Learn What Water Purification Methods Work for Each Type of Particles

Photo of a pitcher of murky water in need of water purification.

The color of the particles can tell you what water purification fix is necessary.

You pour yourself a crisp, clear glass of water, bring it up to your mouth, and—gross! You notice something – particles floating around in your water. Is this normal? Is it safe? Do I need some specific water purification method to get rid of it? All these questions and more may be going through your head.

Don’t worry, though: the water experts at Angel Water are here to explain what’s going on and what you can do to put your fears to rest. Here’s a breakdown of water particles, what each type means, and how to get rid of them.

Are Particles in My Water Unsafe?

Particles floating around in your water sure can be an unpleasant sight—but is it harmful? Luckily, the answer is almost certainly “no.”

Floating water particles tend to be one of a handful of colors: white, tan, black, brown, or orange. The color can tell you what it is that’s floating in your water and where it’s coming from. However, no matter which color of particle you’re seeing, they all have one thing in common: they’re minerals that won’t harm you or your family’s personal health.

However, the different kinds of floating particles can cause a variety of other problems, and require different water purification methods if you want to remove them for more pleasant water. Let’s go over each one individually.

White or Tan Particles

If the particles floating in your water are tan or white, this means that what you’re seeing probably comes from naturally occurring mineral deposits, such as calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate. These minerals can build up in your plumbing systems over time and eventually break off into your water.

This isn’t harmful for your health, but it’s still cause for concern. The presence of those minerals indicates that you have hard water, which carries consequences including:

  • Dry, itchy skin and dry, frizzy hair after you shower
  • Water stains on your dishes after you wash them
  • Distorted or faded clothing after you do the laundry
  • Soap is less effective, meaning you spend more on it
  • Soap scum in your sinks
  • Mineral deposits can even clog your fixtures or appliances like dishwashers and coffeemakers

If you want to get rid of those floating particles, as well as address these other consequences of having hard water, the type of water purification you need is a water softener. Though a softener will make more particles break off of the deposits and float in your water at first, it will eventually eliminate this issue altogether.

For more about water hardness and water softeners, check out our comprehensive guide on the subject.

Black Particles

Unlike the light-colored particles, black particles aren’t naturally-occurring. However, they’re still generally not too serious or challenging to eliminate from your water, without even any water purification equipment.

If you have small, black particles that look a bit like coffee grounds, the most likely possibility is that they’re coming from a water filter. Many filters contain granular activated carbon. This carbon breaks down over time, and can eventually disintegrate enough that it slips out of the filter and into your water. Luckily, this problem has a simple fix: change the filter, and you should stop seeing the particles of carbon.

Photo of a glass of hazy water on a table in front of some plates of food.

If your water has grimy brown specks floating inside, what’s the right water purification solution?

On the other hand, if the particles look more rubbery or oily, they’re probably coming from a deteriorated faucet washer or flexible supply hose. Over time, these parts can be broken down by the chlorine that’s in your water. Again though, there’s a fairly easy solution: replace the hose with a new one, preferably one with a protective lining. This should keep it from disintegrating into your water.

Brown or Orange Particles

These colors of particles can indicate one of several things.

If you get your water through a well system, it’s possible that dirt or sand has made its way into the well. If this is the case, you should call a professional to service your well.

Another possibility is that small pieces of steel in your water pipes or water main have rusted and broken off. These particles tend to be hard, irregular little pieces ranging in color from orange to black. They’re mostly mad of iron and aren’t hazardous to your health, but they can clog your aerator screens and showers.

Alternatively, the particles in your water might be more bead-like—somewhere around the size of fish eggs. In such a case, this probably means that your water softener has broken. Water softeners contain small beads that the water passes through in order to filter out excess minerals. Sometimes, these beads can break away and get into your water. When this happens, you need to call a water professional immediately to either repair or replace your water softener.

Call Angel Water for Your Water Purification Needs

If you’re experiencing any of these floating particles, then Angel Water, Inc. can help you out. We can help you with any of the water purification solutions described above, whether it’s installing or replacing a water softener or checking out your well. We can also install a sediment filter or pre-filter that will strain all visible particles out of your water and keep your filtration system running smoothly.

Our team of licensed plumbers has been serving the community for decades, and we lead the way in water purification in Barrington, IL and the surrounding Chicago area. We’re committed to providing only the highest-quality NSF-certified products, and will even test your water for you so you can know exactly what’s in your water before you decide on any particular water purification solution. We’re always here and will gladly do anything to help educate our neighbors and help you secure clean, healthy water.

So please, if you’re experiencing any issues with floating particles in your water, or if you have any other water issues you want to discuss or get help with, pick up the phone and call Angel Water today at (847) 382-7800. We even offer a free consultation!