Chlorine has been used to disinfect our drinking water since 1908, but it can be a toxic and corrosive substance that can damage car paint and harm plants. Hose filters are able to remove contaminants from the tap water we use around the outside of our homes, and some can remove chlorine.
Garden hose filters that use activated carbon filters can remove chlorine from tap water. Chlorine adsorbs to the carbon filtration media and is effectively removed from the water. Hose filters that meet NSF standard 42 are certified to reduce the concentration of chlorine in water.
This article will explain what chlorine is, how it enters tap water, and the impacts of using chlorinated water outdoors. We’ll also list four of the best garden hose filters for removing chlorine.
What is Chlorine?
Chlorine is one of the ten most manufactured (by volume) chemicals in the USA. It is commonly used in household cleaning products (often bought and sold as bleach) and has a pungent bleach-like odor.
Chlorine is sparingly water-soluble and reacts with water to form hydrochloric acid (HCl) and hypochlorous acid (HClO).
How Chlorine Enters Tap Water
More than 90% of American households get tap water from public or community water systems that have strict safety standards. Part of these standards involves making sure the water is safe to drink in terms of bacteria, viruses and fungi etc.
Community water systems deliberately add chlorine to our water to remove disease causing microbes in a process called chlorination. In fact, chlorine is such an effective water disinfectant that it has been added to our drinking water since 1908.
However, chlorine can damage certain materials and can also react with other elements (such as organic matter) present in water and create harmful byproducts.
Why Chlorine is Bad for Outdoor Use
Using water that contains elevated chlorine levels can cause damage to cars and harm plant tissue and leaves, impacting the overall growth of the plant:
1. Effects of Chlorinated Water on Cars
If you wash your car with tap water that comes from a municipal source, it may contain elevated concentrations of chlorine. Washing cars with chlorinated water can damage the clear coat of the car’s paint leading to corrosion.
Maintaining a clear coat is crucial as it protects the color of the car from UV radiation and fading.
2. Effects of Excess Chlorine on Plants
Generally, you should avoid using chlorinated water for irrigation as it has the potential to react with certain metals and plastic components of the irrigation system. Chlorine can also react with fertilizer residues in your lawn to produce harmful compounds.
On top of that, chlorine can kill beneficial microbes present in the soil.
Hypochlorous acid, generated when chlorine reacts with water, is an effective antibacterial agent active in low pH (acidic) settings. This means that chlorine will reduce the pH of the water, making it more acidic, which may have a negative impact on plant growth.
Excess chlorine on plants and trees can cause:
- A build up of chlorine in leaf tissue that causes leaves to look burned or scorched. This can also reduce the size of the leaves. They may turn yellow and fall too soon in response to chlorine toxicity.
- Brown or dead tissue that can be seen on the tips, margins, or spaces between the leaf veins of trees with scorched leaves. Leaf tissue may sometimes seem bleached rather than burned.
Vegetable plants can also be particularly sensitive to tap water. Any chemical compounds or contaminants in tap water reaches can enter the edible vegetable components through the vascular system. These vegetables, when eaten raw, can be harmful to human health.
Should Chlorine be Removed from Tap Water
Chlorine is certainly toxic at large concentrations, but it is also a necessary nutrient for plants and is not hazardous at low concentrations.
Chlorine concentrations typical of municipal tap water (typically around 4 parts per million) have little to no direct effect on plant growth. Research has even shown us that chlorine concentrations under 150 ppm are not harmful for potted ornamental plants.
It’s not quite that straightforward, though, as chlorine concentration can vary from one location to another, and whether the public water system is in continual chlorination mode or is running a ‘super’ or ‘hyper’ chlorination program at certain times of the year. This raises questions about whether or not to use chlorinated water on plants.
One easy and simple solution is to let the water sit in an open container for at least one night before using it for irrigation, but this is only going to be feasible if you only need to water a small number of house plants. This method will allow the chlorine to evaporate and can be safely used to water your plants the following day.
However, a far easier, and more effective method is to use a garden hose filter to remove chlorine from your tap water.
