Why Your Toilet Is Brown And How To Fix It

When we do our best to keep the bathroom clean and shiny, then usually disaster strikes. Perhaps a pipe is leaking or the water from the tap or in your toilet turns brown.

Why Your Toilet Is Brown And How To Fix It

If there are no obvious leakages, then it’s likely that something is wrong with the pipes leading to your toilet or tap.

Some of these issues can be fixed relatively quickly by just flushing the toilet a couple of times but others require the help of a plumber.

In this article, we take a look at what could cause your toilet water to turn brown, and how to fix it (for black stains see this guide).

Waste Leftovers In The Toilet

Toilets have to handle a lot of use, especially in households with plenty of people. This means that toilets have to deal with plenty of dissolved organic matter.

Depending on how solid the organic waste is, not all of the remnants of the waste can be flushed down easily.

If they don’t get flushed, they will start to produce nasty smelling fumes and they turn the water in your toilet brown.

There could be a couple of different reasons why there are leftovers in your toilet bowl. One of the main reasons is that your toilet’s flush system is simply now powerful enough to move everything on.

While many toilet flushes can remove the majority of human waste and toilet paper, some toilets, such as low-flow systems, cannot handle larger waste.

How To Fix Waste Leftovers In The Toilet

The best solution to sort this issue is by increasing the flush power of your toilet. If you have a low-flow toilet, then it’s a good idea to upgrade it to a high-flow.

This only involves repositioning the cylinder float or lifting the tank float of your toilet system.

Your toilet flush should then be strong enough to move on all the waste in a single flush. This will also turn the water clear again and the brown color will disappear.

Your Toilet Is Rusty

It may sound surprising but a toilet isn’t just made of ceramic, rubber and plastic elements. There is a large amount of metal components in a toilet that can easily rust after a long time of use.

With a toilet bowl being exposed to water all the time, the metal in a toilet can easily oxidize over time, which creates rust that can turn your toilet water a reddish brown color.

You may even some small rusty bits in your toilet if some of the metal has already disintegrated very far.

There is usually also a bad smell accompanying a rusty toilet.

How To Fix Rusty Parts Of Your Toilet

The best way to fix rust in your toilet is by identifying which part of your toilet is rusty, and then replace this part.

Rusty components aren’t always easy to spot, so it’s a good idea to check all the metal handles, toilet base bolts and nuts as well as the metal supply hoses and tank bolts

All these elements are usually made of metal and they can rust over time. However, once you replace any of the rusty elements, the brown water should disappear.

Rusty Pipes

One of the most common issues with brown toilet water is not actually visible because it hides behind the walls.

Rusty pipes are a common reason for water turning a different color anywhere in the bathroom and unfortunately, it is also more difficult to fix because these pipes could be anywhere.

Depending on the water quality in your area, certain elements in the water, such as iron, can harm the pipes in your bathroom, kitchen, and where else around the house.

As corroding pipes are often made of old iron drains, you can find this issue predominantly in old houses.

If all or part of your plumbing system is made with iron pipes, then it’s more likely that these pipes can rust and cause brown water coming from your showers and faucets.

How To Fix Rusty Pipes

There are two solutions for rusty pipes. The more expensive fix is to replace all the pipes in the house to upgrade them to something more modern.

This may cost a considerable amount of money, time, and labor but it also allows you to sort out the problem long term. Plus, you get a chance to remove your old bathroom.

If you don’t want to spend this much money on your plumbing system, then you can also use chlorine and water softeners to remove some of the rust inside the pipes.

It’s important to bear in mind that this is really just a short term option, and in the long run, it’s better to check with a plumber and find out whether you can replace the pipes in your home.

Mineral Deposits In The Toilet Water

Why Your Toilet Is Brown And How To Fix It

While water is liquid and clear, it can also contain some hard elements, such as debris and mineral deposits.

These minerals are often picked up from somewhere in the plumbing system and then carried further down the drain.

If your water has a high mineral content, then this can affect the porcelain coating of your toilet which can discolor the toilet water and the toilet bowl itself.

While this doesn’t happen very often and it depends on the quality of your water, you may want to keep this in mind when you are looking for the cause of your brown water bowl.

How To Fix Brown Sediments In Your Toilet Bowl

One of the best home remedies for removing sediment in your toilet bowl is vinegar.

Although you can use some commercially available chemicals, vinegar is a natural option that doesn’t harm the coating of your toilet or your pipes.

Just use 4 cups of white vinegar and pour it into the tank of your toilet. Then flush your toilet and watch what happens.

The vinegar ideally should clean your toilet tank and it should also remove any of the mineral deposits from the toilet bowl.

This will turn the brownish water into clear water, and also any foul odors will disappear.

Broken Water Pump

Another reason why you may find brown water in your toilet is because of a broken water pump.

The water pump is a small mechanism that helps to circulate water around each time you flush your toilet.

Water pumps are essential with weaker flush systems, so the water can be moved on and waste removed.

However, if the water pressure suddenly drops, then a water pump may stop working, and water plus waste will stay in your toilet brown.

In addition, water pumps are also made with some iron parts which can rust over time and also leave some rust stains in your toilet.

How To Fix A Broken Water Pump

If your water pump isn’t working because of low water pressure, then it’s essential to find out the cause of the low pressure as this can also impact faucets and the shower.

However, if you find that your water pressure is fine, then it’s likely a defective pump. You can choose to disconnect the pump and clean it thoroughly with a dry cloth.

Then spray a little bit of WD-40 on some of the rusty stains. This will stop the rust from spreading and will likely give your water pump a second life.

Saying this, sometimes even cleaning a water pump doesn’t help, and then your only option is to replace it.

Sediments In The Water Source

Although this scenario is very unlikely, sometimes there are different sediments flushed from the water source into your home.

This is particularly true when you take water from a well. Then, you may end up with water that looks brownish and dirty.

There could be a number of reasons for a contaminated water source, including a well that dried up or nearby construction work.

How To Fix Sediments In The Water Source

If you think that your brown water is caused by sediments coming from your well or the local water supplier, then it’s a good idea to call your utility provider or a plumber first.

Clogs In The Plumbing System

Another major reason why your toilet bowl could be filled with brown water is that there is a blockage in your plumbing system.

If something clogs your pipes, then there will be residue flushing back into your toilet which will look brown.

How To Fix A Blocked Toilet

It’s important to fix a clogged toilet as soon as possible, as a blockage could render your toilet unusable.

It’s fairly easy to unblock a toilet with Epsom salt and a toilet plunger. Many people also swear by pouring some dish soap down the drain to help the clog slide through the pipes.

Final Thoughts

When you notice brown water or stains in your toilet, then it’s important to look for the root cause of the problem.

Once you identified what’s causing the brown water, you can set about fixing it.

Shauna Stone