It’s the early hours of the morning. You’ve just woken up and you realise that you have an extra hour or two of sleep before you have to get up for work. You're in desperate need of a glass of water but the thought of journeying to the kitchen makes you want to stay in bed. So, you opt for the nearest water supply, the tap in your bathroom. But is it safe to drink bathroom tap water?

Is it safe to drink water from your bathroom?

The short version is: it depends on who you ask. There are a few technicalities to consider before you can confidently answer this question.

Technically speaking, all homes in the UK are provided with safe drinking water. However, there are multiple variables that impact this water, making it safe to drink from the kitchen tap, and less safe from the bathroom tap.

One: Old Pipes

Up until the 1970s, it was standard practice to install plumbing pipes made of lead in houses throughout the UK. This practice was slowly abandoned following the revelation that lead water pipes could result in lead poisoning.

However, whilst most modern houses now use plumbing pipes made of materials like copper and plastic, older homes built with plumbing from before the 70’s might still utilise lead pipes. If this is the case, this could be harmful to anyone who drinks from the water supply, but particularly so for small children and babies.

Either way, it’s recommended by health experts that if you are worried about lead poisoning its best practice to have your water supply tested. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

So, how come it's safe to drink tap water from the kitchen tap, but not to drink water from the bathroom tap, if it all comes from the same place?

Two: Water Tanks

The biggest difference between water from your bathroom tap and water from the kitchen tap, is that the water in your kitchen comes straight from the water mains. This is the network of pipes that run throughout the UK that supplies water to all of our homes. Your bathroom tap water, however, derives from a water tank that is often stored in the loft.

Water tanks are often small, no more than 25 litres, in order to ensure that water from the mains is continuously filtered through. Of course, how frequently this water is refreshed is all dependent on how much water your household utilises. So you can never be 100 percent certain on how quickly this water cycles through.

This can make drinking water from your bathroom tap unsafe for two reasons.

The first is that it’s just not a great idea to drink water that has been stagnant for a while. Generally speaking, water from the water tank is more susceptible to contamination. Hence water from the tank only going to access points made for domestic use - such as your bathroom.

When water has been stagnant for a while it has a chance to collect any limescale build up, or debris from the water tank, and carry this into your bathroom tap.

The second reason brings us back to those old lead pipes. If your home is still fitted with them, water that sits around for a while in the plumbing has more time to absorb the lead. This differs from the water that flows into the kitchen tap because, as it comes directly from the mains, it has not had a chance to absorb the lead.

Chrome Basin mixer Tap
Milan Modern Mono Basin Mixer Tap - Chrome

This is why it’s safer to drink water from your kitchen tap than bathroom tap.

Can you drink hotel bathroom tap water?

Similar to water from your bathroom tap at home, hotel bathroom tap water faces the same issues. Again, old pipes from before the 1970s will likely be carrying lead. Even if the hotel has since been revamped, typically the internal structures, plumbing included, remain the same.

Hotels also often use water tanks, like the one stored in your loft, only much bigger. This is justified by the fact that hotels have more residents, and so will get through the water in the tank much quicker. However, you never really know how long that water has been sitting there for.

Is it safe to drink bathroom tap water, Yes or No?

So to sum up the answer to the question “is it safe to drink bathroom tap water?” - no, not really. Even though homes and hotels are supplied with water safe for drinking, there are too many variables to consider to completely guarantee its safety. So it's best to avoid drinking from a bathroom tap if you can.

Stick to bottled water or a kitchen tap.

Whilst you're here take a look at one of our filtered kitchen taps.

Chrome Bristan Kitchen Tap
Bristan Gallery Pure Sink Mixer Kitchen Tap With Filter

The Bristan Gallery kitchen tap comes fitted with an activated carbon filter that provides pure drinking water straight from the tap. The filter works to remove chlorine and certain organic compounds including biocides, insecticides and pesticides, leaving just a clean, refreshing taste.