Help and advice

Discoloured or cloudy water

Colour of water

Is your water milky / cloudy?

Drinking water can sometimes appear ‘milky’ or ‘cloudy’ when first drawn from the tap. This is usually caused by air and generally disappears after a short time.

There is a really simple way to check whether milky white water is due to the release of dissolved air. Fill a clean glass with tap water and place it on the worktop. You will notice that the water clears from the bottom of the glass as the bubbles rise slowly to the surface. The effect can be seen in the photograph below.

Cloudy water caused by tiny air bubbles in the water is not harmful to health.

Is your water brown / black or orange?

The main cause of discolouration is due to the disturbance of harmless deposits accumulated over time in the water pipes making the water brown/black or orange in appearance.

One of the main causes of discolouration could be a burst main - click on In your area for any further information relating to events in your area.

What do I do if I have discoloured water?

Discoloured water will normally run clear if you run the first mains-fed tap in your property. This is the cold water tap nearest to your internal stop tap which is usually the cold water tap found in the kitchen. You should run this tap at the normal rate for up to 40 minutes or until clear.

Can I use my washing machine / dish washer / hot water supply whilst the water is discoloured?

We recommend that you do not use any of these facilities until your water supply is running clear.

My washing is stained what do I do?

To remove any staining please check that the cold water tap nearest to your internal stop tap (usually your cold water kitchen/utility tap) is running clear and rewash your laundry as normal.


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