Chlorine is used as a disinfectant to kill harmful bacteria in water itself or in the pipes that transport it. Chlorine is an essential part of most water treatment plants and in the water distribution system, but it is no longer necessary once the water reaches your home.
Chloramine is a combination of chlorine and ammonia and stays in the water longer, and therefore, water treatment plants need less of it making it a cheaper alternative. Though these two disinfectants are vital for stopping the spread of disease, their benefits come at a price. Both chlorine and chloramine taste and smell bad. They dry out skin and hair, fade clothes (bleach is made of chlorine) and can dry out the rubber seals in appliances, shortening their lives and causing black streaks to appear in your tub and sinks.