DIY After Swim Spray {to Neutralize Chlorine} — and Why You Need It

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.
It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

This DIY After Swim Spray will make your summer a safer one! It neutralizes the chlorine from the pool so your kiddos wont continue to get exposed when they're out of the water. This Vitamin C Spray is a natural remedy that will allow you to just keep swimming through summer!

Today I'm sharing with you a simple recipe for something to make your summer a safer one — Vitamin C Spray to neutralize chlorine exposure on your body and your hair, aka a DIY After Swim Spray.

It's summer….and with that comes time at the beach — and the pool.

And with the pool comes exposure to tons of chlorine, something that I am not a fan of.

Chlorine is a problem in so many arenas of our life.  It's in our tap water, it's in bleach that so many use in household cleaning applications, and it's in use heavily in most swimming pools. If you have the privilege of frequenting a salt pool instead of a chlorine pool, your exposure to chlorine is much less, but it is still something to consider.

In any case, chlorine is a friend only in the sense that it kills bad stuff like bacteria and viruses.

Clearly, it has its place.

Who really wants to swim in a pool where some kid might have done something …. you know…..), and there are all kinds of things in our water that we don't want coming out of our taps.

However, chlorine in and of itself carries with it its own health concerns.

We all know how when you spend too much time in a chlorinated pool, you tend to have some seemingly harmless effects such as red eyes and maybe a rash.

However, the health implications go beyond that.

Health Concerns Related to Chlorine Exposure

Chlorine carries with it the following potential health risks.  Chlorine can:

– dry out your hair
– cause breathing problems
– cause dental erosion
– dry out your skin
– cause still births
– cause bladder cancer
– lead to rectal cancer
– cause cardiovascular disease
– cause allergies through sensitization.

Sources: 

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA361110/dangers-of-chlorine.html
http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/emergency/chemical_terrorism/chlorine_general.htm
http://www.medicaldaily.com/toxic-water-asthma-and-other-health-dangers-swimming-chlorinated-pools-246927

Wow.

I don't know about you, but after reading that list, I'm really really concerned about chlorine exposure — more than I was before.  Did you have any idea it could be that problematic?

I know for myself, I have a hard time walking by the swimming pool in a hotel.  I just don't. want. to. be. there.

Simply way too much chlorine.

Anyhow, this past year we moved into a new (to us) home.  One of the lovely things about our new place is that there is a community pool.  I didn't think we'd love it since I'm no longer into sunning myself (I way overdid that in my teen years) and don't really like chlorine (probably is very similar to the chemical sensitivity that makes me react to artificial fragrances), but this year we have really enjoyed it — especially my boys.

We pay a little extra for the boys to have swim lessons at the pool and one of the requirements is that they must shower after leaving the pool.  I'm glad for that, but I don't want my boys using the toxic shampoo and such that is provided, so I send them with non-toxic options.

However, this year I really have noticed that the chlorine smell still lingers, even after their prolific use of the natural products I send with them (I can tell by how little is left after not that many trips to the pool!).

Turns out that normal shampoo and other cleaning products leave behind a chlorine film.

Not good.

Besides the issues above with chlorine and health issues, my oldest has Asperger's Syndrome and we already know that he has detox issues, so I really don't want the extra toxic burden on his body.  And with all of the toxins in our environment, it makes sense to additional ones as much as possible.

I want the chlorine to be gone!

Vitamin C Neutralizes Chlorine

Apparently what happens is that the vitamin C reacts with chlorine to form dehydroascorbic acid and hydrochloric acid.

Hydrochloric acid? That's stomach acid.  And while I love it for helping out with digestion and it worked wonders on my rosacea, do you really want this on your skin?

Don't worry – – from what I have read, the amount produced here is not of concern.

What Kind of Vitamin C to Use?

Two kinds of Vitamin C neutralize chlorine — sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid.

Either version of vitamin C – ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate – will work, there are several reasons why sodium ascorbate is the better choice here.

First, ascorbic acid will lower pH, while sodium ascorbate will not.  When you are spraying something on your skin, better to spray the non acidic item than the acidic one.

Secondly, sodium ascorbate dissolves much more readily than does ascorbic acid.

If you do choose to make this Vitamin C Spray with ascorbic acid, please do make sure you make the recipe as is and don't make it stronger.

You'll probably be fine either way, but make it too strong and you can have another issue on your hands.

