So you have just found out that you have high iron in your well water and are looking for ways to reduce the iron content or to remove it completely naturally.

remove iron from well water

Iron in water has an off-flavor and smell that is offputting. In addition, it leaves nasty reddish stains onto surfaces it touches including driveways and sidewalks.

So it is no surprise that you want to remove this iron from your water supply and to do it as cheaply as possible. Below I’ll go over some interesting tidbits on how iron gets into well water in the first place as well as some natural ways to remove iron from water.

The Cheapest Natural Way to Remove Iron from Well Water

Small quantities of iron can be removed with a sediment filter, carbon filter, or water softener, but the iron will rapidly block the system.

Use of An Oxidizing Agent and Filter

In this method, an oxidizing agent is added to the water through a pump. After that, the water is kept in a separate tank (called a pressure tank when used at home) for around 20 minutes to precipitate and settle the iron. Finally, water is filtered using manganese greensand or an activated carbon filter to eliminate iron.

Sediment Filters

Water may flow freely through sediment filters while solid particles are kept out of the plumbing system. Sediment filters are great for keeping dirt, silt, and cloudiness out of your drinking water. Make sure your sediment filter has a micron rating small enough to catch the iron. This solution is good for people who have low iron levels because it is completely in ferric form. If your well contains ferrous iron in addition to ferric iron, a sediment filter will not fix your stained toilets and metallic-smelling water.

Ion-Exchange Filter

Low quantities of ferrous iron may be easily removed from water using ion-exchange water softeners. Iron, like calcium and magnesium ions, is a positively charged cation that will be attracted to the spherical anion resin beads and exchanged for a sodium ion. However, if the water contains ferric iron, a sediment pre-filter will be required to keep your water softener from being clogged with iron slugs.

Therefore, depending on the kind of iron, a whole house water filter designed to remove iron or a water softening system may typically be used to remove it. Salt is used in water softeners to remove iron and other minerals from the water. An extra rust remover can be added to the water softener system for severe iron issues.

Purchase a cheap water test kit and test the iron, pH, manganese, and hardness levels in your well’s water. You’ll need to figure out if you have soluble (clear water) or insoluble (red water) iron before you can figure out how to cure it.

Here are a few more different ways of removing iron and other minerals:

  • Chlorination

Because chlorine converts dissolved iron to oxidized iron that precipitates, if continuous chlorination is employed to eliminate iron bacteria, a filter may be required to remove oxidized iron.

  • Ozonation

The iron in the water is oxidized by ozone to generate insoluble metal oxides or elemental sulfur. Post-filtration, usually with activated carbon, manganese dioxide, or other filter media, is used to remove the insoluble particles.

  • Ion exchange

Ion exchange is commonly used in chemical and petrochemical operations, as well as oil refineries, to remove iron from water. A very acidic cation exchange resin, such as AmberSepTM G26 H Resin, is used in fluids with low quantities of dissolved salts. 

  • Aeration

Aeration is the process of bringing water and air into proximity to remove dissolved gases (such as carbon dioxide) and oxidize dissolved metals like iron.

  • Manganese greensand filter

Groundwater is filtered using a manganese greensand filter, which removes iron, manganese, and arsenic. Manganese greensand is a medium that has been specifically treated to remove iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide.

A reverse osmosis water filtration system is also highly recommended in removing iron and other minerals from your drinking water.

How Does Iron Get Into Well Water?

How Does Iron Get Into Well-Water?

One of the most common metals in the world is iron. It exists anywhere you check, especially in large bodies of freshwater. Lakes and rivers, for example, typically contain a lot of iron. But it is wells or underground water supplies where iron is more prevalent, as these places work as natural deposits for the metal.

Other iron sources include industrial waste, refining, and mining, and metal corrosion. Because iron is so prevalent in water bodies, in many objects, and in all kinds of places, it is not a surprise it manages to get into the water.

Additionally, the majority of iron in your well water comes from the earth’s crust seeping in. Iron may also be dissolved into the water when rain or snow falls on the ground surface and water seeps through iron-bearing soil and rock. Iron can also be produced through the corrosion of iron or steel well casings or water pipelines in rare situations.

Iron is also found in groundwater as a result of its natural occurrence in subsurface rock formations and precipitation water that infiltrates via these formations. Some of the iron dissolves and collects in aquifers, which serve as a source of groundwater, as the water travels through the rocks.

Finally, another reason for the presence of iron in your drinking water is due to exposure to corroded, rusty piping. Brown specks in your water and orange stains on your drains are caused by rusted iron pipes and fittings.

Over time, corrosion of the iron casings in your well would occur. Exposure to oxygen and water causes iron to oxidize and degrade. This is since extended exposure to the environment causes iron to break down and rust. Replacement of the pipes that go to your well might fix this problem. If your well is old and in need of repair, you may be able to solve your iron problems by drilling a new one.

