Rotten Egg Odor in My Refrigerator's Water

Finding the source of a rotten-egg smell in refrigerator's water may eliminate the problem. Not only is this odor unappetizing, but it may pose a health and safety risk. There are several possible causes. Explore all options before calling for professional assistance.

Young woman leaning against fridge, drinking glass of water, side view
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Several factors cause a rotten-egg smell.

Well Water

The source of the rotten-egg smell in a refrigerator's water may be the home's water supply. Homes that have private or community wells may have hydrogen sulfide or sulfur water. This naturally occurring substance gives off the rotten-egg smell. If the refrigerator's filter is not designed to eliminate this issue, the water from the spout may smell of rotten eggs. There is no health risk at low doses. Higher doses not only make the water smell worse, but may be unsafe as well. If the well is the issue, have the water tested. Installing a holding tank or water softener lessens or eliminates the smell.

Refrigerator Filter Failure

Many refrigerators have a water filtering system. Before it comes out of the spout, the water goes through a filter eliminating particles and sulfur smells. If this filter becomes old or fails for other reasons, the rotten-egg smell may be present in the water. This issue may require immediate attention, as a failing filter could mean harmful bacteria or other substances are being allowed through. If a family relies on the filtering system in the refrigerator for drinking water, contact a professional immediately to replace or fix the filtering system. Have the water tested for safety from the refrigerator tap.

Bacteria

Specific bacteria cause a rotten-egg smell. When these bacteria find their way into the water lines in the refrigerator, a rotten-egg smell results. The bacterial source may be unknown, but the result is the same. Have the water tested from the refrigerator tap to confirm the issue. The lines may need to be flushed or replaced.

Mold and Mildew

When specific spores of mold or mildew bloom, a rotten-egg smell results. Water lines both in the refrigerator and in the water lines leading up to the unit may host to the spores. Old or compromised water pipes may be more susceptible, but any dark, damp place may host mold or mildew. Have the drinking water tested for spores. Cleaning or replacement of the pipes and lines may be necessary.