What Is TDS In Water And How Do You Measure It

Water is one of the highly adored solvents that has the ability to dissolve and absorb molecules from a wide variety of substances. The total dissolved solids (TDS) level in a volume of water is the number of dissolved particles in that amount of water. Organic or inorganic total dissolved solids might be found in solution.

It is important to understand your water's total dissolved solids (TDS) level and which total dissolved solids are present in order to get a picture of your overall water quality. You will learn about the many forms of total dissolved solids, how to measure them, and how to minimize the total dissolved solids in your water in the sections that follow.

Continue reading to the end of this article to discover from the water experts what total dissolved solids (TDS) is, how to measure it, and how to guarantee that your drinking water is safe, clean, and delicious with every sip.

What Is TDS In Water

Total dissolved solids (TDS) are the sum of all organic and inorganic chemicals found in drinking water. TDS is usually measured in parts per million (ppm).

The total dissolved solids present in water are one of the most important contributors to the formation of particles and sediments in drinking water, which contribute to the color, odor, and flavor of water, as well as serve as a general indication of water quality in general.

TDS is a measure of everything dissolved in water that is not a molecule of H2O, and it is used to determine the quality of water. Because water is a solvent, when it comes into contact with a soluble substance, the particles of the soluble material are absorbed into the water, resulting in the formation of total dissolved solids.

Two Types Of Total Dissolved Solids In Water

There are two major types of substances that are found in your drinking water. They are

  • Organic substance

  • Inorganic substance

The table below shows the substances according to the class they belong in.

Organic Substances in Drinking Water

Inorganic Substances in Drinking Water


  1. Algae

  2. Bacteria

  3. Fungi

  4. Hair

  5. Pesticides

  6. Herbicides

  7. Fertilizers

  8. Disinfectants

  9. Pharmaceuticals


  1. Arsenic

  2. Lead

  3. Mercury

  4. Chlorine

  5. Sodium

  6. Calcium

  7. Potassium

  8. Magnesium

  9. Fluoride

What Are The Sources Of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)?

Total dissolved solids can be found in a variety of environments, both natural and man-made. Spring water, lakes, rivers, plants, and soil are all natural sources of dissolved sodium chloride (TDS).

In the case of a natural spring, for example, as water travels underground, it takes minerals from the surrounding rocks, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

The consequences of human activity, on the other hand, might result in the formation of total dissolved solids in water. Agriculture runoff may contain pesticides and herbicides, lead may be present in plumbing pipes that have been abandoned, and chlorine may be present in water treatment facilities.

TDS can even be added to water on purpose. Bottled mineral water found in the grocery store may have minerals added to it to make it taste and smell better, which is why people buy it.

The table below clearly show the arrangement of the sources of TDS

The Natural/Organic Sources of TDS:

The Human Activity Sources of TDS:


  • Rivers

  • Springs

  • Lakes

  • Soil

  • Plants


  • Sewage

  • Run-off from urban and rural agricultural activities

  • Industrial drainage

  • Plants for water treatment

  • Water is distributed by hardware or pipe.

The Noticeable Effects of Dissolved Solids in Water

A lot of different things cause high levels of TDS in municipal and well water supplies, such as:

  • runoff from storms.

  • runoff from agriculture.

  • sodium ete

The EPA's National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations say that all water sources should include less than 500 mg/L (500 ppm) of TDS to minimize problems with taste, odor, and color.

However, these problems may occur at much lower levels. According to the Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines, TDS levels of more than 500 mg/L cause severe scaling in water pipelines, water heaters, boilers, and appliances.

TDS can manifest itself in the form of discolouration in water or through the following symptoms:

  • Appearance of clouds and turbidity

  • It tastes salty, bitter, or metallic.

  • Corrosion-prone pipes or fittings

  • Short life span for water appliances

The Impact of TDS on plants

Total dissolved solids (TDS) will play a significant role in supplying nutrients to your plants and flowers if you are growing plants, vegetables, or flowers in hydroponics.

Potassium and nitrates are two elements that frequently create elevated TDS levels in water, both of which are beneficial to roses. Aim for 1000–1100 parts per million in flowers and 900–1000 parts per million in vegetables, according to the USDA.

When it comes to watering crops, it's crucial to understand the different forms of dissolved particles. If there are harmful ions available, the plant will be able to take them up and use them.


How is Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) measured?

Total dissolved solids (TDS) in your water are measured by measuring a volume of water using the unit milligrams per liter (mg/L), which is also known as parts per million (ppm).

According to the Environmental Protection Agency's secondary drinking water general rules, the recommended maximum level of total dissolved solids (TDS) in your drinking water is 500 parts per million (ppm).

TDS levels of more than 1000 parts per million (ppm) are considered dangerous. If the level is greater than 2000 parts per million (ppm), it is possible that a filter system may be unable to effectively remove TDS from water.

Total dissolved solids (TDS) may be measured in water using a TDS meter, which is the most straightforward method. TDS is measured in parts per million (ppm), which indicates that out of one million particles, 100 are dissolved ions and the remaining 999,900 are water molecules, as measured by a TDS meter.