Iron Contamination

iron contamination

Iron is a substance that can cause problems in water sources. Iron is rarely found in amounts more than 10 parts per million or 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L) in drinking water. Water can assume a reddish-brown tint with as little as 0.3 mg/l of iron.

Because it combines with oxygen, generates insoluble compounds, and falls out of the water, dissolved iron is rarely found in surface water such as rivers and lakes. Iron, on the other hand, is the most frequently dissolved component in groundwater such as wells and springs.

Although it is not thought to cause health concerns in people, its presence in drinkable water is unpleasant because of the foul odors it emits, its rusty taste and color, how it feels on skin and hair, and how it stains clothing.

Furthermore, the presence of dissolved iron promotes the growth of iron bacteria, which results in the formation of dark-colored slime layers on the inside of a system’s pipes. The slime is subsequently discharged into the network as a result of water flow irregularities, causing dirt build-up and plumbing damage.

Iron Water Health Effects

An excessive iron level in the water, on the other hand, might harm your hair and skin. Iron and other minerals are commonly found in high concentrations in well water. These impurities will cause your hair to darken in color, become dry and brittle, and have an unpleasant metallic odor is absorbed by your hair.

Light-colored hair will become orange from too much iron, while black hair will darken with red highlights. Furthermore, oxidized iron affects the hair in the same way as moderate peroxide does. It may cause your hair to feel excessively dry, and it may even affect the visual texture of your hair.

When it comes to your skin, iron may harm skin cells, causing wrinkles. Furthermore, dissolved elements like iron and magnesium generate excessive soap scum residue, blocking your pores and leaving you with unsightly skin issues like acne or eczema.

Like I mentioned before, iron doesn’t have any hazardous properties and only affects the taste and smell.

In small quantities, iron is actually helpful. Our bodies need iron to transport oxygen, maintain healthy blood cell count, avoid lead toxicity, enhance skin’s semblance, and even keep nails and hair growth. They are important to help produce hemoglobin in red blood cells, a component that helps in oxygen transportation in bodies.

But once it starts to accumulate in large quantities, where water gets a yellowish color, changes the smell and even the taste, iron can get dangerous. Without a whole house water filter for iron, you can suffer a wide array of health issues, including:

  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Skin damage
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Diabetes
  • Cirrhosis
  • Heart failure

As you can see, reducing the amount of iron in your water may not only help you change its taste and odor but also prevent potentially life-threatening health conditions.

Not only that, the bad odor and smell of water-containing iron can result in less water consumption and poor quality in food, which causes poor appetite. So in a way, high iron content in water can also make a person weak.

But when it comes to drinking water with iron, how much is too much?

Drinking iron-fortified water can be good for your health. Excess iron in drinking water, on the other hand, may have harmful consequences. An overload of iron can lead to diabetes, hemochromatosis, stomach issues, and nausea. It also has the potential to harm the heart, pancreas, and heart.

While a foul taste isn’t a huge problem when it comes to water pollution, it may certainly detract from the attraction of food and drink. If the water isn’t treated properly, iron present in your drinking water would have a metallic taste, and this would also affect the taste of the cooked food.

An unpleasant taste in the water you drink or cook with is never a good omen. While typical quantities of iron in drinking water have no detrimental effects on human health or well-being, excessive amounts can be harmful. If you see any of the indicators of high iron levels in your drinking water, have your water tested as soon as possible.


Finally, inhalation of iron-chromium could cause lung cancer.

According to the U.S Environmental protection company, a safe amount of iron is under 0.3 mg/L. This won’t lead to discoloration on surfaces.

Types of Organic Iron Found in Well-Water

Ferric Iron

Ferric Iron Crystals

Although the consequences of too much iron in water are minor, they can cost you money and effort. Ferric iron, on the other hand, has the advantage of being insoluble. When your water oxidizes, ferric iron forms naturally. If the color of your well or drinking water is reddish or orange, it means it contains a lot of ferric iron. It may block your pipes, showerheads, and fixtures over time since it is a real particle.

Ferrous Iron

In water, ferrous iron is a soluble iron that does not show up until it is exposed to the environment. It turns ferrous after exposure and creates stains. It has staining qualities and influences the flavor of the water, even though it is not evident right away. Deep wells with little sunshine typically have water with a high ferrous iron concentration.

Bacterial Iron

bacterial iron

Small living creatures called iron bacteria can be found in soil, shallow groundwater, and surface waterways. These bacteria mix iron (or manganese) and oxygen to generate rust deposits, bacterial cells, and a slimy substance that clings to good pipes, pumps, and plumbing fittings.

Some treatment methods may help to get rid of or decrease iron bacteria. It might be tough and costly to get rid of iron bacteria. Treatment methods are sometimes only partially successful. To identify the best strategy for your case, speak with a qualified well contractor or a water treatment specialist.

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