Ready to Conserve Water & Cut Your Water Bill? Here Are 8 Ways to Purify Water at Home
There are many ways to purify water (especially in a crisis), besides rushing out and dropping hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a fancy water filtration gadget.
And don’t worry. Whether you’re working with a $2000 budget or a branch from a pine tree (yes, you read that right), we’ll find a way to get you some clean water.
- Water Purification Methods: 8 Ways To Purify Water
- Final Thoughts
Water Purification Methods: 8 Ways To Purify Water
With each purifying water technique, we made sure to break down what tools you’ll need. Some of the options are a little more complex, while others are very simple. You can choose from these 8 ways to purify water based on what resources you have:
1. Follow Basic Water Filtering
If you’re getting your water out of the tap, there is a good chance you won’t have to worry about this technique. However, we’re putting it here on its own – and first on the list – because it is an important first step in order to do many of the following techniques.
First off, let’s dive a little bit into semantics and make one thing clear: This technique is NOT the same as a water filter (technique #2).
The idea of initially filtering your drinking water is simply this: to get all of the obvious, larger particles of junk out of the water before you proceed to purify or sterilize it. Use this technique first when you collect rain water for drinking.
How To Do It
- Fill one container with your dirty water.
- Run the water through your filter
- Have it drip into your second container.
2. Install Water Filters
Of course, it should come as no surprise that one of the best ways to purify water at home or abroad is with commercially purchased water filters.
However, before you jump in and drop a grand or more (seriously!) in a water filter, let’s break down what we’re aiming for here.
When your water is cloudy, you’ll need a water purification system that specifically addresses this issue. Some water filters simply block debris while other filters have the reverse osmosis membranes to remove heavy metals, bacteria and viruses, and other contaminants.
Something to keep in mind is that often if a product is focused only on filtering out a handful of specific things, it will not be as expensive overall.
Finally, the one last option is making your own homemade water filter. Check out the video below for some inspiration!
How to Do It
This one centers on following the instructions that come with whatever filter you choose.
3. Boil Your Water
Now we get to a classic: boiling water.
The question isn’t “does boiling make water safe to drink?” but rather “how long to boil water in order to purify it?”
And the answer is simple: 1 minute to boil drinking water (1)
Of course, it is also strongly recommended that, if the water comes from a dirty (or somewhat dirty) source, you take time to filter out all of the debris before you boil.
How to Do It
- Put the unpurified drinking water in a container
- Place it on a kitchen stove, wood stove, camp stove, or even a bonfire
- Bring that water to a rolling boil for a minute
4. Use Iodine
Another classic, iodine or chlorine dioxide is a great option for purifying water, particularly to get rid of those pesky bacteria and viruses.
However, be careful!
While various forms of iodine can be used to clean water, the crystal form, in particular, can prove to be dangerous to play around with (2).
Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
However, if you want to use iodine, but find that taste just too much to overcome, a cool trick to eliminate the palate problem is adding a form vitamin C to the water (just make sure you do so after it has finished purifying!).
How to Do It
- Add roughly 5 drops of iodine per quart of water (the liquid form can be safely added at a 2% ratio to the water)
- Shake it up
- Leave it to work for at least half an hour
5. Add A Few Drops Of Chlorine Bleach
Now we come to one water purification technique that will turn some heads: bleach.
“Put bleach in the water… to drink it? Wait a second. Isn’t that the poisonous stuff my parents kept out of reach so that we wouldn’t drink it?”
And the short answer is, yes. Don’t drink a bunch of bleach, guys. Seriously. Don’t.
But a few drops? You can handle that. Right, Vizzini?
Joking aside, you really can clean up some water with a few drops of basic, household bleach.
The stuff turns out to be just as good at killing viruses and bacteria in our water as when it’s used as a cleaning agent …that is, it’s okay when it is the right kind and used in proper doses.
So, what is the right kind?
Well, if you’re going to use bleach, make sure it is the unscented kind used for disinfection and sanitization. And make sure it has a measurable amount of chlorine.
