Does Boiling Water Remove Chlorine? (2024)

Reviewed by: James Layton
Updated on:
February 7, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • The most effective way to remove chlorine from your water is by installing a water filtration or treatment system in your home.

Does Boiling Water Remove Chlorine?

Yes, boiling chlorinated water does remove chlorine. 

Chlorine is highly volatile in water. Due to this volatile nature, it will eventually escape from the water. Raising the temperature increases the amount of chlorine that can evaporate in a given amount of time, so boiling it for 15–20 minutes should remove a significant amount of the chlorine.

The effectiveness of boiling is affected by the surface area of the water. As a result, when you boil a large pot of water, chlorine is removed faster than when you boil water in a narrow column. 

The most effective and efficient way to remove impurities from your water is to install a filtration system. If you’re not interested in boiling water for all eternity, check out the best whole-house water filters.

How Else Can You Remove Chlorine From Water?

Activated carbon

Activated carbon filters effectively remove free chlorine and other unpleasant tastes and odors. High-quality activated carbon filters can remove up to 95% of chlorine.

Activated carbon chemically neutralizes the highly reactive chlorine molecules, changing them into non-chlorine compounds.

Because of its efficiency, activated carbon filters are frequently used in various other types of water filtration systems, such as distillation units, filter pitchers, reverse osmosis systems, and gravity-based water filters to remove chlorine from water before the water hits more delicate filter media.

Read about the best whole-house carbon filters on the market.

Distillation

Distillation is a more advanced method than evaporation and filtration systems. It involves heating water to its boiling point and then cooling it to recondense the steam. This produces pure water as a result. 

Distillation is a more effective way to purify water than boiling — or any other method, for that matter — because it removes all possible contaminants, leaving pure water, whereas boiling the water may remove some contaminants, but not all of them.

Distillation units are frequently installed using point-of-use (POU) systems. They are usually installed at the kitchen sink for drinking and cooking with distilled water. 

The downsides of distillation are that they’re expensive and quite energy-intensive.

If you want the purest water you can get, here’s a list of the best water distillers.

Evaporation

One of the simplest methods for removing chlorine is to simply let it evaporate over time or sit overnight. To do so, simply place your tap water in a large open container and allow the chlorine to evaporate within several hours.

Several factors influence the effectiveness of chlorine evaporation, including the temperature of the water, the size of the container, the acidity, or pH, of the water, and the level of chlorine to begin with.

That’s why dechlorinating tap water by evaporation regularly might not be the best plan. 

You can find more information by reading my article all about how to remove chlorine.

What Is Chlorine and Why Is It Used in Drinking Water?

Chlorine, or “free chlorine,” is a common chemical disinfectant added to tap water for the purpose of killing bacteria and other contaminants. This process is referred to as water chlorination. It kills bacteria, viruses, and contaminants that cause illness and disease. For more information about water treatment, read my article on the subject.  

What is chloramine and can boiling remove it?

Chloramine, a combination of chlorine and ammonia, is also widely used in public and private water systems. While it’s not as effective at disinfection as chlorine, it lasts longer, doesn’t smell as strong, and won’t product dangerous by-products to the degree that chlorine does.

Chloramine is more resistant to breakdown and evaporation than chlorine, so boiling is not as effective at removing chloramine as it is chlorine.

Is Chlorine in Your Water Harmful?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits the amount of chlorine in drinking water to levels that are safe for human consumption (up to 4 mg/L or 4 ppm). At this level or lower, the chlorine used by municipal treatment plants to disinfect water is unlikely to cause any long-term health effects.

On the other hand, excessive chlorine intake, which is unlikely but not impossible, over a long period can cause problems. 

Unpleasant taste and smell

Even if the chlorine levels in your drinking water are safe, you may notice an unpleasant taste or odor. This can be unappealing to some people, increasing the likelihood that they’ll turn to bottled water, which is expensive and bad for the environment.

Breathing problems

One side effect of high chlorine levels is respiratory reaction. Though rare, swimming in chlorinated water has also been linked to asthma attacks and other respiratory complications. However, the amount of chlorine in a pool is much higher than in residential water systems.

Dry skin

Doctors are concerned that chlorine not only kills harmful bacteria, but also kills the beneficial bacteria that keep your skin healthy. As such, continuous chlorine exposure can cause dry skin or acne.

Cancers

According to Johns Hopkins University researchers, who published their findings in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences & Technology, when chlorine reacts with naturally occurring organic matter, it can product potentially carcinogenic by-products, including trihalomethanes (THMs).

How Do You Check Chlorine Levels in Your Water?

You must be wondering about the chlorine levels in your own water. If your tap water smells like bleach, you can check your water’s chlorine levels using multiple methods. 

Professional laboratory test

You can have your water sample professionally tested by an accredited laboratory.

The problem with lab tests is that because chlorine is highly reactive, it will break down before it even gets to the lab, and your results will be inaccurate.

However, Tap Score’s water test kits check for chlorine disinfection by-products, which is what you’re worried about anyway.

At-home methods

If you want a simpler and more cost-effective method to test chlorine levels in the comfort of your home in just a few minutes, then you can try at-home chlorine testing kits, which typically use paper strips. All you do is dip a strip in your water, and a color match will tell you (roughly) how much chlorine you have.

Conclusion

But while boiling water may remove chlorine and kill bacteria, I would not recommend relying on it as the sole method of removing chlorine from your drinking water. It might be best for dechlorinating a small quantity of drinking water, though why you’d want to do that, I don’t know.

An easier and more long-term method for protecting your home and family from chlorine, chloramine, and other drinking water impurities is to install a water filtration system.

At Drinking Water, we’re determined to make sure you have all the information you need to drink healthy, safe, and clean water all the time.

For more information about drinking water, treatment, and other topics, check out a few of our other articles:

Do you have experience with chlorinated water? Are you looking for a way to remove it? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your questions and comments below!

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