Iron and manganese can lead to sinks and baths becoming stained and could also affect laundry, especially whites. Iron leaves a brown colour reminiscent of rust while manganese causes a dark staining. The two substances are often found in water together and both are known to clog pipes over time. Also, iron usually emits the smell of hydrogen sulphide, which is as pungent as that of rotten eggs, as well as affecting the taste of water, tea and coffee. Indeed, it can even cause whiskey to go black. Iron and manganese can usually be discovered by adding a sterilising fluid such as Milton which will cause it to oxidise and subsequently discolouring the water.
Before oxidisation, iron and manganese are said to be ‘in solution’, i.e. the water is perfectly clear as it flows from the cold tap. However, it can be oxidised by adding a high-pH substance like Milton or boiling the water. If lime is present in the water, the scale will appear brown.
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