Reverse osmosis water, while incredibly clean and healthy to drink, can often have a flat or unpleasant taste. But with a few simple steps you can make reverse osmosis water more palatable and enjoyable without sacrificing any of the health benefits.
Reverse osmosis water is an increasingly popular option for those looking to improve the taste and quality of their drinking water. It can remove various impurities and contaminants, leaving behind purer and cleaner tasting water than what you would get from your tap. However, many people find that reverse osmosis water has a distinct “flat” taste that is off-putting. Fortunately, there are several methods you can use to make reverse osmosis water more flavorful and enjoyable.
What Does Reverse Osmosis Water Taste Like?
Reverse osmosis water tastes differently from regular tap water due to its low mineral content. This process of filtration removes impurities and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium that give regular tap water its characteristic taste. While this lack of minerals may make it more pure, it also makes it less palatable. Reverse osmosis water can be described as having an “off” taste, with some people noting a chemical-like flavor to it.
Factors That Affect the Taste of Reverse Osmosis Water
High TDS (total dissolved solids) levels: TDS levels in reverse osmosis water are usually lower than those of the normal tap water. The lower the TDS level, the more “flat” and tasteless the water may be.
Lack of minerals in the water: Reverse osmosis water is known for its lack of minerals and can be quite tasteless in comparison to other types of drinking water. This is because the filtration process strips away all essential minerals, as well as chlorine, chemicals, lead, and other contaminants. Without these minerals and vitamins that naturally occur in tap water or other sources, the water can be flavorless.
pH level of the water: It is important to check the pH level of your Reverse Osmosis water before attempting to make it taste better. Water with a low pH level can have an acidic taste, while water with a high pH level will be more alkaline and have a bitter taste. If your water’s pH level is off, you may need to buy a pH balancer to help get it back in balance.
Contaminants in the water: The primary reason why reverse osmosis water may taste “off” is because of the contaminants it removes from regular tap water. These impurities can include organic compounds, heavy metals and other particles that are naturally present in untreated water. Reverse osmosis filters out these substances to produce clean, pure drinking water. While this ensures the water is safe to consume, it may also be responsible for the “flat” taste of reverse osmosis water.
Copper Tubing: Copper is a known toxin and can leach into RO water from the pipe it’s stored in. So, if you’re using copper tubing to store and dispense your RO water, be sure to replace it with a lead-free plastic or stainless steel version.
Carbon Dioxide Levels: Carbon dioxide levels in water can make the taste a bit off. To reduce these levels, you can buy a carbon filter and run your water through it before drinking. This will remove any excess carbon dioxide that could be causing the bad taste.
Sulfur Content: Many people find the taste of reverse osmosis water to be unpleasant due to a high sulfur content. This can be reduced by using a granular activated carbon filter, which is effective at removing sulfur-based compounds and chlorine from the water. It’s important to note that if you live in an area where there are high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide in the water, it may not be possible to completely remove all of the sulfur from your drinking water.
Damaged RO Membrane: It is important to check the RO membrane periodically for any damage or wear and tear. If it is damaged, then it can lead to a decrease of water production as well as an unpleasant taste. To ensure that the membrane works properly, it should be replaced every two years or when needed.
Expired RO Filter: A primary cause of bad taste in RO water is an expired filter. This can be prevented by regularly replacing the filter on your RO system. Check manufacturer’s instructions for more detailed information regarding how often to replace the filter, as this depends on usage and other factors.
Ways To Improve The Taste Of Reverse Osmosis Water
Ozonation: Ozonation is a simple and affordable way to make reverse osmosis water taste better. By passing ozone through the water, you can improve its taste and eliminate any unpleasant odors.
