The Truth About Chlorine Smell: How to Remove It From Your Pool & Hair


It’s the height of summer and you’re ready to take a dip in the pool. But as you enter the water, the overwhelming smell of chlorine hits your nose, causing you to hesitate. This scenario is familiar to many pool-goers, and it can be an unpleasant experience. But why does your pool smell like chlorine? And is it harmful to your health? In this article, we’ll explore the truth about chlorine smell, and how to remove it from your pool and hair.

What Causes Chlorine Smell in Your Pool?

Protect Your Hair from Chlorine

  • Chloramines Formation
  • Chlorine is widely used as a disinfectant in swimming pools to kill bacteria and viruses. When chlorine combines with organic matter, like sweat, urine, and skin cells, chloramines are formed. Chloramines have a strong, pungent odor that causes that “chlorine smell” in your pool.

  • Incorrect pH Levels
  • pH is a measure of how acidic or basic a substance is. In swimming pools, pH levels need to be balanced to prevent irritating conditions like skin and eye irritation, and to prevent damage to pool equipment. When the pH level is too high or too low, chloramines form more easily, leading to the chlorine smell.

  • Insufficient Chlorine Levels
  • If there isn’t enough chlorine in the pool, algae and other microorganisms can survive and thrive. As they grow, chloramines also form, leading to that chlorine smell.

Is Chlorine Smell Harmful to Your Health?

Contrary to popular belief, the chlorine smell itself isn’t harmful to your health. However, prolonged exposure to chloramines can irritate your eyes and respiratory system, causing symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. It’s important to remove the chlorine smell from your pool to prevent irritation and maintain a healthy environment for swimming.

How to Remove Chlorine Smell from Your Pool

  1. Shock Your Pool
  2. Shocking your pool means adding a large amount of chlorine to raise the free chlorine levels and oxidize the organic matter that’s causing the chlorine smell. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct amount of shock treatment for your pool size and type.

  3. Balance pH Levels
  4. Using a pH-balancing chemical, like sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate, adjust the pH level in your pool to between 7.2 and 7.8. This will help prevent the formation of chloramines and reduce the chlorine smell.

  5. Use Activated Carbon Filters
  6. Activated carbon filters can be fitted to the pool’s circulation system to remove impurities causing the chlorine smell. This method is effective if the chlorine smell is caused by chloramines or other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the pool water.

  7. Drain and Refill Pool Water
  8. If the chlorine smell persists, the last resort is to drain and refill the pool with fresh water. This can be an expensive and time-consuming solution, but it will ensure your pool is free of impurities causing the chlorine smell.

How to Remove Chlorine Smell from Your Hair

Remove Chlorine Smell from Your Hair

Chlorine can take a toll on your hair, leaving it dry, frizzy, and smelling like chlorine. But no worries, here are some ways to remove the chlorine smell from your hair.

  1. Use a Clarifying Shampoo
  2. Clarifying shampoos are designed to remove buildup from your hair caused by products like hairspray, gel, and chlorine. Look for a shampoo that contains EDTA or citric acid for best results.

  3. Rinse Your Hair with Vinegar
  4. Vinegar is a natural acid that can help neutralize chlorine residue in your hair. Mix one part vinegar with four parts water, and rinse your hair with the solution after shampooing. Follow up with your regular conditioner to prevent dryness.

  5. Use a Hair Mask
  6. A hair mask can help restore moisture to your chlorine-damaged hair. Look for a mask that contains keratin or panthenol, and leave it on your hair for several minutes before rinsing.

FAQ about Chlorine Smell

Q1: Can I swim in a pool with a strong chlorine smell?
It’s not recommended to swim in a pool with a strong chlorine smell. Prolonged exposure to chloramines can cause irritation to your eyes and respiratory system. Always remove the chlorine smell from your pool before swimming.
Q2: Can I use household bleach to shock my pool?
No, using household bleach to shock your pool is not recommended. Household bleach contains additives like fragrances and thickeners, which can be harmful to your pool’s pH levels and equipment. Use only pool shock treatment for best results.
Q3: How often should I shock my pool?
It’s recommended to shock your pool once a week during peak swimming season to maintain healthy chlorine levels and prevent the formation of chloramines. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct amount of shock treatment for your pool size and type.
Q4: Can I use a regular shampoo to remove chlorine smell from my hair?
No, regular shampoos aren’t strong enough to remove chlorine buildup from your hair. Use a clarifying shampoo or a special shampoo designed for swimmers for best results.


Chlorine is an important component in maintaining a clean and healthy swimming pool. However, it can also cause an unpleasant smell that can be harmful to your health and damaging to your hair. By understanding the causes of chlorine smell and taking the appropriate measures, you can keep your pool and hair smelling fresh and clean. Remember to balance your pool’s pH levels, maintain sufficient chlorine levels, and remove chloramines regularly to prevent the formation of a strong chlorine smell. For your hair, use a clarifying shampoo, rinse with vinegar, and use a hair mask to restore moisture. With these simple tips, you can enjoy a refreshing swim without the worries of a strong chlorine smell.