Tannins in Water: What are tannins & how to remove them

tannins in water - yellow water, brown water

Tannins in Water: What are tannins and water treatment for tannins in water


If you’re wondering what on earth a tannin is, you’re not alone. Tannins are not something new but are a recent addition to water treatment technology.

If you have yellow or brown water or annoying staining on laundry and/or toilet fixtures, tannins may be the cause.

In today’s post I’m going to cover what tannins are plus recommend some water filtration systems to help you tackle this water issue.

What are tannins?

Tannin is most frequently caused by rotting organic matter in the water table. It’s also caused by low hanging branches, dead leaves and trees in a water source like a lake or river. Tannin is basically the color left in water from the leaching of color from organic matter. (Think tea: tannins give black tea it’s distinctive color in fact). The most common identifier of tannins is a yellow or brown color in the water, frequently causes staining, especially on clothing.

Help, I have yellow or brown water! (…Is it tannin or iron?)

Tannin is often mistaken for iron since it has common features. Unlike iron (which can be filtered out) tannin is bleached out. To test whether your problem is tannin or iron, here is a simple experiment.

  1. Take a litre of water in a clear container
  2. Place 3 drops of chlorine in the litre of water
  3. Let it settle out.

If the bleach clears the water in a few minutes then the color is due to tannins.

If the water goes darker or find particles in the water that wasn’t there before, the color is caused by iron.

Are tannins in water harmful?

Put simply, no. Although yellow or brown water is not ascetically pleasing, tannins do not actually pose a serious health issue. If tannins are present in the water, it could mean your water source is affected by surface water. It also suggests that if tannins can travel easily from surface water to your water source, bacteria can easily travel through as well. Bottom line: test for bacteria in your water as well.

How to remove tannins in water?

For many decades an efficient treatment for tannin has escaped water treatment specialists. However, there is good news as today there are several ways to easily remove tannins in your drinking water. Like most water issues, of course it depends on the tannin levels in your water but here are some effective water treatment methods:

Think you may have tannins in your drinking water? Please contact one of our specialists on 1-800-817-6306 to discuss your water treatment options.

About Premiere Sales

Premiere Sales is family business that has been helping customers since 1997. We carry a wide range of water products including water filtration systems, replacement water filters, drinking water faucets, parts and accessories, and more. Our friendly, knowledgeable water filtration experts can answer any of your water treatment questions. We have speedy processing with most orders shipped the same day. And to top it all off, our prices are simply the best. Clean, great tasting water is just a phone call away – call us on 1 (800) 817-6306 right now!