Does Boiling Water Remove Chlorine and Fluoride?

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If a community water system supplies your home with water, chances are high that it contains chlorine and fluoride.

Some people, however, don’t want those additives in their home water and wonder if boiling could be an easy way out.

So, does boiling water remove chlorine and fluoride? We’ll answer that and other relevant questions below.

Key Takeaways

  • Boiling removes chlorine from water but not fluoride.
  • Chlorine is a volatile gas that easily evaporates even at room temperature. Boiling water only accelerates the process.
  • Fluoride being a salt does not evaporate from water even when boiled. Here, you need to apply other water treatment methods.

Does Boiling Water Remove Chlorine and Fluoride?

Boiling effectively removes chlorine from water. In fact, simply heating your water for about ten minutes (without waiting till it boils) can remove most of the chlorine from your water.

However, boiling water does not remove fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral, and boiling usually does not eliminate minerals or salt from water. Instead, boiling may increase fluoride concentrations in your water as some of the water evaporates.

Boiling water in a pot

How Can I Get Rid of Fluoride and Chlorine from My Water Then?

If you’re trying to remove chlorine and fluoride from your water, boiling won’t help. So what works?

We’ve analyzed various treatment methods below to highlight which ones you can trust.

Reverse Osmosis Water Purification

In a home reverse osmosis system, water runs through carbon pre-filters before going through the primary reverse osmosis membrane. The pre-filters successfully eliminate chlorine from water, while the RO membrane removes fluoride.

Strong Base Anion Exchange

Strong base anion exchange removes negatively charged ions like fluoride and chlorine from water.


Distillation evaporates water by prolonged boiling to separate it from contaminants, condenses it, and passes the condensed water through a carbon-post filter. Water distillation is a thorough process that eliminates chlorine and fluoride from water.

Combining Different Water Treatment Methods

You can also combine different chlorine and fluoride treatment methods to remove both impurities from your water. Here are specific treatments that you can combine:

Chlorine: Carbon Filtration

Carbon filtration eliminates up to 99.9% of chlorine. As water passes through the activated surface of the carbon filter media, chlorine and other chemicals are adsorbed by the tiny surface pores.

Carbon filters (activated carbon blocks, granular activated carbon, or catalytic carbon filters) are the basis behind all chlorine water filters.

For best results with carbon filtration, you should choose an appropriate filter size, depending on your water flow rate.

Note: Carbon filtration removes chlorine only.

Chlorine: UV Light Treatment

UV light systems with a wide spectrum and high intensity can remove chlorine from water. They break down chlorine and chlorine compounds into simpler byproducts.

For a UV light system to work for chlorine removal, it must have a wavelength between 180-400 nm. With wavelength in this range, UV systems produce reactions that separate chlorine atoms to form hydrochloric acid.

Chlorine: Chemical Dechlorination

You can dechlorinate (neutralize chlorine in your water) using chemicals like sodium thiosulfate, potassium metabisulfite, and sodium sulfite. Dechlorinators work pretty fast and can eliminate chlorine in your water in less than five minutes.

Chlorine: Evaporation

Evaporation also removes chlorine from water. If you leave your chlorinated water open and still for a while, the chlorine will gradually evaporate as gas and mix with the surrounding air.

The amount of time needed varies depending on the chlorine concentration, the temperature of the water and surrounding air, and the surface area of the water.

Still, it is best to let your chlorinated water evaporate for about 24 hours before drinking. Even if the water no longer smells or tastes like chlorine, you should still wait an entire day before drinking. You can use chlorine test strips to determine whether your water still contains chlorine.

Fluoride: Activated Alumina Filtration

Activated alumina (AA) is a filter media produced by treating aluminum ores. It is known for its high porosity and adsorption rate, making activated alumina apt for filtration.

Because activated alumina does not dissolve in water, it effectively filters contaminants like fluoride. So, AA water filters can remove fluoride from water.

Fluoride: Bone Char

Burned animal bones are used to produce bone char filters, so they are rich in calcium carbonate. These filters work for fluoride pretty well.

Besides fluoride, bone char filters can remove heavy metals like arsenic and radioactive elements like radon from water. Bone char filtration is one of the methods recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for fluoride removal.

What Is Chlorine? What Is Fluoride?

Chlorine is a gas element with a strong, distinct smell, often used as a water disinfectant.

Fluoride is a mineral that can creep into water naturally through underground rocks. Most of the fluoride found in our public water supplies these days is added artificially, though.

young woman drinking water

Chlorine and fluoride both provide some benefits when they’re present in water in small quantities. For example, fluoride in drinking water strengthens teeth, while chlorine purifies water by neutralizing microorganisms.

Why Is Our Tap Water Chlorinated?

Most homes in the US get a supply of chlorinated or chloraminated tap water. Chlorine is added to public waters to disinfect them, neutralizing disease-causing pathogens. As such, water chlorination helps to reduce the risks of waterborne diseases like diarrhea.

The CDC reports that because of public water disinfection, waterborne diseases have reduced drastically, and fewer people now die from typhoid and diarrhea in America. Chlorinating tap water also helps to get rid of many bad smells and tastes.

Is Chlorine in Water Bad For You?

Chlorine is fine in moderate amounts, but excess chlorine in water can react with tiny organic deposits to create harmful byproducts. These byproducts can cause cancer among other health issues. Although the link between chlorine byproducts and cancer has not been thoroughly researched, we’d say it’s best to stay safe by removing excess chlorine from your water. The CDC has set the safe level of chlorine in drinking water to 4 mg/L.

Apart from drinking water issues, bathing or washing your skin and hair with chlorinated water can dry them out. Chlorine in water strips away natural oils, causing your skin to itch and your hair to discolor.

Why Is Our Tap Water Fluoridated?

Communities have been fluoridating tap water to reduce cases of tooth decay for a long time. Since 1962, the US Public Health Service has recommended that communities add fluoride to their water.

That said, even cities that do not fluoridate their tap water have noticed fewer cases of teeth decay in recent decades. That’s due to factors like fluoride being one of the ingredients in toothpaste.

Is Fluoride In Water Bad For You?

It’s OK to take in minute quantities of fluoride. However, excessive fluoride can have dire health effects like skeletal pain and stiffness, teeth discoloration, thyroid dysfunction, fatigue, and depression.

Theoretically, drinking water that contains fluoride could result in an overdose. That is because most things we use daily, like toothpaste and canned foods, have sufficient (perhaps even excess) amounts of fluoride. So if your drinking water contains fluoride, it could make sense to filter it out.

If you have any thoughts about the question, does boiling remove chlorine and fluoride from tap water, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald is one of the founders of BOS and currently head of content creation. She has 8+ years of experience as a water treatment specialist under her belt making her our senior scientist. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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