Monday, February 13, 2012

Get the Chlorine Out

For years I've noticed people dechlorinating tap water for their plants. My question as a kid was, why are we drinking chlorinated water if it's so bad for the plants? I was always told that plants have more sensitive systems than we do. I'm not convinced that this is true; plants are just more obvious about their ailments than we tend to be. To be sure, chlorine provides no benefit to our bodies, and people are becoming savvy to its dangers. In any case, dechlorinated water is helpful for any sprouting or fermenting project; I use it exclusively, since chlorine would kill the very life that I'm trying to promote. While it's certainly possible to grow sprouts and ferments successfully with normal chlorinated tap water, I think your results will improve with dechlorinated water.

What first got me dechlorinating my water was growing sprouts. I was experiencing what I considered to be a low rate of germination; a lot of unsprouted alfalfa seeds remained at the bottom of the jars. Considering that my seeds were fresh and organic, I had to consider that the problem was in the water. Switching to dechlorinated water made the difference. While there will always be a few unsprouted seeds, most of them should grow when treated properly because that's what seeds do best.

Dechlorination is as simple as leaving a jug or jar or water open to the air, where the chlorine will transform into a gaseous state and float away. It may take a day or two for all the chlorine to escape, but even leaving the water out overnight will remove most of the chlorine. If dechlorinating water for an aquarium, leave it out for two days to be sure none is left to hurt your fish. The water can be left outdoors to dechlorinate, so chlorine gas isn't floating around your house, but I think in a ventilated house, with a few jars of water, it's not a problem to do it indoors.

My simple method for our kitchen water involves two glass jugs, which I rotate. When one is empty, I fill it with tap water, cover with a cloth to keep it free of dust, and leave it all day or overnight, or until my other jug is empty. This is the water I use for drinking, making smoothies, growing sprouts and making fermentations. Boiling is another way to remove chlorine, so I don't use dechlorinated water for cooking. Fancy pitchers are not required; any glass jars work fine.


67 comments:

  1. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!
    http://realfoodforager.com/fat-tuesday-february-14-2012/

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  2. Jill, I have a question. I have done this but I can still taste the chlorine. Is it really gone by leaving it to "air out"?

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    1. Perhaps try leaving it in more of a wide-mouth container? Or, in a warmer area. Both warmth and surface area exposed to air help increase the rate of dechlorination. If you can, leave it out in the sun which will really take care of the chlorine. For me, it works just in large glass jars that sit for a day or two before use. It could be that your municipality uses a higher level of chlorine also, which makes this process even more important.

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    2. If this method doesn't seem to be working, its likely because your city uses chloramine (NA2CL) either in conjunction or additionally to chlorine. You can filter it out, but it won't evaporate. In fact, you're increasing the concentration with this method. Your water utility can provide info on how they treat your waste

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    3. Adam, does Seattle treat water with chloramine?

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    4. portland oregon water is chloraminated because of our open-air reservoirs.

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    5. leave a loosely capped bottle in sunlight for a couple fo hours.the sunlight willbreak down the chlorine faster than it can degas naturally

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  3. how do you know you got the chlorine out? do you have some kind of tester?

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    Replies
    1. Good question. I don't have a tester, but the fact is that chlorine evaporates out of water. It's just a matter of how quickly... and the rate is dependent on temperature, surface area, and of course the chlorine concentration in the water. I know this method works because people use it to render tapwater safe for their aquariums, and fish will die in chlorinated water. There are some good answers about chlorine evaporation rates here: http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/gen06/gen06449.htm

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  4. Great tip! I just recently learned about this and have started doing it a few months ago after learning that our water filter doesn't in fact filter out things like chlorine. I also read that after filling up your jug, you should stir it a few times to help the chlorine evaporate faster.

    Thanks again for sharing this tip at Tiny Tip Tuesday, and congrats on having your tip from last week featured this week!

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    Replies
    1. Stirring is a great idea, thanks!

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  5. I was reading different sites to get out chlorine and from what I read boiling is the best option because of the possibility of bacteria growth. The site said that bacteria starts growing as soon as the chlorine is removed. Is it really safe to drink water that's been left out for 2 days? I would think that it would get bacteria in it after the 1st day.

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    Replies
    1. We haven't had any problems, but if you were immune challenged, boiling would probably be a safer option. For us, I prefer the passive, low-energy method.

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    2. Bacteria doesn't grow in pure water very well. Bacteria like all living things requires food, bacteria can't make there own like plants, and pure water doesn't have any food in it. You would have to wait for something like algae to grow in the water first, which granted will happen, eventually, but it would take at least a couple of weeks before it became a problem.

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  6. I didn't know you could do this. Thanks for sharing this and Thank you for linking this up at the Carnival of Home Preserving!

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  7. ctfplumb@hotmail.comJuly 18, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    SODIUM THIOSULFATE,removes chlorine instanly,only 2 drops per gallon for most municipal water.Has other benifits as well. It's available at most pet stores for dechlorinating aquqriums. A teaspoon will remove all the chlorine in a bathtub.

