Chlorine is one of the easiest water contaminants to remove. You have plenty of options ranging from faucet water filters to whole house filtration systems.
What Is the Danger of Chlorine in My Tap Water?
The main problem of chlorine in water is the taste and smell. Most utilities use chlorine to disinfect municipal water. Many utilities are increasingly using chloramine, a stronger chlorine alternative that's harder to remove.
For it to be effective, utilities have to add enough chlorine that it's still present in the water when it reaches your home.
This ensures any bacteria and germs the water picks up along the way are killed. The problem is that your tap water comes out with a chlorine taste/smell. This is what most people find unpleasant.
The EPA sets the maximum concentration of chlorine at 4mg/L. But any amount above 1mg/L is enough to introduce a bleach-like smell.
Some people are concerned that chlorine in water can cause cancer. But there is currently no evidence of that.
What might affect you is the chlorine vapor you might inhale when showering with chlorinated water. It can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation.
Showering with chlorinated water can also lead to dry and itchy skin, especially for people with sensitive skin.
In this quick guide, we explain how to remove chlorine from water and recommend the best chlorine-removing water filters in the market.
How to Remove Chlorine From Water: Most Effective Methods
An activated carbon filter is the easiest and most convenient way to reduce the amount of chlorine in your water.
A carbon filter removes chlorine using a catalytic reduction reaction, where chlorine is converted into a chlorine ion.
Activated carbon filters are highly effective at removing chlorine, with most able to reduce it by over 99%. This gets rid of all traces of the chlorine smell and taste.
The biggest advantage of carbon filtration is that it works fast. The reaction with chlorine happens quickly, meaning the water doesn’t need a lot of contact time with the filter.
Therefore, carbon filters do not significantly affect the water flow rate.
Cost is another advantage. Carbon filters are cheap. Even a whole-house chlorine removal system is affordable.
Tip: If your utility uses chloramines to disinfect water, we recommend buying a filter with catalytic carbon instead of activated carbon. Catalytic carbon does a better job reducing chloramines.
Distillation is another highly effective way of removing chlorine from water.
Since chlorine has a lower boiling point than water, chlorine removal distillers use a slightly different method to remove chlorine compared to other impurities that have a higher boiling point.
They are designed to allow the chlorine vapor to escape separately from the water vapor. This removes about 93%-97% of chlorine.
Some distillers have carbon filters that increase the chlorine reduction rate to 99%.
Ultra Violet Bulb (UV Light)
It is not as common as distillation or carbon filtration, but ultraviolet light is a viable way method for dechlorination.
A UV bulb producing radiation between wavelengths 180 nm to 400 nm triggers a reaction that converts free chlorine into hydrochloric acid.
In residential water treatment, UV radiation is often used to neutralize microbes, not reduce chlorine levels.
You can add chemicals to the water that react with the chlorine and reduce its levels. Examples include sodium sulfite, sodium thiosulfate, and potassium metabisulfite.
The downside of using these chemicals is that the water may not be good for drinking afterward.
If you want to dechlorinate drinking water, we recommend ascorbic acid (vitamin C). It reduces chlorine without affecting the water’s flavor and odor.
What About Reverse Osmosis?
Yes, reverse osmosis is a great way to dechlorinate water. But the RO membrane is not the one that removes chlorine.
It’s a carbon pre-filter. Most RO systems have two of them, a granular filter (GAC) and a carbon block filter (CTO).
So while reverse osmosis is a perfectly good way of treating chlorinated water, it still works through carbon filtration.
If you just want to remove chlorine, there’s no need to get an RO system. It costs more than a basic under-sink or faucet carbon filter that works just as well.
But if you want to remove other impurities such as bacteria and heavy metals, an RO filter is the best choice.
Good to know: An RO membrane can remove chlorine, but it would deteriorate quickly. Even a concentration of free chlorine as low as 1mg/L can damage the membrane, severely reducing its lifespan. That’s why it is essential to replace the carbon pre-filters on time to make sure no chlorine reaches the membrane.
2 DIY Methods to Remove Chlorine
If you don’t want to spend money on a chlorine filter, there are two DIY methods to dechlorinate water.