This would be considered a low total dissolved solid level. In contrast, a TDS meter does not identify the kinds of TDS that are present in the water, which is ultimately the most crucial information to know about the quality of your water.

A home water test kit or a laboratory water analysis is thus advised to determine exactly what forms of TDS are present in your water. In addition, your water provider must test for and keep records of water quality, which they will make available to you if you ask.

Water TDS Chart Table

Measuring Range



Less than 50-250 parts per million (ppm)

Low mineral content

Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc are deficient.

Between 300-500 parts per million (ppm)

Ideal level

This amount of TDS in drinking water is considered to be the sweet spot. The water is most likely mineral-rich and does not have a flat flavor to it.

At 600-900 parts per million (ppm),

Not so good

Think about installing a reverse osmosis system to filter and remove TDS.

A range of 1000–2000 parts per million (ppm)

Very bad

Drinking water with this amount of TDS is not advised.

Above 2000 parts per million (ppm)



A total dissolved solids (TDS) level of more than 2000 parts per million (ppm) is considered dangerous, and home filters are incapable of filtering this amount of pollution.

Using A Reverse Osmosis System To Measure TDS.

For those who have a Reverse Osmosis System, you may use the following method to compute the percent rejection of TDS and to evaluate the overall performance of your RO system.

Step 1.. Submerging the tester's probes into a glass of tap water allows you to determine the total dissolved solids (TDS) of raw feed water. Make a note of the outcomes.

Step 2. Fill a glass halfway with RO water (from a RO faucet) and submerge the tester's probes into the water to determine the total dissolved solids (TDS) content. Make a note of the outcomes.

Step 3. Calculate the percent rejection by applying the following formula: % rejection = % rejection

Consider the following example: TDS of RO = 20 parts per million (ppm[(260-20)/260] x 100 = [240/260] x 100 (.923) x 100 = 92.3

Please keep in mind that if your RO system is new or if the membrane has been replaced, you should not test the first tank of RO water. You will get a false result when you use your new water test kit since the first tank will be filled with sanitizer and carbon fines from your new filters, so be careful while using it.

What Is The Purpose Of Measuring Total Dissolved Solids?

Total dissolved solids (TDS) can have an impact on the quality of your water, your health, your home plumbing system, and even your daily activities like cooking and cleaning.

TDS (total dissolved solids) may be measured in water to have a better understanding of how water quality impacts your daily life.

So, you will be able to make an informed decision about how to solve your water quality problem and choose the best filtration system for your home.Below are the common reasons for measuring your TDS.

1. The Smell And Flavor

Tap water containing a high proportion of total dissolved solids (TDS) can have a bitter taste and a foul odor due to the presence of dissolved solids.

The concentration of total dissolved solids in your water will increase as the concentration of total dissolved solids increases.

A reverse osmosis system as well as a ceramic water filter are both advised for improving the flavor and smell of bitter tap water, respectively.

2. Physical And Mental Well-Being

High TDS water is not always harmful to drink, but some chemicals, such as lead and copper, can be harmful to one's health when consumed in large quantities.

Excessive lead exposure, for example, can result in harm to the brain and neurological system, whereas excessive amounts of copper exposure can result in nausea.

The manufacturer says that heavy metals should be filtered out with a reverse osmosis system or a water distiller.

3. Keeping The Filters In Good Condition

Despite the fact that water filtration systems are an excellent method of reducing total dissolved solids, they are susceptible to regular wear and tear.

TDS testing on a regular basis will help you determine whether or not your filter system is functioning correctly and whether or not it requires maintenance.

4. Plumbing And Mechanical Equipment

Water that has high concentrations of dissolved calcium and magnesium is referred to as "hard water," and it can result in high total dissolved solids (TDS) levels.

When calcium and magnesium salts dissolve, they congregate in pipes and cause scale accumulation, resulting in costly pipe repairs and a 30 percent or greater reduction in the life of your appliances.

Use of a water softener is recommended to remove calcium and magnesium from the water, which can aid in the prevention of scale formation.

5.Preparing Food

When TDS levels are below 1000 parts per million (ppm), they are not harmful to your health. However, cooking with high TDS water might alter the flavor of your meal.

Consider the following scenario: if your water contains a high concentration of chlorine, you may notice that your pasta acquires an unpleasant flavor from the boiling water. When it comes to removing chlorine from water, a carbon filter is an excellent solution.


How to Lower Water Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Certain water treatment systems are efficient techniques for reducing or removing TDS from water, particularly when the TDS level is 500 parts per million or greater.

There are many different types of filtration systems that may be used based on the kind of TDS in your water, but reverse osmosis systems, water distillers, and deionization are comprehensive systems that can lower the vast majority of total dissolved solids in water.

Using a Reverse Osmosis System (RO)

A Reverse Osmosis (RO) System is one of the most effective filters available for removing pollutants from water. It works by forcing unfiltered water through a semipermeable membrane with the use of pressure. The membrane has small holes in it that keep things like total dissolved solids from getting through, but clean water can get through to the other side.

