Chlorine is a common water disinfectant – it neutralizes potentially harmful bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
However, high chlorine levels in your drinking water have been associated with many health effects, including breast and bladder cancer, miscarriages, and nervous system problems.
We’ve prepared a list of six most effective methods to consider when struggling with how to remove chlorine from tap water.
What Are Considered Safe Chlorine Levels?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it is safe to drink water containing up to 4 mg chlorine per liter.
Chlorine reacts with natural organic matter present in the water to form total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), common byproducts of chlorine disinfection.
THMs are considered carcinogenic and environmental pollutants.
Drinking water with high amounts of chlorine accounts for about 17% of bladder cancer cases.
Women suffering from breast cancer generally have about 50-60% higher amounts of chlorination byproducts in some of their fat tissue than those with no breast cancer.
Nervous system problems associated with drinking water with high amounts of chlorine for a prolonged period are common among infants and younger children. Pregnant women can also experience such effects.
How to Remove Chlorine From Tap Water
The filtration method can be achieved through various systems, such as under-sink water filters and reverse osmosis (RO).
Under-sink water filters provide the quickest and simple filtration system – the system is generally under constant pressure.
They are a more convenient way of getting very clean water right close to your kitchen sink, and do not demand additional installation space.
RO systems use a permeable membrane to remove chlorine and contaminants from water.
The contaminants will be left behind as the water passes through the membrane.
These systems also soften hard water to provide clean, safe, and quality drinking water.
To maintain optimal performance of your filtration system, ensure to replace the filter regularly.
Before buying an undersink filter, check the system’s capacity, water flow, and installation needs.
Experts at Healthy Kitchen 101 also advise taking a look at the waste vs pure water ratio — you want a system that wastes as little water as possible for backwashing.
At room temperature, chlorine gas is less dense than air.
When heated during the distillation process, the gas will be much lighter and can be efficiently removed via the vents of the distiller.
Distillation can also remove several other elements, such as astatine, bromine, and fluorine ions, as well as various other pollutants.
You can consider adding a filtration system to enhance the removal of chlorine and contaminants to get clean water.
This is a natural and one of the most straightforward methods of removing chlorine in your tap water.
Chlorine is an extremely volatile element, hence can be conveniently removed through evaporation.
You may choose to boil the water for relatively faster chlorine removal, or you can simply leave the water to stand.
Despite its effectiveness in getting rid of chlorine in tap water, evaporation is much more time-consuming as compared to the other methods.
How long it will take to remove the chlorine from your tap water is dictated by the surrounding environment.
Placing the water in an open jug in the refrigerator may take up to 24 hours for all the chlorine to evaporate.
Warmer surroundings will initiate relatively faster evaporation.
Consider using a container with a large opening to increase the surface area for the evaporation to take place.
Boiling is a basic yet effective method of purifying tap water.
It removes the volatile chlorine from the water relatively faster than the typical evaporation method.
To be safe, it’s recommended that you allow the water to boil for about 20 minutes.
5. Chemical Neutralization
Chemical neutralization simply involves the addition of more chemicals into your tap water to remove any chlorine.
Potassium metabisulfite, usually available in small tablets, is one of the best chemicals that you can use for chemical neutralization.
Once the tablet(s) dissolves, it will effectively eradicate chlorine and chloramine before evaporating.
A single potassium metabisulfite tablet can neutralize chlorine in up to 20 gallons of water, making it a cost-effective method.
Plus, it is a relatively quick process. You should have chlorine-free water in a matter of minutes.
Other chemicals that can be used for chlorine neutralization include sodium thiosulfate and ascorbic acid.
6. UV Light
UV treatment is a very effective method of purifying water, though it’s yet to become popular, especially among homeowners.
It can efficiently remove chlorine and chloramine from your tap water.
This is made possible because chlorine is a light-sensitive substance; hence it can be easily broken down and destroyed by UV rays.
Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to UV is also not healthy for your skin.
Consult your supplier or manufacturer for guidance on the proper installation and use of the UV lights.
The Bottom Line
While chlorine is an incredible disinfectant, it can be highly toxic, especially when it reacts with other substances in your tap water.
Fortunately, you can protect yourself and your family by following this guide on how to remove chlorine from tap water.
You can apply one or a combination of methods depending on your water needs and the efficiency of the methods.