Knowing how to purify water at home for drinking is an essential life skill that everyone should be familiar with. Just because your water looks clean doesn’t always mean it is clean. This is why drinking water directly from water bodies or unfiltered tap water is never recommended.
You may find yourself in an emergency situation like a flood or a hurricane, or you may have to deal with broken pipelines. When your water supply is interrupted and you don’t have access to clean water, it’s only by knowing how to make purified water that you can prevent a health disaster from occurring at your home.
7 Ways To Purify Water
Stay prepared for emergencies by learning how to purify water at home using the 7 methods shared below!
The easiest way to obtain safe drinking water is through boiling, so it’s important you know how to purify water for drinking at home this way. Most microorganisms can’t tolerate high temperatures, so it’s a great way to eliminate pathogens that are responsible for contaminated water diseases.
Unfortunately, boiling does nothing to eliminate salt, heavy metals, and toxic chemicals dissolved in the water.
Here’s how to purify water by boiling at home: If the water has visible dirt, pass it through a fine cloth or filter paper first. The CDC recommends boiling your water for at least a minute.
If you’re living at elevations above 6,500 feet, then it’s recommended that you boil your water for three minutes. Let the water cool naturally and store it in clean bottles with tight lids. If you can’t stand the flat taste, add a pinch of salt per liter of water.
When water is turned into steam and condensed, impurities such as salt, heavy metals, and toxic chemicals are often removed, producing purified, distilled drinking water. It’s a good idea to always keep a home distillation kit handy or learn how to make purified water using distillation at home.
Here’s how to purify water through distillation on your stove:
- Pour the water into a large container and place a smaller container in the middle to collect the condensate.
- Put a rounded or pointed lid over the bigger container to lead the condensed steam down into the smaller container.
- Place the whole setup on the stove and heat until it just reaches the boiling point.
- Put ice cubes on top of the lid to help the steam condensate.
- Turn off the stove and pour the pure water from the smaller container into a clean bottle for drinking or storage.
3. Chemical Disinfection Tablets
Water purification tablets containing chlorine, chlorine dioxide, iodine, and silver are quite effective at killing viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and other germs present in impure water.
This is why you should know how to purify water for drinking with such effervescent tablets.
Here’s how to purify water with water purification tablets: Put one tablet inside a tightly-lidded water bottle according to the instructions on the pack and let it sit for up to 4 hours before drinking — unless the instructions call for a different duration.
One thing to remember about iodine tablets is that they’re not safe for people with iodine or shellfish allergies, people who have thyroid issues, and pregnant women. It’s good to note that the taste is extremely off-putting for most people.
Unscented chlorine bleach with a sodium hypochlorite concentration of 5%–9% is available in most households and can be used to disinfect water by killing disease-causing germs.
You can also use concentrations of 1% but the amount required will be much more.
How to purify water with bleach at home? If you have a concentration of 5%–9%, add two drops or 0.1 ml of bleach per liter of water. For concentrations of 1%, add ten drops or 0.5 ml of bleach per liter of water.
In case the water is cold, colored, or murky even after filtering with a cloth or paper filter, add double the amount of bleach in it.
5. Solar Water Disinfection
Using the sun’s rays is a good way to naturally reduce the organic contamination of water at home, so you should know how to naturally purify water for drinking using this method during emergencies. You need to have plenty of sunlight, a clean plastic bottle, and clear water for this method. If the water is cloudy, it won’t work.
Here’s how to naturally purify water using solar disinfection: Lay down the filled bottles on the side, preferably against a dark surface, for up to 6 hours under direct sunlight. If it’s overcast, leave the bottle outside for 2 days before using it.
6. Gravity Water Filters
Gravity water filters contain two chambers stacked on top of each other with the first one containing a microporous cartridge that can filter contaminated water.
Though there’s no special trick to learning how do you purify water using gravity filters, you should still have an idea about how to purify water through this method. Simply pour the water into the first chamber and let it sit.
After a few hours, clean water will be ready for you to consume in the bottom chamber.
Gravity filtration is a method that’s not often talked about. A high-quality gravity filter from a reputed brand is not only effective at reducing chemical and metal contaminants but also certain pathogens.
The best part? It works without electricity! Gravity filters are a good investment for purifying your water in emergencies.
7. Portable UV Light Filter
Just like the solar water disinfection method, UV light filtration is an effective technique against most small microorganisms that can make you sick.
You can find portable battery-operated UV wands or pens online that can help you filter contaminated water with a clear appearance.
Here’s how to purify water using UV light filters: If the water is cloudy, filter it using a cloth or filter paper first. Then submerge the UV device in one liter of water for up to 2 minutes to purify it before drinking.
Clean, Filtered Water for a Healthier You
Water is the basis of life, so it’s imperative that you know what is the best way to purify water for drinking during emergencies. Though each of these methods has its own limitations, they’re a good short-term solution to make water suitable for consumption when you don’t have the luxury of advanced filters.
In addition to being careful about the water you drink and knowing how to purify water, you should also pay attention to the water you bathe with.