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Is toilet water clean? | 5 things you must know

When you think of clean water, your home’s toilet may not be the first thing that comes to mind. So, is toilet water clean?

Depending on where your toilet water comes from, toilet water is relatively clean. However, as the water interacts with areas such as the toilet tank and bowl, it becomes tainted with harmful bacteria, germs, cleaning residue, and bits and pieces of human waste. After passing these areas the toilet water becomes unclean.

Different elements contribute to the cleanliness of the water. Starting from the incoming fresh flow into the tank to the standing water in the bowl.

How dirty is toilet water?

Clean toilet water is visibly clear and free of floating waste and debris. Clarity is a key indicator of cleanliness; murkiness may signal pollutants or plumbing issues.

There should be no unusual colors, which may result from rust, minerals, or lingering cleaning agents. The color should match the water elsewhere in your home; any deviation might suggest a problem needing attention.

Clean toilet water shouldn’t smell bad. A persistent foul odor may indicate bacteria or a sewer gas seal leak, requiring a plumbing professional. Keeping toilet water clean involves regular flushing, cleaning, and occasional checks to ensure a healthy bathroom.

An image showing a clean and clear toilet bowl, demonstrating the essentials of clean toilet water.

Toilet water source

Much like any other home water supply, toilet water originates from an external source. This external source also determines whether your toilet water is clean.

Possible sources that supply your toilet water:

So, is toilet water the same water you shower with? It can be if your toilet is using gray water. Other used water to flush your toilet with are from doing your laundry or washing your hands.

Gray water for flushing toilets

Grey water refers to the water that comes from various household sources, excluding toilets. It’s the wastewater generated from activities like washing dishes, doing laundry, or taking a shower.

Unlike the more contaminated “black water” from toilets, grey water is considered somewhat reusable with appropriate treatment. This water isn’t potable but can be repurposed for certain non-drinking applications, such as watering plants or flushing toilets.

The idea is to make better use of water resources, promote sustainability, and reduce the environmental impact associated with traditional wastewater disposal.

How dirty is toilet bowl water?

Toilet bowl water is pretty dirty considering it comes into contact with a bowl that is used to catch human waste. No one deep cleans their bowl after using the toilet. Plus even if you did, the chemicals used to clean a toilet bowl make the water unclean.

Then there’s the question: is toilet water in the tank clean? Toilet water in your tank is clean if your tank itself is clean. Realistically speaking, your tank may contain some gunk and other impurities.

Have you ever opened it up and taken a look? The water might even be brown!

Nevertheless, even when you’re not planning on drinking toilet water (which you should NEVER do!), it might be wise to clean your toilet tank.

Image describing the potential health risks associated with toilet water

Contaminants and health risks of toilet water

What happens if toilet water splashes on you?

Health risks arise when toilet water splashes onto wounds or when hands that touch the face or food come into contact with it. Dirty toilet water, especially when dealing with clogs or issues, can carry harmful bacteria and viruses like E. coli, norovirus, and salmonella. An unclean bathroom provides a favorable environment for these pathogens.

In shared bathrooms, the risk of cross-contamination from toilet water increases. Regularly and properly disinfect the toilet bowl, seat, and handle, as they are common touchpoints. When cleaning, use gloves and wash hands immediately to prevent the transfer of bacteria or viruses from toilet water to humans.

Best practices for maintaining clean toilet water

To maintain water clarity and hygiene in your toilet, using the right cleaning agents and upkeep of toilet (tank) cleaning is super important.

One recommended practice is to use automatic toilet bowl cleaners, which you can install inside your toilet tank to ensure consistent sanitization with each flush. Look for products containing disinfectants that kill germs on contact. However, use these products carefully, as overuse can lead to component deterioration, especially in the inner mechanical parts of the toilet.

You might want to skip bleach when it comes to cleaning your toilet.

Apply disinfectant cleaner every month, letting it sit to break down buildup before scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush. Pay attention to the often-neglected area under the rim where grime accumulates.

Lastly, be cautious about what you flush. Only dispose of human waste and toilet paper to prevent clogs and maintain water cleanliness. Act promptly if you notice changes in water quality or toilet performance. Handling minor repairs, like replacing a flapper or using a toilet snake, can prevent larger issues and keep the water clean.

If you’re a toilet cleaning ”newbie” we made a cleaning strategy especially for you.

A person cleaning a toilet with a scrub brush and disinfectant cleaner

Q&A’s about toilet water

Often asked questions, answered quickly!

Is toilet water clean after you flush it?

Even after flushing toilet water is not clean. Although the water may come in as clean, as soon as it touches the bowl (and even the tank) it comes into contact with bacteria. These bacteria come from human waste and cannot be simply flushed away.

Is toilet water clean to drink?

Toilet water is not clean to drink.

Is toilet water clean to touch?

Although toilet water seems to be clean to touch this is not recommended as invisible bacteria are present. Always use gloves when dealing with cleaning toilets. And make sure to wash your hands after using the toilet.

Disclaimer: is not responsible for any damage caused to your toilet and surroundings by (wrongly) interpreting information found on this site. Please seek custom advice from a professional to evaluate your current situation.

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