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What are the top 5 ways to make water safe for drinking

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

Fresh clean drinking water can become very scarce in an emergency scenario. Without H2O you won’t live very long, so it is important to have a way to purify water to make it safe for drinking. If the electrical grid goes down for any length of time, tap water will also stop flowing shortly after. When this happens it will be up to you to purify your own water for drinking.

There are many ways to clean and purify water and some ways are better than others while some of them work best when used together. Here is a list of the top five ways to make clean water that is safe for drinking.


LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

LifeStraw Portable filter

Water filters are effective at removing the impurities from water and they are very inexpensive. They filter water using activated charcoal and a membrane with holes big enough for water molecules to pass through, but small enough that most contaminates can’t pass through. Some models even add a little iodine to help kill any microbes that the filter doesn’t catch.

These types of filters come in several sizes with the smallest which is a small straw-sized portable filter that’s good for around 20 gallons and designed for campers and bug out bags. Some filters are designed to work with pitchers and are good for around 100 gallons. Some of the biggest ones are designed for a house or office and can filter thousands of gallons.


There are several chemicals that can be used to kill the harmful bacteria in dirty water. These chemicals include iodine, bleach and hydrogen peroxide. Be warned that these chemicals will not remove any chemicals or solids from the water; they just kill anything that is living in the water.

If you use bleach make sure it contains chlorine, and avoid the stuff that is unscented or color-safe. Use 8 drops for every gallon of water and wait for thirty minutes. After thirty minutes smell the H2O, if it doesn’t have a slight smell of the bleach, add more bleach and wait another 30 minutes.

Potable Aqua Treatment Tablets

Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets

Bleach will kill most of the harmful bacteria, but it won’t kill everything such as Giardia. Iodine will kill Giardia, and is a great water purifier. Be warned however that some people are allergic to iodine and should not use it. If you are pregnant or have thyroid problems then you should not use iodine to clean the water. To clean water with iodine add eight drops per liter of water and wait 30 minutes.

Hydrogen peroxide is also good at killing microorganisms. Just add 1/8 of a cup of hydrogen peroxide to one gallon of water and wait for 30 minutes. Bleach and peroxide work well together killing more than either will individually. 


Boiling the H2O is one of the best ways to kill anything living in the water, and it does not need harmful chemicals to work. Of course boiling will not remove any solids that are in the water.

When boiling water, boil it to a rolling boil for five to ten minutes plus one extra minute for every 300m above sea level.   

Boiling Water(106203)


Distilling water involves putting water into a still and then bringing it to a boil. As the water boils, it will pass through a condenser and become a liquid again. This method kills all the microbes in the water, and it removes solid matter from the water keeping it in the still.

This method will also transfer any chemicals that can boil with the water. Because of this you might need to filter the distilled water to remove any of these chemicals.


The ultraviolet rays of the sun can also kill microbes. The big downside to this method is the amount of time it takes to work and of course it will not remove solid contaminates.

With this method make sure the water being purified is clear. If the H2O is cloudy then you must first filter the water. Next place the water into clear containers and put the containers into direct sunlight. Make sure they stay in the sunlight for at least six hours, if it is a cloudy day you might have to do this for a few days to make sure that all the microbes are dead.

These methods of making water safe for drinking are tried and true. They will help you produce safe drinking water during an emergency.



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