What's brewing in this cloudy water?
What you see: A white cloud in your water glass, which gradually fades away What it is: Likely tiny air bubbles Eat or toss: Eat! Well, erm...Drink!
The story: It’s always kind of alarming when this happens, isn’t it? You get some water from a faucet and it looks like it’s contaminated with some kind of white stuff. But before you can show anyone else, the cloudiness fades away, leading you to wonder if left behind something harmful, or if any threat has been neutralized.
Fortunately for all of us water drinkers (and I do count myself in that category), this ominous white cloud is entirely harmless. What you’re seeing is air bubbles, which makes sense given how the cloud eventually shrinks, with the top area clearing up last. Air is lighter than water, so those bubbles rise just as the fizz in soda zips to the surface.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, when you see those bubbles, temperature and pressure are likely explanations. Air molecules are more likely to dissolve in water when the temperature is lower or when water is pressurized. Once that water comes out of the tap, it’s no longer pressurized and that dissolved air makes a run for the surface.
Here’s how the water in my glass evolved:
Phew! Glad we got that cleared up!