5 Ways to Make Your Tap Water Taste as Good as Bottled

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Stay hydrated & save money by drinking tap water, not bottled water. Don’t like the taste? Here are 5 easy ways to make tap water taste better.

glass of tap water near sink with a lemon slice in it

Don’t you just hate the price of petrol!

At the moment, petrol is $1.13 a litre, which isn’t too bad – it’s been as high as $1.60 or so.

Hang on, petrol?

Isn’t this article about water?

Well, here’s the thing.

While we groan about paying over $1 for petrol, many of us pay $5 or more a litre for water.

It’s certainly cheaper to drink tap water than buy bottled. And there’s a lot less plastic waste ending up in landfill.

But what if you don’t like the taste of your tap water?

(I’m assuming here it’s drinkable. There are some places where the tap water is undrinkable and bottled water is unavoidable.)

Here are the 5 ways to make tap water taste better.

1. Use a Water Filter to Improve the Taste

woman pouring water from water filter jug

A basic Britta water filter is inexpensive and easy to find in your local supermarket, Big W, Kmart, Target – just about anywhere. 

In fact, ours was a wedding present if you’re ever looking for ideas, and it’s been keeping us hydrated for over a decade!

An alternative is to buy a waste filter that attaches to your sink tap.

If you normally drink bottled water, investing in a filter is one of the best money-saving tasks you can do this year. It can potentially save you hundreds of dollars.

Your basic filter doesn’t filter out everything, but I find it does remove the chlorine and metallic taste and smell of tap water. 

If you want to filter out fluoride, you will need a more robust filter like this bench-top water filter or an under-sink filter system. Both are more pricey than a simple filter jug but do remove more contaminants and impurities.

2. Invest in a Personal Water Bottle

person carrying reusable water bottle

In summer, once we’ve filtered the tap water, we pour the filtered water into empty glass bottles to keep cold in the fridge.

As far as taste goes, there is no way I could tell the difference between our filtered water and bottled water, especially once it’s cold.

For clean water on the go, a personal water bottle is a must. They make great stocking stuffer gifts.

Living in the hot Queensland climate, we rarely leave the house without water. Phone, keys, wallet, water.

I love stainless steel bottles like the Cheeki brand, but if you find the stainless steel makes your water taste like metal, then a glass water bottle or BPA-free plastic bottle are good alternatives.

Insulated bottles keep your water cool for longer, and you don’t have to worry about condensation. But if you don’t have an insulated bottle, you can wrap your water bottle in an old tea towel or buy or make a water bottle cover (I made this as a gift – great tutorial).

If you want to refill your bottle, you can get water bottles with built-in filters, so you can have great-tasting water wherever you are.

3. Infuse Your Water – 13+ Infused Water Ideas

water infused with lemon and raspberries

Plain water can get a little boring.

Instead of turning to soft drink or cordial, infusing your water can give it just the lift it needs without the sugar.

I always drink my water with a dash of apple cider vinegar. It’s supposed to be healthy, but I do it because I really like the taste. (My dentist would rather I didn’t.) A dash of lemon is a refreshing alternative.

To infuse water, add your chosen flavours to the bottom of a large jar. ‘Muddle’ them a little by giving them a little squish with the end of a wooden spoon (or anything you have at hand, really).

Top with filtered water and leave for at least 10 minutes for the flavours to develop. Or you can refrigerate overnight for a cold, full-flavoured drink.

Here are some flavour combo ideas to make water taste better:

  1. Lemon and ginger
  2. Pineapple and mint
  3. Cucumber, lime and mint
  4. Strawberry and basil (this is a surprisingly amazing combo – I love strawberry jam and pesto, no kidding!)
  5. Peaches or Nectarines and blueberries
  6. Watermelon and mint
  7. Any other fruit and mint
  8. Apple and cinnamon (try just the peels)
  9. Mango and ginger (I would try just the seed and whatever flesh is clinging to the seed)
  10. Raspberry and orange
  11. Lemon balm and ginger
  12. Cherry Lime
  13. Pomegranate

4. Boil Your Water

kettle boiling water

My mum lives in a country town, and while the water is drinkable, she does boil it before drinking. 