But you’ll only be able to use them for small amounts of drinking or cooking water. If you want to shower or wash dishes with chlorine-free water, you have to get a filter.
Boiling water: Because chlorine has a lower boiling point than water, you can remove it simply by boiling water for about 20 minutes.
Wait it out: Fill a bucket or any container with chlorinated water and leave it somewhere uncovered. Chlorine will evaporate out of the water within a few hours. Leaving the water out in the sun will dissipate the chlorine faster.
Best Chlorine Filters
As I mentioned, you have plenty of options when it comes to buying a chlorine removal filter. Whether you prefer a no-installation water filter pitcher or a whole-house system, they are all easily available.
See our reviews below for our top picks in each category.
Best Chlorine Water Filter Pitchers: Brita, PUR, ZeroWater, and Aquagear
All the well-known water filter pitcher brands – Brita, PUR, ZeroWater, and Aquagear–have pitchers that filter out chlorine from drinking water.
Get any Brita pitcher that uses the Brita Longlast filter, which reduces chlorine by up to 99%.
If your preferred Brita pitcher doesn’t come with a Longlast filter, you can order this set of two on Amazon.
The PUR Ultimate Pitcher removes chlorine as well as lead, mercury, and pesticides.
It’s available in 7 and 11-cup sizes. It completely removes the taste and smell of chlorine, but customers say the spout design is problematic.
If you are not careful, the water could easily end up on the floor when you are trying to pour yourself a glass of water.
The ZeroWater pitcher reduces up to 97.4% of chlorine. It also removes 99% of TDS, including heavy metals.
The main issue customers have with the ZeroWater pitcher is how quickly they go through a filter, some having to replace it every two weeks.
Aquagear is our favorite water filter pitcher, not just for chlorine but also fluoride, lead, chloramines, and many other contaminants.
It costs more than Brita, ZeroWater, and PUR, but the quality is better and the filters last longer. The pitcher removes 99% of chlorine.
The main complaint from users is that the filter tends to slow down after a few weeks, taking too long to fill the pitcher.
Best Faucet Chlorine Water Filters: Waterdrop, Culligan, PUR and Brita
It’s hard to find a faucet water filter that doesn’t have a litany of customer complaints regarding leaks, loose-fitting, and overall build quality.
But if you are willing to spend a bit more money, you can find a good quality long lasting faucet chlorine filter.
The Waterdrop faucet filter has more positive customer reviews than PUR and Brita. They don’t have persistent leaking problems, and the filter lasts longer.
The activated carbon filter in the Waterdrop faucet filter removes up to 93% of chlorine. It’s not as thorough as other filters, but it’s enough to remove all traces of the unpleasant chlorine taste and smell.
The filter also removes lead, fluoride, rust, and sediment. It lasts about three months before you need to replace it.
The filter is easy to install with adaptors provided for different types of faucet threadings and sizes.
The Culligan FM-25 faucet mount filter removes about 97.4% of chlorine. It also removes particulates, lead, cysts, and organic chemicals such as pesticides and VOCs.
The filter fits most standard faucets. It comes with several adaptors for different faucet nozzle sizes.
The filter works great. Flow rate is not too bad, and the water tastes good.
One feature users particularly love the auto-off function. The filter valve shuts off automatically when you turn off the main faucet. This ensures you didn’t use filtered water when you didn’t mean to, which can clog the filter sooner.
The Culligan FM-25 has some metal parts, a good upgrade from the all-plastic PUR filter. There are fewer cases of leaks and cracks.
Brita Tap Water Filter System
Brita is a good choice if you want a budget chlorine faucet filter. The build quality is a bit wanting, though. Many customers have had problems with the filter leaking or completely falling off the faucet.
Filtration performance is good. It removes between 97% and 99% of chlorine. It also filters out lead and various chemicals, including VOCs.
Installation is easy and straightforward. You don’t need any tools, and all the parts you need are included.
The filter cartridge lasts about 100 gallons or 4 months. A filter change reminder will come on when it’s time to get a new filter.
The PUR FM-3700 faucet filter comes with the same build quality issues as the Brita filter.
Because it’s made from plastic, it’s fragile, and leaks are all too common. Be gentle when you tighten it onto your faucet.
It does a good job getting rid of the chlorine taste in water, though the gravity-fed Brita filter produces fresher-tasting water.
