Why you need to clean your drinking water faucets |

In everyday life we ​​often take it for granted that we have clean drinking water at the push of a button. But is it really as clean as we think?

When cleaning kitchen sinks, if you aren't in the habit of thoroughly cleaning your faucets, it may not be the refreshing drink you think it is. It could even make you sick and make your home dirtier, plumbers and microbiologists warn.

From microorganisms to rust and limescale, here's why you need to clean your drinking water faucets, what happens if you forget, and how you can keep your home and family healthy with a few simple cleaning tips.

Why you need to clean your drinking water taps

Cleaning your faucets when cleaning a kitchen is just one of many ways you can specifically improve the hygiene in your home, focusing on common sources of germs, to improve the health of your household. Although the water that comes into our homes is safe and clean and has been treated at treatment plants before being transported to your home, your faucet itself can collect all sorts of dirt that then contaminates the water when you fill up a glass , Ethan Bennet, senior technical manager at Sander & Johnson Heating and Cooling.

“It is important to clean drinking water taps occasionally to ensure clean water.” As it travels through pipes and fittings, water can accumulate contaminants such as mold, limescale, bacteria and corrosion. The aerator traps contaminants, and if the aerator is not cleaned for a long period of time, they can leach into the water you drink. “If you have hard water with contaminants like calcium and magnesium, the aerator can collect mineral deposits that, while not harmful, can attract bacteria like Legionella or Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which pose a health threat.”

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

If you live in a humid area or somewhere with hard water, these problems are only worse, adds Paranv Taneja, project manager at John the Plumber:

“Moisture-rich environments around faucets can encourage mold growth, which can lead to potential health risks and unpleasant odors, while hard water contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium that can precipitate and form limescale.” These deposits affect water flow and alter the taste and appearance of your drinking water.

“Faucets, especially those with intricate designs or hidden crevices, can harbor bacteria. “These bacteria can multiply without regular cleaning and can be hazardous to health if they contaminate the water.”

What happens if you don't clean your faucets?

Detail of kitchen sink with cream tile cabinets and ceramics

(Image credit: Read McKendree)

If you don't clean your faucets regularly, at best they will look bad and your water will taste slightly different. In a worst-case scenario, however, it can make you and your family sick, warns Matt Kunz, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, a neighboring company. Everything from skin problems to gastrointestinal problems to illness and even some neurological disorders can be traced back to drinking from unclean faucets at home, he shares.

Colored sanitaryware bathroom trend for 2024 with pink sinks

(Image credit: Vaughan Design & Development / Photography Chris Snood)

Not cleaning your faucets doesn't just affect the taste and smell of the water, continues Josh Mitchell, plumbing technician and owner of Plumbing Lab.

“In some cases, reduced water flow or damage to the faucet mechanism may also occur as mineral deposits and sediment can build up over time, resulting in clogged or inefficient water flow. Therefore, it is important that you learn how to remove limescale from faucets before it forms.” Regular cleaning not only maintains the aesthetics of your faucets, but also ensures the long-term functionality and safety of your water supply.”

Signs that you need to clean your faucets

White sink in the bathroom with green patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: Meg Evans)

So how do you know if your faucets are affected? Matt Kunz, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, points out that there are a few key signs:

“Homeowners should pay attention to sediment in the water, which can include algae, silt, clay and iron, among other things.” A professional can test the water for contaminants, and water filters can help keep the water clear and clean. Hard water should also be checked. Hard water can cause skin irritation, dry hair and rashes. It can also clog toilets and pipes.

“If your water is cloudy but turns clear after pouring, air bubbles are likely to blame.” Air bubbles form when air becomes trapped in pipes and can be caused by increased water pressure or recent plumbing work.

A good rule of thumb is to clean your faucets every time you clean your sinks – be it cleaning bathroom sinks, utility rooms, or kitchens. It's also a good idea to only drink from faucets in your home, not places like showerheads or backyard faucets (though we're not entirely sure why you'd even try that).

Using an old toothbrush and cleaning with baking soda mixed with water to form a paste will help remove all impurities without the need to add chemicals.


Are there any faucets in your home that you shouldn't drink from?

“It is typically discouraged to drink water from faucets in places like the bathroom or a kitchen sink, even if they are cleaned regularly,” explains Josh Mitchell, plumbing technician and owner of Plumbing Lab. “These faucets are often not connected to the same, more filtered water supply as the kitchen and can carry different bacteria due to their proximity to contaminants and less frequent use for drinking purposes.”

None of this means that the water entering your home is inherently contaminated or dirty. Nine times out of ten it is perfectly clean, although rare external events sometimes affect the quality. In most cases, your water supplier will inform you about this. This is the actual water outlet in your home that you might knock on or splash dirt on while washing your hands or dishes.

However, if you want to invest in some health-promoting upgrades to your home to improve your well-being, a water filter never hurts, as long as you remember to replace the filter regularly.

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