Boiling water can reduce the chlorine taste. Boiling water is often recommended when local authorities warn that the water supply isn’t safe to drink (follow their directions, though – sometimes even boiling it won’t make it safe). 

Assuming water is safe, but you just don’t like the taste, an alternative is to let tap water sit overnight so that the chlorine can evaporate. This is a more energy-efficient way to remove the bad taste from water.

5. Turn Plain Water into Sparkling Water

sparkling soda water with lemon

Adding a bit of fizz to your water can improve the overall taste and make it feel like you’re drinking something a bit special.

I like to drink plain soda water in a wine glass sometimes – it feels like a treat without the alcohol.

If you drink a lot of sparkling water, a Soda Stream Maker can be a good investment. One gas cylinder can make up to 60 litres of sparkling water. Add a twist of lemon or lime, and you’ve got a refreshing drink you’ll look forward to drinking.

Would you drink water from a bubbler?

I’m curious. So I’m holding an informal survey: would you drink from a public bubbler?

Many councils around Australia (like this one) are now reinstalling bubblers for public use. So if you forget to bring your bottle, you can use a bubbler, saving you money and reducing plastic waste.

I’m wondering, though, if we’ve become so concerned about germs that we’ll actually use them. What are your thoughts?

We drink bottled water for a good reason. Maybe you don’t like the taste of tap water. Or you don’t want to drink fluoride or chlorine. Maybe you just get thirsty when you’re out and about, and you don’t have an alternative. Or you live in an area that doesn’t have drinkable water. 

To switch the habit, you need to create a viable alternative first. For us, that meant investing in a filter and personal water bottles.

How do you take your water?

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  1. It is always a big issue. Where I live the water is not drinkable so we do buy the 5 gallon bottle to go on the cooler and I guess we use about 4 week during the summer. We recently purchased a filter and now use that water for cooking etc.

    It would be nice not to use BW.

  2. Hello Melissa,

    I have bought water when we have been away in places notorious for their poor water quality, but at home we use a filter jug like you have. I also have a stainless steel bottle like you do (got it at Aldi) it is a whole 1 litre and it came with a little towel so I must wrap it up like you have once the weather gets hot.

    I also put my hand up that I have drank water from the bubble tap at our Big W store. I know people can be germ phobic these days, but I don’t live in a spotless house, so am used to a few germs!! LOL

  3. Hi Clo, it’s hard when the water is terrible. I was thinking after I wrote this about people who live on tank water – they would probably have to drink bottled especially during drought season.

    Hi Kaye, I admit I buy bottled water when I travel (not that I travel much) I forgot about that. Glad to hear you don’t mind bubbers. I still haven’t decided, but I know that when I have been really thirsty, I don’t care much about taste or where the water comes from.

  4. Where I live you have to filter and boil the water because of the poor quality of water. I’m constantly storing water in the fridge and always reminding the kids to bring a bottle in the car when they go out. It so easy to just go out and buy bottle water but I always try to bring water from home to cut back on the costs. The only time a buy bottled water is if I’ve forgotten to bring out my own.

    There’s lots of bottled water out there… reverse osmosis, spring water, and ultra-light filtration and all of these added to the cost of bottling and the type of water all adds up to the cost of bottled water. They all claim to be better than each other which also adds up costs but when you think of it if you just have a good filtration system at home and use reuseable bottles from home you can really save alot and do a bit for the environment. Every little bit helps and home water is just as good:)

  5. I only drink water straight from the tap. But you only need to look at the Supermarket shelves to see that bottled water is a huge money making industry, and you hear so many people saying you are only paying for tap water anyway, and that we are all being conned by the Manufacturers.
    I use a bottle pretty similiar to yours which I won while on holiday last year so free bottle and free water for me.

