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Why Does My Water Smell Like Bleach?

If you are familiar with chlorine, you know that the smell of this chemical lingers around in the air and around swimming pools after a cleaning session. However, if your drinking water smells Like chlorine, you have a serious problem to deal with.

In this article, we are going to shed some light on some common reasons why tap water produces a chlorine smell. Besides, we can help you resolve this problem as soon as possible.

Here is Why Tap Water may smell Like Bleach

In your tap water, the chlorine smell is the indicator of a high concentration of chlorine. Although this type of water may not be dangerous, the taste alone will alone keep you away from drinking it. Given below are some of the common reasons why your tap water may smell like bleach.

1. Public Water Chlorination

Based on the surface water treatment rules by EPA, principal water systems must use chlorine for the treatment of water. This process of treatment is required to reduce the risk of different types of analysis due to pathogens like Cryptosporidium and Legionella.

Without proper disinfection, drinking this type of water can make you fall sick. In other words, it is essential to treat water. Generally, free chlorine levels are between 0.2 and 2.0 PPM in your municipal water. Based on the treatment method, the chlorine level may be up to 5 parts per million.

2. Shock Chlorination

Sometimes, municipal water suppliers have to use a chemical treatment which is known as water shock chlorination. Generally. bleach is used as a powerful disinfectant for this purpose. Due to contamination caused by flooding or a storm, they may use a higher concentration of chlorine to kill these pathogens.

This type of treatment may cause your water to taste like bleach. However, this problem will go away after a couple of days. However, if you want to normalize the taste of your water, you can run your faucets for a couple of minutes and the bleach smell and taste will go away.

3. Organic Materials and chlorine

With the passage of time, you may notice that organic materials such as fungi, bacteria, and algae have grown inside your water supply lines. Due to these materials, your pipelines will form a biofilm, which is a slimy matter.

Chlorine in water may merge with algae, bacteria, and fungi. And this combo can release another byproduct called trihalomethanes. Based on the amount of organic stuff in your water, you can get an estimate of the kind of THMs and the strength of the odor.

If your plumbing system has this problem, you can resolve this problem by running your faucets for a while. However, if the smell is still there, chances are there the problem is with the pipeline inside your home. In this situation, you don't have much to do to solve this problem.

4. Chemical Injection and Shock Chlorination

Last but not least, if your water comes from a private well system, chances are that you are using a chemical injection filter for eliminating bacteria and different types of pathogens. In this case, the filter may be producing a chlorine smell.

Therefore, you must treat your well water. However, some disinfection methods will not cause your water to smell like bleach or chlorine. For example, you can use a UV light water purifier to eliminate waterborne pathogens. In this case, you don't need to add any chemicals to your tap water.

In case of shock chlorination, you may have to deal with the chlorine smell temporarily. However, the stink will go away after a day or two.

What Should you Do if your Tap Water Smells Like Chlorine?

Given below are some of the methods that you can use to reduce the smell of chlorine from your water.

Test Your Water

First of all, you should find out if you can drink this type of water without negatively affecting your health. You can test your water yourself or hire the services of a certified laboratory.

Generally, if the chlorine level is as high as 4 mg per liter, your tap water is safe for regular consumption.

Put Water In Your Fridge for a few hours

If you cannot tolerate your water taste but your water contains fewer than two parts per million of chlorine, you can use the evaporation method to reduce these levels further. All you need to do is fill a pot with water and put it in your fridge for two hours. It is better if you take it out the next morning.

Contact Your Local Authority

If the chlorine level is higher than 4 parts per million, you may want to submit your complaint to your water utility company. We suggest that you share the fact sheet for better results. Operators and owners of public water systems are responsible to make sure that the water is safe for regular consumption. However, if you don't submit your complaint, you cannot expect the problem to be resolved.

Your water may still contain a lot of chlorine even if it does not smell or taste different. In this case, you can decide whether you should treat this type of water or not. If you can tolerate the smell or taste, you don't need to take any treatment methods.

Removing Chlorine From your Drinking Water

You can choose from different systems to remove chlorine from your tap water, such as chemical neutralization, carbon filters, distillation, and reverse osmosis. Let's talk about each of these units one by one.

Reverse Osmosis

As far as effectiveness is concerned, reverse osmosis is on top of the list. In these units, there are many filtration stages in addition to a semipermeable membrane. Therefore, these units can remove unhealthy contaminants with a size of 0.0005 microns.


Another effective method is known as distillation. The role of the distillation boiler is to boil and evaporate water. After the filtration process, contaminants including chlorine are found in the boiling chamber.

Carbon Filters

Some types of carbon filters like activated carbon may also be used to eliminate chlorine from your drinking water. Since they have a large surface area, they can easily trap chemical impurities.