Eliminating Chlorine Smell from Tap Water: Why it Happens & How to Fix it

Eliminating Chlorine Smell from Tap Water: Why it Happens & How to Fix it

Ever turned on your tap only to be met with a strong smell of chlorine? It’s not just you. This is a common issue faced by many homeowners. But why does your tap water smell like a swimming pool?

The answer lies in your local water treatment process. Most water companies use chlorine to disinfect the water supply, killing harmful bacteria and viruses. However, sometimes the residual chlorine can give your tap water that distinct smell.

Key Takeaways

  • Chlorination is a globally accepted method for disinfecting water and ensuring water safety by killing harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.
  • The smell of chlorine in tap water comes from residual chlorine used in the treatment process and maintained until the water reaches your tap to prevent further contamination.
  • Higher levels of chlorine resulting in a strong smell could indicate exceeding the EPA’s allowable limit of 4 ppm, although it’s directly proportional to unsafe levels.
  • The presence of chlorine in water is generally safe for consumption, but excessive levels can cause skin, eye, and respiratory irritation and potential long-term health risks.
  • Ways to reduce or eliminate chlorine from tap water include boiling, using activated carbon filters, chemical dechlorination, prolonged standing, or investing in a trusted water filtration system.
  • Regular professional testing and consultation with healthcare professionals are recommended if there are concerns about the chlorine level or adverse reactions to tap water.

Eliminating the chlorine smell from tap water is a common concern for many households. If your water smells like chlorine, it’s often because municipal water suppliers use chlorine as a disinfectant, which, while effective at killing pathogens, can leave an unpleasant odor Quench Water explains this here. One of the easiest and most common methods to reduce this smell is through the use of activated carbon filters, which can remove chlorine and its byproducts from water, improving both taste and odor as detailed by Spencer’s TV.

Understanding Chlorine in Water Treatment

Understanding Chlorine in Water Treatment

To start unwrapping why your water might smell like a swimming pool, let’s first understand the role of chlorine in water treatment. It’s a foundational aspect of the overall process. So how does this substance end up in your tap water?

Chlorine serves as a powerful disinfectant in water treatment plants. It’s introduced into the water supply to kill off any harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic organisms that can lead to illnesses. This isn’t simply a local practice; it’s a standard, globally accepted method used to ensure water safety.

Yet, while it’s effective in eradicating waterborne diseases, it also leaves residues. These residues often lead to an unpleasant smell that’s likened to pools where chlorine is used as a disinfectant.

Don’t worry yet, though. The fact that you’re smelling it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s at harmful levels. Regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the allowed amount of chlorine in drinking water is 4 parts per million (ppm), which is considered safe for human consumption.

| Entity |

Permitted Levels
| EPA (United States) | 4 ppm |

It’s crucial to remember that not all potential substances posing risks to your health can be smelled. Therefore, if you’re concerned about the quality of your drinking water, consider getting it tested by a professional. This could provide additional peace of mind as well as ensure you’re informed of any potential threats.

In the next section, we’ll discuss further how you can handle this issue.

Reasons for Chlorine Smell in Tap Water

You’ve gathered the obvious — your tap water has a distinct smell of chlorine. This isn’t by chance. Water treatment facilities uphold the fluoride and chlorine levels on purpose, primarily to keep your water free from disease-causing microorganisms. Let’s break it down a bit to understand why your water might carry this strong smell.

Primarily, the presence of chlorine smell is indicative of the disinfection process. Water authorities use chlorine abundantly due to its potency against dangerous critters like E.coli, Giardia, and Legionella, which are averse to a chlorinated environment. Wipe out these microorganisms and you’ve just saved an entire community from potential water-borne diseases.

However, it’s not just about killing off bacteria. Water travels long distances to reach your tap. It’s all about maintaining water safety during this lengthy journey through pipes and tanks, where contamination can occur. Chlorine takes on the role of an antibacterial agent, keeping your water safe until it flows out of your faucet.

The smell, though, could also be due to high levels of chlorine. The Environmental Protection Agency allows up to 4 parts per million as an acceptable level for drinking water. Detectable chlorine smell doesn’t necessarily mean it’s harmful, but it should alert you to a possible excess. A professional water testing is always a smart move. Address any concerns about chlorine levels with your local water provider or consider using a water filter if the smell is bothersome.

Lastly, heat and time can amp up the chlorine whiff. Chlorine is a volatile compound, which explains why its smell becomes stronger in hot showers or after a tap is left running for a while. Understanding these factors helps you decode why your tap water might smell like chlorine.

Health Implications of Chlorine in Water

Chlorine has been protecting our water supplies for over a century now, but what does this mean for your health? Well, it’s not as scary as you might think.

