Suppose you have gone out jogging in the morning. You come home sweating and dehydrated; so, you directly run to the kitchen to get some water. After taking a sip of water, you found that the water smells and tastes like pool water. How would you feel?
Gross! No one ever wants to drink water smelling like bleach, whether it is harmful or not!
But why does tap water smells like bleach? Is it harmful to drink water smelling bleach? Let’s find out.
Why does the water smell like bleach?
Technically, your tap water doesn’t contain bleach. However, it has a chemical that is mixed in some bleaches, i.e., chlorine. Our tap water contains up to 0.2-2.0 ppm free chlorine (hypochloous acid) in the water supply system.
Water suppliers mix chlorine in water as a disinfectant as it kills harmful microorganisms, such as Legionella and Cryptosporidium.This process is known as chlorination of water.
It has been made necessary by Environment Protection Agency (EPA). Usually, the chlorine in water is unnoticeable; however, when it exceeds the limit of 4 mg/L (set by EPA), it causes a bleach smell in the water.
Surprisingly, water suppliers increase the chlorine level in water on purpose; the process is known as Shock Chlorination.
At times of emergencies such as floods, municipal water supplies get a shock with shock chlorination. It is because water is at greater risk of getting contaminated by harmful pathogens and bacteria.
Such shock chlorination causes bleach smell in your water for at least 2 or 3 days. Besides the water supply system, shock chlorination gets done in wells to kill tiny microorganisms.
Aside from the high chlorine level, when free chlorine from the faucet gets mixed with remains of organic matter in your sink, the drain also creates a bleach odor.
When Chlorine Mix with Organic Materials
Mixing chlorine with organic materials also causes a bleach odor in your water. How? Well, the old plumbing system contains algae, bacteria, and other microorganisms.
When all the organic materials get mixed, they turn into a slimy substance known as a biofilm. The merging of free chlorine present in water with materials leads to releasing by-products called trihalomethanes (THMs).
So, sometimes what you smell as bleach in your water is THMs instead of chlorine.
Now, we know why tap water has a bleach odor. But the real question is, is it healthy or not?
Is it Healthy to Drink water smelling like bleach?
A low level of chlorine in water is harmless, i.e., up to 4 mg/L. However, a high level of chlorine has some health issues, especially for children.
Children can suffer from anemia and other side effects: dry skin, harm to the respiratory system, itching, reddening of the skin, red eyes, and difficulty breathing.
So, on the one hand, chlorine is essential to kill harmful microorganisms; on the other hand, it has some side effects.
How To Remove the Bleach Odor from Water?
If it is impossible for you to handle the bleach smell in your water even for one day, then you can use the following ways to remove bleach odor from water:
- Invest in Best Water Filters such as Faucet water filter, under sink water filter, Water Distiller, and Whole House water filter
- Buy Reverse Osmosis (RO)
- Evaporation: Leave the water in a clean container the whole night and drink it in the morning. Or you can also boil the water for 10 minutes to remove the bleach smell.
- Use Activated Carbon Filters
- Adding other chemicals to neutralize the chlorine in the tap water; process is known as Chemical Neutralization.
So, that’s all for today, guys! I hope you liked the article. Drink Safe and Healthy! For any related queries or suggestions, you can comment below.
After completing this graduation in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Manipal University in 2013, Ankit began rummaging the current Indian market of technology and science. At apolloedoc, Ankit’s job profile consists of cumulating, researching, testing, and verifying products related to tech.
He has a knack for details and catches even the tiniest advantages and flaws that can make or break the product. Since last year, he has been writing for apolloedoc and has been our knight in shining armour when reviewing home appliances.
Ankit’s favourite pastimes consist of jamming onto his guitar with a couple of friends and constantly updating and learning new things! He is also a big-time pet lover and has a cute little pug named Oreo back in Chandigarh. He has bagged many achievements in his college by participating in multiple extracurricular activities.
Writing is something that comes to Ankit naturally. He has his own blog where he posts about coding languages and even provides coaching to students from 12th grade to 2nd year of college. At apolloedoc, Ankit beautifully showcases his knack for the written word by lucidly explaining information in an unbiased way.