Why Does My Zero Water Filter Taste Like Lemon?

zerowater filter and a glass of water with lemon
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Have you ever noticed an unexpected lemon flavor in your drinking water? This is common if you’re using a ZeroWater pitcher. Many users have reported tasting a faint lemon with their filtered water, which can be pretty puzzling. But why does this happen?

In this article, we’ll explain the science behind lemon-tasting water and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

Key Takeaway
  • Lemon-tasting water is caused by the ions added to your filtered water called ‘citrate.’
  • Lemon water can be remedied by thoroughly rinsing your filter.
  • It is time to replace your filter if you still experience a lemony taste.

The Reason Why Your ZeroWater Filter Tastes Like Lemon

ZeroWater filters are the best water pitchers that help eliminate total dissolved solids and unwanted minerals in your drinking water. Many people have reported that their ZeroWater filter water tastes like lemon. 

These filters use an Ion Exchange-Filtration System, which works by exchanging positively charged particles between two substances to remove them. The exchange process removes the impurities from the water while adding harmless potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium levels.

You may be experiencing a lemony flavor in your water taste because one of the ions added back into your filtered water is citrate – a salt derived from citric acid found naturally in citrus fruits such as lemons. Citrates are essential for maintaining pH balance within your body and can help with digestion and reducing inflammation.

water from zerowater filter tastes like lemon

Things You Can Do When Your ZeroWater Filter Tastes Like Lemon

If you recently purchased a ZeroWater pitcher filter system, you may have experienced an unpleasant lemon-like taste in your water. This is not uncommon and can be easily remedied with some simple steps:

Rinse the filter

Rinse the filter to remove any residue that may have gotten trapped inside during the manufacturing process. This quick and easy fix needs to be done immediately after you open your ZeroWater filter.

Make sure that the pitcher is performing well.

Once the filter has been rinsed, fill the pitcher with water and let it sit for a few hours. If your filter is performing well, you should notice that the lemon-like taste has disappeared.

Check TDS level

Check the TDS level of your water. If it is still above 100, you must replace your filter.

Use cold tap water only.

You will need to use cold tap water only when filling the pitcher. You should not use hot or warm water as it may cause it to taste or smell like lemon.

zerowater filter and a tds

How to Replace Your ZeroWater Filter

Replacing your ZeroWater filter is essential to keeping your water free from dissolved solids. While it may seem daunting, you can easily do it with the right materials and instructions. Follow these four simple steps when your ZeroWater filter needs changing:

Disassemble pitcher

Remove the lid, flip the pitcher upside down, and remove the filter. If you have a ZeroWater pitcher with a removable lid, lift it to remove it.

Attach a new filter to the reservoir.

Then attach your new filter to the lid. Snap the filter into place, ensuring it is firmly seated in its housing.

Fill the reservoir with water.

Fill the reservoir with water, run it through it, and filter it for about 2 minutes to prime it.

Test water quality

Attach the tester to the lid of your pitcher and then run water through it for about 2 minutes. Allow the color on the tester to develop, and then read the results.

zerowater filter


The taste of lemon from ZeroWater filters is likely due to the high-grade carbon and ion exchange resin used. The activated carbon and resin are designed to reduce contaminants like chlorine, lead, and mercury. Follow the steps mentioned above to remove this lemony taste. 

It may be time for a new filter if you’re still experiencing this taste after a few weeks of usage. ZeroWater recommends replacing the filter between 3 to 6 months or after filtering 150 gallons of water.

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