Why Does My Water Smell Like Bleach?

It can be quite a turn-off to notice bleach smell from your tap water. So you might ask, Why Does My Water Smell like Bleach.

The bleach smell in your water is probably due to a high concentration of chlorine or chloramine. These chemicals are widely used to disinfect municipal water. 

Why Does My Water Smell Like Bleach

When chlorine is used in excess, you’ll notice the bleach-like smell. Small amounts of chlorine in water are not dangerous.

Actually, it’s a requirement by the EPA for all homes and offices to get disinfected water. However, prolonged exposure to chlorine and chloramine is life-threatening. To eliminate the bleach smell, boil your water.

Details: Why Does My Water Smell Like Bleach

What Causes the Bleach Smell in My Water? – Public Water treatment plants use chlorine to kill harmful microbes in the water. However, during a specific time of the year, you’ll notice a strange scent that’s so obvious coming out of your water.

The reason is most public water treatment plants temporarily change the chlorination process to give way for maintenance.

During this time, the water is treated using “free chlorine”, which is a more active form of chlorine. Free chlorine is a more powerful disinfectant that adds stronger odor and tastes to the water.

This is why you might notice the bleach smell in your water. The smell of chlorine is sometimes confused with bleach.

Furthermore, water that travels from the treatment plant to your taps must have chlorine at all times. This means you’re likely to notice the smell of bleach or chlorine each time you turn on your tap.

Further, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates all water treating plants to maintain chlorine amount at detectable levels. The chlorine should not exceed 4mg/L. but, at 1mg/L you’re likely to notice the bleach smell.

If the smell of bleach is intense, it’s highly likely that your local water supplier distributes water to far off places, and therefore uses more chlorine to ensure the water stays clean for longer periods.

Is It Safe to Drink Tap Water That Smells Like Bleach

Tap water that smells like bleach is a result of over chlorination of water by treatment plant. So is it is safe to drink water that smell like bleach?

It is not safe.  Too much chlorine can have negative consequences on health. Children, immune-compromised individuals, and the elderly can suffer adverse health effects from drinking over chlorinated water.  Infants can suffer from anemia; the rest of the population can experience dry skin, severe coughing, pulmonary edema, airway irritation, and difficulty breathing.

Furthermore, excess chlorine causes unpleasant taste or smell of water.

However, at low levels, chlorine is not harmful. In fact, chlorine is added to water to protect people against parasites, viruses, and bacteria.

According to EPA, all treatment plants should maintain chlorine level that can be chemically detectable. Hence, chlorine levels in water should not exceed 4 mg/l.  The 4 mg/l is the recognized disinfectant level for chlorine. At that level or below, there is no health risk you should suffer after exposure to the disinfectant.

The bottom line is to have your water tasted, if you notice the bleach smell. This way you clear all doubts and remain safe.

How Can You Get Rid Of the Bleach Smell?

As we’ve mentioned above, the bleach smell is caused by treating water with too much chlorine. The truth is you cannot control the amount of chlorine added in your water. Nevertheless, there are things you can do to reduce your exposure to chlorine and they include:

  Activated Carbon Filter

Install an activated carbon filter. This filter safely removes all traces of chlorine in water. This carbon filter can reduce the taste and odor of chlorine while clearing the water of all organic compounds that cause bad taste or smell.

Set Aside a Pitcher of Water

Fill a pitcher with water and let it sit for some hours. During this period chlorine, will dissipate leaving you with chlorine free water.

Boil the Water

Boiling the water and letting it cool can remove the bleach smell. Through boiling, chlorine evaporates leaving behind fresh tasting water. Alternatively, you can place water in the fridge and allow it to sit for a while. This also eliminates the bleach odor.

Testing the water

If you’re concerned about the levels of chlorine in your water, get the water tested. You can either use home testing kits or contact your local water supplier to get customer water report. This report clearly outlines all details concerning your water including available contaminants and their levels.

Alternatively, you can take a sample of your water to the laboratory and have it tested. The outcome will clearly indicate the chlorine levels plus other contaminants in your water.  Hence, you’ll know the best course of action to take.

Invest In a Water Filter

Investing in a water filter is highly recommended if you wish to eliminate the bleach odor from your water. Thankfully, the market is now full of filters and we’ll help you find the right one.

There are different type of water filters and you’ll find the right one irrespective of the size of your house.

A Faucet Water Filter

A faucet filter is an excellent choice. This filter attaches directly to the sink faucet. The good part is that this filter removes chlorine, mercury, lead, and over 70 other contaminants. It’s easy to set up and operate.

Undersink Water Filters

The nder-sink filters are another choice you might want to consider. These filters are highly rated for their ability to remove chlorine, arsenic, lead, and other contaminants. With these filters, you are assured of great-tasting clean water.

Water Distiller

A water distiller is also an excellent choice for removing the bleach smell in the water. Water distillation removes all unpleasant tastes, odors, harmful microorganisms, and other contaminants in water including heavy metals. The result is purer water that tastes great.

Whole House Water Filters

Whole-house filters are also highly rated when it comes to removing chlorine and other harmful contaminants. This filter serves the entire household and it’s a great option if you a large household


Water treatment plants add chlorine to disinfect water against pathogen-causing disease. When excess chlorine is added, you’ll notice the bleach smell from your water. Excess chlorine can bring negative health consequences.

However, small amounts of chlorine not exceeding 4ml/L are not harmful. Nevertheless, it’s good to invest in one of the best water systems for chlorine removal to keep your mind at ease.

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