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Does Your Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Published by Passaic Bergen Water Softening on


If you’ve ever mixed eggs with a cake mix and water and detected a rotten odor, it may not be the eggs that are rotten. It could be your water. Does your water smell like rotten eggs, and can this affect your health? Here’s what causes smelly water and how to get rid of it, along with our services.

What Causes a Sulfur Odor?

Sulfur Bacteria

Water that has a rotten-egg odor is usually a sign of hydrogen sulfide gas. It could stem from sulfur bacteria, which occurs naturally in well water. As a result, hydrogen sulfide is produced, which leads to an unpleasant odor. It only takes a small amount of hydrogen sulfide to cause water to smell like rotten eggs. Tap water containing sulfur bacteria or hydrogen sulfide gas is commonly known as sulfur water.

A Faulty Water Heater

The cause could also be from an electric water heater that accidentally produces hydrogen sulfide. Usually, electric water heaters have a magnesium anode rode constructed of magnesium sulfate so that the water heater doesn’t corrode. This leads to free electrons being produced in the water, which kindles a reaction between sulfate and sulfate-reducing bacteria.

In most cases, this problem happens as a result of water being left in an electric water heater for a prolonged time period. After the water in the hot water heater is used, the odor goes away. But in cases that are more severe, you may need a water treatment system so that you can get rid of the bacteria, which is the root cause.

Is Smelly Water Safe to Drink?

Even though the smell of sulfur in your water can be unpleasant, it won’t harm you. In other words, hydrogen sulfide is not a health risk. However, it can be extremely troublesome when you find it in your water. The good news is that you can get rid of the odor.

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • Consider that if the odor is derived only from your hot water, the issue is probably from your household’s hot water heater.
  • On the other hand, if both your cold and hot water smell like sulfur, it may be a problem with your ground well water or with your plumbing.
  • Besides smelling bad, sulfur in your drinking water can cause stains in your sinks, toilets, and other plumbing fixtures.
  • Garments that are washed in sulfur water can become stained.
  • Consider that water containing only a small amount of sulfur can tarnish silver and copper.

How to Correct the Problem

  • Identify the source of the problem—The first step for treating your water for hydrogen sulfide involves recognizing the conditions that are creating the bad sulfur smell. 
  •  Chlorinate your water—Use chlorine bleach, or you could use hydrogen peroxide for shocking your well. This can temporarily relieve the sulfur smell for about one to two months. For about five days after your water has been chlorinated, you’ll need to avoid drinking your tap water, so have plenty of bottled water available.
  • Clear out and clean your hot water heater—Is the odor coming from your water heater? If so, switch it off. Then, flush it. After all the water is out, refill it, letting it run for several hours at a high temperature as this can kill bacteria.
  • Clean and clear out your pipes—Another way to fix the issue is by clearing your pipes. To do this, simply turn on all your faucets and then let them run for about five to 10 minutes. Then, turn off your water. Wait for a few minutes before testing the water to see if the sulfur smell is gone.
  •  Install a water filtration system – You should be able to trust your water.

You don’t have to hold your nose every time you turn on your water. Don’t settle for smelly water. Contact us and set up an appointment for a water test.



Wyckoff NJ

537 Goffle Rd
Wyckoff, 07481


Monday-Friday: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

Newfoundland NJ

2850 Route 23 North
Newfoundland, 07435


Monday Tuesday Wednesday Friday: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM
Sunday: Closed

Wayne NJ

2025 Suite B, Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ 07470


Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
This office isn’t open on Saturday as it is not a retail location.