Chlorine Removal Experiment

Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member
edited March 2014 in General Discussion
Things have been too sane around here lately... I can fix that.

The other day I noticed that I had a few potatoes that were getting past their prime - not rotten but a bit mealy. Normally I would dice them up, boil them for a minute or two and then put them out for the raccoons that live in our woods. However, it occured to me that at times when I have been cooking something and decide that it's too salty, I sometimes will put in a sliced-up potato and the potato absorbs some of the salt. This lead me to wonder if you could use a potato to remove pool chlorine. In the interest of reproducibility and open sourcing, I will explain what I did as I am sure you will all want to try it.

2 slightly mealy medium Russet potatoes
1 grating device
1 knee high woman's nylon graciously donated by She Who Must Be Obeyed (By "graciously donated" I mean that I don't think she has found out it's gone. Yet.)
1 leak-proof plastic container
1 reusable cold pack
Some hair
2 Drop-dead beautiful female coworkers, each about 30 years younger than me

I grated up the potatoes and then put them in the nylon. I then put that in the container and after that, the ice pack.
I took it with me to the YMCA and did my swim. In the post-swim shower, I didn't use any shampoo or soap, but rather poured the potato liquid that had gathered at the bottom of the container through my hair and the used the nylon sachet to make more liquid and rinse that over my body. (Note: It had been in the container for about 2 hours, so it was a weird brown.) I did this before getting wet and then just stood there for about two minutes. I might mention that at this point I was getting some weird looks, but they are used to me so no one was rude. I washed it off without using soap or shampoo and I didn't put on any moisturizer or anything since I wanted to avoid adding any scents (or is that sense?).

It occured to me that my nose, having been in the pool, wouldn't be a reliable detector, so I went to work and asked Jennifer and Nicole if they would smell my hair. I might add that I work closely with them and they are used to being subjected to all kinds of horrors, so they just sighed and did it.

The result: They detected no chlorine odor (or potato odor) and my hair feels pretty soft - admittedly, I don't have lots of hair - but what I have feels pretty good. I also can now put the potato glop into the composter and the liquid that went down the shower drain is 100% biodegradable and non-toxic. I still have a few potatoes left and have a few more ideas on how to make the process even better. More breakthroughs as they happen.


“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde


  • "Eau de Chlorine", as it is called in MY home, is a badge of honor and a scent of beauty.;)
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited March 2014
    Better hurry up and patent it before SwimSpray gets on it! They are sensitive about their patents.
  • DavidDavid Member
    I use Sodium thiosulfate to neutralization chlorine in my Koi pond. Not sure if you want to try this on yourself but my Japanese Koi seem happy :)
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    LBJ, I would have made vodka instead.
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    @Leonard_Jansen - I've actually had potatoes reccomended to me to remove old chlorine build up off of goggles. I tried it once, and it seemed to work out okay.
  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member
    @Evmo - Good idea, except the patent process is a pain if you do it yourself and expense if you use lawyers. Plus it takes FOREVER, even with lawyers. I'm still waiting on a patent from 4 years ago that had serious corporate lawyers behind it.
    @Niek - I will do that as soon as I replace the food processor that I broke in the now-infamous (in our house) experiment where I was able to figure out a way to make bars of home-made Castile soap float.
    @David - Sodium Thiosulfate is actually the "gold standand" for chlorine removal. If you add 5% by weight to a cheap shampoo, it will function as well as (expensive) UltraSwim shampoo. Also, 1 gram dissolved in a liter (or quart) of water and then poured over you will do the trick also . Sodium Thiosulfate also has a low toxicity so it's pretty safe to use. At some future point I will write up my experiments with this as well as some other substances for cholrine removal.
    @gregoc - Not alot of vodka in 2 potatoes, but it is clear that you have your priorities straight.
    @timsroot - Neat! This gets tried as soon as I get home tonight. Somewhere I posted the way to keep the defogging material in googles working for years and this prevents that buildup as well. I recently improved the process and will (re)post it when I get a chance.


    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • NatalieswimsNatalieswims Orange County, CAMember
    Where can I find Sodium Thiosulfate? I like that idea for shampoo. Thank you.
  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member
    Next experiment results:

    5 grams (i.e. 5000 mg.) cheap Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
    empty 1 liter seltzer bottle
    Some hair
    2 Drop-dead beautiful female coworkers, each about 30 years younger than me

    1) Smash up the vitamin C with The Court Without Appeal's mortal and pestle for herbs while she is out of the house visiting her friend and can't, therefore, prevent it.
    2) Dissolve in 1 liter of water in bottle.
    3) Take bottle to YMCA and pour it through hair and on body after swim. (DO NOT GET THIS IN YOUR EYES - YOU WILL NOT BE HAPPY.)
    4) Wait a few minutes. Get (yet more) strange looks from other people in the shower.
    5) Rinse thoroughly.
    6) No using anything that might add a scent.
    7) Have awesomely beautiful co-workers smell hair. (Jennifer's ascerbic comment: "I think I'd prefer sexual harassment to this. At least it's something I know how to deal with.")

    Result: No Chlorine smell or itchiness. Hair reasonably soft and not dry.

    Judgement: It works! I think that I could actually get away with less Vitamin C in a smaller volume of water. I might add that sodium thiosulfate is actually considerably cheaper when you buy it in volume, but if you have expired Vitamin C sitting around, might as well use it.


    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    @LBJ, to avoid the eye sting from the acid form you should try the mineral form of vitamin C (sodium ascorbate). It should keep a neutral pH and it is just as good at removing Chlorine. I know you probably used ascorbic acid tablets because that is what you had around, but if someone is going to buy materials to make their own anti-chlorine rinse they should use sodium ascorbate. It is very cheap.

    More importantly, where do you work? I'm thinking I want to work there as well. ; )
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