2 Major Side Effects Of Hot Water – Think Before You Drink

Yes, drinking hot water may not be as great for you as it is made out to be!

Medically reviewed by Jess WhartonJess Wharton, RN
By Ravi Teja TadimallaRavi Teja Tadimalla, Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health  • 

The side effects of drinking hot water may make you think twice about using it. Water is a necessity. You can drink chilled or warm water as an alternative to room temperature water.
Unfortunately, drinking hot water does not appear to be very beneficial from a scientific standpoint. It can lead to serious health issues.

This article explains why drinking hot water may be harmful and how to avoid it. Read on.

What Are The Side Effects Of Drinking Hot Water?

1. Hot Water Can Scald

Drinking hot water can result in side effects like swollen larynx

Image: Shutterstock

Drinking hot water can cause internal scalding. Barbara Kovalenko, Nutrition Consultant, says, “Consuming hot liquids, including hot water, can potentially cause injury to the internal linings of the mouth, throat, and esophagus, especially if the water is excessively hot. It is recommended to drink hot water at a temperature that is comfortable to the touch and not scalding.”

In one case, a 61-year-old man who drank hot water (estimated at 90o C) experienced laryngopharynx edema. This blocked a part of his respiratory tract, and his breathing deteriorated (1).

Laryngeal burning injuries can occur with the consumption of excessive hot foods, including hot water. The corresponding edema peaks within 6 to 24 hours after the injury.

When hot liquids (like hot water) come in contact with the skin, the cells are damaged by the heat. Extreme heat can also cause extensive damage to the tissue (2).

If the water is boiling or simmering, it can even cause third-degree burns. These can destroy the entire depth of the skin if the water spills over you. It may cause further damage internally (2).

protip_icon Quick Tip
Insulated and covered cups are effective at lowering the risk of spilling hot water, and can go a long way in preventing burns.

2. May Have More Contaminants

Drinking water may contain metal contaminants which may pose a risk to your health

Image: Shutterstock

There is little research on this aspect. But hot tap water might contain contaminants. Hot water systems like boilers or tanks have metallic parts. These can corrode and contaminate the water they contain. Hot water can dissolve these contaminants faster than cold water.

Though using hot water from a water filter could be a safer option, there is risk involved. Hot water dissolves the internal material much faster than cold water. This can cause problems in the long run.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Check the water you use for drinking for biological contamination (bacteria, virus, etc.), especially if you use regular tap water. If it’s contaminated, you should boil it and let it cool before drinking.

Drinking hot water can cause unexpected harm – all of which is physical. If you have the habit of drinking hot water, you must take proper care.

What Precautions Should You Take?

Ensure that you wait for the water to cool before you drink it

Image: Shutterstock

  • First, do not boil the water. There is no need to do this. You will end up waiting for a long before it cools down, and you can drink it. Boiling can also alter the taste of the water.
  • Instead, you can warm water in a pot. Once you see steam coming off the water, you know it is at the right temperature. You can also use a tea kettle for this purpose.
  • Keep your skin away from the steam. Hot steam can cause a thermal burn.
  • Pour the water into a mug or teacup. Remember to pour the water away, and not towards you. Hold the kettle with a thick towel for added protection.
  • Remember not to overfill the mug. The water may overflow and cause burns.
  • Wait for the water to cool down a bit before you can drink it.
  • Do not use your finger to check the temperature. Your finger can withstand higher temperatures than your mouth. Wait for a while and start with a slow sip.
  • If the temperature is bearable, you can continue sipping. If not, wait for a while.

Infographic: Why You Should Avoid Drinking Hot Water

In spite of its effectiveness as a home remedy, hot water has its own set of challenges. The definition of “hot” is hazy, as the ideal water temperature varies from individual to individual. Your body cannot cope with the resulting consequences should you drink water that is too hot.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about the adverse effects of hot drinking water and what you can do to avoid them.

why you should avoid drinking hot water (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Download Infographic in PDF version

Hot water is preferred in winter and rainy seasons, as it offers relief from the cold. But the side effects of drinking hot water should also be considered. While internal scalding is one of the major side effects of drinking hot water, it also leads to laryngopharynx edema and respiratory tract blockage. Furthermore, hot tap water may contain high amounts of contaminants, which may exert a negative effect on health. However, steaming the water in a pot instead of boiling it and sipping it after it cools down can help reduce the risk of side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is drinking hot water cause an imbalance of water concentration in the body?

Kovalenko says, “Drinking hot water alone is unlikely to cause an imbalance of water concentration in the body, but excessive fluid intake of any temperature can dilute the electrolyte levels in the body, leading to an imbalance. It is important to maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance by drinking a balanced amount of water and electrolyte-rich fluids.”

Is it okay to drink hot water before bed?

Yes, it is okay to drink hot water before bed. Just ensure it is warm and not scalding hot, or you may otherwise burn your throat.

Can hot water cause pimples?

There is no evidence suggesting that drinking hot or warm water causes pimples. However, showering or washing the face with hot water may strip the skin of its natural oils. This triggers the skin to overproduce sebum, possibly leading to pimples.

Key Takeaways

  • Excess consumption of hot water may cause laryngeal burns.
  • Hot water contains metals that may cause issues in the long run.
  • Keep your finger away from the steam coming off the boiling water.
  • Always let the boiling water cool down before drinking it.


  1. An adult case of…” Acute Medicine & Surgery, US National Library of Medicine.
  2. Thresholds for thermal damage to normal tissues: An update”, National Library of Medicine.
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