How Do I Know If My Tap Water Is Safe?

Published On: February 22, 20210 Comments on How Do I Know If My Tap Water Is Safe?Tags: Last Updated: February 8, 20244.1 min read

We’ve all had that question at one point or another. After all, unsafe water doesn’t come down with a warning label or a glowing red halo, even though it’s not such a bad idea. Until the red halos come in, we have gathered all the ways with which you can test the safety of your tap water.

How Do I Know If My Tap Water Is Safe

That way, instead of wondering, you can use the following tests and indicators to assess the quality of your tap water.


Water shouldn’t have a color, that’s something we all know, so when you open the tap and the water comes out cloudy, close the tap right back. However, it’s important to note the difference between temporary cloudiness and true cloudiness. If your water is only cloudy for a few seconds before the cloud turns to air bubbles and disappears, it’s only because of the excessive amount of air in the water. This often happens in cold weather and with high water pressures. In other words, it’s not a sign of contamination, and your water is safe to drink. On the other hand, if the turbidity stays, your water must be contaminated with impurities or unsafe chemicals.


Smells are also a bad sign when it comes to water safety. While a swimming pool can have a distinct bleachy odor because of the chlorine in the water, your tap water should never smell the same. It’s an indicator that there’s too much chlorine in your water system which poses a danger to your kidneys. If instead, your water smells fishy, it’s an indicator that you’ve got some barium or cadmium in there. Unfortunately, both elements can negatively affect your organs. Even in small amounts, you’ve got to consider the amounts that accumulate with each cup of water. 


Pure water doesn’t have a taste. Meaning, any taste present in your water indicates that there’s something else besides the water, though it’s not always a reason to be alarmed. A faint, earthy taste, for example, could be because of the algae that were in the water prior to decontamination. However, other tastes, like sulfur, and metal, are cause for getting your water tested. They are often a result of pipe corrosion, and the presence of iron, zinc, or copper, respectively. If your water tastes a little like gasoline, it’s recommended that you avoid using it immediately and contact the related authorities.

Sink Stains

Stains are always a good indicator of the water’s acidity level. Ideally, your drinking water should be neutral or alkaline, which makes highly acidic water not suitable for drinking. If you examine the metallic parts of your sink and see green or blue residue, it means that the water is acidic, which could potentially be a problem if you intend to drink the water. However, because acidic water can be good for cleaning, if you click here, you can see how some ionizing machines work to alter tap water’s pH level (a measure of acidity/alkalinity). That way, you can get alkaline water for drinking and slightly acidic water for cleaning and watering certain plants.

How Do I Know If My Tap Water Is Safe - washing hands

Soap Reactivity

Soap is designed to react swiftly with water, producing foam. Nevertheless, if the water is saturated with other minerals, like calcium and magnesium, you’re going to have to add a lot of soap before you see any bubbles. If you’re struggling to get your soap to foam, you’re dealing with hard water overly saturated with minerals. While harmless upon drinking according to scientific research, mineral-saturated water leaves residue in pipes which can lead to pipe blockage. In addition, it has been shown to aggravate skin conditions in the cases of children and people with sensitive skin.

The Hand Test

Another method that can tell you if you have hard water is the hand test. After washing your hands in hard water, they will feel slimy or a little sticky. Again, this is because of how soap reacts to the minerals in the water. When soap is met with soft water, the sodium in the soap dissolves, but in hard water, the sodium reacts with the magnesium and calcium to form a solid that you probably know by the name of soap scum. It stains clothes and is often hard to wash off of your hands.

With this newfound knowledge, you won’t ever have to worry about your water’s safety. Now that you know what to look for, you can guarantee for yourself and your loved ones the quality of water you all deserve. However, before you let anyone influence your decisions when it comes to filtering out certain materials, do your own research, and make sure that the articles you’re reading are based on reliable scientific facts.

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