UV Sterilization: Ultraviolet sterilization is a method of treating water by passing it through a UV light chamber. It’s an effective way to reduce the number of microorganisms in your reverse osmosis water, making it taste better and safer to drink. While ultraviolet radiation is proven to kill bacteria in water, its effectiveness can be limited if there are high levels of organics in the water. It’s also important to note that this method of sterilization requires a powered UV light chamber and regular maintenance, like changing the bulb every 6 to 12 months.
pH Adjustment: Reducing the pH of the RO water can make it less acidic and more palatable. Adding a chemical like potassium carbonate to the RO water can raise its alkalinity and reduce acidity. This is especially helpful when the existing pH level of the water is too low or if it has an undesirable taste.
Add an inline carbon filter: This can help to reduce the smell and taste of chlorine, as well as bad odor coming from tap water. Other contaminants such as lead, herbicides, pesticides, and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) can also be removed by carbon filter media. The inline filter will attach directly to the faucet and the tubing from the RO system.
Add a calcium cartridge: A calcium cartridge is a great way to make reverse osmosis water taste better. These cartridges contain ionized calcium, which adds a smooth and pleasant taste to the water. The calcium also helps to neutralize any acidic tastes that may be present in the water. For best results, you should replace your calcium cartridge every six months or so.
Having an alkalization stage for your RO System: Alkalizing your water can help make reverse osmosis water taste better. Adding an alkalization stage in your RO system will increase the pH of the water and reduce acidity, thereby eliminating that metallic taste. Alkaline filters contain media such as potassium hydroxide (KOH) or sodium carbonate (NaCO3) to add alkalinity and raise the pH of your water.
Electrolyte blends or trace mineral supplement drops: Add electrolyte blends or trace mineral supplements to the reverse osmosis water, as these can improve its taste. The amount you add will depend on the brand and type of product you use; follow package instructions for best results.
Mineralized Sea Salt: In order to make reverse osmosis water taste better, adding mineralized sea salt is a great option. Mineralized sea salt contains essential minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium which can help improve the taste of RO water. It is also beneficial for replenishing the body with electrolytes and trace minerals which are important for overall health.
Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher: Alkaline water filter pitchers are an easy and affordable way to increase the pH of your reverse osmosis water. They will remove chlorine and other impurities while also adding back minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium that can improve the taste of the water. Adding an alkaline pitcher to your home is a great way to turn ordinary reverse osmosis water into something more delicious and memorable.
Green tea or herbs: Green tea and various herbs can be used to make reverse osmosis water more flavorful. Steep a few bags of green tea in the filtered water for five minutes or add a few sprigs of fresh herbs like mint or thyme. The tea will not only give the water a pleasant taste, but it also has some health benefits as well.
Flavored ice cubes made with reverse osmosis water: One of the easiest ways to make reverse osmosis water taste better is to freeze some into ice cubes and add them to a glass before drinking. Adding fruits such as lemons, limes, or oranges can give your water an extra boost of flavor.
Just a few drops of liquid flavoring: adding a few drops of liquid flavoring to the RO water can help make it taste better. Popular choices include citrus, mint, and berry flavors. However, be sure to check the ingredients label for any added sugar or other unhealthy additives.
Individual flavor packets: You can purchase individual flavor packets to add to your reverse osmosis water. These come in a variety of flavors, from citrus to strawberry and more. They are not only an easy way to enhance the taste of your reverse osmosis water but are also sugar free and have no calories.
Lemon or lime juice: Adding fresh lemon or lime juice to your reverse osmosis water is a great way to make it taste better. Not only does it add some much-needed flavor, but lemon and lime also contain beneficial antioxidants that can help improve the health of your body. To improve the taste even further, try adding a few slices of either fruit into the glass. Alternatively, you can purchase citrus-flavored drink mixes that are designed to be added to water for a refreshing taste.
Energy drinks: If you want to add some flavor to your reverse osmosis water, you can make your own energy drink using natural ingredients like fresh fruits and herbs. For example, mix together one part of lemon juice, two parts of lime juice and three parts of mint leaves in a glass of reverse osmosis water. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so and enjoy the refreshing drink.
Antacid tablets: Antacid tablets can be used to reduce the acidity of water and make it taste better. Dissolve 2-3 antacid tablets in a liter of water and let it sit for 15 minutes before drinking it. This is an effective method for reducing the sourness and improving the taste of reverse osmosis water without having to spend money on expensive filters.
