A chlorine or bleach smell in your home can end up being a bit troublesome.
Although the first smell of chlorine may at first seem like it is related to a cleaning product, if it lingers, you may need to investigate what it is that could be causing it.
Luckily, most of the reasons are rather harmless, and you can figure them out with just a bit of research.
Let’s look at a few of the possible reasons your house may smell like chlorine and what you can do to take care of the issue.
Chlorine Smell in House (5 Possible Reasons)
1. Bleach Tablets in Toilet
One of the hardest parts of the home to keep clean is the toilet.
As soon as you get the toilet clean, chances are someone will need to use it.
It gets very tiring and demanding to get the toilet clean, and there are many products on the market that are designed to help you get it done.
For those who have owned homes for a while, there may be a trick that you know about with bleach tablets in the toilet.
This is a classic option that many facilities use to keep their toilets clean at all times.
You simply use a bleach or chlorine tablet that you would put in your swimming pool, and you place it in the tank of the toilet.
The great thing about this method is that you won’t need to do anything else to ensure that it does some work to clean your toilet.
By placing the tablet in the toilet, it simply starts to sanitize the water with each flush.
Another great thing about these tablets is that they can tend to be cheaper than other toilet bowl cleaning options on the market.
The bleach tablets in the toilet are a great choice for those who are trying to manage a home with lots of people and keep it clean at the same time.
Of course, the only downside to this is that, at times, there will be a bleach smell coming from the toilet.
You will notice that, after a flush, there is a chlorine type smell at times.
Most of the time, the smell will dissipate within a few seconds, but if it lingers, this method of toilet cleaning may not be for you.
All bathrooms should get plenty of ventilation, and ventilation is another way to help reduce the chlorine smell and any other smells you may be experiencing in your bathroom.
If you have just moved into a home and you are smelling this in the bathrooms, chances are the toilet has been treated with a bleach tab that is causing it to smell like that.
Simply remove the chlorine or bleach tablet, and you will not have to deal with the smell any longer.
2. Over-Chlorination of Hot Tub or Spa
If you are a hot tub or spa owner, you know that there is quite a bit of maintenance involved in keeping the water clean.
There are weekly checks that you need to be doing to make sure that the water is safe and bacteria free.
During those weekly checks, you will have to add chlorine or bromine, depending on the type of hot tub or spa that you have.
These chemicals can tend to have an odor to them, and sometimes, since the hot tub gets hot, the smell can get very strong.
Although the same can be said for the pool, the pool chlorination smell never tends to linger quite as long as the hot tub chlorination.
Another reason you can start to smell the hot tub chlorination is that it is typically closer to the house.
Most people who have a hot tub have it within a few feet of their home so that they can walk into the hot tub regardless of the time of year.
When you are adding chemicals to your hot tub, make sure that you are not adding too many.
Always check to make sure that you are within range before adding the chlorine or bromine; otherwise, you are going to smell it.
It is also a good idea to use the cover on your hot tub.
Using the cover makes it easier to keep the chemicals in check, and you will be able to control the smell a bit more easily.
Also, make sure that you are keeping the chemicals for your hot tub in a location that is not causing you to smell them.
The storage of chemicals can get a bit tricky, and they should almost never be stored in the house.
Not only are some of these chemicals flammable, but they are so hazardous to be around.
3. Plastic Overheating
The idea of plastic overheating may sound like an odd one when it comes to chlorine, but it is actually quite accurate.
When plastic starts to overheat, it releases a smell that will be very similar to chlorine or bleach.
The smell will likely change as the plastic heats to different temperatures, but you are going to want to try to stop the plastic from overheating prior to it changing smells.
Finding overheating plastic in your home can be a difficult battle.
The modern home has so much plastic in it that you may have no idea where to look.
The first place that we recommend looking is in the kitchen.
Check to make sure that your stove, oven, or cooktop are not on without you being aware of it.
Sometimes you can leave a plastic container on a cooktop and forget that it is still warm from cooking lunch.
This will most certainly burn through the container and leave your kitchen smelling like chlorine.
If your kitchen seems fine, then you will need to start unplugging some different appliances and electronic devices around your home.
Think about things that you don’t use that often, like a printer or a lamp, and make sure that there are no issues with any of those outlets.
