Is it Safe to Drink the Water from Your Bathroom Tap?

Sometimes, you wake up thirsty in the middle of the night. And in this drowsy state, the kitchen can seem like it’s miles away. The nearest place where you can quickly find water is, of course, the bathroom. So drinking water from the bathroom tap in your en-suite or family bathroom basin may seem perfectly sensible. But is it?

Let’s examine the safety aspect of drinking water directly from your bathroom tap in this question-answer format blog. Please jump to specific sections by clicking on the links below or read the entire article by scrolling down the page:

  1. Is it Safe to Drink Water from Bathroom Tap at Home?
  2. Is it Safe to Drink Water from Bathroom Tap in Hotels?
  3. Are There Any Countries Where it’s Safe to Drink Water from Bathroom Taps?
  4. Which are some of the Countries Where it is Safe to Drink Water from Taps?

1. Is it Safe to Drink Water from Bathroom Tap at Home?

If you’ve ever drunk water from the bathroom tap in your home, you may have noticed that the water in your bathroom tastes slightly different from kitchen water and is often at a slightly warmer temperature. But is drinking the water you use to brush your teeth every day really such a bad idea? Let’s consider a few facts:

1. According to research conducted by Brunel University, London, each time you enjoy a life-sustaining glass of tap water, you could inadvertently be drinking a very low dose of other people’s medications. The reason being today’s pharmaceuticals are stable and long-lasting. Although the dose of this cocktail in tap water is reliably consistent, a significant amount of these prescribed drugs that people excrete goes out into wastewater. Eventually, a proportion of these drugs – although, in very low doses – re-enters the domestic supply, unchanged through the sewage filtering system. This problem is not restricted to tap water only. In Israel, scientists tested the urine of people who were consuming crops irrigated with treated wastewater. The results showed the presence of significant levels of carbamazepine, an epileptic drug.

2. According to Hafren Dyfrdwy Limited (formerly Dee Valley Water Limited), the water in your bathroom taps has usually been stored in a tank in the loft. Hence, unlike the water in your kitchen tap, this water isn’t fresh from the mains. And this water has possibly been retained in the plumbing system of your home for a while. It’s possible that this water contains small amounts of dust and debris from the storage tank in your home.


2. Is it Safe to Drink Water from Bathroom Tap in Hotels?

The major worry with bathroom tap water in hotels is that older buildings usually have lead piping in the bathroom, which can make the water dangerous to drink. Even if the hotel has been newly constructed, the plumbing system may have copper pipes which have been joined with lead solder. Whilst water from the mains does not have time to absorb any lead from the pipes, water that has been stored in a tank – as it’s most often the case in hotels – which includes bathroom tap water and potentially any hot water taps in the bathroom, the water has probably been in the plumbing system of the hotel for a while. Chances are this stagnant water in the pipes has absorbed tiny amounts of lead.

Next, lead isn't the only issue. A tank stored in a neglected area can potentially be intercepted by small creatures like vermin and birds. It's not a pleasant thought. But it is a possible source of contamination and something over which you have no control in a hotel. You should be careful, especially if the tap water smells funny or looks suspicious.


3. Are There Any Countries Where it’s Safe to Drink Water from Bathroom Taps?

Drinking water straight from bathroom taps poses a health risk. Despite advances in sanitation worldwide, there are more than 180 countries where tap water is considered unsafe for tourists. In these countries, it would be doubly unsafe to drink water from bathroom taps. If you get it wrong, you could face a string of harmful and potentially-fatal infections. However, the local populace will have a higher level of immunity to the common pathogens in the water supply than tourists who are on a brief visit. One factor you need to be alert about is that while the natives are unaffected by the unsafe drinking water, it may not be the same for tourists.


4. Which are some of the Countries Where it is Safe to Drink Water from Taps?

The top countries in regards to the best quality of tap water include:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Norway
  3. Luxemburg
  4. France
  5. Austria
  6. Italy
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Sweden
  9. Germany
  10. New Zealand

The tap water in these countries is doubtless among the cleanest and safest in the entire world.


Summary

Your bathroom tap water is perfectly fine to brush your teeth and to wash up. As long as you're not swallowing the water, you're unlikely to get lead poisoning. Just be extra aware of small children – when they are brushing their teeth, remind them to spit. And if you're likely to get thirsty in the night, bring a glass or bottle of kitchen tap water with you to bed.