How to make water safe to drink

In order to survive we need three basic things food, water and shelter.  The problem is that in the event of a disaster water is one of the first commodities that becomes contaminated and scarce.  Careful preppers will have water stored along with purification tablets and systems but what happens when you’re unprepared?

Boiled Water


The most common way and what we do in our household regardless is to place the water you wish to purify into a pot. Place the pot on the stove and turn the stove on to high. When water boils, any bacteria that may have been living in it will be killed, thus reducing your chance of getting sick when you drink the water.

If you are in the wilderness when you need to purify your water, build a fire to boil your pot on. If you do not have pot, you can use any container that is fire-proof.

Boiling water for 1 to 5 minutes will purify it sufficiently. It will kill off the vast majority of organisms living in the water. It also removes some chemicals by vaporizing them. However, be aware that boiling the water will not remove solids, metals, or minerals. Also be aware that the boiling point of water decreases with altitude, so you will not get the same purification effect on a mountain top as you would on a coastal plain. You can boil the water longer or use a pressure cooker to offset the lower temperature.

Barking Madness

Form a cone out of a strip of bark. Birch bark, or a bark similar to it, is best for creating this filtering system because it is flexible but will keep its shape. Keep in mind that this method will not fully purify the water, but it will reduce the amount of microbes in the water. This method should only be used in extreme emergencies.

No Bark use Plastic

You can do the same method with plastic, the tighter you compress all the ingredients the better the purification.

Use the Sun

This might not be so good for us here in UK especially in winter months.  But this is a great way to purify water or urine (yes I said urine!).

Household Bleach

I didn’t know you could use bleach it would explain why my tap water smells like chlorine, but thats another story. To use Bleach to purify your water, use bleach that does not have an added scent (like lemon). Add 1/4 teaspoon (16 drops or 1.5 milliliters) of household liquid bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of water. Mix well and wait 30 minutes or more before drinking.  Make sure the smell of bleach is very weak before drinking and also that the container is sanitised properly.  Read more from the CDC..

Extreme Measures

Bear Grylls is famous for drinking his own pee to stay hydrated, take a look and if all else fails drink your pee to survive.  You just need to boil it first.

Ideally, you just want to be prepared get purification tablets, water bottles, water purification systems because the smallest of disasters can affect water.


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