How to Purify Water – Top 6 Ways
Whether you’re in the wild or in an urban environment, you need to know how to acquire fresh drinking water. It’s very easy for water to be riddled with bacteria and parasites. If you skip the water purification process, you can become seriously ill (and even die). Even you think the water at hand is questionable, don’t take any chances- purify it. In this article, I’m going to show you how to purify water using a variety of techniques and strategies.
Method #1: Boiling
This is probably the most straightforward way to purify water. Simply place the water you wish to purify in a pot, place the pot over a heat source, and wait. Depending on the temperature of your heat source, it may take anywhere from three to five minutes before the water fully boils. Don’t rush it (you want to make sure that all bacteria and parasites have been killed). If you’re in the wilderness and need to boil water, then you will need a fire and a pot to boil in. If you don’t have a pot, look for a container that is fire-proof.
Bring the water to a rolling boil. Once you see bubbles, it means that the water is beginning to boil. Even once you’ve reached this point, continue to heat the water. The goal is to see the water entering a hard rolling boil. That’s when you know you’ve sufficiently boiled the water. In most cases, you can have your water boiling in five minutes or less. If done correctly, it should kill off most of the microorganisms inside the water. It may also remove some (not all) chemicals. Remember, boiling won’t remove solids, minerals, or metals. This is one of the easiest ways to learn how to purify water. Here’s a quick video to show you how it’s done:
Method #2: Distillation
If you’re stuck in the wilderness with no water, you might not have any choice but to build a solar water still. Solar water stills allow you to turn dirty water into crystal clear distilled water. And the best part is that it’s relatively easy to build, and doesn’t require any fancy equipment or extensive knowledge. Similar to how water evaporates from say, a pond, the water in a solar water still will evaporate and collect in an isolated container (leaving all of the “junk” behind).
You can use this device to purify water from ponds, rivers, and lakes, as well as the water found in plants and other greenery. I’ve even heard that you can distill urine, although I’ve personally never tried it. When learning how to purify water, it’s a super-valuable technique to know. It’s much easier to show you how to build a solar water still than write it out, so here’s a handy video that will walk you through the exact steps (replay the video as many times as needed until you know all the steps):
Method #3: Filter Straws
Unlike the previous two methods, portable water filters (a.k.a. “Survival Straws”) don’t require any knowledge or experience to operate. One of the best examples of these is the LifeStraw. That LifeStraw is basically a portable water filter that will allow you to drink from any water source without worrying about getting sick. It doesn’t have any moving parts, doesn’t use chemicals, and costs about $20. In my opinion, it’s one of the best things to have when learning how to purify water. The LifeStraw has the ability to filter up to 1,000 liters of water (possibly a little more). It’s also proven to remove up to 99.9999% of bacteria and parasites. As you’ll see from the following video, it even makes dirty toilet water drinkable! Click on the big orange button below to read my full review on the LifeStraw.
Method #4: Purification Tablets
As you can probably guess, purification tablets help make dirty water drinkable. They kill microorganisms in water to prevent things like cholera and dysentery. What I like most about water purification tablets is their simplicity and portability. They don’t require any experience to use, so they’re perfect for beginners. Due to their small size, they can be taken anywhere. A quality example is Portable Aqua. These tablets use chemicals (usually iodine) to kill potentially harmful bacteria. When learning how to purify water, always have purification tablets on hand. They’re inexpensive, work quickly, don’t affect the taste of water, and can save your life. Keep in mind that once a bottle is opened, most have a limited shelf life of about six months. Let’s take a look at how they work:
Method #5: Purification Pumps
Purification pumps are another common way that people learn how to purify water in the wild. In fact, it’s one of the first methods that people think of. These devices purify water by pumping it through a filter. This filter contains small “pores” that are too small for parasites and bacteria to move through. From a functional standpoint, it works a lot like the LifeStraw (discussed earlier) with the exception that it requires more work. I’m not saying that I have anything against purification pumps, but in my personal opinion, survival straws like the LifeStraw are the better option. Refer to the following video:
Method #6: UV Light
One of the lesser-known ways to purify water is by using UV light. A quality UV system can “zap” and destroy 99.99% of harmful microorganisms. For some people, this is the preferred method over purification tablets, which have been known to alter the taste and odor of water. UV treatment of water is cost effective, reliable, and quick- all good reasons to give it a try. When learning how to purify water, know that ultraviolet light is a proven technology with o drawbacks. While its initial cost may cost more than other methods, over the long run, you’ll actually save money (due to its low operating cost). As a result, these systems typically pay for themselves pretty quickly. The following video will show you exactly how they work:
How to Purify Water – Bottom Line
When is learning how to purify water important? Well, when SHTF, there likely won’t be any reliable ways to acquire fresh drinking water. For this reason, you’ll need to be proactive and do it yourself. Fortunately, it’s not that difficult once you understand the proven steps. Practice some of these techniques in your spare time so that you can get good at them. That way, when the time comes where you really do need to use them, you won’t be running around like a chicken with its head cut off.