Is It Safe to Drink Tap Water from the Bathroom?


While filling a quick glass of water from your bathroom sink seems simple, there are a few factors to take into account when it comes to hydrating yourself with bathroom tap water. This article will break down what you need to keep in mind when grabbing that next glass.

It is not usually unsafe to drink water from a bathroom sink. However, it is not advisable to do it regularly. This is because the water from your bathroom sink may contain contaminants, bacteria, and debris from the reservoir or the buildup on the pipes.

There are a few other variables to consider and ways to reduce the risks of consuming contaminated water. Such as location and if you have a personal filtration system. Throughout this article, I will discuss ways to make hydrating safer and some places that you should avoid it altogether.

How Can I Tell My Tap Water is Safe to Drink?

While there are systems in place by the CDC to ensure that the water coming out of your tap will have minimal risks to consume, there are a few different ways that you can make it even safer. But, of course, this will also depend on your location as well. 

Some signs that your tap water is not safe to drink include: 

  • If the water is cloudy, if you fill up a glass of water and it is not clear, this could be a sign of unsafe pathogens or chemicals.
  • If your hands are sticky after soaking in water, you may have an excess of calcium or magnesium. This is not harmful to the body but indicates that the water has a high level of minerals.
  • Yellow or brown water, likely caused by excess iron, rust, or lead inside of your plumbing which is a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Blue or green castings indicate that your water is corroded by copper. Small doses are not harmful to you, but high concentrations can cause health problems.
  • If your water smells like chlorine or bleach, this chemical is deliberately added by water treatment centers to clean it, but being able to smell it is a result of excess chlorine being used in your system. 

If you are unsure about the safety of your tap water, your best bet would be to either have a filtration installed, drinking water from a different source, or you could even go as far as boiling the water from your tap before ingesting.

Places That Tap Water is Considered Safe to Drink 

As you can imagine, there are various places throughout the world where drinking tap water could be deemed unsafe. There was a study breaking down the 187 countries you should not drink tap water from. Below is a list of the countries with safe tap water and those you should avoid drinking from at all costs. 

Countries With Safe Tap WaterCountries You Should NOT Drink Tap Water From
GreenlandRussia
CanadaUkraine
United StatesTurkey
ChileMexico
AustraliaBrazil
SingaporeArgentina
SpainIndia
United KingdomChina
FinlandIndonesia
JapanAfrica
ItalyKazakhstan

If you happen to be in one of the “do not drink” locations or are ever unsure about the water quality that you would be drinking. It would be best if you took protective measures before consuming. Checking your water quality regularly is a good habit if you live in an area without easy access to clean tap water. 

Can You Get Sick from Drinking Bathroom Water?

The quality of water that comes from the tap will change significantly depending on where you are at. Surprisingly, most tap water contains contaminants. Not only from the plumbing and the types of materials used to construct your system, but from other pollutants that make their way through wastewater and even from the chemicals used to clean our water systems.

You can get sick from drinking tap water due to the slight presence of coliform bacteria found. It can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, nausea, headaches, fever, and fatigue.

Here are the top 3 contaminants found in tap water:

  • Microbial contaminants — pathogens, bacteria, protozoa, and some viruses
  • Organic Material — petroleum, insecticides and herbicides, detergents, disinfecting cleaners, and prescription drugs.
  • Inorganic Material — ammonia, chemical waste, fertilizers, and heavy metals.

A study done by Brunel University Of London found that one of the highest risks of consuming copious amounts of tap water is actually being exposed to prescription drugs. They tested 59 small streams throughout the United States, and one river alone contained traces of 45 different prescription drugs. 

Chlorine is typically introduced into the water supply to kill bacteria and pathogens. But, when mixed with other compounds, it produces a harmful by-product called trihalomethane, which is linked to kidney problems and increased cancer risk. They also expose people to a parasite called Giardia, which can cause diarrhea, cramps, and nausea.

Why Does Water from the Bathroom Taste Different?

Girl Making Disgusted Face

The water in your bathroom tastes different from other places in your home because the plumbing systems are separate. Unless you have a specialized water system, your bathroom water comes from a separate tank which is stored in a different location away from the primary water system for your home. 

Meaning that the water running through your bathroom’s tap is actually coming from a cold storage tank and not directly from your main water supply like your kitchen would. While your cold storage tank fills up and holds the water that is going to be used in your bathroom, it loses the potency of the chlorine and other chemicals used to prevent microbial growth. 

Why Your Bathroom Water Tastes Different:

  • Different Pipes Used For Plumbing
  • Lead Or Dirt Inside Of Your Pipes
  • Contaminated Tap
  • Lack of residual chlorine or chlorine dioxide
  • Filtration systems

While there are a few different reasons that your bathroom’s tap water can taste different from the other locations in your home, the major factor is that it is usually held in a storage tank separate from the water main.

Can You Drink the Water from Your Shower?

While there is a gray area on whether you should be drinking your bathroom’s tap water, that is not the case with the water from your shower.

In general, you should not drink water from the shower, Since the water comes directly from your water heater, which has been shown to have high levels of bacteria, contaminants, and chemicals, you should not be consuming the water coming from your shower. 

Bottom Line

While there are some minor risks to drinking water from your bathroom tap, there are no major health problems directly related to it. There are a lot of variables that affect the quality of your water, some out of your control. 

For the least amount of exposure to contaminants, you would want to avoid drinking tap water from your bathroom. As it is a separate water system compared to your kitchen and the water coming out of the tap in your bathroom sits in a storage tank which can dilute the cleaning properties in place to keep our water clean by the CDC.

Thanks for reading!

For more, check out Is Rainwater Safe to Drink? (And Where to Safely Collect it).

Jim James

Hey, I'm Jim and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!

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