The PUR filter passes water through the carbon media at a higher flow rate, meaning less contact time. On the upside, the water flows out of the nozzle faster.
Best Under-sink Chlorine Water Filter
If you want to avoid the troubles of a faucet water filter, we recommend an under-sink water filter. It’s the best choice for most families.
You get better water pressure, a longer filter lifespan, and better-tasting water.
Woder 10K-Gen3 Ultra High Capacity Direct Connect Water Filtration System
The Woder 10K-Gen3 under-sink filter is not too expensive and is very easy to install (no plumbing necessary).
It removes over 99% of chlorine. It also filters out heavy metals and chemical contaminants.
It has an impressive 3-year filter lifespan or about 10,000 gallons. Unlike most faucet water filters that need a new filter every couple of months, the Woder 10K-Gen3 is easier and cheaper to maintain.
Best Under-sink Reverse Osmosis Water Filters:
Home Master, APEC, and iSpring
If you want to remove chlorine along with other contaminants like heavy metals and bacteria, an under-sink reverse osmosis system is the best choice.
The carbon pre-filters deal with the chlorine and other chemicals while the membrane removes the tougher impurities such as lead, arsenic, fluoride, and microbes.
Our three favorite RO systems are from Home Master, APEC, and iSpring.
Home Master TMAFC-ERP Artesian RO System
The Home Master TMAFC-ERP has a solid rating on Amazon with customers praising it for its reliability, filtration performance, and flow rate.
It removes 99.9% of chlorine along with just about every other contaminant in the water. It does this without slowing the water to a trickle, a common problem with other RO systems.
It comes with an integrated permeate pump that kicks up water pressure. That pump and the wider fittings increase flow rate out of the faucet.
As for reliability, Home Master uses a modular design in the RO systems where the filter housing and cartridge are one.
So you never have to deal with cracked or leaky filters since you replace the entire housing every year.
To guarantee the reliability of their product, Home Master provides a 5-year warranty, far longer than the usual 1 or 2-year warranties from other brands.
The only sort of downside of the TMAFC-ERP system is the price tag, about twice as high as that of most RO filters. But we and a vast majority of customers think it’s worth it.
If you are looking for a cheaper under-sink RO system, we recommend the iSpring RCC7AK. It removes over 98% of chlorine as well as heavy metals, chemicals, particulates, and microorganisms.
It includes a remineralization filter that restores the water’s natural taste stripped away by the membrane.
Installation is DIY, and the filters are good for six months.
It’s much cheaper than the Home Master system, but it wastes more water, and the flow rate is lower. You can resolve both issues by adding a permeate or booster pump (though that will bring the total cost to roughly that of the Home Master RO system).
The APEC RO-90 reverse osmosis system has a higher daily capacity of up to 90 gallons a day. This is 15 gallons more than the standard for other RO filters.
We recommend it for large families and families that use the purified water for more than just drinking.
As with other RO systems, the APEC RO-90 filters out chlorine and a host of other impurities. It doesn’t have a remineralization filter so the water might taste a little flat (though many people don’t notice).
It also lacks a permeate pump so the flow rate is relatively low and water wastage comparably high.
Best Countertop Chlorine Water Filter:
New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Plus Water Filter System
If you don’t have space for an under-sink system or you are restricted from installing one but don’t want a faucet filter, a countertop chlorine filter is a perfect middle-of-the-road choice.
It’s easier and quicker to install than an under-sink system and has a higher flow rate and better filtration performance than a faucet filter.
Our top recommendation is the New Wave Enviro Water Filter System.
The compact unit sits on your countertop and connects to your faucet using an adaptor. The adaptor diverts tap water to the filter, which has its faucet to produce filtered water.
The 10-stage filtration process removes chlorine, lead, mercury, and other contaminants.
iSpring CKC1C Countertop Drinking Water Filtration System
The Enviro filter is a bit pricey. The iSpring CKC1C is a cheaper alternative.
The CKC1C features a tall 10" 5-micron carbon filter cartridge that removes up to 95% of chlorine from tap water as well as sand, silt, rust and a variety of chemicals.
To set it up, connect it to your faucet using one of the included faucet adapters. The filter has its own faucet for filtered water.
