How Clean Is Toilet Water?

Most people would never dream of drinking water from the toilet. While the general consensus is that toilet water is dirty, is this true? Just how clean is toilet water?

Toilet water is clean when it reaches the tank. However, once it’s in the toilet tank, the water can become contaminated with pathogens, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. You should, therefore, avoid drinking or washing with toilet water.

The rest of this article will answer a few questions related to toilet water, including whether or not you can drink the water from the toilet tank and if toilet water is the same as tap water. Read on for more! 

How Clean Is Toilet Water?

Toilet water is as clean as your toilet tank. When it reaches the tank, the water is as clean as the water coming from your kitchen faucet. However, toilet tanks typically harbor germs, making toilet water unsafe to drink. 

Considering toilet water’s origin, it’s technically clean. In most cases, and depending on your area of residence and plumbing, the water that goes to the toilet tank is the same that runs through your home. 

Granted, some modern houses feature a unique plumbing approach where grey water is collected from other activities like laundry and bathing. This wastewater can then be diverted and used for household functions, like toilet flushing. 

The water reaching your home is sometimes treated at a sewage treatment center before being pumped back into your home. This process helps to remove bacteria and other impurities, making it clean and completely safe to drink. 

Can You Drink Water From the Toilet Tank?

You shouldn’t drink water from the toilet tank. Although the incoming water is safe to drink, it can become contaminated with germs in the toilet tank. Unless you clean and sanitize the toilet tank daily, the water is unsafe to drink. 

The composition and safety of the water change once it enters the tank. At this stage, you should consider it dirty water. 

Although most people clean their toilets regularly, most rarely (if ever) clean their toilet tanks. However, if you regularly cleaned and sanitized the inside of the tank, it would be safe to drink. These views are corroborated by the experts at Groundwater Governance, who explain that the water in your toilet is safe to drink as long as you clean it regularly. In this case, toilet water can actually be just as clean as kitchen sink water. 

This is because the dirty water in the toilet doesn’t go back into the system. Additionally, after flushing the toilet several times, the water in the toilet bowl will be clean. 

Another reason it’s not safe to drink water from your toilet tank is because of the cleaning chemicals used to clean the toilet. 

Toilet cleaners contain harsh chemicals that are designed to kill bacteria and effectively remove stains. If ingested in large quantities, it can cause vomiting, nausea, seizures, and more. 

Is Toilet Water the Same As Tap Water?

Toilet water is not the same as tap water. While both toilet water and tap water come from the same municipal water supply, toilet water is exposed to the toilet tank, which usually harbors pathogens that can make you ill.  

Depending on the bacteria present in your toilet, drinking the water can make you seriously ill. E.coli and salmonella are examples of 2 strains that can make you seriously ill and may require a hospital stay. Symptoms of salmonella or E.coli infection include: 

  • Severe vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Nausea 
  • Dehydration

Does Sink and Toilet Water Come From the Same Place?

Sink and toilet water come from the same place. However, as water enters your home, the toilet water likely travels through a separate pipe to the water for the kitchen. If you use grey water for your toilet, sink and toilet water are different. 

If you accidentally touch the water in your toilet’s tank or bowl while cleaning it, it’s no reason to panic. Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap to remove any bacteria. 

The water in your sink can also become contaminated if you don’t clean it regularly. For instance, if you rinse raw chicken in your kitchen sink, it can leave dangerous bacteria behind. Thankfully, keeping a kitchen sink clean and sanitary is easier than doing the same for a toilet tank. 

Bleach is an excellent product for your kitchen sink because it will sanitize your dishes and the sink itself.  

Is Public Toilet Water Clean?

Public toilet water is clean when it enters the public toilets. However, it can quickly become contaminated when it enters the toilet tank. Since large numbers of people use public toilets, these toilet tanks typically have more bacteria, making the water dirtier. 

If you accidentally touch public toilet water, follow the same procedure as above, and wash your hands thoroughly. If there is no warm water, use some hand sanitizer. 

Is Toilet Bowl Water Clean? 

Toilet bowl water is clean if you use in-cistern or in-bowl cleaners, and clean your toilet regularly. 

This helps kill bacteria after someone has used the toilet. However, since it leaves trace amounts of toilet cleaner behind, it’s not safe to drink, as you’d be ingesting a small amount of toxins. 

Animals can also become ill from drinking water containing bacteria and toilet water with low levels of cleaner in it. If you have pets, it’s a good idea to make a habit of leaving your toilet lid down so they don’t drink toilet water. 

Conclusion

From a technical perspective, toilet water is clean and is, in many cases, safe to drink. In theory, keeping your toilet and your toilet tank as clean as your kitchen sink is possible. Additionally, toilet water often comes from the same water supply as the rest of the house. 

Even when using recycled water, the wastewater undergoes a rigorous process to eliminate germs and bacteria. However, toilet water is at a higher risk of contamination from germs and other disease-causing microorganisms. 

I don’t recommend drinking toilet water.

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