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Removing Sulfur Smell from a Well Water System

Well water can be the best water you have ever tasted, but sometimes it can have a strong, unpleasant sulfur odor. This is a guide about removing sulfur smell from a well water system.

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August 17, 2010 Flag
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For the past three years, my clothes have smelled of a sulfuric type smell. I've (along with my mother) attempted to remove the smell using the popular solutions: vinegar, baking soda, Smellywasher, etc. None of it has worked, ever, at removing the smell although the vinegar solution has made my clothes smell great out of the machine. We've moved into three different apartments over these past few years, so I'm not sure if sulfuric water is the problem (or ever was).

I do know that I heard people say I smelled "gassy" and I do smell something sulfuric at random times. It's in all of my clothes, because people frequently have to breathe "away" or cover their noses. It's been a self-esteem killer and I barely have the ability to look people in the eye.

I bathe at night and in the morning, am a very clean person who washes his hands about a dozen times a day, brush teeth 4-6x a day (after each meal). I'm not being very "informative", but is there any hope whatsoever of removing the smell considering the big two (vinegar + baking soda) didn't work in helping people be around me.

My work requires me to meet with random people (clients) and help them out, and it kills me inside (and makes me nervous, causing me to stutter, turn red, etc.) when they have to cover their noses or breathe away from me, or worse yet, when they get angry. I don't blame them, I just want to get the smell out.

I truly appreciate any help I receive because its ruining my life (already has) to the point where I socialize with only a small group of friends (who swear they don't smell anything, but friends are supposed to say that). I have gained a bunch of weight, and seem depressed (I can't be motivated for anything).

By godsgift2dagame from Champaign, IL

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August 21, 20100 found this helpful
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I'm sorry to hear that you are having a hard time with this. It is a mystery indeed. Have you tried changing detergents? Perhaps you could go to a laundromat and see if you still have the problem there. When I have really smelly clothes, I add about a cup of vinegar to the washing machine right after I put the clothes in. Have you tried fabric softeners to see if they help? Or maybe you could spray Febreze on the clothes right before you put them on. Or maybe you can buy the stuff used to soak dirty cloth diapers in (not sure what the name is). Good Luck!

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January 25, 20150 found this helpful
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None of that is going to help and throwing out your clothes etc is nuts. It's a chemical problem that is either in your water itself or from your water heater. Just search how to remove sulfur from your water and does it smell the same whether hot or cold (water) Lastly, take your clothes somewhere else to wash until you solve it (sometimes easy -just some bleach will slove it, but not in your washer!) Resolve to solve it, not feel bad and not let this common water problem affect your life!

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Anonymous Flag
November 10, 20150 found this helpful

Well, these are old posts except for a prior reply - there is a genetic disorder that causes an enzyme deficiency - because of which a person cannot break down certain chemicals - this disorder is extremely rare, which is probably why no one above has heard of it - but it will cause a person's body to put off these type of odors. Research it and find out what foods you cannot eat, that is foods that your body cannot break down a specific ingredient (just read about it last night) - I understand one of the foods is broccoli.

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November 10, 20150 found this helpful

Extemely rare genetic condition Trimethylaminuria that causes this smell - your body to not be able to produce an enzyme that breaks down certain foods, like broccoli, resulting in this embarrassing odor.

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Anonymous Flag
April 14, 20160 found this helpful

It took a lot of tries but All detergent counteracts the smell of silver on the laundry

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November 1, 2014 Flag
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I live in Kalanki, Nepal. I have my own house. My well water was fine a couple of months ago. But now it smells really bad. When I smell it, I feel like vomiting. What should I do?

By Neermal

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November 2, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

You need to get in touch with Nirdhan Utthan Bank Limited in your country and ask for a small loan to get a water filter for your well.

See if you can talk to General Manager Mr. Prakash Raj Sharma or get a message to him that you need a small loan for a filter for your well because you have bad water.

Good luck!

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Anonymous Flag
January 11, 20160 found this helpful

Have someone put Clorox down your well.

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April 14, 2013 Flag
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I just purchased a rental property and the well water has a strong sulphur smell. My concern is that the house is old and the septic system is within 10 yards of well. Could the septic have compromised the well?

By Vito L.

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April 16, 20130 found this helpful
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Hi - do I understand you correctly - you have purchased a house that you intend to rent out? If that is the case then you will be the landlord.

