WATER QUALITYIs Iron in Your Water Causing Your Hair to Change Colors?

May 10, 2022

People with light or blonde hair occasionally experience discoloration because of what’s in their water. Mineral deposits, with iron as one example, can be in hard water, well water or pools. Minerals can stay on your hair. Is iron in your water causing your hair to change colors?

Iron deposits can form and remain in hard water, well water or chlorinated pools. When the iron joins with water it triggers rust, which is what reddish spots in your hair may be. Whatever the cause of your iron-stained hair is, a few preventative procedures or natural home remedies for iron in water, or hair, can solve the problem. The natural remedies are safe. You can give one or a few of them a try to see what’s best for you.


To remove the iron or other minerals before it reaches your shower, then your hair, consider using a water softener system. Putting in a hard water softener can be for single faucets or a whole-home system. Simple water purification devices remove a substantial amount of minerals and other pollutants from water. Softening your water should decrease the iron level, giving you fewer discolorations in your hair.

Keep your hair dry. Water with high iron levels generates rust, which is discoloring your hair. If you wash your hair often in hard water, dry your hair thoroughly and soon after washing it. If the iron spends a short period of time in your hair, it’s far less likely to stain it.

You can use an ion treatment. Some hair treatment makers manufacture products for hair which is damaged or discolored due to minerals, chlorine, styling products or other reasons. Use such a treatment as instructed to remove metal, mineral or other buildups which cause stains or damage.

Removing Stains

If you’re already at the point of discolored or damaged hair, there are a few remedies you can try.

Try baking soda. It is a well-known natural cleaner that works in eliminating stains. It is entirely safe. If your hair is mildly stained, an baking soda treatment should work. Take a tablespoon or more of baking soda – more for long hair – to a normal amount of shampoo. Rub it in your hands until it’s a thin paste and wash like normal.

You can try lemon juice. The natural acid in lemon juice is sometimes effective in cleaning stains. It can remove substances in hair. Take a healthy amount of lemon juice and soak your hair in it. Let the lemon juice stay in the hair for 15 minutes or longer. This time is letting the acid work on mineral deposits and stains from other contaminants. Rinse it completely, then shampoo your hair as normal.

You can use a mix of vinegar and tartar. White vinegar is a cleaning agent. Cream of tartar plus white vinegar is more effective and safe for human skin and hair. First, rinse your hair with white vinegar. Next, take a half cup of vinegar and five tablespoons of cream of tartar, then work it into your hair. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse it, then shampoo your hair.

You can use shampoo with chelator in it. Chelator is a chemical cleaning product. If you have iron stained or other stained hair routinely, you might need a specialty shampoo such as this. Shampoo with chelator removes metal ions from hair.

How to Remove Iron

Iron in Your Water Causing Your Hair to Change
Removing iron from your water starts with knowing the type of iron present in the water and the concentration level of the iron.

Removing iron from your water starts with knowing the type of iron present in the water and the concentration level of the iron. Initially, you need to do or get an iron test of your water. You need to know the amount of iron and the type of iron present.

The next step, treating the water, depends on the concentration level you find.

Iron Level Less than 2 PPM

If the iron concentration in your water is less than two parts per million, water softener is probably the best option.

It’s likely you can remove the iron with an ion exchange water softener. The resin in the water softener will draw out the iron. Water softener has cation resin in it in salt form. This material removes minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium, from water. It will also work against iron if it’s in a low concentration.

A water softener will not work to remove iron if it is a higher level than 2 parts per million.

Iron Level at 2-3 PPM

If the concentration of the iron in your water supply is 2-3 parts per million, then a filter capable of removing iron is probably the best answer. An iron filter typically has three filters, or is called a three stage filtration system.

In a three filter system, each filter is part of the process. The first filter is a multi-later filter which is meant to produce no clogging and the right pressure. The second filter is a carbon filter and is a very effective and durable filter. The last filter filters out iron down to 0.01 ppm and other contaminants as well.

This filtering system will work for any iron level 3 ppm or less.

Iron Level Higher than 3 PPM

For iron at this concentration level, you must resort to oxidation plus filtration. Water softening or filtration alone are not enough to handle all of the iron present. In an oxidation process, iron is oxidized to make it ferric iron. Oxidation is possible through a number of different processes but the most common for iron in water are air oxidation, oxidation plus a filtering system or a chemical disinfecting method.


South End Water Filtration specializes in HALO Water Filter products including the HALO H2 Zero Whole Home Water Filter. HALO systems solve hard water problems, give your family clear, great-tasting water and are totally maintenance free. We’re just a click away to help and answer any questions. South End Plumbing and South End Water Filtration will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-486-1988 or contact us online to schedule a visit.