  6. Try not to buy, but sometimes we are stuck out and the water bottle is empty.

    Tank water here, we need to buy in tanker of water once a year as we have bugger all storage capacity, so by the end of summer we are getting low.

    Oh I do deliberately buy some bottles over bush fire season. They are kept in the car. The bought bottles stay fresh, just in case we are ever stuck and need to drink. Also the pop top ones when squeezed can put out some flames.

  7. I only drink tap water. We’re very lucky we don’t have flouride added to our water – yet!
    I have a fridge in my car so my water always stays cool wherever I go. I would only buy bottled water if I forget or run out while away from home. Then I take the bottle home and reuse it over and over again.

  8. @ Astrid: I’m just imagining a huge blazing fire and squirting it with a little bottle of water :).

    We just got our water bill – our tap water has been privatised. Ouch. Not so free water.

  9. We live on a farm and our water comes from a well/bore which we have been told is undrinkable. I have to buy the 10L bottles which don’t last long in a family of 4 with a husband who works outside alot and me who is breastfeeding. I hate that I have to pay for it and am hoping that we are able to get a rainwater tank installed before too much longer! It is an inconvenience to me to have to buy it, but water is vital for life so it’s something I just have to budget for.

    1. That’s fair enough. Hope you get your rainwater tank soon!

  10. Most of the people choose bottled water as a healthier option. True if it is compared with soda or sweetened drinks. But bottled water is no good then tap water as it is also treated with the same chemicals. Even the bottle is not necessarily be hygienic because the come in a reusable packs. But while on the go it is still considered a better option. Take one, drink it and dispose.

  11. Our town has a bubbler in the street & me & kids have used it, nowadays I often fill up my water bottle at the gym but we do have a tap filter at home that is lovely too. I can drink our water at a push but this house had the filter tap already installed so we use it & love it.

    Good helpful blog thank you!

    1. Melissa Goodwin says:

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks. I would love a tap filter – I think they’re great! It’s good to hear there are more bubblers being installed or maintained!

  12. I drink tap water in Brisbane. No problem. I’ve been jogging in the new year. I rely on a tap half way through for my drink (on the side of a soccer club building). No problems with bubblers, I’m healthy after a life time of using them!

    1. Melissa Goodwin says:

      Hi Karen,

      That’s convenient there’s a tap to fill up half way! It’s hot jogging in Brissy at this time of the year!

  13. Hi Melissa
    Some people don’t like the taste of chlorine used to disinfect the water. The solution is even simpler, and more frugal, than using a filter. . . . just fill a jug with water and put in the fridge, by the morning the chlorine will have evaporated.

    When I used to be the operational manager of a water authority I used to organise a monthly double blind taste test of all the 9 treatment plants. in addition to out water I also included the cheapest and the most expensive bottled waters from the local supermarket.

    Generally the most expensive water rarely did better than midway in the scoring while the cheap brand was in the top 3. So 4-5 systems tap water tasted better than the $2.50 a litre stuff.

    1. Melissa Goodwin says:

      Hi Brian, that’s a great tip, thanks. I’m one of those who don’t like the taste of the chlorine. As our filter is now two years old, I’m guessing that’s how the chlorine is being removed from our water :).

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great to hear from an expert!

  14. Interesting article to hear your perspective Melissa.

    I used to be Operations Manager of a water authority and this is what I have found.

    1. Some people don’t like the chlorine taste but quite often you don’t need a filter to improve the taste, just leave jug of water in the fridge overnight and the taste will usually disappear.

    2. We used to a double blind taste test (No one knew at the time of tasting which was which) of our 9 treatments plants monthly. As a comparison we used to include two bottled waters into the procedure. I used to choose the cheapest and most expensive bottled water available.
    Generally the cheapest bottled water used to be no lower than 3 in the ranking but the most expensive water rarely ranked better than 5.

  15. Actually, the act of refrigerating cools it and suppresses the chlorine smell/taste. Refrigerating your onions also minimizes the irriatation when you cut them (though they don’t last as long).