We’ve all woken up in the middle of the night, parched, desperately searching for some water to quench our thirst.
And we’ve all suffered the sudden realisation, as we’re grasping in the dark, that we forgot to bring up a glass with us when we went to bed.
You’re left with just one question: do you go all the way to the kitchen or get a quick swig out of the tap in the bathroom?
And I think we all know the answer to that one. But apparently, we really need to stop doing it.
Yep, according to research from Scottish Water, in partnership with WaterSafe, the safety of the water you drink could depend on the room which you drink it in, and even how old your house is.
One of the main problems is that in older homes the water you get out of your toilet tap will no doubt be decidedly less fresh than its kitchen compatriot.
Drink it in. Credit: Trevor Chriss/Alamy
This is due to the fact that bathroom water is often stored in a tank at the top of the house, which means there is a considerable risk of contamination from birds and other common household pests.
The best way of avoiding an upset stomach or any other health issues is to fill your glass from the fresh mains water, which comes straight out of your kitchen tap.
But that’s not the only problem facing the bathroom tap water guzzlers out there.
In UK properties before 1970, lead was commonly used to make the piping connected to bathroom taps. Over time, this poisonous metal dissolves into the water supply, potentially causing a range of grizzly symptoms.
According to the NHS Inform, in adults, lead poisoning could induce feelings of fatigue, headaches, and memory loss. So, if you are already feeling a little tender, the morning after the night before, that glass of bathroom water might not be your best bet.
After 1970, lead pipes started to be replaced with plastic and copper alternatives which are far safer, but it’s worth checking your own property.
The bathroom tap may not be the best place to get your dose of H2O. Credit: JinOdin/Alamy
Speaking back in 2018, WaterSafe spokesperson Julie Spinks said it was vital to replace lead piping.
She said: “The plumbing in homes is the responsibility of the homeowner, so we are urging all households to spend a few minutes checking if they have lead pipes.
“To safeguard health we would recommend replacing lead pipes that supply drinking water to bathrooms and kitchens with copper or plastic ones.”
But if you were unaware of the potential danger of bathroom tap water, you’re not alone, there are plenty of people out there who didn’t have a clue.
Writing on Reddit, one person asked: “Got a glass last night before bed and my Mrs looked at me like I was absolutely insane. Surely it’s the same water as what you would get in the kitchen?”
Breaking the news to them, one user explained: “In newer houses it is the same as the kitchen. The folk wisdom not to drink from bathroom taps comes from older plumbing systems where the upstairs cold water would come from a header tank in the loft along with potential nasties that may have collected there.”
Some food for thought the next time you get a bedtime thirst, eh?