How to Purify Water
Many of the home remedy articles on this website, and on many other sites like it, have home remedy solutions that involve drinking or using clean water. While clean water is available to many people in first world countries, it can be harder to find in other parts of the world, or in areas that have recently experienced flooding. This article will outline some of the do’s and don’ts of water purifying, how to tell if the water is safe or not, as well as suggest ways in which you can purify water at home.
Drinking water is vital, as most everyone knows. The average adult should drink about eight glasses of clean water a day to avoid dehydration. However, if you exercise or live in a dry climate, you need to drink more water than that. When water is dirty, it can be assumed that it is unsafe to drink. Learn how to purify your water with the tips below.
Is the Water Safe or Unsafe to Drink?
There are various ways to tell if your drinking water is safe or not. Most all of these tests can be done from home. However, if you are not confident in your ability to tell if your water is clean or not, then it is best to call your local water company to have them check out the water for you.
One of the most obvious signs of unsafe drinking water is seeing a change in the water color. Sometimes, this is obvious by the way the water looks as it is coming out of the faucet. Other times, you may need to let the water sit in the glass for a moment before you can see any change in the water’s color. Some common discolorations include cloudy or brown, yellow, or reddish water. A reddish color is likely to point to too much iron in the water, but other colors can mean other things are contaminating the water.
Smell and Taste
Even if your water looks perfectly clear, it could still be contaminated. One thing that might be noticeable about your water is a change in smell or taste. If you water smells different than usual, don’t try to drink it. This likely means that your water is contaminated in one way or another.
If you have already tasted your water, and it tasted off (sometimes water may task like raw eggs or metallic) stop drinking it immediately. Do not use it to cook with or to clean with. Your water is most likely contaminated.
If you are still unsure if your water is safe or not, even after checking for changes in the color, smell, or taste of the water, then you can use a home test to check the quality of the water. You can purchase a test on Amazon by using this link or by clicking on the image below. This test can check for the pH level, hardness, and more.
How to Purify Water
If your water is contaminated, there are a few measures that you can take to try to purify your water. Follow the instructions below carefully to get the best results.
Boiling water is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to purify your water. However, you should not try this if your water is discolored, as this works to kill the bacteria, but it is not likely to remove iron or other minerals that may be contaminating the water. However, you can do this if your water is cloudy. If your water is discolored, use one of the other suggestions in this article.
To boil your water effectively, boil it on the stove for at least ten minutes. This should be enough time to kill all of the dangerous bacteria in the water. Once the water is done boiling, you can store it in your refrigerator. Store the water in a pitcher or rinsed out juice or milk bottles to store as much water as possible. So long as the container is clean and has a cover, it will work.
If your water is cloudy, you will need to filter the water before you can boil it. You can use a simple filter, like a coffee filter or a paper towel, to do this. You can then proceed to boil the water just as you would with clear water. This should help to purify your drinking water.
Using bleach is another way to purify water. Although, if you feel uncomfortable drinking water that has been purified with bleach, then you can instead use this water for cleaning, rather than for drinking. Make sure you are using unscented bleach, as scented bleach may have ingredients that are harmful to drink.
Mix the bleach with your drinking water. You should do this in bulk batches to get the best results. Depending on the volume of water you are purifying, you will need to need to use different amounts of bleach. The amount of bleach you will need also depends on how powerful/concentrated the bleach is. Use the chart below to determine how much bleach to use.
After adding the bleach, let the water sit for half an hour before drinking. The water should smell/taste slightly like chlorine. If it does not, add in a small amount of chlorine and wait for another fifteen minutes before drinking. Do not drink the water if the taste becomes unbearable with chlorine flavor. If this happens, just use the water for cleaning instead.
Iodine can also be used to purify water. To use iodine to purify water add twenty drops of a 2% tincture of iodine to a gallon of water. Mix the iodine in the water until you are certain the two have mixed entirely. Let the water stand for thirty minutes before you attempt to drink it.
Water Purification Tablets
One product that you can buy to disinfect your water (you cannot make this at home) is water disinfectant tablets. To use these tablets, all you have to do it drop it in water, mix and allow the tablet to dissolve, and let the water sit. Depending on which brand you buy, the time you will need to wait and how much water you can purify at once will differ. Click on the picture below to see Amazon’s recommended water purification tablet brand.
The most cost-effective way to purify water is to use the power of the sun. For this suggestion, you will need to do it on a sunny day. Also, only use this suggestion if your water is clear, or if you have filtered cloudy water. Do not try this with discolored water, as it will have little to no effect. It is also best to store the water in a glass bottle, rather than in plastic containers. To use this suggestion, follow the steps below.
- Fill a bottle 3/4 of the way with water and put on the cap
- Shake the bottle 30 times
- Put the bottle in direct sunlight
- Reflective surfaces work best
- Wait for six hours before use
- If it is cloudy, wait for two days before use
Water filters are one of the best ways to filter your water, but they can also be one of the most expensive ways to purify water as well. For use of this suggestion, there are a couple of ways you can go about using filter water at home. For a long-term solution, you may want to buy a filter that attaches directly to your tap or a pitcher that filters water for you. Some good brands for these products include Brita, PUR, and BWT. Whichever product you purchase, use it as directed to get the best results.
For on the go use, or for small amounts of water, you may want to consider using a LifeStraw. This product claims to be able to filter water from any source, including rainwater and creek water. This will work for water that is contaminated with bacteria or minerals. Their Amazon page says it “Removes 99.9999% of bacteria including Escherichia coli (e-coli), Campylobacter, Vibrio cholera, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, shigella, salmonella.” One straw can filter 264 gallons of water, so it is sure to last a while and it’s affordable too.
What to do if you can’t Purify your Water
If you cannot purify your water, for whatever reason, do not try to drink the water, whatever you do. It is also best to avoid cleaning with water (cleaning your home, laundry, or bathing). For cleaning, try to borrow water from someone else or bathe at someone else’s house. As for drinking water, it is best that you use bottled water. It is best to buy the water in bulk to get as much water as you can for as little money as possible.
Feel free to comment below if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions about how others can purify their water.