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Iron Stain text

Iron Staining Overview

As water seeps through soil it will naturally dissolve minerals and metals it comes into contact with, one of which is iron, commonly distinguished by its orange or red-like color. Heavy iron deposits in water can lead to iron bacteria which in turn leave unpleasant tastes and odors resembling sewage, rotten eggs or rotten vegetation. 

Underground iron deposits can vary depending on geographical locations. Surface water collecting these minerals travels into the groundwater, eventually making its way into a well’s water supply where notable rusty, slime, and staining will then make its way into fixtures, toilet tanks, tubs, clothes, and appliances.

Different Stain Colors

Iron in water can cause visible staining even at low concentrations. As defined by American National Standards NSF/ANSI Standard 44 iron water containing 0.3 parts per million (ppm) of iron or 0.05 ppm of manganese will cause staining. Even if water coming out of the tap may appear clear, an accumulation of these metals will be visible over time.

Orange/Red Water Stains

This color staining is due to high contents of iron present in well water systems. Staining can be most visible at home in sinks, shower drains, tubs, and toilet bowls.

See below for our recommendation on iron staining.

Iron stain in drain
Blue Green Stain in Drain

Blue-Green Water Stains

This color staining is an indication of corrosion happening in your copper piping from acidic water. Water with pH levels lower than 7 (neutral) is acidic.

Learn more on acidity and our recommendations.

Water spots in glass

White Water Spots and Stains

This color is characterized by its white, hazy stains created by the chalk-like mineral build-up of hard water on surfaces.

Learn more on hard water and our recommendations.

Recommended Treatment System

Clean Stream Water’s high efficiency twin-tank salt water softeners have consistently proven to be our most effective treatment for removing iron in residential, commercial, and agricultural applications for over 30 years.

Twin-Tank Water Softener System

For Whole House Water Treatment

How does it work?

Iron found in water binds to a porous resin found in the water softening unit. It is within this resin where iron metals are exchanged with high purity iron removing salt crystals, delivering clean water to faucets while rejecting the hard minerals out the drain.

The result? Spot-free dishes and fixtures, no staining on shower floors, tubs, or toilet bowls.

Maintenance required filling the salt tank as needed.

What about salt-free conditioners?

Traditional no-salt conditioners may get rid of existing scale but will not actually reduce the mineral content in the water since they lack drain expulsion.  These units are merely scale inhibitors. The water will feel hard because it still is hard. It might not build up in the pipes but hardness in the water will still be seen when water evaporates.