Water is the most plentiful element on Earth, covering nearly 75 percent of the surface. The bad news? most of it is salt water or polluted. If you happen to be in the position where you need clean water and are not near any non-polluted freshwater spring or other form of purified water, there are various steps you can take to make the water potable and drinkable. One of the most known ways to purify and cleanse water is to boil it. Raising the temperature will kill the bacteria and parasites that may be living within.

When and Why do We Need to Purify the Water?

Non-purified water can lead to various illnesses. Some of which can be passed on and some of which can make you excessively ill or even lead to death.The best way to avoid these affects is to cleanse any water you think may have been or looks contaminated. Contaminated water could be varying, meaning coming from a stream/ river, the ocean or from another polluted water source. If you suspect that your water has been affected it is recommended to boil the water you have coming from the tap. If you have bottled water it would be best to keep that for drinking and use the heat treated water for bathing, brushing teeth, cleaning and cooking. In most cases of polluted tap water your local authorities will issue a warning that provides you with a instructions and a timeline of how long your local water may be affected for.

For some basic information on the types of polluted water view this article: Prepping Basics – Water.

How To and Other Considerations

The most effective and well known method to purifying water is by boiling it. In order to do this you will need a heat source. If you are in a “rough-it” situation a camper stove powered by propane or a fire would work, or if you have access to modern technology using your stove top will work just fine. Next thing would be to have a heat resistant container to heat the water in. The recommended time at a rapid boil is 1-3 minutes. At 212 degrees Fahrenheit most harmful parasites and bacteria are destroyed after that 1-3 minutes. When the water you are trying to make drinkable is cloudy or debris-ridden, it is imperative to first filter the debris out, leaving only the water left to heat. Many common items can be used as a filter such as coffee filters, clothing, paper products, among various other items that may be laying around.

Variations and Alternatives

There are other ways to make polluted/ contaminated water safe for consumption and use. You can bleach the water by placing a few drops to every liter of liquid. Tools such as purifying straws filter the liquid through a straw like sipping utensil. Various other filter techniques can be used as well. With that said; boiling water is the best way to purify water to ensure that the harmful bacteria and pathogens have been thoroughly killed.