What Causes Brown Water in a Clothes Washer?

Nick Davis

Your home's clothes washer uses water from the pipes leading into your home from your area’s water supply pumping station. The washer accepts cold water directly from the pipes and hot water from your home’s hot water heater.

Brown water can appear your clothes washer for a number of reasons.

Both sources of water can become soiled with debris that results in brown water filling your clothes washer. The problem may be caused by a number of reasons and can result in stained clothing.

Rusty Pipes in the Home

Flakes of rust may mix with the water flowing through your home’s pipes and make it brown. This problem is usually found in homes with older iron or other types of metal pipes that are deteriorating. Your home’s hot water tank could also be deteriorating and rusting.

Rusty Pipes in the City or County Water Supply

Rust flakes can also appear in your clothes washer’s water from rusty or deteriorating city or county water supply pipelines. The water may be even darker if your home pipes are also rusty.

Iron Deposits

Iron deposits may mix with water from your city or county water supply, leading to brown water in your clothes washer. The iron is present in the water before it enters your home’s pipes. The iron deposits appear brown in color and may also have orange or yellow elements.

Other Sediments and Minerals

Other sediments and minerals, including manganese, in your city or county water supply can cause the water your clothes washer to appear brown. The sediments may have mixed with the water supply at the pumping station, along the pipeline or as the water enters your home’s pipelines.