How to purify water

Back in the day, we were able to drink water straight from springs, rivers, municipal fountains and within our homes without getting sick or have to boil the water. But today, we are experiencing contaminated water in our cities. Think about Flint, Michigan. Many people fell sick due to bad water from their home faucets.  Water is the most important item we need to survive because we can only survive 3 days without it.  So store water.

Storing water safely

The best source of drinking water during an emergency is water you have stored with your emergency supplies.

  • Store one gallon of water per person per day–enough for at least 1 week.

  • Store-bought, factory-sealed bottled water is best when placed in a dark cool place.

  • If you choose to fill your own water containers:

    • Collect the water from a safe water supply.

    • Store water in thoroughly washed plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. You can also purchase food-grade plastic buckets or drums.

    • Seal water containers tightly, label with date, and store in a cool, dark place.

    • They say we should replace the water every six months. But, use your own judgement on this. If that was the only water you had, would you pour it out or would you purify it, again and drink it? Think about it!

    • Never reuse a container that held toxic substances such as pesticides, chemicals or oil.

Note: It is recommend that pregnant women, people with an active thyroid problem, or those allergic to iodine should not use iodine to purify water.


Here are 3 ways to purify water.


#1. Purify by boiling water

Water boiling in glass panIf tap water is unavailable,the following may be considered as potential water sources. Water taken from these sources should be boiled before drinking.

  • Rainwater
  • Lakes
  • Rivers and streams
  • Natural springs
  • Ponds

Caution: Many chemical pollutants will not be removed by boiling.


Water being poured through a filter/

  • Consider how the water looks and how to filter it if needed.  Cloudy water should always be filtered. Disinfection does not work as well when water is cloudy or colored. If water is cloudy, let it settle. Then filter the water through a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter. Store the settled and filtered water in clean containers with covers.


  • Bring the water to a rolling boil for at least three full minutes.

  • Let the water cool before drinking.

#2  Purifying water by adding liquid chlorine bleach

Treat water by adding liquid household bleach, such as Clorox or Purex.  A bottle of bleach

  • Household bleach is typically between 5.25 percent and 8.25 percent chlorine. Read the label.
  • Avoid using bleaches that contain perfumes, dyes and other additives again, read the label.
  • Cloudy water should be filtered before adding bleach.
  • Place the water in a clean container. Add the amount of bleach according to the table below.
  • Mix thoroughly and let stand for at least 60 minutes before drinking.  Glass containersTreating water with household bleach containing 5.25-8.25 percent chlorine

Volume of Water to be Treated

Bleach Solution to Add

1 quart/1 liter

5 drops

1/2 gallon/2 quarts/2 liters

10 drops

1 gallon

1/4 teaspoon

5 gallons

1 teaspoon

10 gallons

2 teaspoons

Caution: Bleach will not kill some disease-causing organisms commonly found in surface water and it will not remove chemical pollutants.


#3.  Purifying with Water Purification Tablets

Water purification tablets are located at any hardware or outdoor sport goods store.

How to use it: Most importantly, follow the water purification tablet instructions, they may vary, but generally you simply add the tablets to the water, then wait for a specified time before drinking. A pill-sized tab usually will filter one liter of water and may require you to wait thirty five-minutes before drinking. Check the directions on the type of tablet you have before using this method. Also, keep in mind that cold water temperatures may require longer wait times.  If you fail to pack water purification tablets in your emergency gear, you simply won’t be able to use the method above. However, if you do have them with you, they’re cheap, light, and effective. Remember, tablets have a shelf life so make sure to check purchase dates, and replace them as needed.


  • Can’t find water? Look for other sources of water in and around your home. Although bottled water is your best choice, you may be able to find other sources of water by melting ice cubes or draining your hot water tank or pipes. You should not use water from toilet flush tanks or bowls, radiators, waterbeds, swimming pools, or spas. You can also use river or lake water. It is generally better to use flowing water than still, stagnant water. However, do not use water with floating material in it or water that has a dark color or questionable odor.
  • If you have a well on your property that has been flooded, make sure to disinfect and test the well water after the flood. Contact your state or local health department for advice or review “What to do With Your Private Well After a Flood” document. The information above is provided by

You can also consider carrying a portable water filter, like the LifeStraw, in addition to one of the above methods. Water is your most important survival resource that will save your life. You can not live without it . You can only survive 3 days without clean, drinkable water. Practice and prepare now, you’ll be glad you did.

6 thoughts on “How to purify water

    1. AfrovivalistAfrovivalist Post author

      Thank you so very much. The website/blog is still in its infant stage so it’s forever changing. Please keep in touch and let me know what you would like me to post.

      Thanks Again,

  1. Matthew

    Do you recommend the use of ‘LifeStraw’ for purifying water before drinking it? I have some just in case of emergency, but I have never talked to anyone who has had to use one.

    1. AfrovivalistAfrovivalist Post author

      Hi Matthew! I myself have not used my LifeStraw, yet. But I have been told that it is an essential item to have. Personally, for me, not knowing where the water is coming from, I would still find the time to boil the water first then use the LifeStraw. Just in case.


  2. R

    Excellent piece! I’ve recently discovered your quote and I’m quite inspired by you and the knowledge you’re sharing here. Thank you for being such an important resource.

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