The carbon filter lasts 6 months.
Best Whole-house Chlorine Water Filter:
iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
If you want a filter that removes chlorine from all the water coming into the house, the iSpring WGB32B 3-stage whole-house water filter is one of the highest-rated.
It consists of a fine sediment filter that removes particulates down to 5 microns and double CTO carbon filters that remove more than 90% of chlorine from water.
The carbon filters also remove chloramines, VOCs, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and other chemicals.
Installation takes a bit of time, but it’s something you can do on your own. Just make sure you install it before the main water line branches off to the heater and other locations.
This will ensure you get chlorine-free water from all outlets in the house.
The filters are good for 10,000 gallons or about one year before you need to get replacements.
Read our in-depth whole house filter buying guide to learn more about whole-house filters.
Best Shower Chlorine Water Filter:
AquaBliss High Output 12-Stage Shower Filter
If your main issue with chlorinated water is that it makes your skin dry and itchy when you shower, a chlorine shower filter will help.
We recommend the AquaBliss 12-stage screw-on showerhead filter.
The 12 stages include a stainless steel mesh, calcium sulfate, redox media, activated carbon, and other types of media.
Because activated carbon on its own isn’t very good at removing chlorine from fast-moving hot water, the AquaBliss filter targets chlorine with multiple types of filtration media.
There’s the activated carbon itself which removes a small amount of chlorine.
There’s also calcium sulfite, which isn’t affected by hot water. It filters out chlorine effectively in both cold and hot water.
Then there are redox media, which triggers a chemical reaction that reduces chlorine.
Being a 12-stage filter, the AquaBliss filter removes many more contaminants than just chlorine. It also targets pharmaceuticals, sediment, scale, and rust.
It doesn’t just filter water. Using zeolite ceramic balls, far infrared balls, ceramic vitamin C balls, and tourmaline, it adds healthy minerals and other materials that are great for your skin and hair.
The AquaBliss filter works with almost any type of shower, including wall-mounted and handheld showerheads.
You screw it on the pole or pipe that water comes out from. Then you attach your showerhead onto the filter itself.
The filter cartridge is good for six months or around 10,000 to 12,000 gallons of water. Replacing it takes just a few minutes.
Best Portable Chlorine Water Filter:
APEC RO-CTOP-C Portable Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
It’s easy to deal with chlorine at home. But what about when you are on the go?
You could buy bottled water on your occasional hotel stays or when you are at a friend’s place. But if you spend most of your time traveling for business or work, it’s going to get expensive.
A better solution is a portable water filter.
We recommend the APEC RO-CTOP-C.
It is a reverse osmosis filter, so it removes many contaminants beyond chlorine, including heavy metals, chemicals, and waterborne bacteria.
It attaches to any standard faucet in a couple of minutes. Because there’s no reserve tank, the purified water flows out slowly.
The filter comes with a convenient case for easy portability.
The APEC RO-CTOP-C is also a great choice for homes without enough space for an under-sink RO system. You can easily set it up on your countertop.
FAQs on Chlorine in Water
Do chlorine water filters remove all the chlorine?
No water filter can remove 100% of chlorine. Most chlorine filters remove between 90% and 97% of chlorine with some high-performance once able to filter out over 99% of the chemical.
Whatever amount of chlorine remains is too little to cause a bleach smell or taste. It’s also unlikely to affect your skin and hair.
Does boiling water remove chlorine?
Yes. Boiling is an effective way of removing chlorine from small amounts of water. That’s because chlorine has a lower boiling point than water.
Leave the water boiling for about 20 minutes to get rid of the chlorine smell and taste.
Does a water softener remove chlorine?
No. Water softeners only remove ions of calcium, magnesium, iron, and other minerals. They do not remove chemicals such as chlorine, chloramines, pesticides, or VOCs.
If you have a water softener with a carbon pre-filter, it can remove chlorine. But that’s done by the carbon filter, not the water softener itself.
What’s the best way to naturally remove chlorine from water?
Boiling is a good way to remove chlorine from limited amounts of water.
You can also leave the water standing, ideally in the sun, and the chlorine will evaporate. If you leave chlorinated water anywhere long enough, the chlorine will eventually find its way out of the water.