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Understanding Why Your Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Rotten Egg Smell in Hot Water

Rotten Eggs Smell

Have you ever turned on your faucet only to be greeted by a foul odor reminiscent of rotten eggs? If so, you’re not alone. The smell of hydrogen sulfide gas in water is a common issue many homeowners face.

In this post, we’ll delve into why your water smells like rotten eggs, its causes, potential health implications, and, most importantly, how to get rid of it

Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Hydrogen Sulfide in Water:

Hydrogen sulfide is a gas that gives off a distinct rotten egg smell. It can come from natural sources such as bacteria and decaying organic matter, as well as services such as industrial processes and sewage treatment.

Bacterial Action:

Some bacteria thrive in oxygen-deprived environments and play a significant role in producing hydrogen sulfide gas. These sulfur-reducing bacteria break down organic matter without oxygen, releasing sulfur compounds that create foul odors.

Why Does My Hot Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

One aspect of water smelling like rotten eggs is the difference in odor intensity between hot and cold water. The release of hydrogen sulfide gas is more pronounced in hot water.

How Do You Get Rid of The Sulfur Smell in Water?

Powered Anode Rods:

Adding a powered anode rod to your home’s hot water tank can solve the rotten egg smell in your water in under 24 hours. Using an external power source to drive an electric current to the water heater tank eliminates sulfur and prevents corrosion.

Home Remedies:

You can try several DIY solutions to eliminate the smell of rotten eggs from your water, including flushing the system, aerating water, or using activated carbon filters.

Professional Treatments:

For persistent odor issues, professional treatments such as installing filtration systems, chlorination, or oxidation may be necessary to remove sulfur compounds from water effectively.

Preventive Measures:

Proper hygiene practices and regular inspection and servicing of your water system can help prevent the recurrence of sulfur odor in water.

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Identifying the Source of the Smell:

Well vs. Municipal Water:

The source of your water—whether from a private well or a public water system—can influence the presence of hydrogen sulfide. Private water is more susceptible to Earth and organic matter contamination, whereas municipal water may have undergone treatment to solve odor issues.

Location-Specific Issues:

The smell of rotten eggs may be more prominent in some areas of your home, such as the shower, tap, dishwasher, or sink. Understanding these unique issues can help pinpoint the source of the odor.

Seasonal Variations:

Seasonal changes, such as changes in temperature or rainfall, can impact the presence of hydrogen sulfide in water. Knowing these variations can help you anticipate and address odor concerns before they happen.

Health Implications of Sulfur in Water:

Short-Term Effects:

Exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas in water can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, particularly when showering or washing dishes.

Long-Term Risks:

Prolonged exposure to sulfur compounds in water may pose health hazards, including potential respiratory and neurological effects. Addressing odor issues quickly to minimize health risks is essential.


What does sulfur smell like?

The unpleasant “rotten egg” odor from your faucet is usually due to hydrogen sulfide. This compound, often referred to as sulfur, is found in water fixtures. Sulfur is a naturally occurring mineral frequently found in water sources.

Why do my dishwasher and sink smell like rotten eggs?

Hydrogen sulfide gas in water can cause unpleasant odors in various fixtures and appliances, including dishwashers, sinks, and campers, mainly if the water contains sulfur compounds.

How do you remove the sulfur smell from well water?

Treating well water for sulfur odor may involve installing aeration systems, oxidation filters, or specialized sulfur filters to remove sulfur compounds from the water effectively.

Is it safe to shower in water that smells like sulfur?

While the sulfur odor in water is unpleasant, it is generally safe to shower with this smell. However, prolonged exposure to sulfur compounds may irritate some individuals’ skin and respiratory systems.

Why does my cold water smell like rotten eggs?

Hydrogen sulfide gas can cause tap water, shower water, or cold water to smell like rotten eggs, typically due to contamination from natural sources.

Is sulfur water bad for you?

While sulfur water itself is not harmful to health, the presence of sulfur compounds in water may cause an unpleasant taste and odor. However, prolonged exposure to high concentrations of sulfur compounds may lead to health issues such as skin irritation or digestive problems in some individuals. Addressing sulfur odor issues in water is essential to ensure its palatability and safety for household use.

This article was written by Vincent Veilleux, Corro-Protec CEO and AMPP Tester on April 2019 and updated on June 2024.


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