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  • Why Does My Water Smell Like Bleach?


    If your tap water smells like bleach, it can be pretty alarming but rest assured, it’s likely not caused by harmful contaminants. Utility companies add chlorine to public water systems as a disinfectant to eradicate waterborne pathogens. There are ways to improve the taste and smell of your drinking water, but it is important to note that chlorine will almost always be found in the local tap water supply.

    Quick Facts

    • Excessive levels of chlorine likely cause the smell of bleach in your tap water.
    • Excessive levels of chlorine likely cause the smell of bleach in your tap water.
    • You can smell chlorine at a level of 1mg/L, but most utility companies aim to keep chlorine around 0.5mg/L.
    • Boiling your tap water, or chilling it in the fridge, should remove the bleach smell from your water.

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    What causes the bleach smell?

    As utility companies treat public water sources with chlorine, your drinking water can sometimes exude a smell that’s similar to bleach. This usually occurs when your water is over-chlorinated. If you’ve ever swum in a pool after it’s recently had chlorine added, you will recognise the smell.

    Chlorine plays a crucial role in water treatment. A small amount of chlorine helps to disinfect public water sources, eliminating traces of bacteria, viruses and parasites before the water travels to its point of use. Chlorine is a powerful disinfectant that can keep water pathogen-free, even as it travels to its final destination — whereas other forms of disinfectant cannot achieve this.

    Is chlorinated water safe to drink?

    It is safe to drink chlorinated water, provided it does not exceed 5mg/l as stipulated by the World Health Organisation. Utility companies aim to keep chlorine levels at a level no higher than 0.5mg/L, while most people cannot detect a bleach-like smell until the chlorine level reaches 1mg/L, so you shouldn’t be able to detect the presence of chlorine. If the bleach smell is strong, it is possible that your local water supplier distributes water over a long distance and so adds extra chlorine to keep the water clean over the length of the mains water supply.

    What Product Can Help?

    What should you do?

    The smell of bleach in your water is the direct result of excessive chlorination. Despite the fact you have no control over how much chlorine utility companies add to your water supply, you can contact your local utility company if the smell becomes too much. If the utility company fails to respond, contact the Drinking Water Inspectorate. To eliminate the bleach smell from your water, first fill a jug with tap water, cover it, then put it in the refrigerator. If you drink it after it has chilled, the smell should have dissipated naturally while cooling. However, avoid drinking water that has sat for longer than 24-hours and instead, re-fill the jug with fresh water.

    Alternatively, you can boil the water for five minutes to remove the odour, then store it in your fridge once the water has cooled to room temperature. Otherwise, use de-chlorination tablets that remove chlorine from the water — or try vitamin C tablets.

    How to improve the quality of your drinking water

    Most filtered water coolers remove chlorine from the drinking water supply and so eliminate the smell of bleach as well. Carbon filtration absorbs chlorine, removing it from your drinking water to ensure an odour-free supply.

    Offices prefer carbon-filtered water coolers in the workplace as they remove the majority of contaminants, including chlorine, lead, pesticides, and other toxins, keeping your workforce healthy. Waterlogic’s other purification technologies mean each one of our water dispensers is ideally suited for use in warehouses, healthcare facilities, universities and hospitality venues as well. Waterlogic offers a range of carbon and UV-filtered water coolers that are perfect for every environment, so feel free to check our product line or request a quote today