How to Purify Water
Three Ways to Purify WaterIn addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water can contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis. You should purify all water of uncertain purity before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene.
There are many ways to purify water. None is perfect. Often the best solution is a combination of methods.
Three easy purification methods are outlined below. These measures will kill most microbes but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. Before purifying, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth.
BoilingBoiling is the safest method of purifying water.
- Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate.
- Let the water cool before drinking.
DisinfectionYou can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes.
- If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 Minutes.
While the 2 methods described above will kill most microbes in water, distillation will remove microbes that resist these methods,as well as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals.
DistillationDistillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water. The condensed vapor will not include salt and other impurities. To distill:
- Fill a pot halfway with water.
- Tie a cup to the handle on the pot's lid so that the cup will hung right-side-up when the lid is upside-down.
Note: Make sure the cup is not dangling into the water
- Boil the water for 20 minutes.
- The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.