Using Water Distillation

Using distillation as a water treatment technology, water is cleansed in the same way that it is purified naturally: by evaporating in the atmosphere.

When water distillers transform water into steam, they are able to remove total dissolved solids and other impurities from the water since they are unable to change into steam in the same way that water can. Once the water has returned to its liquid state, it is free of contaminants.

Using Deionization

Deionization systems remove total dissolved solids through ion exchange, which is accomplished by the use of resins that regulate the electrical charge of ions. Water ions take the place of charged ions derived from total dissolved solids in the solution. Because the water made by deionization cartridges is so clean, they are also called high purity filters.

What Is A Good Total Dissolved Solids In Water?

A good total dissolved solids level in water is between 50 parts per million (ppm) and 1,000 parts per million (ppm). TDS is most commonly measured in parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter of water (mg/L), with the former being the more common unit.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is in charge of drinking water standards in the United States, has designated total dissolved solids (TDS) as a secondary standard, which means it is a voluntarily adopted guideline.

In contrast to many dangerous compounds for which legal criteria have been established in the United States, TDS, along with other pollutants that have an impact on aesthetic, cosmetic, and technical aspects, only has a well regulated guideline.

What Does Total Dissolved Solids In Water Mean?

The term "total dissolved solids" refers to the quantity of minerals, metals, organic matter, and salts dissolved in a certain volume of water, expressed in mg/L. It has a lot to do with the quality and purity of the water, especially in water purification systems where it is a big deal.

Total dissolved solids can be suspended in a variety of ways, including:

  • Microgranular

  • Molecular

  • Ionized (colloidal sol)

Total dissolved solids levels have an effect on everything that lives in, drinks, or uses water. Thus, it must be monitored to ensure the purity of drinking water and the functioning of pipelines, valves, and other industrial equipment.


What Causes High TDS In Water?

High TDS levels are frequently caused by salt, chlorides, and potassium, which have little to no influence on human health in the near term. Other harmful substances, however, like lead, arsenic, and nitrate, can also cause a surge in TDS levels.

If a water system's TDS values are more than 1,000 parts per million, the water isn't safe for humans to drink.

The EPA recommends a maximum TDS content of 500 parts per million (ppm) for drinking water. However, many water sources contain TDS levels that are above this limit. Even if the water contains beneficial minerals, excessive TDS levels can make it taste bitter, metallic, or salty, as well as make it look and smell terrible.

Where Does Tds Come From?

TDS in drinking water comes from a variety of sources, including natural sources, sewage, urban runoff, industrial waste, chemicals used in the water treatment process, and the type of pipe or hardware used to carry the water, i.e., the plumbing.

Mineral springs, carbonate deposits, salt deposits, and sea water intrusion have all been linked to higher TDS levels in the United States.

Salts used for road de-icing, anti-skid compounds, drinking water treatment chemicals, rainfall and agricultural runoff, as well as point and nonpoint wastewater discharges, have also been linked to higher TDS levels.

Is High TDS In Water Harmful?

Yes, water with high total dissolved solids (TDS) levels, of above 1000 parts per million (ppm), is regarded as inappropriate for human consumption because it contains certain chemicals, such as lead or copper, that can be harmful to human health.

High levels of TDS are generated by the presence of poisonous ions such as potassium, chloride, and sodium in high quantities, as well as the presence of potassium, chloride, and sodium in large quantities. It is also unpleasant to consume since it may have a salty, metallic, or bitter flavor.

Low amounts of TDS, such as 100 parts per million (ppm), may have a flat or diluted flavor to them, making them unappealing.

What Happens If We Drink High TDS Water?

The higher the TDS level, the less safe the water is to drink. This can cause nausea, lung irritation, rashes, vomiting, dizziness, and more.

There are many health problems that come from long-term exposure to high-turbidity water, like cancer, liver failure, neurological diseases like Alzheimer's, lowered immunity, and birth defects in babies born with abnormalities in the way they were born or how they were born.

Several studies have said that drinking water with low total dissolved solids (TDS) may cause minerals to get out of healthy tissues in the body.

Can You Drink Zero TDS Water?

Yes, you can drink water with zero (0%) TDS. Based on what we know now, there is no scientific evidence that proves that drinking water with a low TDS level will or won't have bad effects on human health.

Although there is a lot of field experience that supports the assumption that drinking such water does not have any negative consequences, there is also no evidence to back this claim.

There is no known published experience that proves that consumption of low TDS water has not been proven to have any long-term health benefits or effects.

How Do I Reduce TDS in My Drinking Water?

The simple method to reduce TDS in your drinking water is installing a Reverse Osmosis system. Using a RO water purifier to lower the amount of TDS in drinking water might be the most effective method.

Using a tiny membrane with minuscule holes, RO decreases TDS by pushing water across the membrane, which removes even the tiniest of particles. Atoms smaller than 0.0001 microns in size are the only ones that can pass through. This results in the purification of water to its purest form.