How Hose Filters Remove Chlorine
Hose filters typically come with a carbon cartridge containing granulated carbon that can effectively remove hard water minerals, VOCs, herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals (including lead), and most importantly chlorine.
Some hose filters also feature a poly screen that help remove bigger particles (these also help protect the carbon filter).
The chlorine is adsorbed onto the carbon filtration media in a relatively quick process that does not slow down the flow rate or pressure of the water as it comes out of the hose.
Hose filters are simple to use and easy to install. They can usually be attached to any conventional garden hose thread.
Hose Filters That are Best for Chlorine Removal
The best hose water filter for gardeners and organic home farmers is one that has been approved by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). The NSF/ANSI 42 certification means a filter is approved to reduce chlorine taste and odor.
However, NSF certification is optional; therefore, if a garden hose filter has it, the manufacturer has gone above and beyond to demonstrate the reliability of its product.
Best Garden Hose Filters that can Remove Chlorine in Water
Here’s four of the best garden hose filters available on Amazon.com that can remove chlorine.
1. Waterdrop Garden Hose Filter with Flexible Hose Protector
The Waterdrop garden hose filter is one of the best tested and certified garden hose filters (NSF International against NSF/ANSI 42 & 372) for reducing chlorine, odor, and foul taste.
With an infusion of ion exchange resin, granular activated carbon (GAC), and Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF), this upgraded filter can also effectively reduce heavy metals, microbes, sediments, and other contaminants while retaining the essential elements (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium).
This filter can easily fit any standard 3/4″ thread and lasts up to 4 months. It has 1350 gallon water purification capacity.
- 99.9% chlorine removal efficiency
- Highly efficient (5-micron filter efficiency)
- Hose protector
- Easy to install and use
- Compatible with the garden mist cooling system
- Not practical for drinking water
2. Keten Garden Hose Water Filter
The Keten hose filter comes with an advanced multi-stage water filtration system comprising GAC, KDF, and fluoride remover. These filters work together to remove chlorine, heavy metals, odors, sediments, and fluoride.
This high-efficiency filter is NSF tested and certified against NSF/ANSI 42 AND NSF/ANSI 372 standards. With 20-micron filter efficiency, this filter can last up to 3 months.
You can easily attach it to any standard garden hose or faucet to meet your various water needs, including drinking water.
- heavy-duty anti-kink flexible hose protector
- Less longevity compared to other hose filters on our list
3. AQUACREST Garden Hose Water Filter
The AQUACREST garden hose filter comes with upgraded ion-exchange resin formula for efficient removal of chlorine, calcium, odors, and sediments. This durable multipurpose filter can fit any 3/4″ garden hose thread.
With a 5-micron filter aperture, this filter can effectively purify water for up to 4 months. It comes with NSF 42 and 372 certification.
AQUACREST features a car wash hose filter that can easily fit pressure washers.
- Removes 97% of Chlorine
- Highly efficient
- Garden mist cooling system compatibility
- Anti-kink flexible hose protector
- Not suitable for drinking water
4. FilterLogic Garden Hose Water Filter
The FilterLogic garden hose filter comes with ion exchange resin for reducing chlorine, heavy metals, chloramine, and sediments retaining vital elements such as phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen. This makes it ideal for your garden and outdoor use.
With 5 microns filter efficiency, this filter can last up to 4 months. This filter works with any standard 3/4″ garden hose thread.
- High chlorine removal capacity (up to 97%)
- Easy to install and use
- Maintenance free
- Long-lasting product
- No hose protector
- A few customers complained about leakages
How to Use a Garden Hose Filter?
- Turn off the water supply.
- Connect the filter as indicated in the owner’s manual.
- Make sure that every hose fitting has a tight connection and is equipped with a rubber gasket.
- Turn on the water supply and flush the filter for a few minutes before using it. This eliminates any carbon specks that may have been released during shipment (only for the GAC filter).
Do Garden Hose Filters Actually Work?
Garden hose filters have promising technology for efficiently removing various water contaminants such as chlorine, VOCs, trihalomethanes, fluoride, and pesticides. They offer clean, fresh water for multiple uses, including gardening, bathing, using a spa or pool, bathing pets, or washing cars.