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Why Is My Toilet Water Yellow?

Yellow water coming from your fixtures can cause staining and look unhygienic and unclean. This is especially true in the bathroom. Why is the water in my toilet yellow and how can I have clear water again?

Yellow water in your toilet is caused by some sort of contamination of the water. While most contamination is not harmful it can cause discoloration and stains to your toilet. Some reasons for yellow toilet water include hard water, rusting pipes, rust in your toilet tank, sewer lines, or water softeners.

It’s important to find out why your toilet water turned yellow in the first place, in order to be able to fix the problem. In this article, we will look at some of the most common causes of contamination and how you can deal with it to get your water clear again.

Hard Water

If you live in a hard water area, your water may contain magnesium or calcium which turns your water yellow. This is not dangerous in small quantities but can build up over time in your pipes and toilet tank.

These deposits may be cleaned from the sides of your toilet tank but may cause the need for the pipes to be replaced, or cleaned out professionally.

Replacing the pipes entirely or installing a water filter system will be necessary to remove any calcium or magnesium deposits and get your water running clear again.

Rusting Pipes

Older homes may have water pipes made of iron. When these pipes corrode, they can turn your water yellow, dark brown, or even red. If iron water pipes are found to be the cause of the discoloration of your water, you will need to replace all of the iron pipes in the house to rid the rust from contaminating your water.

Toilet Tank

If you do not have discolored water at any other fixture in the house, your toilet tank may be to blame for the yellow water. Most toilet tanks are held together by iron bolts, these can begin to rust and cause the water in the tank to turn yellow. Check inside your toilet tank to see if the toilet tank bolts are rusting and causing your discolored water.

If you do find rust in your toilet tank it may be possible to clean the rusting part and get your water clear again. If you are unable to clean the rusting part you may need to replace it to keep it from turning your water yellow.

Water Repairs

You may experience yellowing water if repairs are being made to the water supply lines in your city. These repairs may cause sediments that have accumulated in the water lines to your neighbors and your home.

Some areas also flush out the water lines causing dirt and contaminants to be carried along to your fixtures.

If your yellow or discolored water is caused by maintenance or flushing out of the water lines, it should clear after running the water for just a few minutes.

Sewer Lines

On rare occasions, sewer lines may back up and this contaminated water finds its way into the freshwater supply. If you experience any foul smells with your discolored yellow or brown water you should ensure it has not been contaminated by waste or sewer water.

If you do find any of the waste or sewage pipes in your home to be damaged and leaking into your freshwater pipes, you will need to repair the leaks before the water will be clear and safe for use.

Water Softener

If your home has a water softener installed, the salt pellets you are using may be the incorrect type to remove the contamination in your water. Switching salt pellets will clear the issue and get your water clean and clear again.

The installation of a new water softener resin can also cause your water to temporarily turn yellow. It is not a cause for concern and will clear itself after a few cycles of your water softener system.

The resin beads in the brine tank can also cause discoloration in your water when they become damaged or break. If the resin beads are faulty, you will need to repair or replace your system to have clear water again.


Yellow water in your toilet or from any fixture in your home isn’t desirable but usually isn’t unsafe either. If you have yellow water in your home, repairing any rusting pipes or adding a water-softening system will help you get fresh clear water flowing from your pipes again.