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  8. Great post! I invite you to join me today (and every Tuesday) for Tone Up Tuesdays Link Up! A place for all things healthy living, fitness, and overall well being! Recipes, workouts, motivation, struggles, tips, tricks, and accomplishments!

    http://www.feedingmytemple.com/2012/9/4/tone-up-tuesday

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  9. I had no idea it was that easy. We just moved and are now on county water (as opposed to well water). The water smells heavily of chlorine! And my basil plant is dying...maybe that it why! I'm going to start this right now. Thanks!

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  10. I do the same thing with letting water sit for a while before drinking it. Very informative!

    Thanks for linking up with Frugal Food Thursday at Frugal Follies!

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  11. My Grandmother used to boil her water all the time...as a kid, I thought this was a little crazy...but now that I am "Old"...I totaly understand the benefits of doing this to our water. It sure is easy enough!

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  12. We have well water that comes from an underground mountain stream, so hopefully it's pretty clear.

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    Replies
    1. Lisa, that sounds pretty nice. I wouldn't do anything to that water, either ;)

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  13. We get our water from a well too, but this is good to know.

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  14. Great info here. I had no idea it was this simple to de-chlorinate! I normally just filter my water, but this would make it even better. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Such a super simple action can rid the water of so much! Awesome! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) We had 101 awesome recipes! What a great resource we are creating!! Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

    The winner of the Domata prize pack will be announced Thursday at the party!

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  16. Hey, you have a wonderful blog that is very inspiring !! First off, thanks a bunch :):) I used your ginger bug recipe and its bubbling already :) ... So I was wondering if (your county even treats water with this) you do anything to get rid of fluoride in the water? If so you should write a blog to share!! I prefer distilled water for my ferments although I hate consuming tons of plastic that they come in, I feel it is extremely important to avoid flouride at all costs...

    -Kombucha Dan
    twin cities mn

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    Replies
    1. Dan, I've heard our water is free of flouride, and I hope it's true! I wish we had clean well water to drink instead of treated city water.

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    2. I just discovered this blog and I'm in LOVE - thanks for all these articles! I'm currently eliminating fluoride; it's been making me sick for a long time. The two ways to do this at home, if your water is treated, is either reverse osmosis or steam distillation. I haven't settled on a filter yet, so we're buying all our water right now.

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  17. Great idea! I just always keep a glass filled and drink form it all day. That usually helps.
    Thanks so much for linking up and sharing!

    R O water Tanks

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  18. Thank you for sharing this at Thrifty Thursday! I remember my mom and dad doing this by boiling the water, but I didn't think of leaving it out for a couple of days. That might be easier for me :) I'll have to try it and see, I'm not sure what our city water contains. Wish I could go back to our clean well water on the farm :)

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    Replies
    1. Yes! I wish we just had pure well water too. For now, this is the best we can do :)

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  19. What a simple solution! Thanks for sharing it at Raw Foods Thursdays! What could be more raw than water? ;)

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha, yes- plus I think dechlorinated water works way better for soaking and sprouting raw foods!

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  20. For places that have fluorinated water boiling the water will concentrate the fluoride. Only a reverse osmosis filter will remove the fluoride. :(

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  21. Great tip :) Thanks for sharing at Thriving Thursday!

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  22. I never knew about this. Very educational. Thank you!

    Already your follower hopping by, blogging @ Why?

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  23. Aerating your water will also remove chlorine. The easiest/fastest method I know of (and works wonderfully for my water kefir), is to fill my blender with tap water and then let it run for a min or more. I can always tell if the water is dechlorinated by whether it still smells like cholorine. If there's ANY smell of chlorine - I run the blender a little longer. :) It's really easy to do a similar thing with small amounts of water by just swirling in a jar/glass - or pouring from one container to another until the water smells clean.

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    Replies
    1. Oh wow, that sounds like a quick way to do it!

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  24. I found you from Diana Rambles Party! I'm your newest follower via GFC. I host Fluster Creative Muster Party on Wednesdays and I would love it if you would come by and party with us. Hope to see you there!

    Hugs, Smiles, and Blessings,

    Robin
    Fluster Buster

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  25. I don't mean to but in--- but where did you get a 1/2 gallon jar with a handle?! I **need** one of these! :D

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    1. It's a great jug! It was from an online kitchen supply store... This isn't where I got mine years ago, but I just found a similar one on Overstock: http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garden/Bormioli-Rocco-Frigoverre-2-liter-Handled-Glass-Pitcher/4151049/product.html

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  26. I knew some of this but a great reminder especially since it is so simple. Wondering if that is the reason our 1 attempt to sprout seeds failed here at our house.
    Thanks for posting at Wildcrafting Wednesday.