This DIY After Swim Spray will make your summer a safer one! It neutralizes the chlorine from the pool so your kiddos wont continue to get exposed when they're out of the water. This Vitamin C Spray is a natural remedy that will allow you to just keep swimming through summer!

This spray is great because it's very inexpensive to make. You can, of course buy it pre-made, but this is the easy peasiest of the easy peasiest.

And it doesn't sting.

By the way, any of the following links may be affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.

What kind of bottle to use?

I used a bottle that I had around the house. It's glass but it's very very thick.  If you use a glass bottle, make sure to have it cushioned when you pack it for your trip to the pool.  Of course you'll have towels and maybe an extra shirt in your bag that should work just fine for that purpose.

Otherwise, use a high quality plastic bottle.

Note – The essential oils in the spray are mostly for fragrance purposes, but they are nourishing to the skin so they have that added benefit as well.

 

You should notice that your hair and skin smell much better after using this spray than if you only showered using shampoo and soap.

Please note that you should only make a very small batch of this at a time and preferably store in the refrigerator and use within 24 hours as there is no broad-spectrum preservative in it.  I am doing more research on this topic and hope to share more soon.

Please also note that the essential oils are optional and you should use an essential oil emulsifier with them should you choose to use them. There is a lot of information on the internet that is incorrect about what is a good emulsifier and what isn't. I hope to have more information on that in the future but in the meantime, do your own research and make your best judgement. And leave out the EOs if you like.

Do you and your family swim often?
What have you done to reduce chlorine exposure?

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.

Comments

    Speak Your Mind

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  1. Sharon Drexler says:

    Could this be used to take the chlorine and chlorine smell iut of clothing washed in city water? Hiw wiuld i use it?

  2. Hi Adrienne.
    Thanks for this information. I really appreciate your blog. One person already commented abiut this, but I wanted to repeat it because it really seemed to work. When my son was taking swimming lessons it was required to rinse off in the shower BEFORE getting in the pool. I noticed that the smell of chlorine in my car on the way home was barely there compared to when my other sons had taken lessons without rinsing off before swimming. I wouldn’t know why this was the case, but it sure helped a lot. I’m assuming since I couldn’t really smell it, the chlorine residue must have been way less. Just a thought.

    • I wonder if the chlorine is more likely to adhere to the skin if you have dirt or other impurities / lotion on your skin when you swim? I don’t know. I looked around on the internet but couldn’t find anything easily.

  3. Hello,

    What is the difference between crushing a vitamin c tablet into a powder, and ascorbic acid powder that you buy?

  4. Are the essential oils ok without a carrier oil? I’ve been using essential oils on my 2 year old but I always dilute them, will it be ok without?

    • Hi there. I’m sorry but I’m confused. This recipe isn’t about using an essential oil without diluting. I always recommend diluting oils. Let me know if I’m not understanding your question. Thanks for reading.

  5. Stephanie says:

    maybe this is dumb to ask but can you use citric acid to make a spray to help neutralize the chlorine?

  6. Cheri Dowling says:

    Hey!! I bought the Now brand Vit C that says Vit C from Calcium Ascorbate. DYK if this will work as a neutralizer? The Calcium Ascorbate is different than the two types you mentioned to buy. I bought the wrong one by accident:/. But I’d like to use it up b/c my kids are on swim team 4 days a week. Thanks for all your help.

  7. barbara Ingram says:

    Love this idea. I have used Vitashower Vitamin C filter in my shower for years. I will be passing this email on to family and friends.
    I have stayed out of pols since the local YMCA over chlorinated their pool for senior exercise class and gave me one real bad UTI.

  8. William A. Carpenter says:

    I have bought two products called Ultra Swim and Triswim which are advertised as chlorine removal shampoo and a body wash for gently removing chlorine. After reading the labels I discovered there is NO vitamin C in either product, and other information I have read indicates that only Vitamin C will neutralize the chlorine from pools on the skin and hair. Are these any good for removing the swimming pool chlorine to help prevent adverse skin and scalp reactions such as itching. Nothing I have read indicates that none of the ingredients are good for neutralizing or ridding the body or hair of chlorine. Ultra swim contains Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Urea, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Thiosulfate, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Sodium Bicarbonate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycerin, Disodium EDTA, Polyquaternium-10, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Ext. Violet 2 (309-002; and triswim contains Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice (Organic Aloe Vera), Water (Aqua), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Cocamphodiacetate, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Chloride, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) (Vitamin E Acetate), Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5), Nasturtium Officinale (Watercress) Extract, Dimethicone Copolyol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Sodium Thiosulfate, Fragrance, Silicone Quaternium 8, DMDM Hydantoin, Citric Acid, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Trisodium EDTA, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Borate, Disodium EDTA, Urea, Red 33 (CI 17200), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140)

