Have you ever opened a bottle of water and been hit with a wave of an unpleasant smell? It’s an issue that many people face.

Usually, the main reason for the bad smell in your bottled water is a chemical known as chloramine. It’s an additive used by water companies to keep drinking water safe from bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

Let’s look at why your bottled water might smell bad and what you can do about it.

What is Chloramine?

Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia molecules that are used to disinfect drinking water. While it’s effective at killing harmful organisms, it can also react with other compounds in the water creating an unpleasant smell or taste.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency describes Chloramine as “commonly formed when ammonia is added to chlorine to treat drinking water”. A 1998 EPA survey revealed that approximately 68 million Americans had access to chloramine-disinfected drinking water.

Chloramine was initially developed as an alternative to chlorine because it doesn’t evaporate as easily so it stays in the water for longer periods of time. This means that it’s more effective at killing bacteria but can also create strong odors if left unchecked.

An array of leading U.S. cities including Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, and Washington D.C., now utilize chloramine to disinfect their drinking water supply – a substance deemed both safe and an effective replacement for chlorine.

So why does your bottled water smell bad? Here are a few possible reasons:

  • Contamination due to storage or transportation. The chemicals used to purify the water can react with other compounds, causing an unpleasant odor and taste.
  • Degradation of materials in the packaging. The plastic bottle or tube your water comes in may be decomposing, releasing chemicals that contribute to the smell.
  • Improper filtration during bottling. If the water hasn’t been properly filtered or treated before packaging, it can also cause an unpleasant smell.
Other Reasons Your Bottled Water May Smell Bad

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent this issue, including :

  1. Storing your water in a clean, cool place. This will help protect against contamination and decomposition of the water during storage or transportation.
  2. Using high-quality bottles and tubes for packaging. Choosing quality materials that will not break down or react with the water can help keep your bottled water fresh and odor-free.
  3. Choosing filtered, treated water to avoid impurities that may contribute to an unpleasant smell.
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It’s important to remember that chloramine, though it may be causing your bottled water issues, is still a safe and effective means of purifying drinking water.

How Can I Tell If My Water Has Chloramine?

The easiest way to identify if your bottled water has chloramine is by smelling it when you open the bottle.

The smell should be noticeable even after just a few seconds of exposure to air so if you’re getting a strong odor when you first open the bottle then chances are there is chloramine present.

If you’re not sure about the smell, you can also use a water testing kit (like this one) to check for the presence of chloramine in your water.

You can also look for signs such as discoloration or cloudy sediment which could indicate that there are high levels of chloramine in the water.

How Do I Remove Chloramines From My Water?

The best way to remove any hint of Chloramine from your drinking water is by using a reverse osmosis filtration system which will effectively filter out any impurities, including chloramines.

These systems are relatively inexpensive and easy to install so they’re perfect for homeowners who want clean and pure-tasting drinking water without having to worry about unpleasant smells or tastes.

Another option would be to buy bottled spring water which doesn’t contain any added chemicals like chloramines and therefore won’t have any unpleasant odor or taste associated with them.

Whichever option you choose, it’s important to remember that chloramine is a safe and effective way of keeping the water supply clean and free from harmful bacteria.

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Other Reasons Your Bottled Water May Smell Bad

In addition to the presence of chloramine in your drinking water, there are other potential causes for a bad smell.

Bacteria in the Bottle

The most likely culprit of that bad smell is bacteria. Bacteria can grow in any environment, including inside bottles of water. If your bottle has been sitting around for too long or left in direct sunlight or warm temperatures, it may have started to grow bacteria.

The good news is that these bacteria are harmless and can easily be eliminated by simply pouring out the contents and washing out the bottle with some soap and hot water before using it again.

Expired Water

Another possible cause of smelly water is expired water products. All bottled waters have an expiration date printed on them, typically located near the bottom of the bottle.

If you’ve gone beyond this date, then it’s best to discard the product and purchase a new one as drinking expired water can lead to serious health issues due to its lack of nutritional value or contamination with microbes or chemicals.

Final Thoughts

No one wants their bottled water to smell bad, but unfortunately, it’s a common issue that can be caused by several factors.

If your bottled water has an unpleasant odor, it could be due to contamination or decomposition of the packaging materials. It may also be the result of impurities in the water, such as chloramine – a chemical commonly used for disinfecting drinking water.

Thankfully, there are simple solutions available for homeowners who want clean and pure-tasting drinking water without any additional additives like chloramines.

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You can invest in a reverse osmosis filtration system or opt for springwater instead of tapwater, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh-tasting bottled waters without worrying about that pesky bad odor.

About the author

I started working as a quality control manager with the Water Authority of Nassau County in 2005. After a few years, I moved into Water Waste Prevention, where I currently work as the production supervisor. I love my job and the people I work with, but most of all I love spending time with my family.