Whether you’re using your hose to fill up your kiddie pool or water your vegetable garden, you might find yourself wondering: what in the world could this hose be leaching into my water?

And you’re right to wonder because most conventional garden hoses that you’d pick up from big box stores like Walmart or Home Depot contain toxic chemicals.

So in this article, you’ll learn about why typical garden hoses are problematic, what to look for in safer options, and our recommended brands.

This article may contain affiliate links, which means we might earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. We only make recommendations that are genuine and meet our standards.

Are Garden Hoses Toxic?

The short answer is: yes, most typical garden hoses contain a list of potentially toxic materials. These include things like:

In fact, back in 2016, The Ecology Center in Ann Arbor tested 32 garden hoses for toxins like lead, bromine, antimony, and phthalates.

These chemicals all come with their own potential problems, from cancer to fertility issues, and more. Although they’re pretty darn difficult to avoid completely, most of us want to do what we can to at least reduce our exposure (and that of our kids, pets, and other loved ones).

According to the results of the above study, hoses made out of polyurethane (PU) instead of PVC and labeled “Drinking Water Safe” contained a much lower amount of toxic chemicals.

Your Best Bet: Go With a Hose That’s Drinking Water Safe AND Phthalate-Free

Here are a few things to look for in a safer garden hose for your home:

  • Polyurethane (PU), instead of PVC
  • Meet FDA and NSF standards for drinking water safety
  • Lead-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Bisphenol-free (that includes BPA, BPS, and others)
  • UV-stabilized (to prevent excess breakdown and leaching of chemicals when sitting in the sun)
  • Made in the USA
  • Meets California Prop 65 standards

As you can see in the Ecology Center study, the hoses that were labeled as “Drinking Water Safe” were free from elevated levels of lead, bromine, and antimony, but about 30% of them still contained phthalates.

Therefore, your best bet is to choose a garden hose that is BOTH “Drinking Water Safe” AND “phthalate-free.”

The Best Non-Toxic Garden Hoses

Now that you know what we’re looking for, here are our picks for the safest non-toxic garden hoses:


This is one of the most popular brands for safe, non-toxic garden hoses. Key features include:

  • Made from polyurethane (PU)
  • Meet FDA, EPA, and NSF standards for drinking water safety
  • Lead-free
  • Free from BPA and other endocrine disruptors
  • Made in the USA
  • Resistant to kinking
  • Come with a 5-year warranty

Plus, Water Right has a wide variety of options, too. They carry hoses that come in various lengths and widths, soaker hoses, and coil hoses. And fun colors, too!

Prices range from $50 to $115.

Shop WaterRight Hoses on Gardeners.com
Buy at Pottery Barn
Buy at Williams Sonoma
Visit WaterRight’s website


non toxic garden hose from terrain

Available in a few different colors (peach, blue/green, and gray) and lengths (5 feet or 100 feet), this lightweight drinking water safe garden hose from Terrain is:

  • Made out of polyurethane
  • Free from BPA and phthalates
  • Lead-free
  • Made in the USA
  • Drinking water safe

The price ranges from $50 to $138.

Shop Terrain

Gilmour AquaArmor

drinking water safe pvc free garden hose from gilmour

Gilmour is a hose brand you can find at big box stores like Home Depot Not all of their hoses are PVC-free and/or drinking water safe, but they do have a couple of options that are.

Their AquaArmor line, for example, is made from TPE, another kind of plastic PVC alternative that is free from lead and phthalates.

The AquaArmor hose comes in a 50′ and 100′ version and is lighter weight than most conventional hoses so it’s easier to move around your yard or garden. These hoses are also made in the USA and come with a lifetime warranty.

Buy a Gilmour AquaArmor hose at: Sunday (non-toxic lawn care) | Home Depot | Target

What About a Non-Toxic Garden Hose Nozzle?

Although the material of your hose nozzle isn’t AS important simply due to the size, it’s still something to consider. You’ll want to look for many of the same labels that you did for your hose, like “lead-free,” “phthalate-free,” and “drinking water safe.”

These are pretty hard to find, to be honest, but we did find one right here!

Again, these nozzles probably aren’t going to be 100% perfect, but the goal here is just to do what you can!

A Couple More Tips for Reducing Toxin Exposure from Garden Hoses

No matter what kind of hose you decide on, here are a couple last tips for reducing your exposure to potential toxins through your garden hose:

  • Don’t drink or use water that’s been sitting in the hose. Let the water run through the hose for a couple of minutes before taking a drink, filling a pool, or watering your garden.
  • Don’t let the hose sit in the sun for too long. When it’s not in use, put it in the garage, shed, or at the very least, in a shady spot.

