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?

  • Maybe it is something in the water itself?
    – aphoria
    Commented Jun 26, 2011 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. Commented Jun 26, 2011 at 12:24
  • 3
    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
    Commented Jun 26, 2011 at 17:20
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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. Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 17:11
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    It's almost the same bleach used for clothes. However, most laundry bleaches have other additives and scents. You want the un-adultered stuff. A minor correction. Bleach is not toxic, it's caustic. It won't poison you, but it will eat away at your insides. Chlorine compounds on the other hand, can be quite nasty. Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 13:59

4 Answers 4


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!

  • 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
    Commented May 31, 2013 at 21:43
  • I'm with @HerrBag on this one until a biochemist pipes up. Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 14:05

Clay pot in the beginning it gives out mud smell that's Wat u experienced . To remove the odour u have to clean the pot with rice washed water atleast 15 days . The water which rice was washed should be collected and poured into the pot and keep it for long time as much possible . Doing this continuously the odour goes off .

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. This doesn't sound like what the original poster was experiencing. Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 21:16

For cleaning mud vessels don't use any soap, bleach or any chemical. Clay pot absorbs them. Use wood-ash, charcol or sea salt.

  • Wood-ash, charcoal and sea salt are all chemicals, or mixtures of chemicals..
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 14:47
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    Ash or charcol got by burning wood, and salt are all natural substances. We use these things in villages to clean mud pot before and after use.
    – Sahana
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 17:23

By using clay pot to drink water you have taken excellent decision. Not only you are doing wonder to your health but also you are contributing to environment.

Also, I would like to add if you are using RO water filter they are harmful to health, so it is advisable to use candle based filter along with earthern pot for best result. (filter is nowadays required only for chemicals like chlorine and other which are now finding way into our food chain because of our reckless and unwanted usage)

Never use Soap or any kind of chemical (bleach, hydrogen peroxide, etc). Your best bet right now is buying a new clay pot (because you used soap to clean it). You can use this pot for planting purpose.

OR maybe you can experiment with what Manu said, its possible it may work because rice water has cleansing property but still I would advise buying a new one even after experiment.

Finally, people are nowadays afraid of bacteria and then use more of chemicals to kill bacteria which is counter productive.

Please search for gut bacteria and their effect on your health (including mental health like depression).

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