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7 Causes of Yellow Toilet Water & Effective Solutions

Scott Winfield
Last Updated on
by Scott Winfield

Toilet water should be clean and clear, but various issues cause the water to turn yellow. Yellow toilet water is a common issue even when toilets are thoroughly cleaned.

To solve this problem, you first have to identify its root cause. Sometimes you might need a technician’s help to pinpoint the problem.

If you have seen yellow water in your toilet, you likely wonder whether it is a serious issue. Yellow toilet water is not harmful, but the cause of the color change can discolor your toilet bowls.

However, if the water runs through your taps, your health is at risk. For instance, the consumption of too many minerals can cause mineral poisoning.

Also, on rare occasions, excess minerals cause your pipes to burst.

Yellow water is an eyesore and creates a bad impression, especially when you have guests. Not everyone will understand that the color change is not a result of poor hygiene.

Besides, you would not feel comfortable if you ushered your guests to a toilet that would ruin the mood of the day or event.

Why Is My Toilet Water Yellow?

Toilet Water Yellow
Toilet Water Yellow

Several factors cause your toilet water to turn yellow, but the common cause is minerals. When you see yellow water in your toilet, you assume that what you have seen is urine.

Nevertheless, when the problems persist, you know that the problem is the toilet water and not urine.

You always want your toilet to be the cleanest. As a result, you might even go the extra mile to see that your bowl sparkles all the time.

Apart from the unpleasant appearance, yellow water discolors your toilet bowl. Also, you can get extreme cases where the cause of yellow water is beyond your control.

In complex cases, call for a detailed diagnosis from a skilled plumber.

Nonetheless, you might still see yellow water even after cleaning and flushing your toilet well. You would not want your toilet to look like a poorly maintained public toilet.

So, the viable solution is to find out why your toilet water is yellow and how to solve the problem. Below are seven top reasons why your toilet water has a yellow color and a solution for each one of them.

Rusted Pipes

Rusted Pipes
Rusted Pipes

If your household has iron pipes, the iron corrodes over time and discolors your water. Rust is common in houses with old pipes, and water from such pipes contains iron particles.

As a result, your toilet water turns to a color that ranges from dark brown to red yellow.

Rust in the pipes is a more complex process and difficult to clean. Therefore, you will almost always have to replace the pipes unless the rust only affects a small portion.

Nonetheless, contact a technician to identify the problem and find a solution. If you have enough resources, replace all iron pipes because the pipes will eventually rust.

If the stains have discolored your toilet bowl, several products are available to restore your toilet’s brightness. Such products include borax powder and bleach.

Drain the water bowl first and shut off your toilet’s valve for best results. Then, no stains will be covered in water when you pour the solution. Leave your preferred solution for some minutes, then scrub off.

Rusted Bolts

Rusted Bolts
Rusted Bolts

The bolts in your system are susceptible to rust due to their frequent exposure to water. Whereas iron bolts have a coated surface to withstand water, long periods of exposure erode the protective layer.

As a result, the bolts rust at the same time and with almost the same level because of the same level of exposure.

Open the lids and scrub off the rust to get rid of it. Use a bristle brush and scrub gently so you won’t ruin the bristle parts of the cistern.

When you finish, flush the toilets a few times, so residue does not sit at the bottom of the cistern.

If the bolts have a high amount of rust, you would be better off if you bought new replacement bolts.

You do not always have to wait until you accumulate rust on your toilet fixtures before you solve the problem. To prevent rust issues, pour a cup of hydrogen peroxide into your tank and flush it out once every month.

Hydrogen peroxide solution removes scale and rust accumulated on your toilets before the buildup worsens.

Hard Water

Hard Water
Hard Water

The water in your toilet is not as pure as you expect and might contain minerals like chloride and magnesium. Small quantities of the said minerals are not always dangerous.

But, with time, the minerals build up on your pipes, and part of the minerals wash away with water every time you flush.

Based on the location of the buildup, you may have to replace your pipes or remove the buildup. For instance, deposits can be in an easy-to-reach place like the sides of the toilet or the tank.

You unclog the toilet and remove the deposits yourself in such a case. The procedure is simple—open the toilet lid and scrub off the mineral buildup. Then, flush your toilet several times and you are good.

For a more complex problem that involves the pipes, you will have to consult a qualified technician. Then, you will get qualified services like a video inspection to check your pipes’ condition.

Otherwise, if you use hard water with high mineral concentration, your toilet will stain in the long run.

Municipal Water

Municipal Water
Municipal Water

Water from your local municipality yellows when repair works are in process. Also, dirt and particles settle at the bottom of water supply pipes.

When something triggers the water to speed up, the fast flow stirs up the accumulated dirt and causes your water to turn yellow.

In municipal cases, the water in the entire house discolors. When the water yellows suddenly, the common reason is the municipality flushing.

The municipality flushes the system to eliminate any organic components and dirt. The components pass over to your systems, but the problem does not last long.

If water from the municipality is yellow, your neighbors should also have the same problem unless they use wells.

So, first, confirm whether your neighbors have yellow water. If that’s the case, call your local company and confirm whether a municipality flush has happened.

You cannot do much about yellow water from the municipality. Wait for some time, and the water will clear.

Contaminated Water

Contaminated Water
Contaminated Water

On rare occasions, your toilet’s supply line might mix with wastewater in the sewer lines—the contamination results in the formation of yellow toilet water.

You can almost always tell when your toilet water is contaminated with the sewer water from the constant smell.

Sewer water is unclean, unpleasant, and smelly. Besides, the smell does not disappear after some minutes and instead lingers on.

In addition, water contaminated with sewer poses a health hazard, especially when the water flows through your faucets.

So, once you notice that your water has sewer contamination, act fast and call a qualified plumber to do an inspection and disinfect your toilet.

Schedule regular inspection of your toilet’s water supply and sewer pipes. If any pipes have structural damage or leakages, arrange for an immediate fix.

Also, manufacturers have a recommended frequency for cartridge replacement. So, inspect your system once in three months and clean your tank when needed.

Stagnant Water

Stagnant Water
Stagnant Water

Stagnant water turns yellow when you rarely use your toilets, maybe because you are always away. The discoloration results from dust and bacteria accumulation and chlorine dissipation.

As a general principle, the longer you leave the stagnant water, the higher the chances of water discoloration.

The only solution to stagnant water is to flush your toilets more often. If you can, ask a trusted neighbor or relative to flush your toilets when you are away.

Alternatively, work with local property managers to guarantee your property’s security. You will not have to pay much to get someone to inspect your property and make a few adjustments once in a while.

If you will be away on vacation, bleach or treat your toilet with baking soda beforehand. You will not only keep your toilets stain-free but also avoid unpleasant smells.

However, don’t use harsh bleach in the cistern because the bleach corrodes vital system components.

Water Softener

Install a Home Water Softener
Water Softener

If you use a yellow salt in your water softener, your toilet water turns yellow after a few months. Also, common minerals found in hard water react with the salt and turn your water yellow.

Whereas the yellow stain may clear without intervention, the best option is to avoid the problem altogether.

If you have hard water, a water softener eliminates the minerals from the water. So, you would not be advised to do away with the water softener system.

Instead, use a salt that is not yellow when you change the brine or salt in your water softener. Alternatively, invest in a salt-free water softener system.

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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
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