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How to Test for Chlorine in Water

For many, the smell of chlorine brings back memorable summer vacations spent in swimming pools with family and friends. If you have observed the same smell in your tap water though, this might be something to be concerned about.

Here is everything you need to know about chlorine, how you can test for chlorine, how it can be not good for your health, and learn about its removal process.

Why is Chlorine Present in Drinking Water?

Water comes from different sources, such as wells and lakes, which can be easily contaminated with bacteria, germs, and other pathogens, making people sick. Therefore, companies add chlorine or chloramines to water that kill germs like Norovirus, Campylobacter, and Salmonella.

Chlorinated water contains a small amount of chlorine, making it completely safe for consumption. But many people don’t like to drink water with chlorine because of its unpleasant taste. Also, consuming a higher amount of chlorine is not good for many health conditions that compel people to look for ways to remove chlorine from water.

What is the Difference Between Combined Chlorine and Free Chlorine?

You need to clean both combined chlorine and free chlorine to improve the smell and taste of your water and prevent health risks. Free chlorine in water has yet to bind with the chemicals or microbes, while combined chlorine is bonded already with different elements.

How to Test for Chlorine in Drinking Water?

Test Strips

The simplest and fastest technique to determine the chlorine level in drinking water is a test strip. Test strips are similar to the ones used for drug or urine testing. One part of the strip is infused with DPD or diethyl-phenylene diamine. You need to dip this end in the water for a few seconds.

If it’s chlorinated water, the strip will change its color. The color needs to be compared with colors in a chart to know the concentration level. This technique is quite cheap and readily available. However, it’s only 80 to 90% accurate.

DPD Tablets

Another method for chlorine tests is DPD tablets. You drop the tablets in water and wait for them to change color. There are three types of tablets for different chemicals.

  • DPD1: Free Chlorine

Commonly used as an effective and promising disinfectant

  • DPD2: Chloramine

Used as a disinfectant with ammonia

  • DPD3: Combined Chlorine

Free chlorine reacts with oxygen and hydrogen molecules present in water

  • DPD4: Total Chlorine

Helps test for free chlorine and combined chlorine in the water.

DPD4 is the ideal tablet to test water for chlorine as it detects both free chlorine and combined chlorine.

Pool Test Kits

This technique uses a liquid chemical called orthotolidine. Pool test kits turn drinking water to a sunny yellow color. If you need to use a pool test kit, you need to fill the tub with water, and two to three drops of the solution come in the kit. Wait for the water to change color. Note that this test only shows chlorine’s presence and doesn’t measure free chlorine.


Leveraging technology to understand the level of chlorine in the water is the best technique. The calorimeter is a modern device that indicates the amount of chlorine in the water using light beams. But these devices are not cheap, and most homeowners don’t prefer to purchase them just to use them a few times.

Certified Laboratory Testing

If any of the above-mentioned doesn’t work for you or you are looking for promising techniques, you need the certified laboratory water test. This testing technique will help you determine the amount of chlorine in the water.

You need to send a water sample to your nearest laboratory for this test. After a few days, they will test the water and give you the report.

Why do you need to Remove Combined Chlorine and Free Chlorine in Water?

Water with a higher amount of chlorine can smell like bleach. It also tastes unpleasant. You must remove the combined chlorine to eliminate the bad taste and smell. Besides making it hard to drink water, chlorine acts as a corrosive acid. Chlorinated water can negatively affect your body cells and potentially affect your long-term health. We have an entire article that talks about whether or not chlorine is safe to drink, but the short answer is yes, the EPA says it is safe up to 4 mg/L.

However, chlorine can also affect the skin and lead to chlorine rashes. While it’s not life-treating, it can cause severe irritation to your skin. Some effects of chlorine on the skin are:

Another reason to remove chlorine from your water is that extended exposure to chlorine can significantly impact your hair’s health. Chlorine can break down amino acids in your hair, weakening and drying hair, leading to hair fall.

Washing your hair with chlorinated water can strip the hair’s natural oil, making them frizzy. This nasty chemical can also extract the oils from the hair shaft, leaving it brittle and dull. You may experience a red and itchy scalp if the water contains a significant chlorine level. Read more on how hard water differs from soft water.

How can I Remove Chlorine from Water?

We have an entire article dedicated to removing chlorine from water, but here is a brief overview:

Catalytic Carbon Filters

DROP Whole House Cartridge Filter

Carbon filters help remove chlorine and its byproducts, such as THMs and VOCs. In fact, this filtrating system can remove more than 32 chlorine byproducts present in chlorinated water.

Carbon filters include activated carbon that can attract bacteria, germs, and several chemicals that stick to it. The system is installed near the primary water source of the property. This way, the house water must first pass through it to reach your house. During this process, pathogens and contaminants get attached to the carbon while clean water flows through it.

If you want to eliminate the risk of any type of harmful component in your drinking water, you can opt for it. But keep in mind this system requires maintenance, and you need to change the carbon filter every six months to continue getting healthy drinkable water.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

The reverse osmosis filtration process can help remove residual chlorine, combined chlorine, and free chlorine from water. This unique technology can eliminate 99% of the dissolved solids from drinking water before it enters your house.

A reverse osmosis system is a unique type of filtration system. It operates by forcing water through a net or semi-permeable membrane. This membrane has tiny holes preventing germs, pathogens, and other contaminants from passing through it. They come in different sizes and can be installed under the kitchen sink or outside the house.

Keep in mind that osmosis filters are not good for people who don’t want to waste water. This is because they use more water to purify and throw out the water in great amounts.


This is an ideal option if you are looking for a solution to get rid of chlorine in the water. This water purification method heats water at a high temperature in a boiling tank, leading to evaporation.

The evaporated water travels along condenses and corridors, creating droplets that collect in a pitcher and return to their liquid form, leaving chlorine behind. Distillation is effective because chlorine doesn’t have the property to evaporate and condense. Therefore, it stays in the water boiling tank while the water is evaporated.

Some other contaminants, like pesticides, bacteria, and lead, can’t evaporate or condense, so they also do not travel while evaporated. So, in the end, you will be left with chlorine and contaminants-free water. However, distillation only works for small families, as it’s not easy to distill a significant amount of water.

Ultra Violet Light

Many people also use ultraviolet bulbs to remove toxins, such as chlorine, from water. It can also eliminate contaminants but isn’t effective when removing chemicals and metals.

You can only use this process temporarily if there is no option. However, it’s not an efficient way to eliminate chlorine. Also, you can’t purify a higher quantity of water from it.

How to Choose the Right Chlorine Removal Method for Your House?

You can choose filters based on your budget, requirements, and the level of chlorine present in your water. So, it’s better to look at your savings and test your water before making any decision.

Also, if you are looking for the best and budget-friendly options, you can opt for a DROP water filtration system. This whole-house system will help you get rid of chlorine and requires less maintenance than other option. With this filter, you can reduce the risk of developing health issues and skin and hair concerns.

Bottom Line

If you notice any sign of chlorine in your water, such as a unique smell, sudden hair fall, extreme skin dryness, or dealing with other water quality concerns, you need to test your water as soon as possible. Choose any of the mentioned methods to know the water’s chlorine level and install a filtration system to resolve the problem.

DROP filters are the perfect option if you are looking for credible and reliable systems. We are leading experts in the industry that can help you protect yourself and your family. So, contact us if you are dealing with any water issues.


  • https://atlas-scientific.com/blog/how-to-remove-chlorine-from-water/
  • https://www.wqpmag.com/water-disinfection/chlorine-disinfection/article/10955634/how-to-test-for-chlorine-in-water
  • https://www.palintest.com/parameters/chlorine/
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