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We use clay pots to store drinking water in summers. Clay pots keep the water cool.

The water lasts for 2 days and then I wash the pot with soap and fill the water again. There is no tight lid for the pot, just a normal steel plate is used to cover its mouth.

Lately I have felt some kind of odor in the water there.

Any hints?

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Maybe it is something in the water itself? –  aphoria Jun 26 '11 at 12:12
    
No, its not because we use the filtered water. And when we drink water directly from the filter, it doesn't have any smell. –  TheIndependentAquarius Jun 26 '11 at 12:24
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Soap on porous clay sounds like a good way to make your water taste like... soap. Perhaps consider disinfecting with a bleach solution instead? –  Shog9 Jun 26 '11 at 17:20
    
@Shog9 Thanks :) What is a bleach solution? Please enlighten. –  TheIndependentAquarius Jun 27 '11 at 5:20
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Bleach (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleach) is a chemical cleaner that is good at killing bacteria and other microbes. A bleach solution would be small amount of bleach dissolved in some water. If the odor is due to microbes living in the clay pot, then cleaning with a bleach solution may help to remove the odor. Note however that bleach is toxic in large amounts - as noted in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleach#Dilution , make sure to dilute it if you use it for drinking water vessels. –  Shimon Rura Jun 27 '11 at 17:11
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Your best bet is to use a solution to kill the bacteria that might be living in the pot. This happens with steel / aluminum water containers as well, in my experience, so never fear!

According to the official Clorox blog:

It is good your daycare is using bleach for disinfecting, and now you can pass along some information to help them use it correctly! The ¼ cup per gallon dilution they use is more standard as a bleach pre-soak for bleachable fabrics that are heavily soiled or for fabrics that need to be disinfected. It is actually not strong enough to disinfect hard surfaces. Instead, to disinfect furniture and hard, non-porous toys, the correct dilution is ¾ Clorox® Regular-Bleach per gallon of water. You are also correct to note that they should be measuring a full gallon of water that the ¾ cup is then added to, a 1:21 dilution. Items need to have contact with this disinfecting solution for 5 minutes, and then should be rinsed thoroughly and allowed to air dry.

However, the blog also indicates that porous surfaces (I assume your clay is porous) are NOT safe for bleach!

For mopping floors (ceramic tile, vinyl, linoleum—not marble or other porous surfaces that aren’t safe for bleach), mix up a solution of ¾ cup bleach added to 1 gallon of water. For disinfecting, wipe or wash the floor, then apply the bleach solution and let stand for 5 minutes. Rinse well and air dry. Also, be sure the area is well ventilated while you are working.

Instead, I would use hydrogen peroxide. It's inexpensive, readily available at drugstores, and it's a weak acid. The pharmacist should be able to help you dilute it properly, if necessary, though it likely won't be; drugstore hydrogen peroxide is a 3% dilution, and it breaks down in sunlight anyway. In addition, it is much stronger when mixed with vinegar, which most folks have in their homes anyway. Remember: ACID TO WATER!

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That was helpful, thanks, I'll follow up soon. –  TheIndependentAquarius Jul 26 '11 at 15:13
    
I'm not 100% behind the conclusion that using bleach on a clay pot is unsafe, just because its porous. Marble is "unsafe" because its porous AND its not color-fast. –  HerrBag May 31 '13 at 21:43
    
I'm with @HerrBag on this one until a biochemist pipes up. –  Chris Cudmore Jul 25 '13 at 14:05
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