Generally, drinking water with small amounts of chlorine doesn’t present significant health risks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the maximum allowable chlorine levels in drinking water to ensure it’s safe for consumption. As a rule, you shouldn’t worry if your water carries a slight chlorine scent. That usually signifies the consistent presence of a disinfectant to keep your water safe from potentially dangerous pathogens, such as E.coli and Legionella.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to note that exposure to exceedingly high chlorine levels can be harmful. Chlorine in large quantities is known to irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Moreover, some studies suggest potential long-term effects of consuming water with high chlorine levels. Some of these include a heightened risk for certain types of cancer and potential harm to your body’s respiratory and nervous systems.

The prime point here is balance. Ensure that your tap water maintains an EPA-regulated chlorine level between 1.0 and 4.0 milligrams per liter (mg/L). If you suspect the chlorine level in your tap water exceeds this limit, it would be prudent to arrange for professional water testing.

EPA Recommended LimitsLevelUnit
Chlorine1.0 – 4.0mg/L

While this information aims to clear some concerns, certain individuals may be more sensitive to the presence of chlorine in their water. If you or anyone in your household reacts adversely to tap water, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional on the necessary precautions to take.

Remember, you have numerous options if you wish to reduce the chlorine levels in your tap water. From installing house-wide water filters to using activated charcoal filters, taking these steps can immensely improve your water’s taste and remove the intrusive chlorine odor.

Ways to Remove Chlorine from Tap Water

Ways to Remove Chlorine from Tap Water

Smelling chlorine in tap water is a telltale sign that your water contains higher levels of chlorine than what’s acceptable. Luckily, there are several effective ways to remove chlorine from tap water and they can be categorized as follows:

Boiling Water

This age-old method of purification is viewed as one of the simplest yet effective ways to remove chlorine. Boiling water for about 15 to 20 minutes prompts the chlorine present to evaporate. Remember, don’t forget to set a timer when you start boiling your water.

Using Activated Carbon Filters

Hardly any method surpasses the efficiency of activated carbon filters in removing chlorine from tap water. a standard kitchen charcoal filter will effectively remove chlorine and provide you with better tasting water.

Chemical Dechlorination

If you’re looking forward to removing large amounts of chlorine from your water, chemical dechlorination can do the magic. This method involves adding small amounts of ascorbic acid or sodium bisulfite. It’s a quick and efficient method but remember to consult with a water treatment professional if doing it yourself.

Prolonged Standing

If you’re not in a hurry, simply filling your water receptacle and letting it sit uncovered for about 24 hours allows chlorine to evaporate naturally. This is a cheap and low-effort method to get chlorine-free water.

Investing in a Water Filtration System

If you’re looking for a permanent solution, investing in a trusted water filtration system might be your best bet. This will efficiently remove chlorine as well as any other impurities in your tap water.

Each approach has its pros and cons and it’s essential to pick what suits you best. The key here is to understand that chlorine does affect water taste and prolonged exposure may lead to health risks. Ensuring your tap water is free from excess chlorine not only guarantees good taste but, more importantly, safeguards your health.

On to the next section, we’ll talk about “Ensuring tap water safety at home” — to have a daily supply of clean, chlorine-free and safe drinking water.


You’ve now got the tools to tackle that pesky chlorine smell in your tap water. Whether it’s boiling, using activated carbon filters, or allowing your water to stand, there’s a solution that’ll fit your lifestyle. Remember, it’s not just about taste – reducing chlorine levels can be a boon for your health too. It’s time to take action and ensure your tap water is as clean and safe as it can be. So, don’t wait! Start exploring these methods today and enjoy a daily supply of fresh, chlorine-free water.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common ways to remove chlorine from tap water?

There are several methods to remove chlorine that include boiling, using activated carbon filters, prolonged standing, investing in a water filtration system, and chemical dechlorination.

Why should I remove chlorine from my tap water?

Removing excess chlorine improves the water taste and helps ensure health safety. Exposure to high levels of chlorine over a long time might have potential health risks.

Are all methods for removing chlorine equally effective?

No, not all methods are equally effective. Each has its own pros and cons. The best method depends on your individual needs and capabilities.

Is it safe to drink tap water after chlorine removal?

Once chlorine is properly removed from tap water, it is usually safe to drink. However, other contaminants might still exist. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure your water undergoes thorough filtration or purification before consumption.

What does the article recommend for ensuring tap water safety at home?

The article suggests using a water filtration system for a daily supply of clean, chlorine-free, and safe drinking water. Other methods can be used as adjuncts or alternatives depending on personal preference and situation.