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Water Quality FAQ Staining of Plumbing Fixtures & Glassware

What is the white residue I sometimes find on cookware and the shower?

White residue is commonly found on kitchenware and glass shower doors as the result of dissolved minerals found in water, such as calcium, magnesium, and silica. These are naturally occurring minerals and do not pose a risk to human health, but can build up on surfaces over time. These deposits may also appear green, blue, or brown, having been colored by tiny amounts of the metals found in your water pipes. Carbonate deposits can be dissolved with white vinegar. Also, commercial products are available to remove white residue caused by minerals in the water.

Why does my dishwasher leave spots on my glasses?

The spots that may appear on glassware after it is washed and air-dried are caused by harmless minerals (usually calcium, magnesium, and/or silica) that remain on the glass when the water evaporates. Dishwasher deposits can be minimized by using a commercial conditioner, liquid detergents, and using the air-dry instead of the power-dry setting on your dishwasher, which bakes the carbonates onto glassware. Commercial products are available that allow the water to drain from the glassware more completely.

How do you get rid of the black film around the toilet?

This film can be a result of many factors, some internal to the home, such as a water softener or plumbing materials. It may also be related to the condition of the water coming into the home. Minerals in water can leave deposits, which can be left behind on toilets and dishwashers as the water evaporates. Rings on baths and showers can be scum left behind as the water evaporates or soap or shampoos reacting with minerals in water. Black slime is usually mold/mildew that thrives in moist areas like bathroom toilets and tiles where it is wet and warm. The film that develops on sink stoppers is bacteria and residue build up. Usually, the customer will need to clean the area with a commercial cleaner that contains a disinfecting agent, such as chlorine bleach.

Why does water on my shower curtain and tile grout look pink?

People sometimes see a pink film develop on the flat surfaces of their shower, in their pet’s water bowls, or in toilets that are not used frequently. This is a colored organism that is present in the air. It is a harmless bacterium and exists in moist/humid conditions. The customer can remove the pink film by cleaning the area periodically with a commercial cleaning product that contains bleach. Where possible, keep the area clean and dry to discourage the spores from growing back. Permanent staining can occur if the area is not cleaned regularly.

Why are my clothes stained grey?

High temperatures in washing machines can cause reactions with the detergents and fabric softeners. These reactions create a gummy mess that sticks to clothes, causing staining, which is very hard to remove. To avoid this type of staining, use detergents specifically designed for use at very high temperatures, or reduce the temperature of the washing machine water.

Why is my hair turning green?

Blond hair turns green due to the absorption of copper, if present in the water and if the hair is previously damaged. The concentration of copper must be greater than 0.3 parts per million and the hair cuticle must have been damaged due to physical factors (brushing, hot drying, and sun exposure) and/or chemical factors (peroxide bleaching, permanent waving, use of alkaline, and tar shampoos, or exposure to chlorinated water in swimming pools). The damaged cuticle opens up a pathway for the copper in the water.

A study has shown that damaged hair will adsorb 3 times more copper than undamaged hair. The green discoloration is more apparent in people with blond, gray, or white hair. People with dark hair could have the same copper concentrations as those with blond hair that has turned green, but the color change would not be as noticeable. Contact a hair care professional for suggestions on how to return your hair to the desired color.