What Makes Your Water Filter Turn Black? 6 Common Issues

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Water filters are essential for keeping your home safe and clean. They remove harmful contaminants from tap water before drinking it. Unfortunately, most water filters turn black over time.

This happens because the filter media becomes clogged with dirt and debris. When this occurs, the water passes through the filter slowly and the dirty water stays behind. Eventually, the filter will become completely blocked and won’t work anymore.

If you notice your water filter turning black, here are the main causes that make a water filter turn black and some tips to fix it. Follow these simple instructions and your water filter should last longer and perform better than ever before!

what makes your water filter turn black

What is the Black Stuff in Water Filter?

The black stuff in filtered water is caused by either loose carbon dust from the filter media or contaminants in your water.

Loose carbon dust from the filter medium is the most common cause of black specks. You may be able to remove this using a water softener.

Contaminants in your water are the second most likely cause of black specs. Iron and manganese are known to give water its characteristic black coloration if they react with oxygen in the air.

If you notice black particles in the water before it goes through the filter, it’s probably due to contaminants in your water.

What Makes Your Water Filter Turn Black?

There are so many things that can make the water filter turn black over time. Here are the main causes:

Minerals in Water

Black water comes out of your faucet if there are too many minerals in the water that runs through your house’s reverse osmosis drinking system. Minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese, and iron accumulate in your system over time. When those minerals oxidize and contact with oxygen, they may become dark, causing the water to be black.

Manganese in the water is harmful to the human body. Iron and manganese cause the water to turn black, and stains may appear in the plumbing fixtures or when washing laundry. Here are the cheapest ways to remove manganese from Water.

A river or a well in your community provides water specifically. The drinking water will turn black if you don’t conduct regular maintenance.

Minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron accumulate in your drinking water system over time. These minerals oxidize and contact with air, turning the water black.

Stains may appear in the pipes, fixtures, or when washing laundry if there are high levels of iron and manganese in the water. Here are the cheapest ways to remove iron from Water.

Water Pipe Corrosion

Your water filter will eventually turn black if there are iron particles in your water. Iron particles are created when the iron pipes corrode over time. As water flows through the rusty pipes, the iron particles become trapped inside the filters. These particles cause the filters to turn black, clog up and stop working properly.

To prevent this from happening, you should regularly inspect your water pipes. Look for signs of rust and replace the lines that are damaged.

Also, call a plumber and ask them to check all the pipelines moving throughout your house. A rusty plumbing system could cause damage to your house or break suddenly.

Black Sand/Silt

If your water filter turns black, there’s a good chance that it’s collecting sand particles. Sand particles can cause problems for your home appliances, including washing machines and dishwashers. You should keep your water tank separate from your home appliances, and only let the water flow through your water filter.

Sand particles collect at the bottom of your water tank, and then move along with the water until they reach your home appliances. Once there, the sand particles clog up your pipes and prevent the water from flowing properly.

To avoid this issue, you should store your water in a separate tank before letting it flow through your home appliance filters. This ensures that the water doesn’t come into contact with any sand particles.

Granular Activated Carbon

This water filter turns black because the granular carbon particles get stuck inside the cartridge. Over the period, the granules move along with the water flow, getting trapped in the cartridge. As soon as the water passes through the cartridge, the granules get stuck inside the cartridge and cause the cartridge to look black.

To clean the cartridge, simply run hot water through it. You should only use warm or cold water, never boiling water. Boiling water may destroy the cartridge. Also, avoid using detergents or chemicals to clean the cartridge. These products may harm the cartridge.

Damaged Water Filters

There are two main reasons why water filters turn black. One reason is that the filter becomes clogged with sediment or debris. Another reason is that the filter itself is damaged.

Mold/Mildew Growth

Mold is the number two reason why your whole house water filter turns black. Mold grows quickly in damp, warm locations. But you should never smell or taste any moldy odors coming from your water.

To prevent mold growth, keep your water filter clean. Remove sediment and debris regularly. And change your water filter every six months.

Also, avoid leaving your water filter sitting in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight causes mineral deposits to build up inside your water filter. These deposits can clog your water filter, make it black and shorten its lifespan.

Solving the Water Filter Turning Black Problem

Your water filtration system should be cleaned regularly to keep it working properly. But how do you know whether or not your water filtration systems need cleaning? There are several signs that indicate that your water filtration needs cleaning. One of those signs is that it turns black.

Black water indicates that your water filtration system is clogged. Clogs occur when particles accumulate inside the system, causing the water to turn black. These particles include dirt, sediment, rust, algae, and bacteria.

To avoid clogging, you should clean your water filtration regularly. You can clean your water filtrations yourself, but you should hire a professional to do the job for you. Professional cleaners can perform a thorough cleaning process that removes mineral deposits, sediment, and other contaminants.

Another sign that your water filtration needs cleaning is that the water tastes bad. Bad-tasting water means that your water filtration is dirty. Dirty water causes problems because it doesn’t flow smoothly through the system.

A third sign that your water filtrations need cleaning is that the faucet stops turning off. Faucets stop turning off when the water filtration becomes clogged. If your water filtration is clogged, the water won’t drain out of the faucet.

If you notice any of these signs, call a professional to clean your water filtration.


Is It Ok to Drink Water from the Filter That Turned Black?

Most filters have a charcoal filter element. When you install the filter, there may be a lot of fine carbon particles that come loose during manufacturing and storage, and shipping that settles out onto the bottom of the container. These particles can look like a real cloudy black substance.

After installing the filter, you should run water through it for 5 or 10 minutes. Then you should discard the water and let it sit until it clears up. You should repeat this process every month or two.

Elemental carbon is generally inert in the body, and it isn’t harmful. But if you notice any discoloration in your drinking water, you should contact your local health department.

So if the filter is new, then yes, it is safe to drink water from the water filter that turned black. However, if you see any other signs like the filtered water smells or tastes bad then your water filtrations need cleaning or replacement.

Is Black Stuff in Water Harmful?

The black stuff in the water isn’t harmful to you. But it does look pretty weird. You might think that it’s harmful, but it’s actually harmless.

These black flecks could be iron or manganese. These minerals are unlikely to cause any harm. However, if you notice that your tap water tastes bad, then you should contact your local water utility company.

A water test can help you determine whether your water has high levels of iron or manganese. If your water tests positive for either of those minerals, then you may need to change your water filter.

Final Thoughts

The water filter in your home is an essential part of keeping your family safe. It filters the water coming into your home, removing harmful contaminants such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and more.

Unfortunately, the water filter in your home can turn black after a while. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that you need to replace your water filter sooner rather than later.

Joanna G. Lackey

Hi, I'm Joanna, a writer freelance writer who specializes in topics about health and nutrition. I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and three children. I'm a mom to two dogs and a cat. I love reading, writing, and taking photos.