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Why Does My Water Smell Like Bleach?

Does the smell of bleach from your tap water alarm you? The Environmental Protection Agency’s policy requires the public water systems to conduct disinfection by injecting chlorine into the water supply. Since this policy is mandatory, you can expect a small amount of chlorine in your tap water. However, there are other reasons why the water smells like bleach.

One reason why water smells like bleach is when a municipality conducts water shock chlorination. Aside from that, it can also be caused by an organic material that triggers chlorine to emit a strong odor. Also, the water filter in your well may inject chlorine into the water to eradicate the pathogens.

Reasons Why Tap Water May Smell Like Bleach

Municipality conducts shock chlorination.

If your municipality recently experienced a storm or a flood, it might have decided to conduct shock chlorination. So what exactly is this process? Shock chlorination is disinfecting a water system by injecting a high chlorine concentration. This method is usually done to eliminate the contaminants caused by floods or storms.

Once the amount of chlorine reaches one mg/L, you can smell and taste the bleach. However, putting excessive chlorine is possible, affecting the water quality. Therefore, it is essential to detect early if your water is overchlorinated since it is maybe dangerous to your health.

Chlorine’s reaction to biofilms

Biofilms are harmful microorganisms such as algae, bacteria, and fungi encapsulated in protective slimes. Once the biofilms advance, the communities of microorganisms become more complex. Aside from that, amoeba and protozoans grow, leading to corrosion and legionella growth.

Chlorine helps eradicate these biofilms by permeating their structures and preventing their growth. However, the chemical may emit a more pungent odor as its reaction to the microorganisms.

Well’s filter injects chlorine into the water.

If you have a private well with a chemical injection filter, your filter may have injected chlorine into the water to eradicate pathogens. If this is the situation, you only need to wait for the chlorine to dissipate. Once the smell has gone, you can safely use your tap water. However, it may take up a few hours.

What Are The Symptoms Of Too Much Chlorine?

What are the symptoms of too much chlorine

Tap water smells like pool water.

If your tap water smells like pool water, it is clear that it is overchlorinated. This smell is expected when the municipality is doing shock chlorination. It is better not to drink your tap water since chemicals like ammonia may also smell like chlorine.

I was feeling unwell after drinking the tap water.

Unfortunately, if you have consumed the water and feel nauseous, it may be a symptom of excessive chlorine. When ingested in large amounts, chlorine causes stomachaches, vomiting, and diarrhea. If this is the case, go to the nearest hospital or call a physician right away.

Skin becomes dry and irritated after a shower.

Another symptom of overchlorinated water is when your skin feels itchy and dry after a shower. Do you remember the feeling after taking a swim in a pool? If your skin is sensitive, you may experience a chlorine rash that comprises skin tenderness, redness, skin itchiness, lesions, or scaling.

What Can I Do When My Tap Water Smells Like Chlorine?

Collect a sample and get the water tested

If you are getting your water from a private well, it is highly recommended that you conduct routine testing. It will help you determine if the water on your well is overchlorinated. In addition, you can check if your locality’s health department tests the water quality. If not, you should collect a water sample and go to a state-certified laboratory.

Ask your neighbors if they have the same experience with their tap water

You must know where the smell of bleach is coming from. If your neighbors have the same situation, there is a big chance that your municipality is conducting shock chlorination or the public water system has injected excessive chlorine. But if you are the only one experiencing this, you must contact someone who can check your water system.

Contact the local water company in your area.

If you have experienced the symptoms mentioned above, you must call the local water company right away. Give them details when you have noticed the smell of bleach in your tap water. Aside from that, ask them to check your water system if you are the only one in your neighborhood who has bleach-odor tap water.

How To Remove Chlorine From Drinking Water?

How to remove chlorine from drinking water

Cooling the tap water

As a temporary solution, get a pitcher of water and cover it. After that, please put it in the refrigerator and let it chill for a while. Once the odor has dissipated, you can now drink the water. As a warning, don’t let the tap water sit on your refrigerator for more than 24 hours. Refill the pitcher and let it chill again.

Boiling the tap water

The temperature of the water helps in the process of dissipation. Applying too much heat to chlorinated water can eliminate the chemical. Instead, boil the water for 20 minutes, put it in a pitcher, and let it cool. You now have water that is safe to drink.

Put tablets of vitamin C into the drinking water.

One natural way to dechlorinate your drinking water is by putting vitamin C tablets into it. This method is used to dechlorinate tubs and pools. Fortunately, you can do the exact process for your tap water. For 3.8 L of water, you will need 40 mg of vitamin C tablets. Once you have put the tablets on the water, let it sit for 24 hours before drinking it.

The reverse osmosis filtration system

The best way to remove chlorine from the drinking water is to use a reverse osmosis filtration system. The Granular Activated Carbon (G.A.C.) filter included in this filtration system can eliminate 98% of chlorine in tap water. It works by trapping and absorbing the chlorine then flushing it down.

Other Water Filters

There are various types of water filters that you can use to remove chlorine from your water – whole house systems, countertop filters, gravity filters, and so on. We made a massive test before, so here you can read our review on the best water filters for chlorine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to drink water that smells like chlorine?

A small amount of chlorine in the water cannot harm the body. However, excessive chlorine can cause stomachaches, vomiting, and nausea. It is also dangerous to pregnant women since it may lead to congenital abnormalities. A study in Taiwan showed that pregnant women exposed to chlorine are more likely to give birth to babies who have cleft palates, holes in the heart, or lack of brain development.

Is it safe to shower in water that smells like chlorine?

If you have sensitive skin, you may suffer from chlorine rash, especially if excessive chlorine is in the water. However, if you don’t have trouble soaking in a chlorinated pool, you will have no problem using water with chlorine for a shower.

Can chlorine in water make you sick?

The average amount of chlorine injected by the public water system cannot make you sick. Therefore, it is safe to drink. However, there are debates that the chemical has long-term effects such as cancer development. The best way is to use a filter system to eliminate chlorine from your drinking water.

Will boiling water remove chlorine?

Yes, boiling water for a full twenty minutes can remove the chlorine. But to avoid inconveniences on your part, using a reverse osmosis filtration system in your home can help you save your time and energy. Also, using this filtration system is more effective than boiling the water since some factors may prevent the complete elimination of chlorine.



Aside from the mandatory disinfection conducted by the public water system, there are other reasons why you tap water that smells like bleach. These are shock chlorination operated by the municipality, reaction of chlorine to biofilms, and chlorine injection caused by the well’s water filter.

Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to eliminate this chemical from tap water. You can boil or cool the water for temporary solutions and put in vitamin C tablets. But the best method is installing a reverse osmosis filtration system in your household. If the problem in your water system persists, don’t hesitate to contact the water company in your area.

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