Removing chlorine and fluoride from tap water
There’s a reason why some people don’t like drinking tap water. There’s no definitive way of knowing instantly when we pour ourselves a glass of water from the kitchen sink that it’ll be 100% free of contaminants. Indeed, it’s more than likely to at least contain fluoride and chlorine/ But what are these chemicals and why might we want to remove them completely from our water before drinking it?
Fluoride is a chemical added to water through a process known as fluoridation. This is a mineral that actually helps strengthen your teeth. Indeed, it’s added to toothpaste for that very reason. However, while in the UK there’s only around 1mg of fluoride in our water for every litre of water, some people have experienced something known as dental fluorosis, which can present as white lines on the teeth and can cause teeth to become discoloured.
While for many, chlorine is known only as the chemical used to clean swimming pools, it’s used quite regularly in water treatment plants to eradicate bacteria. As a result, sometimes there can be traces of the chemical found in drinking water and this can lead to everything from skin irritation to dry hair and more serious ailments. Chlorine is not particularly hazardous to your health in such small quantities but if you have certain health conditions, they can be aggravated by it.
How to clean your drinking water
If you want to ensure your drinking water is completely free of chlorine and fluoride you can use one of the following processes.
Aeration – This involves simply leaving the water out in the open air for a while to allow the chlorine and fluoride to evaporate naturally. However, this can take time and will leave you with a lukewarm glass of water.
Boiling – Using a kettle to boil your water should remove not only chlorine and fluoride from the water but other lingering bacteria and viruses too. Boiling can also increase the presence of metals in the water though and is obviously inconvenient if you want a quick glass of cold water.
Distillation – This is the process of using a distillation unit to heat up the water and remove the chemical molecules through the vents of the device. It’s a lot faster than boiling and is often used in medical settings but might be seen as overkill for home drinking water.
UV light – You can also use ultraviolet light to remove chlorine and fluoride from water though, once again, this is a laborious process that might be seen as overkill.
Of course, the only fast way to ensure your drinking water is free of both fluoride and chlorine is to install a water filter. This could be an activated carbon filter that removes 99.9% of all contaminants or a more powerful ceramic filter. For most homes, however, we’d recommend a reverse osmosis water filter for its size, convenience, cost and reliability.
Reverse osmosis uses pressure to force water across a membrane that allows only pure water molecules to pass through. This separates the fluoride and chlorine particles from the water particles, leaving you with clean clear drinking water in no time at all.