Removing chlorine and chloramine from water is good for our gut health and well-being. It is also important for fermentation. Here’s the best way to filter water for clean drinking and fermenting.
Water is a subject that is near and dear to my heart for the following reasons:
- I live in an urban centre, and my city water source is treated with chloramine. Cholramine is very stable, and isn’t removed by most water filters.
- I started my fermenting journey to deal with a number of health issues related to poor gut health. As it turned out, filtering my drinking water played a big part in improving the health of my microbiome.
Are you interested in learning how to filter water? Read on!
The goal of urban water treatment
No one wants to hear that their water source was contaminated with E. Coli, parasites, or other nasty microorganisms. So urban water is usually filtered and treated to prevent the spread of disease.
The best way to ensure that the water is sanitized from the source right through to your kitchen tap is to add chlorine or chloramine. These chemicals are both very effective at killing bacteria and parasites.
Issues with chlorinated and chloraminated water
While it is great to have access to clean and safe drinking water, it is not particularly good for our gut health or fermenting. Here are a few reasons why you might want to filter your water:
- Using chlorinated water for fermentation will slow or prevent the growth of lactobacteria and yeasts.
- Chlorine needs to be removed before filling a fish tank, because it can harm the fish.
- If you are concerned about your microbiome, then you probably shouldn’t be drinking tap water without filtering it first.
Chlorinated water versus chloraminated water
It’s really important to know whether your water is treated with chlorine or chloramine. It will make a big difference in how you need to filter your water.
This is probably what you think you have… however, many cities are switching to the much more stable chloramine for water treatment.
Chlorine is easy to remove:
- it will evaporate within 12 hours of sitting out on your kitchen counter
- boils away in 20 minutes
- and is removed by most water filters
So if you have chlorinated water then rejoice! Your off-the-shelf Brita filter is good enough. Or better yet, simply buy yourself a few glass pitchers and leave your water out on the counter overnight.
Unfortunately, it takes 2-3 days for chloramine to dissipate at room temperature, and nearly 2 hours to boil away. And unlike chlorine, most pass-through water filters won’t get rid of chloramine.
Don’t worry, all is not lost! Here’s how to dechloraminate your water:
- Throw a few slices of lemon or orange into your water. Citric acid breaks down ammonia in an hour or two.
- Use a submerged activated charcoal filter. (See photo below.)
- There are a few other methods to remove chloramine. They mostly involve adding extra chemicals or UV light treatment. These aren’t practical for the average urbanite, so I recommend trying one of the above!
Unless your tap water is unsafe for drinking, I don’t recommend using bottled water for fermenting. Not only does it contribute to plastic pollution, but it’s not always a chlorine-free solution.
In fact, a lot of bottled water is just municipal tap water.