how do I remove chlorine w/o filter? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 08-21-2004, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for non-filter methods to remove chlorine from water. I know the water can be left to stand-- but how long must water stand for the chlorine to evaporate? I've read "overnight" but what does this mean-- 6 hours, 12 hours?

Does boiling water remove the chlorine? I vaguely remember reading this somewhere.

Also, is rainwater safe to drink? Would it have to be boiled?

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#2 of 7 Old 08-21-2004, 04:08 PM
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Well, first, in a pristine enviroment, rainwater should be equivalent to drinking 'RO' or distilled water. It evaporates off the earth, condenses in the heavens and falls back down as gentle rain and purified water for us to use....(aaahhhh what a pretty picture)...

However there are these nasty little things called VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other things with low boiling points that like to evaporate off the ground with the water and end up 'in' the rain (due to man's foul treatment of our lovely planet).

Acid rain being one such thing that is caused by contaminated water. So unless you know the chemical content of your local rain water, I would not drink it thinking it's pure... Technically it is 'soft' and mineral free, good for rinsing things. But I would worry about VOCs in it and as the rain passes through heavily polluted air, it tends to 'pick up' particulants and drags it back down to earth. Which does cleanse the air, but again, not worth drinking, 'straight up'.

You can boil water, this will kill off any biological nasties, but you are left with any inorganics like heavy minerals and any other contamination that didn't evaporate off.

Boiling it, and then collecting the distillate that re-condenses into water is the ony way to insure it's pure, as the minerals and other heavy particulants do not migrate with the steam. If you are just boiling it, and not filtering or distilling it you are only getting partial protection.

Just sitting an open container on your counter to 'air off' the chlorine (if this is the only thing in your water you are concerned about) is a good idea, but it depends on the amount of chlorine in your local water supply (or how much you added, if you are treating unknown water supply) as to how long to do so.

Generally: You want the water to smell of chlorine if you are treating it for 'biologicals'. Then you want it to 'sit or boil it off' until is has NO smell.

I would think 12 hours is sufficient for most chlorinated water (sit method). Or just boil your water for a few minutes, then let cool. Shake up the water in a seal container to incorporate air back into it, as it tastes flat after boiling.

NOW...If you are boiling your water for worry about pathogens, then boil for 10 minutes to kill EVERYTHING (add an additional 1 minute for every 1000 feet above sea level)

You can also 'solar pasturize' it to 150 F (65 C) for about 6 minutes and all the germs, viruses, and parasites that cause disease in humans are killed, including cholera and hepatitis A and B. (Again, does nothing about any inorganic contamination. You would need to filter it through a carbon filter to remove this stuff.)

I'm not sure what your application and/or needs are here, but even a Britta counter top 'filter pitcher' from Target/Walmart would satisfy the 'carbon' filter treatment. There are some 'jury rigged' ways to do this, if you don't want to buy one.

For example:
You found a puddle of water and need to drink it because of a 'bad' situation.
You collect the water in container of choice.
You filter it through some cloth to get rid of any REALLY big stuff (leaves, frogs, bugs...etc).
You then add chlorine bleach (see table) to kill off any biological pathogens or you boil/pasturize it for the recommended time. (Maybe do both, if there were critters in the water, kwim?)

Then I would do the following to ensure inorganic compounds are removed and the 'chlorine':

Run the water through any carbon based 'Britta like filter' you have, then drink/cook with it.

OR, I would line a strainer with a large coffee filter. Then I would layer some charcoal (like the kind they sell for fish tank filter use at a pet store) to about 1 inch depth. (It's cheap), then pour your boiled and/or chlorinated water through it.

Now it's ready to drink/cook with. If you are cooking over an open fire for same 'bad' could take bits of the burned up wood that are now mini 'charcoal' bits, and use that if all else fails...

*LIQUID CHLORINE BLEACH USAGE - any brand - must be 5.25% or 6% sodium hypochlorite (like Ultra Clorox) and contain NO soap, fragrance or phosphates. Measuring by drops is more accurate and the preferred method.