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  27. Thanks for posting at Wildcrafting Wednesday. Very simple and practical- great post.
    Jennifer
    The Entwife's Journal

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  28. ahem.. I had noooo clue this could be done. Thank you! and plaese come link this up with Eco-Kids Tuesday! http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/03/nifty-thrifting-at-eco-kids-tuesday.html

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  29. Quick question: Sorry if this has already been asked, but where do you get your big glass jars with the handles?

    Lara

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    Replies
    1. I ordered those years ago from a kitchen supply store. I just did a google search for glass pitches with lids, and eventually found those. Sorry I don't remember the store!

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  30. Wow! So easy? Thanks so much! You are certainly a wealth of information!

    Have a great day!
    xoxo

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  31. Such a great bit of information! Thanks for linking up with "Try a New Recipe Tuesday!" We have a distiller and run our tap water through that. It is amazing the brown sludge that remains. Very sad, though, that our families (and our plants) have been ingesting that. Hope you will be able to join the linkup again this week. I always look forward to your posts. :-)

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  32. I have had a marine reef fish tank for some years, marine fish are very sensitive to our tap water and it must be treated prior to adding to the tank, with the cost of chemicals to add to tap water to rid the chlorine and other chemicals that are added to our drinking water I searched and found cheap or free ways to rid the chemicals the first way was to leave a bucket of water outside in the sun as the sun for a day as the sun eats the chlorine (maybe not good for human consumption if a bird pooped in it) but that was one way, in winter when there is not much sun, I run a air pump with a flow from a wooden air stone at the bottom of the bucket over night with some fabric over it so no house hold dust or chemicals get in it, you can smell the strong smell of chlorine straight away when you turn on the air pump the next morning its surprising to see that the cloth is silted black from the minerals! is another way to purify water :)

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  33. Hey all! If your water is city and it concerns you, try the PROPUR or PRO-ONE gravity water filters. They take out pollution and mutliple types of fluoride along with stubborn chloramines etc. Just type in propur for the mfc website or go to alexjones store under "water." I'm not affiliated with them but I do love helping people access clean drinking and culinary water. thanks for the simple, handy article!! great job!

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  34. What do you do to avoid soaking and/or rinsing seeds with bleach like so many people say you HAVE to do(before sprouting)? I would like to start sprouting seeds for my family and our chickens, but I don't want to use bleach at all. I also don't want to expose my family to dangerous bacteria and mold that the bleach is supposed to kill.

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    1. Unless you are immune-compromised, I personally think it's totally fine to eat homegrown sprouts- surely safer than the ones at the store. I have never heard of bleaching them. I specifically use dechlorinated water when I soak my seeds, because I don't want to kill the seeds I'm trying to grow. I've never worried about bacteria- just keep them rinsed twice a day, drain them well, and use them when they're ready.
      Of course this is just what I feel is safe for our family; you have to decide for yourself based on what you've experienced and your family's needs. We love sprouts, and have never been harmed by bacteria on them!

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    2. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. Fortunately, no one in my family is immune-compromised. Right now, however, we are experiencing a "bloom" of mold in the house due to recent and prolonged high humidity. (We are preparing to treat the air and surfaces with diffused thieves oil). So I've had mold-on-the-brain so to speak! I will definitely give sprouting a try after we have the mold problem under control.

      Thanks, again.

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    3. Good call! You're totally right- if you have a high concentration of mold spores hanging around, it's pretty likely they'll end up taking up residence in your sprouts. When I make natural sodas, one of the things that keeps mold from growing on the top of the liquid is the twice daily stirring, and I think rinsing the sprouts twice a day serves a similar function- the mold can't get a foothold. Hopefully your future sprouts will be mold free. Good luck with defeating the mold in your home, that can be the worst. And, get all the fresh air you can in the meantime!

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  35. Your statement "chlorine provides no benefit to our bodies" could be misleading. Chlorine is an essential mineral element needed for human health. That said any healthy person should have plenty of it in there bodies from the foods they eat and salt.

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  36. Don't suppose this would work for fluoride as well?
    Any tips on how to get fluoride out of our drinking water?

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    Replies
    1. Fluoride won't evaporate like chlorine, so I think you need a water filter for that. Sorry!

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  37. Fluoride can be removed along with Prozac and other harmful chemicals by proper distillation into a glass or ceramic vessel.

    To remove many harmful chemicals quicker than 24hours you can put the water into a vortex which will naturally release the chlorine you are trying to remove while oxygenating the water and removing surface tension.

    If possible, having the water turned clockwise and counterclockwise for the same duration will yield the best results. For a test try an A and B situation. Give one vortexed water and the other 24hour left out water. I guarantee you will hit around a 30-40% increase of growth and health on the vortexed side.

    Enjoy!

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  38. I do this using 32 oz. juice bottles. There is a residue I noticed left in bottles walls after a couple days leaving unlidded in house. I do this with bottled water as I have heavy well water. Don't know if it's psychological but it doe seem to taste more clean.

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