Toilet Advice

Why is there Dirty Water in my Toilet Tank?

It's easy to see how clean your toilet bowl is because it's open, and you're able to check if it needs a clean most of the time, with the exception of the rims. However, this doesn't apply to the tank as the insides are hidden from view due to the lid being shut on top. This often results in people taking an out of sight, out of mind view, which isn't great for maintenance or a clean and hygienic bathroom experience.

There are several things that could be behind your dirty toilet tank water, ranging from mineral deposits through to external factors outside of your control. What's important to remember is that just because your bowl water looks clean, it may not always be the case in the tank. That's why you should lift the lift every so often and check for any discoloration. We take a look at some of the causes below to help you find the source of your problem.

What color is the water?

First things first, you'll need to determine what color the tank water is. Specific colors can offer a insight into whats going on without the need of a plumbing professional to come look at it for you.

If the water is brown, this is an indication that there is rust in your pipes, showing their age and may need to be replaced. However, it may also mean that the water supply line is sending water through your tank has a lot of iron compound in it. This isn't a disaster, but it can cause staining that can be difficult to clean and unsightly.

There are ways to overcome this, and the most common is to buy yourself hardware that softens the water. By doing this, you filter out much of the iron before it gets to the tank. This needs to be fixed as its an environment where odor causing bacteria and germs can thrive.

Instead of brown, you may find that the water is cloudy. This happens when there is a large mineral build up. And like the iron rich brown water, this can stain the porcelain.

To deal with this, you should start by emptying the tank of water. You can do this by finding the water shut off valve for the bathroom. Turn that off and continuously flush until the tank is empty. Because the water supply is cut off, it won't refill. For the next step, you should pour in some vinegar as they do a great job in removing those mineral deposits. A couple of cups of vinegar should do the trick. Then turn the flush valve back on to allow the tank to refill. Do not flush for several hours, let the vinegar do its work.


Another issue many home owners encounter is mold and algae. If you think about it, the tank is dark and damp, a great place for both to thrive and multiply. This often happens in water which is rich in iron, similar to the brown water above.

Dealing with it isn't too difficult however. Much like the steps above, you'll want to empty the tank of water by shutting off the supply line and flushing. Then get yourself a disenfectant, and wash down the inside, and as much of the components as you can. Remember to wear gloves, as you should not be working with mold without protection.

Once that is done, let the tank refill with a couple of cups of vinegar and flush a few hours later.