Yellow Water in Bathtub: Causes & 5 Quick Fixes

There’s hardly anything better than a hot bubble bath at the end of a long, stressful day.

Light a couple of candles, add some mood music and you’ve got yourself a perfect self-care ritual.

If there’s anything that could ruin this relaxing time for you is yellow water in the bathtub, especially if you have no clue what could be causing it. 

If you’re determined to stop this issue, you’ve come to the right place, as we will discuss the most common factors behind this issue and the most efficient solutions.

What causes yellow water in the bathtub?

If you’ve noticed yellow water in the bathtub, there could be a couple of reasons the water is this color. 

Let’s look at the most common causes of this issue before diving into the solutions.

Sediment in the water

Sediment in the water could be why you notice yellow water in your bathtub.

If you have well water, the iron in the water is likely causing the yellow color. 

Another possibility is that there is sediment buildup in your pipes.

This can happen if the water in your area has high mineral content. 

Run the water for several minutes to see if the yellow color clears up.

If it doesn’t, your pipes may need to be cleaned.

Rusty pipes

Yellow bath water could also be coming from rusty pipes.

If your water has a yellow tinge and you have an old home with iron pipes, the pipes are likely rusty. 

While this isn’t necessarily harmful, it can stain your sink, tub or toilet yellow.

A simple way to test for rust is to wipe a damp cloth along the pipe. 

If it comes away red or brown, there’s rust present and you’ll need to call a plumber to replace the pipes.

If your water is yellow and you don’t have iron pipes, the problem could be with your water heater

Yellow water can also be caused by runoff from copper pipes.

If you have copper pipes in your home, they can start to corrode over time and cause the water to turn yellow.

This isn’t generally harmful, but it can be a nuisance.

Corroded faucet

A corroded faucet could be why the water in your tub is yellow.

Corrosion in the faucet could result from high iron levels in your water.  

This can be a serious issue because the iron could be coming from your water heater, which could be rusting inside.

If this is the case, you should have your water heater checked by a professional as soon as possible.

Rusty water heater

Sediment can build up in the bottom of the water heater tank over time and cause your water to turn yellow when heated. 

Rusty water heater can be a rather serious issue and if you’re not careful, it can lead to some expensive repairs

It’s a leading cause of yellow water in your tub and it usually happens due to a buildup of minerals in the water

If you have a water heater over ten years old, it is probably time to start shopping for a new one.

Flushing your water heater regularly can help to remove the sediment and prevent the water from turning yellow.

Contaminated water supply

Perhaps the most alarming issue that could be turning the water yellow is a contaminated water supply.  

This is because water contaminated with sewage or other hazardous materials can turn yellow. 

Another possibility is that the yellow color is due to a high concentration of minerals in the water.

This is often the case in areas with hard water. 

While hard water is not necessarily harmful, it can cause a yellow tint in the water and damage your bathtub and other bathroom elements over time. 

How to fix yellow water in the bathtub

While you can’t change certain factors, such as the water quality in your area, some methods could help you improve the water quality and solve any issues that may be turning the water yellow.

1. Clean the sediment

To check if there is sediment in your tub water, you can perform a simple test by filling a glass with water from your tub’s faucet. 

If there is sediment in the water, it will settle at the bottom of the glass.

You can also check for sediment in your tub by looking at the drain. 

If there is buildup around the drain, there is likely sediment in the tub as well – and probably in other bathtub elements.

If you notice sediment in your tub, cleaning it out as soon as possible is essential.

Sediment can cause several problems, including clogging the drain, making it difficult to fill the tub with water and making the tub less sanitary. 

You can use a plunger or a plumber’s snake to clean out sediment from your tub.

You may also need to use a powerful cleaning agent, such as bleach.

However, if the sediment comes from dirty or rusty elements, such as pipes, it is time to have them cleaned thoroughly or do it yourself. 

This way, you can avoid any further problems the sediment may cause.

It is also essential to clean your tub regularly, even if you do not see any accumulated mineral buildup. 

2. Clean or replace the rusty pipes

The dirty water may be coming from the rusty pipes that haven’t been cleaned in a while.

It is essential to clean them (or have them cleaned) often to prevent rust from accumulating.

If the yellow water in your tub is coming from rusty pipes, you may have to replace them.

First, identify the source of the rust.

If the pipes are rusty, they will need to be replaced.

You also want to remove any rust outside the pipes using a wire brush or sandpaper.

If possible, clean the inside of the pipes with a vinegar solution and rinse them with clean water.

You also want to apply a rust-resistant coating to the pipes.

This will help prevent further rusting.

To prevent rust from accumulating in your bathtub pipes again, pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain once a month.

You can also use boiling water to flush out the pipes.

If you notice any rust in your bathtub pipes, clean them out as soon as possible.

Rust can cause serious damage to your pipes and can lead to expensive repairs. 

3. Clean or replace the corroded faucet

A dirty and corroded old bathtub faucet is what may be causing the yellow water issue, so you want to clean it or replace it as soon as possible.

To clean a corroded faucet, remove the handle by unscrewing it with a Phillips screwdriver. 

If the handle is stuck, wrap the head of the screwdriver with a rag to prevent scratching the finish and use a wrench to loosen it. 

Next, use a putty knife to pry off the decorative cap on the faucet and remove the retainer nut with a wrench.

With the retainer nut removed, you should be able to pull the stem out of the faucet.

However, if the bathtub faucet needs to be replaced, here’s how to do it.

First, shut off the faucet’s water supply by turning the valves under the sink counterclockwise.

Next, use a wrench to remove the nuts securing the faucet to the sink.

With the faucet removed, use a hacksaw to cut through the old copper pipe that extends from the wall.

Now, you want to measure and cut a new piece of copper pipe to fit in its place.

Use a soldering torch to join the new copper pipe to the old copper fittings.

Finally, turn the water supply back on and test the faucet for leaks.

4. Clean the water heater

If you see signs of rust on your water heater, it’s essential to clean it as soon as possible. 

Rust can cause severe damage, as it can signify that the metal is beginning to deteriorate.

Luckily, you can easily clean a rusty water heater by yourself.

To start, mix a solution of one part vinegar and one part water.

Then, scrub the rusty areas with the vinegar solution using a clean cloth or sponge. 

Once you’ve removed as much rust as possible, rinse the area with clean water to remove any residual vinegar.

If the rust is particularly stubborn, you may need to use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove it.

Just be careful not to damage the metal beneath the rust. 

Once you’ve removed all the rust, dry the area thoroughly and apply a coat of Rust-Oleum paint or a similar rust-resistant product.

This will help prevent new rust from forming.

5. Check for water supply contamination

If you believe your water may be contaminated, it is essential to contact your local water authority to have it tested.

However, ensure you’ve inspected all the bathtub and water supply elements and tried the methods described above, as rust and mineral buildup are much more common than water contamination. 

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