You flush and wait for the reassuring gurgle that means everything’s gone down. But when you take a closer look, you realize your toilet water is still yellow. What could be causing this? And more importantly, how do you make it go away?
It can be frustrating when your toilet isn’t flushing properly. Not only is it an inconvenience, but it can also be a sign of something bigger going on with your plumbing.
In this article, we’ll explore some common reasons why your toilet water might be yellow – and how to fix them.
Reasons Behind Yellow Toilet Water
The water in your toilet can turn yellow for several reasons. Here are some reasons behind yellow toilet water:
1. Rusty Water Pipes
Rusting or rusted water pipes, especially galvanized steel pipes, are the number one culprit behind yellow toilet water.
Yellow toilet water is an indication that the plumbing system has rust, especially if the sink, tub, and kitchen bring yellowish water.
If your toilet plumbing system is built with galvanized steel pipes, it will rust over time and this will cause the water in your toilet to turn yellow.
The solution to this issue: If the yellow toilet water is due to rusting or rusted iron pipes, then it’s time to change the iron pipes. That’s the only solution to this issue. Otherwise, you’ll experience low water pressure and leakages in the pipes.
2. Rust and Mineral Buildup Inside the Toilet Tank
Most households receive a hard water supply. Hard water contains some amounts of minerals, such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and manganese. These minerals don’t pose any harm in small quantities.
However, these minerals can build up over time inside the toilet tank and create yellow discoloration. This will subsequently cause the water in the tank to turn yellow.
Sometimes, the buildup can become so large that part of it is washed away by the toilet water when you flush. This can stick on the sides of your toilet bowl to form stains or toilet rings, especially if you don’t clean your toilet frequently.
The solution to this issue: You can install a water filter and softener system to remove the mineral deposit from your main water tank. This will subsequently prevent rust and yellow sediments from forming in your toilet tank.
Normally, regular cleaning should prevent the accumulation of these mineral deposits and yellow discoloration of your toilet tank.
However, the toilet tank is always closed and you may not notice the yellow discoloration in the tank until your toilet water turns yellow.
In such a case, you would need to open up the tank lid and check the level of mineral deposits and yellow discoloration in the tank.
After that, scrape off the yellow deposits in the tank with a stiff brush and toilet cleaner. Once you’re done, flush twice or thrice to see if the toilet water is clear.
This should stop the yellowing of toilet water. Some active toilet cleaners to get the job done include:
- A combination of white vinegar and borax,
- A combination of baking soda and white vinegar,
- Borax paste,
- Lemon juice, and
3. Rusty Toilet Bolts
If you notice that your toilet water turns yellow, another reason could be rusty toilet bolts. Your toilet tank contains two or three toilet bolts, which hold the tank tightly to the toilet bowl.
These bolts are usually iron and rust in the same way as iron pipes over time due to regular water exposure.
These rusty bolts can make the water in the toilet tank become yellow. When you flush, you’ll also notice the yellow water in your toilet bowl.
Sometimes, you may also notice some rust particles or stains from the bolts in the toilet bowl after flushing.
The solution to this issue: Remove the tank lid and check the toilet bolts to see if they are rusty. If you see rust on or around the bolts, then the bolts are rusty. You’ll also notice that the toilet water appears reddish-yellow.
You can remove the rust from the bolts with a stiff brush and toilet cleaning agent. Apply some effort when scrubbing the toilet bolts.
Sometimes, removing rust from the toilet bolts can be challenging, especially if the toilet bolts are old or the rust is much.
The best option would be to purchase replacement toilet bolts to replace the old rusty ones. Make sure to purchase replacement bolts that fit the toilet model perfectly. Read this article to learn more about replacing toilet bolts.
4. Stagnant Water in Toilet Bowl
Sometimes, water left stagnant in the toilet bowl can turn yellow. This will occur if you rarely use your toilet. If you leave your toilet unused for about 3 months or more, the water in the toilet tank and bowl might turn yellow.
The yellowing of stagnant water in the toilet bowl is a result of chlorine residual, bacteria accumulation, or dust. Aside from turning yellow, the stagnant water may also give off a foul smell.
The solution to this issue: The only way to prevent yellow toilet water is to flush your toilet regularly. Generally, the longer you leave water stagnant in your toilet, the higher the chances of having yellow toilet water.
If you’ll be away from home for many months, have someone to help flush your toilet once or twice a month.
5. Gray Water in the Toilet Tank
If your toilet tank receives gray water, your toilet water may be yellow. Gray water is domestic wastewater from other plumbing fixtures in the house. It’s relatively clean but not clear.
Having such water in your toilet may lead to yellow or brown toilet water, especially if the toilet is unused for some time. Such discolored toilet water is accompanied by a foul smell.
The solution to this issue: If your plumbing system is designed in such a way that your toilet tank receives gray water, you have little or nothing to do about it. However, make sure that you don’t leave the toilet water stagnant.
If you’re not satisfied with the look of the gray water, you can turn off the gray water supply and flush your toilet directly with clean water.
6. Discolored Water from Your Local Water Service
Sometimes, the yellow water in your toilet is from your local water service. Generally, when there is any repair or maintenance work, your local water service would turn off the water supply to the municipalities until the repair work is over.
When the water service turns on the water supply, the sudden inflow of water may stir up the sediments and accumulated dirt in the main tank or water pipes. This will cause discolored water to be delivered to your toilet tank and bathroom faucets.
Discolored water may also be delivered to your toilet tank if your local water service washes and flushes its water system to eliminate dirt and sediments.
The solution to this issue: Check other plumbing fixtures in your home to see whether they give off discolored water.
Check with your neighbors to see if they’re experiencing the same discolored water supply. If that’s the case, the issue is with your local water service.
To further confirm, call your local water service departments. If the discolored water is from your local water service, there’s practically nothing you can do. Simply give it some time and it should soon turn clear.
However, it’s ideal if you have a water filter system to remove dirt and sediments from your water supply.
7. Dirt and Stains in the Toilet Bowl
Most times, the yellow coloration in the toilet bowl is the reflection of the dirt and stain in the bowl and not the actual color of the toilet water. Using your toilet daily without cleaning it properly can leave yellow stains and rings in your bowl.
The solution to this issue: Give your toilet bowl a good and thorough cleaning. Flush several times afterward, and all the dirt, stains, and yellow coloration should be gone. Read this article, “How to Remove Skid Marks from Toilet” to learn more about how to remove dirt and stains from your toilet bowl.
8. The Salt in Your Water Softener System
The last reason behind yellow toilet water could be the salt in your water softener system. Water softener salt comes in different forms – blue form, green form, and yellow form.
When you use the yellow salt, chances are that you may notice yellow color or cloudiness in the toilet water.
Also, some water softener salts contain cleaning additives. These cleaning additives may loosen any rust deposit in the water softener system or the water pipe. This will cause yellowish water to be rinsed out into the toilet tank.
The solution to this issue: Be patient, the yellow color or cloudiness will clear up with time. Once the rusts on the water softener resin or water pipe are cleaned up, clear water will be discharged from the toilet water supply.
If you’re not comfortable with this experience, choose a different color of water softener salt once the yellow salt is used up.
These are the eight reasons your toilet water may be yellow. Check each of these issues to identify what’s causing your toilet water to change color.
As a general rule, you should always ensure that your plumbing system is in good working condition and clean.
This will prevent any dirt, sediments, or other foreign objects from flowing into the toilet water and discoloring it.
Also, be sure to give your toilet bowl a good cleaning at least once a week. This will help remove any dirt, stain, or yellow coloration in the bowl.