Add 16 drops (1/4 tsp. / 1.25ml) chlorine

Add 80 drops (1 tsp. / 5ml) chlorine

Hope that answers your question. This is erm...a ....erm...'hobby' interest of mine. Let me know if it makes sense, ok?

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#3 of 7 Old 08-21-2004, 05:43 PM
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What are you looking to use it for?

When we had goldfish I had to dechlorinate the water before putting it into the tank. I used something, the name of which now escapes me of course: , which removed it immediately. But I doubt very much that that water would be safe to drink.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#4 of 7 Old 08-21-2004, 07:20 PM
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If this is for drinking purposes, I find that just leaving the water out for a while seems to remove a lot of the taste of chlorine. That does not mean that the water is chlorine free though.

I wonder how boiling the water will effect the chlorine content?

I also have heard that boiling water, and then bottling it (in mason jars) helps remove toxins and keep the good nutrients (Susn Weed mentions this method in her book "Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing year").

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#5 of 7 Old 08-21-2004, 07:58 PM
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The pet store 'chlorine binder' makes the chlorine 'bind chemically' to another chemical and precipitates (falls to the bottom of the tank). It is NOT safe for human consumption, but they usually don't worry about fish : accidentally trying to 'eat' these chemical 'pellets'....

As I said, boiling water would 'drive off' the chlorine, as it has a low boiling point and would evaporate before the water started evaporating totally. But you are left with whatever else might be in the water, if it was not filtered through a carbon filter (the carbon is like mini sponges and 'absorbs' anything that passes through it, except the H2O molecules)

Re: Canning water. This would only serve to kill off any biological contaminants, it would not remove, say arsenic, lead, PVCs and some dissolved solids. :

There really is nothing in water to 'preserve', but by sealing the jar under heat and pressure, you are preventing it from becoming 're-contaminated' and therefore preserving it's 'sterility' for a future good clean source of water in an emergency situation (no leaching plastics to worry about).

Man, what a PITA if you had to do this for 'normal' drinking situations on a daily basis!
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#6 of 7 Old 08-22-2004, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow! Thanks for the replies.

My main concern is taste. Since my last pregnancy (when I developed an ice addiction, that has since subsided) I have become very sensitive to the taste of water. I can tell the difference between different brands of bottled water, even different water filters.

I like some bottled water, but given the amount of water I drink it is unrealistic (and wasteful with all that plastic) to only drink bottled. I've found that the best way to fix the taste of tap water is to let it sit open at room temperature for six hours. But that's not safe, is it? I also like the taste of rain water but I was concerned about acid rain.

So I guess I'm a little nuts but I am in search of good tasting water.
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#7 of 7 Old 08-22-2004, 05:47 PM
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Sitting an open container of water out for 6 hours to get the majority of the chlorine smell to go away isn't, in itself, a bad idea....unless you have cats :irk, curious toddlers :irk, flying critters (flies, gnats), lots of dust....ya know what I might give your water some extra special add ins...:grin

If you are confident in your home's pipe system, the municipal water treatment plant doing it's job and all that...and your ONLY concern is chlorine smell, go for it. Or just get one of those carbon filters you screw on the end of your kitchen tap, it'll remove the chlorine, smell and all, and a few other things you don't need to be drinking...

When I'm out and about, I buy Purifina/Aquafina brand. They are one of the few bottled waters that actually run it through a filter, reverse osmosis it, and UV light filter it. So it's pretty much, JUST water. The plastic container is #1, so safe for drinking from for single use (as far as plastics go).

All those 'mountain spring water', bottled waters just come from a tap somewhere (it's like drinking the stuff from your tap).

I know our local safeway had serve yourself water units that are 'filtered, R.O'd, and UV' you could bring your own containers to fill...

I'm extremely picky about my water and can /smell/ the difference between tap, filtered, and distilled/RO. Freaks out the DH. (He's tested me on it). SO I do NOT think you are a nut!

If I wanted to be really graphic and gross, I'd bother to write up a section (from my water quality course in college) about what really happens in most water treatment plants and how it ends up in your tap...but I'm not trying to scare anyone here.
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