Ask a Question forum: What could be causing a stinky garden hose?

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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Sep 16, 2017 10:21 PM CST
I have a garden hose that emits a foul odor when I turn on the water. The smell is like a rank sewer. It only lasts for less than a minute. Once it's flushed out, it stops, so something happens to the water inside when it has been sitting. It's worse when the day has been sunny and hot, like it has been.

My only guess is the odor is caused by the same kind of (harmless) bacteria that causes a foul odor in old hot water heaters, only much stronger. But how or why are they in this garden hose? I have an identical one from the same manufacturer that doesn't do this at all. I switched locations to see if maybe it was something in that particular outdoor faucet, but that wasn't it, it still stunk.

Thumb of 2017-09-17/Brinybay/079d4e

Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Sep 16, 2017 11:54 PM CST
Strange. So I went hunting around. Here is one tidbit and I will search for more. I had this years ago, so was curious.
No idea if this will be useful but here it is.
https://www.plbg.com/forum/rea...

Good luck with this.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Sep 17, 2017 12:00 AM CST
One more! http://www.ccwa.us/frequently-...
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Sep 17, 2017 6:30 AM CST
Remember drinking out of garden hose as a kid or even adult ?
Now ! They say to not drink out of garden hose !๐Ÿ˜ฎ! They grow germs and bacteria.
MY OHH MY ! How did we survive growing up.
๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Sep 17, 2017 5:06 PM CST
lauriebasler said:One more! http://www.ccwa.us/frequently-...


Why does my water smell like rotten eggs or rotting materials?

This is caused by a couple of things:
Sulfate reducing bacteria in the hot water heater. These are non-harmful bacteria that can grow in extreme temperatures. They are even found in some hot springs. These bacteria take sulfate and change it into hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell). Remedy this by turning the water heater all the way up for 24 hours and then flush it and return the hot water heater to its normal temperature. Caution: Be extremely careful of scalding water during the 24-hour period. This water will burn very quickly. Extra caution should be used around children.

Bad smells can come up from drains and be mistaken for being in the water. Remedy this by checking to see if it is actually the water. Do this by filling a clean glass with the water and then take it away from the sink and smell it. If there is no smell, it is the drain and a licensed, professional plumber should be contacted. .


It's in the water, but only in that particular hose and not coming from the plumbing. I've filled water cans before flushing the hose out (waste of water, IMO) and I could smell the stink as I carried the can around. It's still a mystery why it's only in that hose. Other hoses, even the identical one, don't do that.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Sep 18, 2017 12:39 AM CST
I think I would give up on that hose and just move on. Do you use the hose every day. Water does not stink on its own in only one day. Of course, I am a bit crazy when it comes to smells. It would really annoy me. Good luck. Hope it vanishes with the fall.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Sep 18, 2017 6:04 AM CST
I guess you could try pouring diluted bleach through it.
odd.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Sep 18, 2017 9:14 AM CST
lauriebasler said:I think I would give up on that hose and just move on. Do you use the hose every day. Water does not stink on its own in only one day. Of course, I am a bit crazy when it comes to smells. It would really annoy me. Good luck. Hope it vanishes with the fall.


It's a very nice, long hose only a few years old that will reach around to water all the plants in the back, one side and even the front if I have to, but I have another hose (it's twin) on the other side for that. The stink is brief and although strong, I'm not too bothered by it. My curious nature is what motivated me to ask about it.

Name: J.R. Baca
Pueblo West Co. ( High Dessert (Zone 6a)
josebaca
Sep 18, 2017 12:16 PM CST
Between the spigot and end of your hose there is a low spot where water collects and stagnates. Even if you were to keep it drained the bacteria, like rust NEVER sleeps, but it isn't harmful to your soil ( might even be good for it! )
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Sep 18, 2017 1:37 PM CST
josebaca said: Between the spigot and end of your hose there is a low spot where water collects and stagnates. Even if you were to keep it drained the bacteria, like rust NEVER sleeps, but it isn't harmful to your soil ( might even be good for it! )


Kinda what I figured. As long as it's harmless, which I think I already knew because I was watering w/o flushing, and it was really ripe at times.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 18, 2017 2:50 PM CST
Greg, there's probably a section of your hose that has something growing in there and it 'infects' the water each time it sits there for a while.

You can probably tolerate it for the rest of the growing season now, but when you go to put the hose away for winter, I would empty it out, then fill it up with a reasonably strong bleach solution. Then hang it up with the two ends at the top so that the water stays in the hose. Should kill off the 'infection' or algae or whatever it is, over the winter and it will be good to go next spring. Be sure to flush the bleachy water out of that hose before you use it on your plants though. As Jose said, the bacteria is probably not harmful at all, but the bleach might be.

I had a gecko get inside a hose and die one time, and it did take quite a while for his 'aroma' to rinse out. I just flushed with weak bleach solution and that did the trick.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." โ€“Winston Churchill
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Sep 19, 2017 6:24 AM CST
Gotcha. I understand. Finding a good hose that is the right length for your needs and not unpleasant to handle and wind would be very hard to part with.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Sep 19, 2017 8:35 AM CST
lauriebasler said:Gotcha. I understand. Finding a good hose that is the right length for your needs and not unpleasant to handle and wind would be very hard to part with.


I have a 4 outlet attachment to my backyard spigot. 3 are for hoses and 1 is for drainage. I don't ever leave my hoses filled. When the sun hits them, the water expands.

The drainage connection is to a bucket. I spread the water around. How that helps, I'm not sure, but I sure never get that "old water" smell...

And doing the draining each time assures that the hose water never backs up into the house water which CAN be a serious health issue...

Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Sep 20, 2017 11:18 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:Greg, there's probably a section of your hose that has something growing in there and it 'infects' the water each time it sits there for a while.

You can probably tolerate it for the rest of the growing season now, but when you go to put the hose away for winter, I would empty it out, then fill it up with a reasonably strong bleach solution. Then hang it up with the two ends at the top so that the water stays in the hose. Should kill off the 'infection' or algae or whatever it is, over the winter and it will be good to go next spring. Be sure to flush the bleachy water out of that hose before you use it on your plants though. As Jose said, the bacteria is probably not harmful at all, but the bleach might be.

I had a gecko get inside a hose and die one time, and it did take quite a while for his 'aroma' to rinse out. I just flushed with weak bleach solution and that did the trick.


It never occurred to me that something may have crawled in there and died. Only thing that comes to mind is a very small rodent or maybe a snake. I know what dead animals smell like, it isn't the same smell, it's like I said earlier, a rank sewage type of smell. When I think about it, it would have been impossible for a critter to get in, since the hose is kept on the faucet with a watering attachment on the other end.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Oct 14, 2017 4:55 PM CST
@Brinbay: Did you ever learn what was going on with a mystery smell coming from a the hose. I am still wondering about it. Smiling
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Oct 14, 2017 10:41 PM CST
lauriebasler said:@Brinbay: Did you ever learn what was going on with a mystery smell coming from a the hose. I am still wondering about it. Smiling


I don't know the cause, but I got rid of it with the bleach solution. The lot our house sits on has a steady downward slope from curb to back fence. I stretched the hose out and using a funnel, poured several cups of bleach into the upper end, then went down to the lower end and waited for it to come out. Then I hooked it up to the faucet and flushed it out, no more stink. I did the same with the roll-up hose caddy it was attached to.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Image
lauriebasler
Nov 1, 2017 9:06 PM CST
You know, that is probably just a wise practice for us all. I am glad it is gone for you. Happy fall.

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