How to Do It
- Filter the larger impurities out of the water
- Add the bleach
- Shake it all up and then let it sit for 1 hour
Based on our research (and this number varies depending on the source, kind of bleach, etc.) you can generally put roughly four or five drops of bleach in each quart of water you need to be cleaned.
Caution: Try to do some independent research on the specific kind of bleach you have before committing to this water purification method.
Feeling uneasy using bleach? Water purification tablets are great alternatives.
6. Treat Drinking Water With UV Light
Okay, this one is pretty cool. Believe it or not, you can actually clean water by using ultraviolet light (and that is just one of the TWO light-driven water purification methods on our list)!
Now, unfortunately, this method does have some drawbacks.
For one thing, it only deals with bacteria in the water. On top of that, purifying agents like bleach and iodine remains in the water, combating pathogens for a long time – but this is not so with ultraviolet light.
Once it’s removed, the light stops doing its thing, and any leftover bacteria remains ready to wreak havoc on your digestive system.
How to Do It
- Filter the water first. It shouldn’t be cloudy.
- Simply drop the flashlight into your water and swish it around
7. Try The SODIS Method
Now we come to the other light method and a technique that sounds like it came straight from a science textbook (…or a Marvel comic).
SODIS simply stands for Solar Disinfection or the solar disinfection process (3). Don’t get intimidated though, it turns out to be way less complex than anything we’ve talked about so far.
Water in a plastic bottle traps the heat of the sun and heats up, while the UVA rays help to zap the bad stuff.
The glaring issue here, if you hadn’t already noticed – is that heating up water in a plastic bottle can have some pretty nasty side effects. Leaching chemicals, in particular, can make this a less-than-desirable option.
How to Do It
- Fill the bottle with clear water (run it through your filter until it’s as clean as possible),
- Put the cap on tight
- Leave it in concentrated sun for several hours – ideally six, at a minimum.
Pro tip: Don’t use a bottle larger than one or two quarts. Also, make sure the bottle is clean!
8. Use The Pine Tree Method
At long last, we come to the pine tree method hinted at in the beginning. And yes, this really is a legitimate way to clean water! It uses the xylem tissue in the plant as a natural water filter, capturing particles and giving you some impressively purified water (4).
How to Do It
- Peel a pine branch
- Put a piece in the tube and fasten it
Now you have no excuse to contract an infection, virus, or any other sickness from chemicals, sewage, etc. in connection with your drinking water!
one and try it out for yourself. Comment with feedback on how it goes, and please share the article! Let’s spread this knowledge around as much as possible!
Keen to build a sustainable home? Dabble with solar power starting with a solar power bank.
Reverse osmosis can remove sodium, lead, mercury, selenium, and other contaminants. Unfortunately, its effectiveness can also get rid of most minerals that your body requires and demineralized water poses health risks (5).
Boiled water stays sterile for as long as 3 days if kept in a sealed container and in the refrigerator. If you intend to keep it at room temperature, boiled water is safe to drink for up to 24 hours. Don’t forget to keep it away from direct sunlight!
No, boiled water is not the same as distilled water. They are two completely different methods of treating water. Distilled water involves boiling water, collecting the steam, and then condensing it into liquid. This method leaves impurities, as well as minerals on the container. With water boiling, you’ll get rid of the contaminants and retain minerals.
- Making Water Safe In An Emergency. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/making-water-safe.html
- Most People Consume Too Much Salt. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/salt/index.htm
- The SODIS Water Disinfection Method. Retrieved from: https://preparedcitizenwsg.blogspot.com/2011/03/sodis-water-disinfection-method.html
- Need A Water Filter? Peel A Tree Branch. Retrieved from: https://news.mit.edu/2014/need-a-water-filter-peel-a-tree-branch-0226
- Health Risks From Drinking Demineralised Water. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutrientschap12.pdf
Alex lives in the sustainability capital of Australia (Byron Bay) where the local community thrives and strongly supports self-sufficient living and green tech entrepreneurship. He began Eco Peanut in 2014 with the mission to spread bite sized sustainability advice to the masses.