I shared in my post about toilet paper roll seed starters that I like to sprout my seeds by dechlorinating water and mixing it with a high-quality organic germinating mix to give my little seedlings the highest chance of survival. That was met with a resounding, “Dechlorinating water? What now?” from a few readers, who reached out with questions about the process.
So here's the thing. Awhile back, our government decided to start adding chlorine to our drinking water to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases. Don't even get me started on the fact that we're drinking chlorine on a daily basis. That's a whole other post for a different day. The point is: chlorine, even at very low levels, is toxic to plants. Duh. And most home filters don't remove chlorine. I found this out when I was having trouble sprouting some seeds in my windowsill. I hopped on over to a gardening forum and questioned what the heck I could be doing wrong, when someone brought up the dechlorinating water thing and walked me through the process. So I took care to use dechlorinated water in my next seed batch and in my bi-daily plant watering sessions. Problem solved.
Obviously, chlorine was having a big impact on my tender little seedlings. I can't even imagine what it's doing to our insides, especially to babies! Anyway, I've now become obsessive about dechlorinating water, using water that's been through this process exclusively for all my seeds. I've had much greater success since making that one tiny little change, and it's absurdly easy to accomplish.
Dechlorinating Water: How to do it
The process is remarkably simple. Just fill a large bucket or wide-mouth jar with filtered tap water and let sit overnight. The chlorine will naturally evaporate. Then, mix this water with germinating soil or put it in a spray bottle to water your seedlings. Don't let it sit too long, or it can become contaminated with stuff floating around in the air. There are apparently additives that you can add to water to dechlorinate it as well, but that just seems super-backwards to me…adding more additives to the chemical-filled water to rid it of the chemicals that shouldn't have been in there in the first place. How ridiculous. Okay, I'll stop with my rants now. Obviously I have strong feelings on the matter of government-controlled commodities and how they're being managed.
Just a heads-up: on the off chance that your city happens to use chloramine instead of chlorine to treat your water, this method won't work. You can tell by either contacting your local water treatment center and asking if they use chloramine, or tasting the water after it's been left out. If it still tastes chlorinated, this method unfortunately won't work for you, and your best bet is to buy bottled spring water at the grocery store. I know, I know. Because we all have time for that, right?
Voila. Healthier plants overnight! If you liked this dechlorinating water tip, go check out Composting 101!