What are Some Easy Ways to Purify Water?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2018
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Whether storing water around the home as part of an emergency kit, using it on a camping trip, or making the tap water in the home healthier and better tasting, there are a few simple and quick ways to purify it. There are four basic methods to achieve water purification around the house or while enjoying the great outdoors: using a filter, purification tablets, bleach, or boiling it.

For in-home use, the easiest way to purify water is to make use of a water filter. One approach is to use a pitcher that is fitted with a water filter and holding tank. Tap water is placed into the holding tank and slowly works its way through a filter, which removes impurities from it and deposits the purified result into the bottom section of the pitcher. A second option is to attach a devise containing a water filter to the tap itself. As the water flows out of the spigot, the filter removes contaminants and leaves behind crystal clear water that can be used for drinking or cooking. With both applications, manufacturers provide replacement filters that should be inserted into the pitcher or tap device on a regular basis.


When it comes to the task of storing water as part of a home emergency kit, there are two approaches that may be used to purify it. One involves the purchase of purification tablets. While different tablets are formulated at different strengths, they all involve dropping the tablet into a receptacle filled with water. Users should be sure to read the instructions to determine how much water can be cleansed with one tablet, and also how long the tablet will help to keep the water safe for drinking.

Along with water tablets, common household bleach can be used to purify water. Only pure and unscented bleach should be used for this application. The amount of bleach required depends on the amount of water in the receptacle, but 16 drops of pure bleach, measured with a standard sized eyedropper, is usually considered enough to do the job. Once the bleach is administered, the water needs to be stirred to distribute it evening throughout the liquid. The water will have a slight chlorine scent. People practicing this method will need to turn the storage containers once a month to prevent settling.

On camping trips, boiling water is a common method used to purify water. A camper should place the water is a heatproof container, and bring it to a rolling boil. An open fire or propane stove will work fine for this application. As the boiling takes place, a thin layer of residue will rise to the top. The camper should skim off the top layer and allow the rest of the water to cool. The purified water can be poured into a container and used for drinking and cooking.


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Post 13

Out of all these purification methods which is the best? Do home water purifiers really work?

Post 12

@anon11646-- About five minutes is enough. You should see the water boiling. Germs and bacteria cannot survive at boiling temperature and will die.

I think microwaving is okay, as long as you see the water actually boiling. If it hasn't boiled, it's not completely safe.

How to purify water also depends on what kind of a problem we're facing with. If there is bacteria in the water, then boiling it will purify it. But if there is a different concern like chemicals or dangerous metals found in the water, then filtration systems have to be used to purify it.

Post 11

Purification tablets sound like a God-send to me. I know in the old days, especially during war-time and natural disasters, many people actually died from cholera rather than injuries. Because when the water systems are damaged or destroyed, dirty water mixes into clean water making all water unsafe for drinking. But people can't die of thirst and they would end up drinking that water and getting sick.

If they had purification tablets, they could have prevented this.

Post 10

Has anybody used the water purification tablets on a camping trip? We are planning a back packing trip and I figured this would be a great way to make sure we are drinking clean water.

I have had experiences in the past where a place might say the water is drinkable, but I end up getting sick. I don't want to take any chances this time. It's never fun being sick to your stomach, but even worse when you are out in the middle of nowhere.

Post 9

I have one of those pitchers that has a water filter built in, and this is a quick and easy way to filter my drinking water. It might not work the best if you had a large family, but I live alone, and this works out best for me.

Even with replacing the filters, I have found this to be cheaper and much more convenient than buying purified water at the store. I know I always have pure water to drink and don't have to buy small bottles of water or haul in big jugs of water to refill.

Post 8

We have a reverse osmosis unit that sits on the counter to purify our tap water. This does a great job of giving us pure drinking water, and I have had guests comment on how good our water tastes. It even helps a cup of coffee taste better.

I know there are several different types of units available to purify your water at home, and this unit has its advantages and disadvantages. The few things I don't care for about it are that it takes up space on the counter and I cannot use the tap while the unit is filling up.

If I were to purchase another one I would go with a unit that sits somewhere else or have a filter connected directly to my tap.

Post 7

From time to time we have something that has contaminated our city water and the whole area is advised to boil their water until the issue is resolved.

Sometimes this is as little as a day, and other times it can stretch out to a week or better. It is always a pain to do this, but critical for the safety of everyone. I think the easiest way to purify water at home in a situation like this is to boil it.

I will buy bottled water for our drinking, but for cooking I will just boil the water on the stove.

Post 6

RE: How long to boil water: It turns out, much to my surprise, that all that is needed to purify biologically contaminated water for drinking is that it be brought to a rolling boil. It doesn't need to be boiled for one minute or 5 minutes or 10 minutes. By the time it gets to a rolling boil, the things which will be killed are already dead - although it is suggested that boiling for one minute in higher altitudes makes sense.

Post 5

I don't think water can be boiled in a microwave oven.

Post 4

specifically how many ways are there to purify water?

Post 2

Generally speaking, you would want to have the water achieve a rolling boil and then allow the boiling to continue at least five minutes. Ten minutes is often recommended in many camping and wilderness survival guides.

Keep in mind that the degree of contamination in the water, plus the position above sea level can also impact the amount of time needed to adequately purify the water. At sea level five to ten minutes will do the trick. At higher levels, add some additional time.

Post 1

How long do you boil water to purify it ? 5 minutes ? 10 minutes ?

Does a microwave oven purify water, if so, how long do you micro-wave the water for ? Thanks for any tips :-)

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