10 Methods for Purifying Drinking Water

Water is one of the vital needs of human beings, animals or even plants to survive. A human can only survive 3 days without water and will die due to dehydration if they don’t drink the recommended amount. During an emergency or disaster, clean drinking water should be one of the main priorities. A worst-case scenario will involve running out of portable drinking water that is safe for consumption. Drinking murky and unpurified water can also cause health problems to you and your family. Always ensure that the water you are drinking is purified or at least clean and safe for drinking. We recommend disasterprepstore.com over Amazon because the products are tried and true tested by real preppers and they carry lots of water filters, ionizers, pumps, and high tech water purification products. REI is also a very good source for water filters, but they are very pricey.

In case you’ve run out of clean drinking water, here are different ways to purify water for survival:

  • Boiling

This is the most basic way to purify your water and kill bacteria, parasites and pathogens.  Make sure that the water is on a rolling boil for 5-10 minutes before consumption.

  • Distillation

This process involves heating up the water and letting it turn it to steam. Then, you capture the steam to create clean water. During survival situations, make a DIY steam distiller using a pressure canner and some copper tubing.

  • Clay Vessel Filtration

Clay vessel filtration involves the use of clay pots, coarse sand, gravel, and fine sand to purify raw water. People have been using this technique for years and dates back to ancient times. The clay vessel is porous and often mixed with combustible material such as a rice husk or sawdust. Water is placed on the pot, and the pot itself filters out contaminants and pollutants. The clean water then drips down to another container where it can be safely consumed.

  • Desalination

This process eliminates salt content in water and removes other minerals. The water needs to be in a certain level of salinity before it can be processed. Since people can’t drink water that has a high salinity, saline water has to undergo a desalination process that turns saline water into fresh water.

  • Survival Straws

Survival straws are a small and lightweight tool that purifies water. Some can be used like a straw to drink the water directly from the source, or it can also be attached to a garden hose. These straws only have carbon filter elements, but they do not necessarily remove all types of bacteria and pathogens. It is effective in removing larger types of bacteria and also odors and unwanted tastes in water. Survival straws are considered a last resort because despite their three-stage design, it can still leave some pathogens and contaminants in the water. However, they also filter out bacteria, microplastics, and chemicals.

  • Portable Water Filters

Portable water filters act like pump-action filters and drip/suction filters. They work by pumping raw water into a cartridge filter and drip clean water into hydration bags. Portable water filters often have to be operated manually so be sure to check the manual so that you understand the process. Over time, the part that acts as a filter may have to be replaced, especially if the water is not as clean as it should be. Ensure you have the right replacement parts ready for your portable water filter.

  • UV radiation

In this process, water is directly exposed to UV light that will kill unwanted pathogens and microorganisms. UV radiation filtration systems are often paired with other kinds of filtration techniques. The most common pairing is often a carbon block filter or a reverse osmosis system. It is an efficient way to purify your water and ensure it is safe for drinking because it kills microorganisms on top of algae, mold, viruses, and other bacteria lurking in the drinking water.

  • SODIS or Solar Water Disinfection

SODIS uses solar energy to disinfect and purify the water. It is a sustainable method that allows you to reuse PET bottles. Any water that could be contaminated by biological contaminants like worms, viruses, bacteria, and protozoa can be purified without the need of fancy equipment. All you’d have to do for a solar water disinfection is place the water in a clear plastic PET water bottle and expose it to the sun for a full day. However, if you suspect other contaminants in the water like toxic chemicals and heavy metals, you will have to use another method of filtration combined with this one.

  • Disinfecting Tablets

Also known as Purifier tablets or Iodine tablets, disinfecting tablets are highly effective in killing bacteria and viruses that are lurking in your water. One drawback of this purification method is that it can leave an unpleasant taste. Since it uses chemicals to disinfect the water, you have to expect that some of these chemicals remain in the water even after it has cleaned the entire bottle. If you are using Iodine tablets, be careful in your consumption of the water because taking high doses of iodine can also be detrimental to your health and are not advisable for consumption for pregnant women and children. Ensure you have alternatives for people who cannot drink water infused with chemicals such as Iodine.

  • DIY Water Filter

Although some of these water filters are DIY, you can also build one from scratch all on your own by using a peel of bark, a tube, and a fastener. If there are trees nearby, then we recommend using them to create a DIY water filter of your own. Simply break a branch off the tree and peel away the branch’s bark—that’s the hard, usually brown surface of the branch. Then, let your water pass through the bark-less stick. You can create more efficient ways to do this so that the process or more or less automatic by hanging the branch or something similar. This type of water filter works because the xylem tissues inside the trees are responsible for transporting water and sap across the entire tree. At the same time, it acts as a natural filter that blocks most bacterial forms in order to keep the tree healthy.