Why Does My Reverse Osmosis Water Taste Bad?

Reverse osmosis water is a great way of getting pure, filtered water for use in your household. But if you end up with a terrible-tasting drink, it can be hard to enjoy the water.

Here are some reasons why reverse osmosis water might taste weird and what you can do about it.

Why Does Reverse Osmosis Water Taste Bad?

The main cause of bad-tasting water is a lack of minerals.

Many people are used to drinking water that contains a little bit of dissolved minerals. But if you have reverse osmosis water, this means that the water is as pure as it can get.

Water with no dissolved minerals in it will generally taste flat and bland, like distilled water.

It also takes a while for your taste buds to adjust to the lack of minerals in the water.

To make reverse osmosis water taste better, add minerals back into it using a mineralizer or other mineral-rich filtration system.

When you’re getting used to reverse osmosis water, don’t drink too much at once and give yourself time to get used to the new taste.

Reverse osmosis water might also have a bad taste if it has too much chlorine in it.

Chlorine is a strong-smelling chemical that’s added to tap water, typically as a disinfectant.

When you use reverse osmosis filters, you will remove the chlorine from your water. But if there’s too much chlorine, you’ll still end up with a bad taste in your mouth.

To fix this problem, install a carbon filtration system on your reverse osmosis filter (or add one later). This will remove the chlorine from your water so that it doesn’t taste bad.

The amount of chlorine that’s in your water may vary over time. That’s because local governments often adjust their chlorine levels to meet federal guidelines.

If you’re not sure how much chlorine is in your water, you can buy a test kit to measure it. Just follow the directions that come with the test kit and make sure to clean your reverse osmosis filter before testing it.

If you have a lot of sediment in your water, reverse osmosis filters are not going to be able to remove all of it from the water. Sediment is usually found in surface water and well water, so if that’s where your drinking water comes from, then you’ll probably have some sediment in it.

To fix this problem, you’ll need to install a sediment filter on your reverse osmosis system. Sediment filters are not very expensive, so if you have a lot of sediment in your water, it’s probably worth the investment to install one.

How Can I Make Reverse Osmosis Water Taste Better?

If you think that your reverse osmosis water tastes bad, there are a few things you can do to make it better.

The first thing you should do is to make sure that your reverse osmosis filter is clean. A clean filter will produce better tasting water than a dirty one.

If you notice that your water has a chlorine taste, then you can get rid of the chlorine taste by using something like a carbon water filter.

Unlike some types of filters, carbon water filters don’t need electricity to work, so they’re perfect for use with a reverse osmosis system.

Carbon filters are also inexpensive and easy to install on your reverse osmosis system, and they can help remove bad tastes and odors from the water as well as chlorine.

So if your RO drinking water tastes bad or has an unpleasant odor, it’s probably time to replace your reverse osmosis filter.

RO Replacement Filters

Here are a few of our favorite top-rated RO replacement filters:

Should Reverse Osmosis Water Have a Taste?

Reverse osmosis water will likely taste slightly different than your tap water. However, it shouldn’t taste so different that you won’t drink it or serve it to guests.

The type of filtration plays a big role in the taste of reverse osmosis water. Reverse osmosis filters are designed to produce cleaner, clearer, and tastier water. As a result, reverse osmosis water is likely to have a different color and smell than tap water. But that doesn’t mean they should be foul-tasting!

Why Would My RO Water Taste Bad Right After Changing All the Filters?

If you’re having a lot of trouble with the taste of your water, it could be because the filters have not been changed for quite some time. The first step to getting rid of that awful taste is to change the filters in your RO unit. This will help clean out the system and get rid of any gunk that has built up over time.

Another reason why reverse osmosis water can taste bad is if you have hard water. Hard water has high iron content, and sometimes this can cause reverse osmosis systems to release metallic ions into the drinking water they produce. These ions are what give reverse osmosis its distinctive smell and flavor as well as causing staining and other unwanted effects on household surfaces.

Why Does Reverse Osmosis Water Taste Bitter?

The main cause of bitter-tasting water is the result of certain minerals. Minerals like sulfates and chlorides might be present in your local water supply, so you might be getting some when you drink it. Sulfates and chlorides can lead to a bitter aftertaste.

You can try to remove these minerals by using a reverse osmosis filter and letting it sit overnight before use. Or, you can use activated carbon filters which will absorb the minerals in your water. Another option is to buy distilled water instead of reverse osmosis filtered water since distilled water doesn’t contain any minerals.

What Does RO Water Taste Like?

Reverse osmosis water is typically very clear and crisp, which means that it doesn’t have many impurities in it. These impurities can make a drink taste funky or bad. If you’re drinking reverse osmosis water out of a glass, you might notice the difference in the taste.

If you’re using reverse osmosis water in your coffee maker, try running some clean water through for a few seconds before pouring it into the machine to ensure that all of the impurities are removed.

Factors That Affect the Taste of RO Water

RO water is purified by forcing a high-pressure stream of water across a semi-permeable membrane and only allowing the contaminants to pass through. The contaminants are then removed before the water makes it back into your home.

The main things that affect how the RO water tastes are:

  1. How clean you make the filters
  2. What minerals you add to the RO system (if any)
  3. Where you source your water from (drinking water is usually very clean, but not all water sources are as clean as you might think)
  4. The amount of minerals in the water can change the taste.
  5. The temperature of the water can change the taste.
  6. The amount of pressure used to force the water through can change the taste.
  7. The amount of time it takes for the minerals to leave your RO system can change the taste.  The longer it takes, then more minerals will remain in your RO system and therefore “taste” like they’re still there.  The more pressure you use, then more contaminants will be removed and therefore “taste” cleaner.  For example, if you use a low pressure system and the water is still in your RO system for a long time, then the taste will change.
  8. The amount of minerals (and therefore chemicals) used to remove the contaminants can also affect how the water taste.  The more minerals that are used, then the greater the chance that they will remain in your RO system.
  9. The pH of your water can affect the taste.  The higher the pH, then the less minerals will be needed to remove them (and therefore you need less to remove them).  The lower the pH, then more minerals will be needed to remove them (and therefore you need more to remove them).  This is why “reverse osmosis” systems are sometimes used.
  10. The amount of contaminants removed by your RO system can also affect how the water taste.  The more contaminants, then the more minerals will be needed to remove them.  The more contaminants, then the greater the chance that they will remain in your RO system.
5 Problems With Reverse Osmosis Water Filters

Why Does My Reverse Osmosis Water Taste Metallic?

Sometimes your reverse osmosis water can have a metallic taste. This can be caused by the presence of small amounts of heavy metals, such as aluminum and iron that are found in the ground water. If you reuse your filter for many months, it could also result from the minerals that build up over time in the resin used to make the filter cartridge.

If you experience a metallic flavor with your reverse osmosis water, try rinsing all parts of your system with fresh, cold tap water before drinking it to flush out any remaining metals or minerals.

Do Reverse Osmosis Filters Remove Taste?

Reverse osmosis filters are not designed to remove taste; they are designed to remove contaminants. If your reverse osmosis filter is removing the taste, it should be replaced immediately.


If you notice your reverse osmosis water tastes funny, try changing up your filter. It could be that the filters need to be replaced, or that the filter is too small (or of limited capacity) for the system.

Emily Miller

Emily loves writing about photography and all things gadget. She loves playing with them too! Emily has over half a decade’s experience writing consumer reviews for gadgets and gears. Chief gadgets editor at WhatRocksAndWhatSucks.com, right now she is based out of a small but cozy apartment in New York City. Reach her at emily@wraws.com or on WhatRocksandWhatSucks.com.