Dissolvable mints: Adding dissolvable peppermint or spearmint tablets to your reverse osmosis water can improve the taste. The mint will give the water a refreshing zing without changing its chemical composition. However, make sure that you get sugar-free mints so as not to add unwanted calories or sugar to your water.
Why Does Some Reverse Osmosis Water Smell Bad?
One common complaint about reverse osmosis water is that it tastes and smells bad. The cause of this off-putting odor is often due to the presence of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the water. TDS are microscopic particles that can include minerals, salts, and other contaminants from the source water like chlorine.
What are some common contaminants found in RO water?
Common contaminants found in reverse osmosis water include chlorine, lead, fluoride, bacteria, and nitrates. These contaminants can affect the taste of your RO water if it goes untreated.
What is TDS and why does it affect the taste of RO water?
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is the total amount of dissolved minerals, salts, and other impurities present in water. These can include calcium, magnesium, and other metals that contribute to the taste of your water. When Reverse Osmosis (RO) is used to purify water, it removes these TDS along with other impurities, resulting in water with a flat and slightly off-tasting flavor. To make the RO water more palatable, there are several methods you can use to improve its taste.
Is remineralization necessary for RO water?
Remineralization is not always necessary for reverse osmosis (RO) water. However, many people prefer to remineralize RO water due to the fact that it can taste and feel a bit flat without remineralization.
How do I know if the pH level of my RO water is too low?
The pH level of Reverse Osmosis (RO) water can be tested with a simple kit or test strips, which are readily available in most stores. The ideal pH range for drinking RO water is between 6.5 and 8.5; when the pH falls outside this range, the taste may be affected. If the pH of your RO water is too low, it may taste acidic or sour. If the pH level is too high, the taste may be bitter. If either of these scenarios occurs with your RO water, there are a few steps you can take to improve the taste.
Can I add sugar to RO water to improve the taste?
No, adding sugar to reverse osmosis (RO) water will not improve the taste. Sugar molecules are too large to pass through the RO membrane, meaning they cannot be effectively filtered out. Therefore, any added sugar will remain in the water and not have an effect on its taste.
Are flavored water enhancers healthy?
The safety of flavored water enhancers is still largely unknown. While some companies have been known to use natural flavorings and are certified as organic, others may contain artificial ingredients which can be potentially harmful.
Making Reverse Osmosis Water taste better is easy. You can choose to add flavorings such as fruit juices or drink mixes, or use a filtration system like activated carbon to make it more palatable. If you’re looking for a quick and inexpensive solution that still provides clean water, invest in a good quality pitcher filter. This will filter out contaminants and reduce the unpleasant taste associated with Reverse Osmosis Water. Finally, make sure to clean your RO system regularly as this will help keep unpleasant flavors away. With a few simple steps you can have great tasting Reverse Osmosis Water without sacrificing on quality or safety.
Meet Jeffrey B Roberts, your dedicated guide into the realm of water science and technology. As a hydro biologist with an insatiable curiosity, Jeffrey’s journey has been one of unraveling the mysteries of water systems and advocating for clean, safe water for all.
With an academic background steeped in the sciences, Jeffrey’s passion lies at the crossroads of science, technology, and nature. A deep fascination with plants and genetics has not only enriched their understanding of aquatic ecosystems but has also propelled them into the world of water softening solutions.
Believing that clean water is a basic human right, Jeffrey’s writing transcends the technicalities, making the intricate world of water softening accessible to all. Through their blog, they ardently share insights, tips, and breakthroughs, empowering readers to make informed decisions about their water quality.
Beyond his role as a prolific writer, Jeffrey is a respected figure in the hydronics industry education. With years of hands-on experience, they serve as an adjunct professor, nurturing the next generation of experts at the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. His involvement on the Technical Advisory Board further cements their dedication to pushing the boundaries of innovation in water technology.