Why Is My Toliet Water Brown? – List of Potential Reasons and How to Fix It

The appearance of brown toilet water might concern you.

However, this doesn’t have to mean that the toilet is dirty and the color comes from the waste residues. In most cases, the brown color is a sign of rust in the pipes.

This doesn’t mean that the water is hazardous or toxic, and there’s a way to solve it.

Why is my toilet water brown, and how to stop this once and for all? 

In this post, we bring out the potential reasons and present solutions. Once you go through it, you will identify the root of the problem and solve it quickly. 

Why is my toilet water brown?

The toilet water can turn brown due to many reasons. The first step toward solving the problem is to check whether the color comes from waste residues. If the water keeps the brown color even after several flushes, then waste might not be the problem. 

Most probable answer: Brown water usually appears as a sign of rust.

Another answer: if you have a septic tank, you should check if it’s time to empty it, maybe the tank is full and is returning the septic back to your toilet.

Although the rusty plumbing pipes release a specific color, this isn’t toxic or harmful to your health. However, you would still want to inspect the problem and find a solution. Corroded pipes will thin out over time, which might result in cracks or bursts. The leaking water can damage the walls and foundation, causing damage that requires expensive repairs.

Rusted pipes

When the water in the toilet is brown, it is likely a result of rusted pipes. Therefore, make sure to check the sink and shower to see if the water is brown there as well. Don’t forget to switch the hot and cold water to understand the source of this issue better.

The high iron levels give an unpleasant brown color, and there are a few other ways to recognize this issue. You might notice that the water has a metallic taste, or the clothes have unexplained stains. In addition, this problem can appear if you rely on well water. 

Why is my toilet water brown? 

Old piping might have corroded, releasing rust into your water. This issue usually happens with older homes, which have metal plumbing pipes. If your home is built before the 60s, corrosion is likely the problem. At that time, iron plumbing pipes were a standard for building homes. Newer construction comes with non-corrosive materials such as PVC so that they won’t experience such issues. 

If only the toilet water is brown and the other taps are fine, it means that the specific pipe is corroded. No matter where the rusty pipe is, it is better to replace it as soon as possible. The corrosion will dissolve the metal and thin the pipe walls, which might end up in a crack. The water will leak from the pipes and cause damage to the walls. At this point, repairing the damage will cost way more than just replacing a corroded pipe. Therefore, make sure to tackle the issue as soon as you notice signs of rust. 

 If the water is brown everywhere, this might indicate a problem with the whole piping system. In this case, you should call the plumber. They will evaluate the current situation and replace the corroded pipes. 

Alternatively, your plumber can suggest agents to clean the water. These will purify the water and remove the iron content. 

Contaminated well

If you use well water, the brown color can come as a consequence of debris. Organic substances can come in touch with the well water due to construction work or storms. In this case, you should consult a professional on how to resolve the issue.

Low flow

The water flow should be powerful enough to flush the waste away with standard toilets. However, in some cases, brown water can result from low water flow. The low water pressure might not be able to remove the waste and flush it down the system. Therefore, make sure to check the flushing system and see if anything is blocking it. Mineral deposits might block the water flow, so you can clean them with cleaning agents. However, it might be the design itself that provides a low flow. 

Corroded toilet

If the water runs clear with other taps, then the problem might be the toilet bowl itself. The toilet bowl contains metal parts such as bolts, nuts, and hoses, which are prone to corrosion. The humidity penetrates metals, creating a rusty layer that paints the water brown even if you flush it repeatedly. If the problem is corroded toilet bowl parts, you can quickly fix the issue by replacing them. Inspect the toilet to discover the corroded parts and switch them with new ones. 

Blocked pipes

If the pipes are clogged, the waste might not be able to pass through. Therefore any waste particles will come back and result in brown toilet water. If this is the case, then solving it requires the help of a professional. You will need to call the plumber to inspect the pipes and detect possible blockages that don’t allow the waste to drain. Keep in mind that clogged pipes need to be tackled as soon as possible to prevent further problems such as cracks and leaks. 

Mineral deposits

The presence of mineral deposits in the water can result in an unpleasant brown color. In addition, the buildup of mineral deposits can discolor the porcelain. The minerals might make the toilet look untidy, even if you regularly scrub it. The simplest solution is to use vinegar to remove the buildup. Simply pour white vinegar into the tank and flush to rinse the toilet with the solution. Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that will loosen up the debris. Use a toilet brush to scrub the stains and get rid of them. 

Final thoughts

The toilet water is brown because of rust, waste residues, or mineral deposits. Identifying the root of the problem might take you time, but it can save you from pipe leaks and expensive repair costs later on.