Most developed countries have perfectly safe water to drink. Water treatment plants pump out abundant, safe water to every home and business.

But safe doesn’t mean enjoyable. Water treatment plants don’t care much about how hard the water is, what it tastes like, or how it makes your skin feel. That’s fine. They’re just concerned that people stay healthy.

Even if the water streaming out of the treatment plant is perfect, that can change when it gets to your house. Your water quality can suffer based on things like the quality of your pipes and how well your plumbing has been maintained.

Sometimes that just makes your water taste funky. Other times, old lead pipes can leach into your water system. Yikes! Here are a few tips to help you clean up your water.

1. Flush Your Pipes

If you haven’t used your water in a while, or if you’ve had some work done on your plumbing, the easiest way to clean up your water is to flush the system. Run your cold water for a few minutes, and you’ll see better water.

2. Clean Your Aerators

Most home faucets have an aerator attached where the water comes out. It mixes air and water as it streams out of the faucet. They make the water feel like it has more pressure and it creates a stream that splashes less than water alone.

An aerator is typically a simple device. It’s just a screen screwed onto the faucet. That screen can get filled up with gunk, sediment, or even gross bacteria. Simply cleaning out your aerators can make your water quality much better.

3. Drain Your Water Heater

Water heaters can get pretty gunky after years of use. Many experts recommend that you drain your water heater once a year. When you drain it, all that gunk will flush out, and you’ll have much cleaner water.

4. Install A Water Filter

If basic maintenance doesn’t bring your water quality up to where you want it, a water filter might do it. Most home water filters are made of activated carbon.

Activated carbon filters contain either a block of carbon or smaller pieces. When water flows through the carbon, several nasty chemicals stick to the carbon while the water keeps flowing. A good carbon filter can make our water safer and taste better, too.

There are two different kinds of water filtration systems, whole house systems and point-of-entry systems.

Point-of-Entry Systems

A point-of-entry filtration system filters water as or after it comes out of the pipes. These are the consumer water filters that you can find in every home goods store. You can buy pitchers, water bottles, and just about anything else with an attached filter. If you just want cleaner drinking water, a pitcher is a great way to go.

In-line water systems are easier to use than pitcher filters. You can install them in the line from your main plumbing to the faucet, so every drop that comes out of your tap is filtered.

But your drinking water isn’t the only place you’ll want a filter. Tap water through your shower can be terrible on your skin and cause dandruff.

There are several water filters that attach directly to your shower like the ShowerSafe Shower Filter. It simply screws into place where your shower head was, and it removes chemicals and bacteria from your shower. Unlike some filters, you don’t have to worry about losing water pressure either.

Whole-House Systems

A whole-house water filtration system runs every drop of water through a filter. That means water for washing clothes, boiling water, and taking showers. Everything.

While point-of-entry systems can be very inexpensive, these systems have to handle nearly industrial strength flow. They can cost thousands of dollars to install, run, and maintain.

5. Reverse Osmosis Water System

Most people will get water quality they want from the tips above. But, even activated carbon filters don’t get everything out of your water. If you want the purest, most clean water you can get, you need an RO system.

RO stands for reverse osmosis. It’s a series of containers that push water through finer and finer filters until it removes almost all dissolved solids. Basically, it’s one step short of distilled water.

As you can imagine, RO systems can be really expensive, especially if you want to supply your whole house with RO water. Even just a small filter can cost hundreds of dollars.

Cleaner Water Now

As long as you live in a developed nation, nearly everyone has safe water to drink. When your water smells a little, tastes funny, or you don’t like the feel on your skin, you might try one of these tips to make your water quality better.

Simple water maintenance can make a big difference, but filtration is the fastest way to much better water. If you want to improve your water quality, this is the way to do it.