Chlorine or bleach tastes and smells

We use chlorine in the final stage of our water treatment process. We dose the water with very small amounts of chlorine to make sure it’s clean and safe to drink.

If your water has a strong smell of chlorine, you should report the issue to us straight away by calling 0800 783 4444.

The water we treat usually contains one part of chlorine per million parts of drinking water – that’s one milligram per litre. Swimming pools usually contain between 1.5 and five parts per million.

There are a few reasons why you might taste or smell chlorine in your water. It could be due to:

  • your distance from the treatment works – the level of chlorine drops over time, the closer you are the more noticeable it might be
  • water temperature – cold water holds chlorine for longer
  • time of day – first thing in the morning and early evening is peak time for water use. This means the water comes more quickly from the treatment works and may contain more chlorine
  • a burst main in your area or the fire service using hydrants, causing water to come more quickly from the treatment works

If you have chlorine in your water, you can remove it by filling a jug and putting it in the fridge for a few hours before you drink it.

However, because chlorine is used to kill any bacteria in the water, once it has been removed, your water’s protection against bacteria is also gone, so don't keep any refrigerated water for more than 24 hours.

If the chlorine taste or smell is still there after refrigerating the water, or if it’s present in hot drinks, it could be that the chlorine is reacting with some plastic or rubber elements of your plumbing.

This can include pipes connecting your washing machine, dishwashers and other appliances, the plastic parts of a kettle or new tap washers. Reactions with these parts can sometimes cause your water to taste metallic, bitter or like bleach.

If these smells or tastes continue, it’s worth trying to replace the parts or items that are reacting with the chlorine. You should contact a professional plumber who can help you establish the cause.

Why your water may taste or smell unusual and what you can do: