Bathroom sink water different?
February 4, 2010 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Is bathroom sink water any different than kitchen sink water? I have a sink in my room now, so I've been drinking out of that faucet.. but before, I've always felt a little skittish (maybe based on cultural norms).
posted by sandmanwv to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
No, exactly the same, it's just that bathrooms have a cultural association of beeing ooky. Don't worry about it at all.
posted by brainmouse at 8:37 AM on February 4, 2010

Do you go to the kitchen to brush your teeth?

The water pipes in the kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor spigot come from the same place (a larger pipe).

posted by General Tonic at 8:39 AM on February 4, 2010

Absolutely the same.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:40 AM on February 4, 2010

Growing up in England, drinking bathroom tap water was always frowned upon. I always understood the reason being that the kitchen water was fed directly from the main pipe, but the water in the [upstairs] bathroom was fed from a large water tank in the attic that was used to generate some semblance of water pressure and so was 'less fresh'.
posted by azlondon at 8:44 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Depends. In the UK, in some houses bathroom water comes (or used to come) from a tank in the roof; okay for brushing the teeth in but not for drinking. Hence I still have a fear of drinking bathroom water in case of dead owls having floated in it.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 8:44 AM on February 4, 2010 [14 favorites]

Unless your kitchen sink is hooked up to some kind of water purification system. Since you didn't mention that, it's unlikely. If the kitchen sink has an ordinary high-volume faucet, the water there is most likely identical to the stuff in your bathroom.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:45 AM on February 4, 2010

The water might look cloudier coming out of a bathroom tap than your sink faucet because of air, but otherwise it's the same thing. (And obviously the air isn't going to hurt you.)
posted by phunniemee at 8:48 AM on February 4, 2010

It's the same water. If your toilet is nearby, though, and you don't typically close your toilet before you flush it, you might want to start doing that, though, since flushing can cause "polluted water vapor" to settle in the vicinity. If we weren't a strict "shutting the toilet and washing your hands" kind of family, that could make me feel (I'm sure, totally unreasonably) squicky about drinking from the bathroom tap.

You would brush your teeth in water that had dead owls floating in it?
posted by purpleclover at 8:50 AM on February 4, 2010 [5 favorites]

There are no tanks in the attic of modern homes. I have no idead what you're talking about.

Any difference would be from the legacy of the actual house. If say, you had a 100 year-old house, and you renovated your kitchen a decade ago, replacing the steel pipes with "modern" copper/plastic. AND you never did that for the bathroom. You would have some rust etc coming off the bathroom tap and it could taste different.

However, if it's either newer than the 50s (probably a bad guess) then everything is probably already all copper, and the pipes would all be the same and likely even the same diameter. The water might have travel 20-30 feet of pipe further than the kitchen, maybe less.
posted by Napierzaza at 8:57 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm in the UK, and the last 3 houses I lived in had water tanks in the attic that fed the bathroom water supply. Kitchen water supply came direct and fresh from mains.

When I was younger we were always told not to drink from the bathroom sink for this reason.

So if you live in the UK, in older houses, then double check. Otherwise, carry on.
posted by Petrot at 9:14 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I stopped worrying about the "polluted water vapor" thing when MythBusters demonstrated that there's enough fecal coliforms bacteria floating around that even toothbrushes that were kept out of the bathroom and just wetted every day tested positive for it.
posted by Zed at 9:38 AM on February 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

The consensus is accurate.

But, drinking from the hot tap is not safe! I am also told that it contains bacteria from the water heater.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:55 AM on February 4, 2010

But, drinking from the hot tap is not safe! I am also told that it contains bacteria from the water heater.

Also, hot water leaches out a much higher level of dissolved metals (i. e. lead) into the water.

Never cook with or drink hot tap water.
posted by Danf at 10:01 AM on February 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

They could be different in a modern house too, but not in a way that would stop me from drinking from one. In my parent's house from the 90s one had softened water and the other didn't (don't remember which).
posted by bmar at 10:04 AM on February 4, 2010

Best answer: In the US, bathroom tap water is exactly the same as kitchen tap water. It's all coming in to the house from the same pipe. If you are squicked out by the thought of drinking bathroom tap water, you can install a filter that fits under the sink and replaces a small section of water pipe between the feed and the faucet.

I look forward to the day that homes will have gray-water recycling systems so that dishwasher, sink, and shower water is diverted to fill toilets, because there's no sense in pooping into potable water, but that day has yet to arrive.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:09 AM on February 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

My understanding is that sometimes, a house with a water softener has a pipe that bypasses the water softener to deliver un-softened cold water to the kitchen tap because a lot of people don't like the taste of soft water, so they'd use that faucet to draw their drinking water.
posted by lakeroon at 10:44 AM on February 4, 2010

My previous house had softened water in every spigot except for the kitchen tap.

There's nothing wrong with drinking softened water, it's just a bit different.
posted by unixrat at 12:21 PM on February 4, 2010

There must be, because my cat refuses to drink anything else. Are you a picky cat?
posted by Juicy Avenger at 1:33 PM on February 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

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