Help & Advice

Why does my water have a rubber, plastic, disinfectant or TCP taste or smell?

A taste or smell of rubber, plastic, disinfectant or TCP is usually caused by common household plumbing arrangments or appliances.


Most dishwashers and washing machines are now connected directly to the mains water supply but are sometimes not installed correctly.

All connections should include a single check valve so that water within the flexible hoses of the dishwasher or washing machine, cannot return to the mains supply and reach the kitchen tap.

If it does not have a check valve you are likely to get a rubber, plastic, disinfectant or TCP taste and odour in your tap water.

Flexible hoses

Flexible hoses can also deteriorate over time and release traces of chemicals that can cause 'chemical' type tastes and odours that are particularly noticeable with hot drinks.

Fitting a single check valve, which are available from DIY stores, will prevent this problem.


If you notice unusual 'medicinal' or 'plastic' tastes only in hot drinks this can be due to the seal that separates the kettle's heating element from the water. This is particularly noticeable in new kettles.

To confirm whether the kettle is the problem, try making a hot drink with water boiled in a saucepan and compare the taste with one made from the kettle. If the taste has gone away then the cause is likely to be your kettle.

If you are still worried about the taste or smell of your drinking water please contact us.

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