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Yellow Bath Water: Causes & How to Fix It

Any picturesque bath includes fresh, clear water. If you were to take a bath and find that your water was an unsightly yellow color, you might not want to take a bath at all. If your bathwater is anything but clear, there is obviously some type of problem.

Many questions may go through your head if your water is yellow or any other color. You will wonder what is causing this, my plumbing, my water source, or something else? You may then wonder, is this water safe for my children or me to bathe in?

This article will answer these questions and go into further detail concerning the causes of yellow bathwater. Most importantly, we will show you ways to get rid of this problem and help you get back your clear, beautiful water.

Let’s begin!

yellow bath water

Why Is My Bathtub Water Yellow?

Rusty Pipes or Plumbing

Rust is the most common reason why your bathwater would turn yellow. Pipes are prone to rust which not only creates leaks and damage to your plumbing but will also give you yellow water.

Rust turns your water yellow due to the high oxygen and iron count found in rust, which is then dissolved by the water pressure in your pipes, giving you yellow water. Rust on the outside of a pipe is pretty easy to find but the real dilemma is when your pipes are rusting from the inside out.

It’s best to remove rusted pipes before the issue gets worse and you are left with water damage along with discolored water.

A Rusty Water Heater

The source of your rust might not be found in your pipes and may go all the way back to your water heater. Before blaming your pipes for being rusty, you should first check your water heater.

When rust or other sediment gathers in your hot water tank, it will travel through your pipes and into your bath.

An easy way to tell if your water heater is the cause of your issue is your water will only turn yellow when you turn on your hot water.

A Corroded Faucet

Sometimes, the issue lies with your faucet, which gets corroded with rust and sediment.

Rust or other materials will build up in your faucet over time. Then one day, you turn your faucet on, and the rushing water dislodges all the materials it had built up, giving your water an unattractive yellow color.

To determine if your faucet is the cause of your problem, try running your sink and kitchen faucets. If the yellow water is just coming out of one faucet and not the entire system, then that one faucet is probably corroded.

A Contaminated Water Supply

If your faucet, water heater, or plumbing are not to blame, then the issue must lie with your water supply.

Do you get your water from your own private well or from your local city? You may need to inspect your private well or call the office of your local water district to figure out the source of the problem.

When found in high doses, certain minerals and contaminants such as iron, manganese, lead, zinc, and copper will cause water to turn yellow.

Is It Safe to Bathe or Shower in Yellow Water?

Surprisingly, most people claim that it is safe to bathe or shower in yellow water. I don’t know about you, but I would rather bathe in the local river than lay in a bathtub full of yellow water.

When it comes to the safety of you and your family, it’s best to err on the side of caution. If you have yellow water, I recommend buying a high-quality water test kit. If you find high levels of lead, mercury, arsenic, or nitrates, you should not drink or bathe in that water.

How to Get Rid of Yellow Bath Water

Tools Required

  • Plumbers Wrench
  • Tape Measure
  • Screwdriver
  • Hex Key Set
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • ½ Inch Drive Ratchet with applicable sockets
  • Water Hose
  • Long Narrow Brush
  • Safety Equipment (Gloves and Eye Protection)


Replacing Rusty Pipes

Step 1.
You have to first determine which pipes are rusting. This may be the most difficult part of this process if your pipes are rusting from the inside out. You may need professional assistance to figure out which pipes have rusted.

Step 2.
Measure the pipes you want to replace and head down to the department store and buy new pipes along with any connecting hardware.

Step 3.
Turn off your main water supply.

Step 4.
Using your plumber’s wrench, un-attach the rusted pipes and replace them with new ones.

Step 5.
Once all your new pipes are installed and tightened turn back on your water supply and run your water.

Step 6.
Check for any leaks in your plumbing and any discolored water.

Removing Rust From Your Water Heater

Step 1.
Begin by completely turning off your water heater and your water supply.

Step 2.
Turn on a hot water faucet in your home to allow air to pass through your water heater.

Step 3.
There should be a drain outlet near the bottom of your tank. There may be a cover you’ll have to remove with a ratchet and socket. Attach a normal household water hose to the drain outlet and turn the valve to drain the water.

Step 4.
You will notice most of the rust or sediment draining through the hose but put around 5 or 6 gallons of cold water back into the water heater and drain it again.

Step 5.
In most cases, that will take care of your problem, but if you still have rust, you will have to unbolt or unscrew the drain and use a small brush to remove the rest of the rust.

Step 6.
Then fill and drain the tank again to remove the rust you brushed off.

Step 7.
Put everything back together and turn everything back on to test your water system and see if this method got rid of your problem.

Removing Corrosion From Your Faucet

Step 1.
Different models of faucets might need different tools such as a screwdriver or hex key set to remove them, but besides the tools needed the removal methods are similar.

Step 2.
Turn off your main water supply.

Step 3.
You will need a screwdriver to pry off the faucet’s cover and any handles if they are attached to the cover.

Step 4.
With the cover removed you will be able to see which tool you need to remove the faucet.

Step 5.
With the faucet removed, inspect it for corrosion or rust.

Step 6.
If your faucet is only slightly corroded, you can use a brush or soak it overnight in white vinegar to remove the rust.

Step 7.
If your faucet is badly corroded, it’s usually both easier and more effective to replace it with a new one.

Removing Contamination From Your Water Supply

Step 1.
Check if your private well is contaminated by using a water test kit.

Step 2.
If your well is contaminated, some products can be used to clean your well, or you can hire a professional water well contractor to inspect, upgrade and resolve your issues.

Step 3.
If you get your water from the city, you should call your local water district, express your concerns and see if they will send out an inspector to test your water.

Step 4.
City water officials are usually very aware of the content of the water they supply and can resolve any issues you are having with your local city water.

Kyle Tucker

Kyle from Kyle Tucker Plumbing is a certified plumber with over 20 years of professional experience installing plumbing fixtures such as bathtubs, sinks, and toilets, as well as installing gas lines and water pipes, performing bathroom repairs, and more.

Kyle knows how to deal with every plumbing issue that modern homeowners encounter, and he shares his lifelong experience with readers in an engaging and easy-to-digest way.

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At Loo Academy, our mission is to offer trusted advice for everything related to bathrooms (design ideas, plumbing advice, showering & bathing tips, remodeling guides, and more) — a place where we all spend a great deal of time.

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