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Can You Remove Fluoride by Boiling Water?

Jennifer Hansen
Last Updated on
by Jennifer Hansen

There are several ways to remove fluoride from water, however, one frequently asked question is about the possibility of boiling fluoride out of water.

The quick answer is no, you cannot remove F- from water by simply boiling it. Removing fluoride is a complicated process that requires either a dedicated fluoride filter or treatment methods like Activated Alumina and Bone Char Carbon.

Boiling water

Does Boiling Water Remove Fluoride?

From our testing, boiling water does not remove fluoride. Boiling water just means that you now have to wait for the water to cool before drinking it.

Not only that, boiling water also intensifies the fluoride. As the water boils, the fluoride you’re trying to remove turns into fluoride salt.

That’s because when you boil water, you aren’t dealing with fluoride as you’d find it on the periodic table. Instead, you’re dealing with a fluoride ion. That means boiling tap water doesn’t remove fluoride because the compound you want to dissolve isn’t intact.

Removing Fluoride from Water by Distilling It?

While you can’t remove fluoride from water by boiling it, it is possible to distill it. This won’t remove the fluoride, but it will lessen the concentration of fluoride in the water.

To distill water and reduce the fluoride content, you want to capture the evaporating steam from the water you’re boiling. This has a significantly lower concentration of fluoride than tap water.

To distill water effectively, ensure you let the water come to a healthy simmer before attempting to cool the water and trap the condensation. Otherwise, your tap water will begin distilling prematurely, and you may get water with a higher concentration of fluoride than you would like.

What about Chlorine?

Another question people ask when considering filtering their water is: does boiling water remove chlorine and fluoride? We’ve established you can’t remove fluoride from water by boiling it, but what about chlorine?

The answer to this question is yes. Provided you boil your tap water for a minimum of 15 minutes, the chlorine will evaporate, leaving your drinking water chlorine-free.

That’s because chlorine gas has a lighter composition than oxygen. Chlorine is also a gas and reactive to heat. When you boil tap water, that speeds up the evaporation process.

However, it’s worth noting that quantity matters when you’re trying to remove chlorine from your water. If all you want is to dechlorinate a cup or two to bake with, boiling the water works fine. But for larger quantities of water, you’re better off using a water filter. 

Other Effective Methods of Removing Fluoride

While boiling tap water doesn’t remove fluoride from your drinking water, there are other things you can do.  Other effective methods for removing fluoride from tap water include:

  • Reverse osmosis
  • Activated alumina
  • Bone char carbon

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse Osmosis System

Scientifically speaking, osmosis is the process that lets particles move from an area of low concentration through to a higher one, often through a permeable membrane. This balances the concentration of the particles on either side of the membrane.

Reverse osmosis does the opposite. Instead of balancing the fluoride content on either side of the membrane, reverse osmosis ensures only the water molecules permeate that membrane. This RO Process redistributes the fluoride concentration so that any fluoridated water remains separate from the non-fluoridated water.

Typically, people achieve reverse osmosis by attaching a water filter to the sink. It’s possible to construct a reverse osmosis filter yourself, but it tends to be more expensive and more complicated than buying the filter outright.

Activated Alumina

Activated Alumina

Another way to remove fluoride from tap water is by using activated alumina. Alumina oxide is a permeable form of alumina oxide.

As water moves through the gaps in the alumina oxide, it absorbs perceived contaminants like fluoride, resulting in less fluoridated water. It’s a highly effective way of removing chlorine and fluoride from water, and the EPA recommends it as a way of filtering water.

However, for activated alumina to work effectively, your water needs a pH level of 8.5 or less.  And for the best and most effective removal of fluoride from tap water, your drinking water should have a pH level of five or six.

Much like reverse osmosis filters, it’s possible to set up an activated alumina treatment on your own, but the installation should be left to experts. There are also various water filters you can purchase that use activated alumina to treat your tap water. 

Bone Char Carbon

Bone Char and Activated Charcoal

Finally, another alternative to boiling water to remove chlorine and fluoride is bone char carbon. Bone char comes in cartridges that eliminate approximately 90% of the minerals in tap water.

However, like other fluoride removal strategies, this isn’t easy to achieve by yourself and requires expert advice to set up.

Importantly, as the name suggests, bone char carbon is made from animal bones that have been boiled at extremely high temperatures. That makes it less than ideal for vegans and vegetarians that want to remove fluoride from their water.

Final Thoughts

Boiling water doesn’t remove fluoride. In fact, it may have the opposite effect and increase the fluoride concentration in your tap water.

However, Fluoride can be removed by installing a dedicated water filtration system that is capable of removing fluoride.

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About Jennifer Hansen
Jennifer Hansen
Jennifer is a clean water enthusiast and the lead editor of Water Filter Spot and created this website several years ago to share information that she's been researching in this industry for over 20 years.Jennifer studied environmental resource science in college and studied Western US water issues, including water policy, water rights, water pollution and environmental concerns.
Jennifer Hansen
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