Typically speaking, the plastic burning is going to be something that you have plugged in somewhere.
Most of the time, true electrical fires that can start behind the walls of your home are going to be a different smell than the chlorine smell you get from overheated plastic.
Try to start in the area of the home where the smell is the strongest.
This will help you pinpoint the issue and get to where you can find a solution.
If you do have plastic burning, you are going to want to remedy this as soon as possible.
When it heats up, and you catch it before it turns into a true fire, you can keep yourself and your home safe.
One last spot to look is on your patio.
If you live in an area where the sun is strong and the temperatures are high, chances are you could burn plastic just by leaving it on your patio.
If you left something on your back patio and it sat out there and baked in the sun all day, it could be leaving behind a very chlorine-like smell.
4. Local Sewer System
The local sewer system is another reason your home could smell like chlorine.
As you are probably aware, the water that comes into and leaves your house is very likely part of a local sewer system.
This system is maintained by your local government, and it needs to be treated on a regular basis.
If there was some sort of an issue in your area, you might notice that your home smells a bit like bleach.
Depending on where you live, this may have been communicated to you by the local authorities.
However, if it was not communicated, you can usually check the online database to look into things.
There is very likely a message on the city’s water management agency’s home page that will tell you about a treatment that was done in your area.
If you are still unsure, you can always call and see if anything that was done could cause the smell.
5. HVAC Cleaning System
Do you have an HVAC system in your home?
When your air conditioner is working throughout those warm months, there is quite a bit of condensation involved in the process.
With condensation, you can imagine that there is both water and humidity.
If not adequately treated, bacteria, fungus, and mold can grow.
This is why many HVAC systems have their own cleaning system or a way for a homeowner to clean them.
There is usually a trap where extra condensation can make its way back to the outdoors after it has worked to cool your house down.
Depending on the type of HVAC system you have, there are times when a chorine-like smell will make its way through the vents in your home.
The smell coming through the vents will likely be most noticeable when the AC is first turned on.
As the first bits of air make their way through the air conditioning vents into the home, you will get that first bit of chlorine smell.
This is usually not harmful, and it will dissipate in a matter of seconds.
Sometimes, the HVAC company will recommend that you treat the HVAC with some bleach from time to time.
As strong as the chlorine smell can be when it comes through the vents, it is undoubtedly better than the musty, moldy smell which would be the alternative.
Overall, the chlorine-like smell coming from the HVAC system is quite common and one that many homeowners will notice.
Since you don’t need to treat your HVAC all that often to keep it bacteria free, this is a smell that should start to dissipate in just a few days.
Is the Smell of Chlorine Bad for You?
When people first start noticing a chlorine odor in their homes, they tend to get nervous.
We have been trained to recognize that certain smells can be harmful to our health.
One of those smells is the chlorine smell.
As a homeowner, you should not panic when you first smell this slight bit of chlorine.
As you can see from our top five reasons above, sometimes you are smelling something not even related to chlorine at all.
When putting chlorine in your pool or using it to clean, you need to be very careful that you are not breathing in too much of it.
In addition to irritating the lungs, you can also get red eyes and itchy skin just from being around chlorine.
For those who have asthma or allergies, the risks are even greater.
You will have to carefully consider your safety when you first experience that chlorine smell in your home.
If it gets worse, you may want to leave the home before it causes you some irritation.
The local fire department can come to the home and check to ensure it is safe while wearing the proper protective equipment.
If you are a person who is at higher risk for respiratory issues, it may be smart to have help in investigating the issue as opposed to doing it on your own.
By now, you should feel as though you have a bit more direction when it comes to getting rid of the chlorine smell in your home.
Most of the time, the smell is caused by some type of cleaning product, and you can fix the situation by removing this product from your home.
There are certainly more than five reasons that can cause a chlorine smell to develop in your home.
However, these are some of the most common that people experience.
Pay very close attention to where the smell is coming from when you do your investigation.
If you think that there could be a danger to you or your family, make sure that you leave immediately.
Always handle these issues with extreme caution if you are a person who has any type of breathing problem or difficulty.
Thank you for this. I naturally assumed at first the smell was a leak from the refrigerators refrigerant. After reading this I found that it was coming from a power strip near on the counter near the fridge. Found this just in time. I got it outside and noticed a tiny bit of smoke coming from it.