Here are some related guides you might also find helpful for outdoor fun in the sun:

non-toxic garden hoses

More FAQs About Garden Hoses

Are Rubber Garden Hoses Safe?

Synthetic rubber hoses come with many of the same problems that PVC/plastic ones do, so we do not recommend them. Natural rubber hoses, on the other hand, are generally a safer option (if you can find one!).

Are Stainless Steel Garden Hoses Safe?

A stainless steel garden hose is less likely to include things like phthalates (although the lining could still include these chemicals), is less likely to break down in the sunlight, and is probably going to be generally more durable. However, the problem with stainless steel garden hoses is that they’re more likely to contain toxic lead and heavy metals.

We don’t recommend drinking from a stainless steel garden hose unless it is explicitly “Drinking Water Safe” and meets Prop 65 standards for lead safety.

Are Garden Hoses BPA-Free?

Most garden hoses are not BPA-free. Therefore, we recommend choosing one that is explicitly labeled as free of BPA and phthalates.

Do All Garden Hoses Contain Lead?

Many conventional garden hoses on the market contain lead. This is why we recommend purchasing a garden hose that is Prop 65 compliant and labeled as “Drinking Water Safe” according to EPA, NSF, and/or FDA standards.

Is a PVC Garden Hose Safe?

No. PVC can leach toxic chemicals, which is why we recommend choosing a polyurethane (PU) hose instead.

Can Dogs Drink From the Garden Hose?

When exposed to the toxins commonly found in garden hoses, pets are put at risk for many of the same health problems that humans are. For this reason, we recommend using one of the non-toxic hoses above not just for your human family members, but also for your furry ones, too.


If you or your kids are going to be swimming in the water from your hose, watering your vegetable garden with it, and/or drinking your hose water at all, we definitely recommend investing in a high-quality, drinking water safe garden hose.

This can help reduce exposure to toxic chemicals like PVC, phthalates, lead, and other heavy metals.

To get more non-toxic living guides (and other stuff!) delivered to your inbox once a week, sign up for Filtered Fridays.

About Abbie

Abbie Davidson is the Creator & Editor of The Filtery. With almost a decade of experience in sustainability, she researches and writes content with the aim of helping people minimize environmental toxins in an in-depth yet accessible way.

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  1. I need to buy two 50′ garden hoses and want to select hoses that are PFAS-free. I cannot find a guide to PFAS-free hoses online. Do you know of any tests that have been done? Thank you.

    1. Hi Tracy, unfortunately, I haven’t seen any testing on PFAS and garden hoses to date. It’s possible that manufacturers actually don’t intentionally add PFAS to garden hoses because the rubber and/or plastic is itself non-porous. (PFAS are more often added to things like fabrics and paper in order to make a porous surface more water/oil resistant.) But I’m not really sure… I will keep you posted if I find anything about this!

        1. Hi Jack,
          The ones listed here are basically the only ones we’ve been able to find so far, but we’ll do another thorough check next spring to see if we can find any more options that are more affordable!

  2. I’ve come across several hoses that say they are drinking water safe, BPA free and phthalate free, NSF certified, FDA approved hose materials (as in they make ALL of these claims), yet there is a Prop 65 warning. One company said that it’s because they do fall within the safe lead limits of the 2014 federal safe water drinking act but Prop 65 still requires the warning if it contains ANY levels of a harmful chemical. But I read that Prop 65 is for significant levels of chemicals. Do you think these companies may be confused or aren’t being truthful? Or is it true that they could have a Prop 65 warning with safe low levels of lead?

    1. Hi Sue,
      That’s a tough one because *technically* there isn’t really a “safe” level of lead; there are just allowable levels. The Prop 65 level is actually pretty low. That’s why you’ll see Prop 65 labels even on healthy plant-based foods sometimes, because the lead that the plants absorb from the soil put those foods above the daily limits set by CA. Sometimes, companies even add a Prop 65 label to protect themselves EVEN IF they’re not actually sure if their product exposes the consumer to lead amounts above the daily limit… Which obviously isn’t very helpful to consumers. My guess would be that the company rep you spoke to was a little bit confused because CA does not require a warning if there is ANY lead at all (but again, the limit is quite low, which is maybe why they’re confused). I would go with one of the brands above if you can because they are lead-free and should not come with a Prop 65 label. Otherwise, just make the best choice you can! It’s really hard to COMPLETELY avoid Prop 65 labels in every single product you buy.