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Why Is My Toilet Water Brown?

Why Is My Toilet Water Brown?

One of the most unpleasant issues you may have to deal with is brown toilet water.

Not only does brown toilet water look disgusting for obvious reasons, but it also means you or a contractor will have to investigate the issues and perform repairs.

What causes brown toilet water?

There are several causes that would turn toilet water brown such as rust and particles leaking into the water, the toilet being clogged or the water not draining, and the pipes being damaged, allowing water to escape and dirt to contaminate the clean water. It could also be an issue with the toilet’s flushing mechanism.

Read on to learn more about what these issues mean and how to fix them, along with when to call the contractor.


Why The Water in Your Toilet is Brown

Brown toilet water is an unpleasant site for a few reasons.

Namely, it means you will have to get the toilet fixed, and toilet issues are never fun to get remedied.

Brown water could also mean your house now has plumbing issues, which should never be ignored.

The issue causing brown water to appear in your toilet may be because of the toilet or because of the plumbing.

If the issue is with the toilet, then you can watch a YouTube video and fix the toilet with a few tools and a visit to your local hardware store.

But if there’s an issue with the plumbing, be prepared to call your favorite contractor specializing in plumbing issues.

Common Issues

Toilet Not Flushing

For the flushing system to work, you first have to press down on the lever.

This causes the flapper ball inside the toilet tank to rise, which flushes away the water and drains the water in the tank.

If the flapper ball and the chain break, then the water in the bowl and the tank will not drain.

If this is the issue, then many hardware stores carry toilet tank kits.


An object is clogging the S-shaped pipe below the toilet bowl.

Even after the bowl is completely empty, water could slowly seep back up the S-shaped drain and contaminate the fresh toilet water now sitting in the bowl.

Usually, plunging the toilet with a plunger a couple of times will fix this issue right up.

If there’s nothing clogging the S-drain, then the object clogging the pipes is in the plumbing system.

Toilet Plumbing

Issues With the Plumbing

If the toilet flushes and drains away completely and there’s nothing clogging the S-train, then there has to be an issue with the plumbing either inside the house or underneath the house.

When you flush the toilet, the flush is supposed to drain into your home’s underground piping.

Then the water should travel through the pipes and drain into the sewer. The sewer will carry the contaminated water and particles away from your neighborhood and to the water treatment plant.

But if there are blockages in your home’s pipes, the contaminated water will not drain into the sewer.

The water will backup and spew out of the sinks, toilets, and the shower and bath drains.


When a pipe corrodes and breaks down, it is usually because the pipes are old.

Rust can happen to any type of pipe, even pipes that have been galvanized and labeled rust resistant.

When a pipe rusts, it’s due to the chemical reactions between the pipe, water, oxygen in the water, and the many chemicals and substances that go through the water drains.

It could also be that the pipes are old and they’re starting to break down. The only way to fix a rusted pipe is to remove it and replace it.

Dirt is Getting Into the Plumbing System

If dirt is seeping into your plumbing system, then expect all the sinks, toilets, and the shower and bath fixtures to be affected.

The taps in the front and back yard will be affected as well.

Until a contractor finds where the dirt is coming from and replaces the pipes, do not drink the water from the faucets and taps.

Even if the water from the sinks and from the bathroom taps in the shower and bathtub is clear, there could still be microscopic particles of dirt, mud, and bacteria floating in it.

Dirt seeping into the plumbing system is a sign that a line of pipes is no longer connected to each other. The pipes are probably bent and separated.

It could also mean that a tree root has crushed part of a pipe and is now inside the plumbing system.

If dirt can get into your plumbing, then water can seep out of the plumbing. There could be water building up around your pipes.

If you have a basement, check the basement to see if there’s any water leaking through the walk.

Check the most common areas where water tends to seep in during heavy rain.

Issues With Main Water Line

If there is brown water flowing through your toilets, sinks, and shower and bath fixtures, then it could be a problem with the main water line.

The main water line is how the water is delivered to a house through the municipal water system.

There could be a crack in the main line allowing dirt and mud and metal particles to contaminate your water.

Conclusion to Your Toilet Water Being Brown

Brown water in your toilet bowl does not always mean that someone forgot to flush.

Rust and particles could be contaminating the water.

In some cases, a tree root has punctured or bent a line of pipes. If all the water is brown and not just your toilet water, then that may mean there is an issue with the main water line, or the pipes connected to it.

If water has been draining out of the underground pipes for some time, check your basement to see if there’s any water damage or water seeping through the floor.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.