Why Does My Tap Water Taste Like Hose Water? (Plastic or Vinyl Odors)

Tap water in the United States is typically clean and safe to drink. In fact, according to the CDC, drinking water supplies in the United States are some of the safest in the world. But sometimes the drinking water can be contaminated and the water may not taste as good as you might expect. Sometimes it tastes metallic or has a strange smell, like that of plastic or vinyl.

There are two main reasons for tap water tasting like hose water. If you leave your garden hose pressurized, the water might flow back and forth as pressure changes during the day. The water then picks up the flavor of the plasticizer from the PVC material in the hose and this gives it the plasticky taste. Another possible reason for tap water tasting like hose water is the corrosion of plastic plumbing in the house.

Read on to learn what causes a ‘hose water’ taste in water, why your tap water tastes off, and what to do about it!

Is hose water the same as tap water?

Hose water is not the same as tap water.

Even though they both have the same source, hose water will typically have a different taste. The materials used in manufacturing hoses are mostly PVC, and it contains chemicals like phthalates which are likely to leak into the water. These chemicals are likely to cause health problems like cancer and kidney failure when consumed.

Even though tap water has some risk of contamination, the risk is on another level in hose water. You can get away with drinking tap water, but it is not advisable to drink hose water.

Is it OK to drink water that tastes like plastic?


You should not consume water with any smell or taste associated with Plastic. Water that tastes plasticky is contaminated with chemicals used in making plastics and is therefore unsafe for human consumption.

According to The National Institute of Health, the consumption of phthalates (a common component in plastics) can be linked to an increased risk of leukemia, bladder cancer, and testicular cancer.

Why Is hose water bad for You?

We have seen that hoses are made of rubber, silicone, and plastics. These materials contain harmful chemicals and metals that can leak into the water, causing health complications.

Additionally, bacteria, mold, and possibly even parasites can easily grow in hoses due to the stagnant water and hot temperatures. These pathogens and parasites can cause gastrointestinal illness and worse health problems like cancer.  

Can hose water kill you?

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, making it hard to know what to believe. But the experts seem to agree that hose water can actually be dangerous and even fatal.

According to the Ecology Center, hoses contain plastic additives which are likely to leak and contaminate water, causing health problems like liver toxicity and cancer that might eventually kill you.

So even though you may not drop dead when you consume hose water, you could contract a fatal disease that could eventually claim your life.

Can you filter garden hose water?


Some specially designed filters for garden hoses will make your hose water safer for irrigation and consumption by humans and pets. I have written a more detailed post on filtering garden hose water. Check it out here.

How do you fix bad-tasting tap water?

When you turn on your tap and get treated to a mouthful of disgusting-tasting water, it is tempting to just reach for a bottle of water and forget about it. But you can’t rely on bottled water for food preparation, nor is it economical to continue relying on bottled water for drinking.

Here are some simple filtration solutions that you can employ to deal with bad-tasting tap water:

  • Install a whole-home water filtration system
  • Install an under-sink filtration system
  • Use a water pitcher filter

Install a whole-home water filtration system

The easiest way to make your water taste better is to install a whole-home water filtration system.

So, in addition to safe water for drinking and food preparation, you will have filtered water for better hair and skin, among other benefits like less wearing out of appliances. These systems provide filtration and treatment for the entire house, including all pipes, showerheads, and faucets.

These systems come equipped with various filters depending on the home’s unique needs, such as sediment filters, carbon filters, or even activated coconut shell carbon filters.

These systems not only improve the water’s taste but also eliminate harmful chemicals and other contaminants that are present in the tap water. There are lots of great whole-house filtration systems, but I particularly like the iSpring 3-Stage filtration system (Amazon link). Read a more detailed review of this system here

Install an under-sink filtration system

An under-sink filtration system is cheaper than a whole-house filter and will still do a great job filtering your water. Obviously, the filter will only filter the water for the faucet it is mounted on. As the name suggests, an under-sink filtration system is installed under the sink and filters the water before it gets to the faucet.

This means that if you don’t get a good system, it might easily interfere with the flow rate of your water. Also, if your faucet is made of bad material, the water might still get contaminated before it reaches your glass. This is why I recommend using the Waterdrop under sink filter (Affiliate link). It comes with an integrated faucet, and it also has a smart indicator that will let you know the condition of your filter. Check out the full review here

Use a water pitcher filter

If you are on a tight budget, you can use a water pitcher filter (Amazon link).

Water pitcher filters greatly filter out excessive chlorine and other chemical contaminants in the water. They would also help in riding the water of odors and any plasticky smell and taste. However, water pitchers are limited and wouldn’t be the best option for a large household.

See a full review of my recommended water pitcher filter on this link.

Final thoughts

While taking a drink from the garden hose might be tempting, you may want to avoid the temptation unless you have installed a hose water filter and are using the right hose.

Drinking hose water will expose you to serious health complications so it is better to just step inside your house and get a glass of filtered water.

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