I believe you should should have your hot and cold water tested just to be sure of what you are dealing with. Many stores have kits you can buy to use to collect water and mail to a testing lab. Most counties have a testing lab also. Not sure of the cost but well worth it for the information you receive.

Many older wells may not be very deep but may still have good water. Sulfur smell is still common in older wells and does not mean there is something wrong with the water. I have some rural property that has a very deep, rather new well, that still has some slight sulfur smell. People who live with it soon grow accustomed to the smell but visitors notice it right away.

Many people say it smells like a water treatment plant and well it might as sulfur is a cleansing agent.

Have your water tested and then find out what is the best course to pursue and then decide how much money you will need to spend to change it (lots!).

Good luck and post back on your progress.

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April 16, 20130 found this helpful

Is the sulfur smell present when running the cold water tap, or just the hot? If present when cold water is running, there probably is a problem with the well pump, and isn't contamination from the septic tank. Trust me, the odor would be different and much worse than a sulfur smell.

A problem with the well pump is your landlord's responsibility. Don't be afraid to threaten to contact the Health Department if the landlord balks at sorting the problem.

If the smell is only present when running hot water, though, then the problem is with the hot water heater, most likely the accumulation of minerals in the tank around the immersion element. It needs to be properly flushed by a professional, and again, this is your landlord's responsibility.

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April 16, 20130 found this helpful

Ask the neighbors if they have the same problem (Good neighbors will admit it if they have the problem). They probably do. Investigate a water treatment/water softener system for the property.

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April 16, 20130 found this helpful

My brother has this same problem. When we visit you almost vomit when brushing your teeth because of the smell. He now pours about 1 cup of bleach into the well head and it takes care of the problem. After testing for the safety of your water, try this. You might even ask your well "carer" about solutions.

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June 2, 2015 Flag
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I live in an apartment with non filtered well water. The landlord says the water just hit a sulphur patch, but it is safe to drink. It smells like rotten eggs hot or cold. It tints everything and has a yellow color to it at times. I have small children and I believe it is giving us stomach issues. We buy drinking water. Is there a way to boil my tap water to make it safe for drinking again?

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June 3, 20150 found this helpful
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The site below explains what happens when sulphur is introduced into drinking water. Some drinkers may experience diarrhea, especially infants.

You certainly have a reason to complain about the sulphur stink in your water as it wasn't a problem before and there is no way to know just how long the problem will last. The site further explains:

Sulfur-containing water can be treated with chlorine to remove the sulfur. Chlorinated bleach can be added to water, and the hydrogen sulfide gas will react with the chlorine and settle out as yellow particles, which can be mechanically filtered out of the water.

This action should be performed by a professional water treatment service to ensure the water you drink is sulphur free. I hope your landlord will fix the problem and that you do not have to move to find better water.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/1 ... 9-health-effects-of-sulfur-in-water/

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July 26, 2014 Flag
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We live in Florida and have well water. The sulfur in the water is destroying all the piping in the house and our clothes. Is there are way to treat this? Thank you.

By Robin W

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September 30, 20140 found this helpful
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Hello, I also live in Florida and HAD the same problem! My water softener cured the problem but it was almost due for a service (500$) and I was going through 7$ a week in salt! After referring to my water operator books I learned that sodium hypo chloride is what is used to cure the problem in industrial plants, so why couldn't I do the same at my house! I installed a 8gpd cl2 pump wired to my well pressure switch and mixed pool chlorine 1/4 with water! I no longer have the issue and it cost me about 250$ to install and costs about 1$ a week in cl2.

All that is needed is weekly testing to make sure that you stay with in safe drinking water cl2 levels (.01-2.5 ppm) and your good to go! I run mine at 0.5 ppm just remember, it takes 7ppm sodium hypo chloride to eat 1ppm suffer! I am a certified operator 8 years in the field! Hope this helped!

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July 18, 2008 Flag
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Our house is currently on a well system. We have sulfur in our water, which gives it a rotten egg smell. At this time, we have a system from Eco Water that uses food-grade hydrogen peroxide to reduce the sulfur in the water. This system was in the house when we bought it 3 plus years ago.

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September 30, 2015 Flag
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I have one well with an apartment and a house sharing it. The water in the apartment is good with no odors. The water in the house smells of rotten eggs. Any suggestions? They both share the same pump as well.

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September 30, 20150 found this helpful

Appears there is no easy answer and there can be many variables in the problem. A plumber with well water experience may be able to help.

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