India's rich cultural heritage and diverse culinary offerings have long been a focal point of global tourism. However, despite its allure as a travel destination, concerns over the safety of tap water in the country persist. Drinking water sourced from taps in India contains contaminants that render it unsafe for human consumption. This post answers some of the common questions about drinking the water in India.

Is it safe to drink tap water in India?

No. It is widely known that tap water in India often contains contaminants that can cause health issues for travelers. The water may carry bacteria, viruses, and pollutants particularly in regions where it is left untreated. As a result, it is generally recommended that people avoid drinking tap water in India.

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What happens if you drink tap water in India?

Drinking tap water in India can lead to various health issues, including stomach discomfort, diarrhea, vomiting, hepatitis, cholera, or typhoid. Travelers are at a high risk of getting sick due to bacteria, viruses, and pollutants in the water.

How can I not get sick in India?

To reduce the chances of getting sick while traveling in India, you can take the following steps: 

  • Use a portable water purifier bottle or stick to sealed bottled water to prevent consuming contaminated water. Water-to-Go water purifier bottles filter viruses, bacteria, parasites, chemicals and heavy metals from India tap water and give you safe water anywhere you roam in India.
  • Avoid ice cubes made from tap water since they may contain harmful bacteria.  
  • Choose cooked foods and eel or wash fruits and vegetables with purified water to remove dirt or bacteria before consuming them. 
  • Maintain good hygiene by washing your hands frequently. 
  • If you accidentally consume tap water, seek medical advice immediately to prevent potential health complications.
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Can you brush your teeth with tap water in India? Not recommended. Use bottled or purified water when brushing teeth to avoid accidental ingestion of contaminants.

Is it safe to shower in India? Showering with tap water is generally safe, but avoid swallowing water while bathing to minimize the risk of illness.

What should I do if I accidentally drink water in India? If you accidentally consume tap water, consider seeking medical advice, especially if you experience any symptoms of illness.

Can you wash your face with tap water in India? Washing your face with tap water is generally safe, but avoid getting water in your mouth.

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Do locals drink the water in India? Many locals in urban areas rely on bottled or purified water for drinking to avoid health risks associated with tap water.

Is hotel water safe in India? Most reputable hotels in India provide bottled or filtered water for guests, which is safe for drinking.

Is ice safe in India? Ice made from tap water may carry contaminants, so it's best to avoid it and opt for beverages without ice.

What is safe for Americans to eat in India? Stick to freshly cooked hot meals from clean and reputable establishments to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.

In conclusion, travelers are advised to exercise caution when consuming tap water in India due to potential health risks. Take precautions and utilize proper water purification methods to ensure their safety during your visit.


Readers of this blog can get a 10% discount on Water-to-Go bottles. Use coupon code “INDIA10” at checkout.


For additional information:

  1. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)The NIEHS states that investing in reliable water purification methods is crucial for ensuring safe drinking water, especially in regions with inconsistent water quality, like India.
  2. Water Quality Association (WQA)The WQA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the quality of water consumers use.
Written by Lalaine Altar

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