    • Hello there. I’m sorry – I haven’t done studies on anything else neutralizing chlorine but I didn’t see anything else mentioned while I was doing the research for this post. That being said, there are many other ingredients in those products that I would not want on my skin like artificial fragrance, artificial colors (I am OK with those in color cosmetics but not for a skin spray that doesn’t need color), I think that there are concerns w/ the acetates causing cancer w/ sun exposure so “no thanks” to that as well. Parabens are a concerns as well. I also think that diazolidinyl urea is a formaldehyde releaser. Pass on that spray for me :(.

    • Jesse Funk says:

      Hi William,

      Both Ultra Swim and Triswim among the majority of other commercial swim products are using an ingredient near the bottom of that list to neutralize chlorine: sodium thiosulphate. It’s not shown to be as effective in neutralizing chlorine as it is a time-delayed reaction versus Vitamin C which is instant. And sodium thiosulphate can also be a skin irritant because it is a sulfate.

      Vitamin C is generally considered the fastest acting chlorine neutralizer we’re aware of. If you’re looking for a commercial body wash/shampoo that uses Vitamin C you’re welcome to check us out over at Solpri. We use a 15% concentration of Vitamin C in our swimmer’s products to neutralize chlorine. Our formula is also paraben and sulfate free among other things. You can find more info at solpri.com.

      Hope the extra info helps and you’ve been able to keep swimming.

      Jesse
      Founder, Solpri.

  9. [email protected] freeA-Z Blog says:

    In addition to chlorine, there are other chemicals added. One in particular is a copper base chemical which absorbs into the skin. Anyone who has copper toxicity or high copper levels may react after swimming. Not all pools use the copper but MANY do.. I published an article about copper toxicity and depression on my blog.

  10. Hi! Thanks for this recipe. I’ve been looking out for one because I swim regularly. I’m wondering if adding witch hazel would help mix the liquids (water and oil) together. Otherwise, you will have to shake the bottle a lot, right? Also, what is the shelf-life of this mixture given that there is vitamin c in there? Would using distilled water make a difference? Thanks!

  11. Healthy Momma says:

    I tried the spray today on the kids and I – alongside the things that I normally do to help prevent the chlorine from being absorbed. It seems to have helped – we haven’t had the same level of energy drain that comes from being in the pool (it happens even if we’re not really active so I assume it’s just from the chlorine!) If it’s helpful to someone else this is what else we do:
    -try not to use exfolate gloves the day we swim (hoping the chlorine is absorbed into the dead skin 😉
    -rinse off before swimming (this makes a big difference!)
    -rinse off right after swimming (and now we’ll spray vit c)
    -use exfolate gloves when we shower at home and wash well
    -we’ll spray vit c. again after our shower (if nothing else it’s great for the skin!!)

    • Oh this makes me so happy!!! My boys actually forgot to take this with them the past 2 days so I’m making sure they do it now. Thank you for sharing. Great tips!!

  12. Francesca says:

    I did hear that vitamin C can react with the sun leaving you with skin spots. Have you heard about this?

  13. This would be great for after a shower too for those who don’t have water filters on their showers. There should be a DIY for fluoride since that’s in the water too. These two toxins really mess up your thyroid.

  14. My thoughts are that while this spray may get the chlorine smell out of things, it won’t stop it from seeping into our skin as we are in the water. It only takes less than a minute for us to absorb into our skin, the toxic chemicals they come into contact with.

    When we bathe with our tap water with chlorine in it, it is a good idea to use vitamin C to neutralize the chlorine in the water, however I don’t see how the efficacy of this would prevent us from the chemical exposure when we are in the pool.

    • Hi Rebecca. I totally understand what you are saying. However, I would think that if there is still an odor then it is still on the surface of the skin.

      I have heard about skin absorption only taking a short amount of time to absorb, but I haven’t found data on that, and I have seen information stating that the chlorine and bromine stick to the skin and this helps remove it. So that’s what this is based off of. I’m for sure going to be using it. Thanks for commenting!

    • To help decrease the toxicity of the chlorine being absorbed through the skin, take a high dose of vitamin C before swimming. The circulating vitamin C can help from the inside of the body.