don’t disinfect your sink regularly. Bacteria and dirt can build up very easily and cause your sink to smell.

So, always disinfect your sink with an anti-bacterial cleaner or bleach and scrub off any buildups. Clean the drain to minimize the risk of a smelly faucet and sink.

3. Increase the Water Temperature

The bacteria and sulfur in water can sometimes give hard water its foul smell. You can destroy these minerals by using a higher water temperature if these minerals are the culprit.

You should raise the temperature to 160 degrees. That should help kill bacteria and remove the bad odor from your water.


Can Hard Water Make My House Smell Bad?

Hard water may contain some bacteria that make it smell like rotten eggs or sulfur. When this water runs in your taps, it can make your house smell bad.

If this occurs, use a water softener to remove bad-smelling water from your home.

Does Boiling Water Help to Remove the Bad Smell?

When you boil hard water, it kills the bacteria present inside. The hotter your water is, the more bacteria are destroyed.

Since bacteria are the cause of foul-smelling water, your water will no longer smell once they are removed.

Read my article about boiling water to remove hardness.

Final Thoughts

Hard water often smells bad, and no one wants that smell in their house! Not only that, hard water can even make your clothes smelly. There’s no need to worry. You can take a few necessary steps to avoid the hard water smell, like installing a water softener, disinfecting your sinks, or increasing the water temperature.

The Filter Guy

Scott Birch is a water filtration installer and designer. He has worked in the industry for many years and is very familiar with and knowledgeable about residential water treatment equipment. Scott enjoys helping people get the most out of their water filtration systems and ensuring that their homes are getting the best possible quality of water.

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