Untreated Tap Water Can Cause Blue, Black, Brown, Orange or Red Stains on your Appliances and Clothing

No homeowner wants their house to be ruined with stains. Unfortunately, water that stains is an annoying reality for many people. So where does it come from? Staining is typically caused by a short list of metals which enter you water through your plumbing or are from your water’s source. On this page we’ll describe the various metals that are found in tap water, what happens when they enter your home and possible sources.


Iron in water can come into the home in two types, orange, or clear iron. Orange iron is easily identifiable due to it’s bright orange rust color.

Orange Staining in ShowerIron Stained Commercial Dishwasher


Manganese in water is rather rare, but behaves similarly to iron. The main difference is that manganese is often in water at much lower concentrations and generates a black/brown stain in sinks, appliances, and clothing.

Manganese Staining in Toilet Tank


Copper is rarely found in water sources but if you find blue copper stains and you’ve got copper plumbing that’s typically the source of the copper in your water. Low pH is what causes the leeching of copper out of your plumbing and can cause pin-hole leaks if left untreated. Beyond the annoying blue stains the protection of your home’s plumbing is extremely important to prevent water leaks throughout your home which can cause permanent structure damage, moldy walls, and end up requiring a very expensive restoration process and replumbing of your home.

Copper and Iron Stained Sink

Copper Stained Coffee Maker


Tannins are rare, but for people that have them in their water they cause a significant problem with water treatment. Tannins come from leaves and decaying organic matter such as shallow lakes in forests. Water with tannins is often a light brown, tea like color. Unfortunately, our PolyHalt softening media isn’t compatible with tannins and we do not offer water treatment for them.

Tannin Stained Dishwasher

Tannin Colored Water vs Clear Water