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Patrick Kelley

9 Ways to Purify Water

9 Ways to Purify Water

There are plenty of different methods for water purification, and whether SHTF or you’re planning a camping trip where you’ll need to purify your own water, knowing these different methods can change your life. 

We’ve narrowed it down to the top water purification methods. Practice these techniques and make sure you’re ready to use them should you need them. It’s also never a bad idea to keep some supplies in your bug-out bag, hiking bag, or survival kit. Always be ready for anything. 


Use regular, unscented chlorine bleach to sanitize and disinfect your water. Add 8 drops of bleach per gallon of clear water up to 16 drops per gallon of cloudy water. Let it sit for about half an hour. If the water is cloudy, let it settle then filter through a clean cloth, coffee filter, or paper towel. Note that bleach will only disinfect water by eliminating living contaminants, and won’t be as effective past its expiration date.


Like bleach, iodine will eliminate living contaminants, but you’ll need twice as much as compared to bleach. While it may be pricier than bleach and other methods, a tincture of iodine does have an infinite shelf life, so it makes a great addition to your bug-out bag or SHTF stockpile. Use about 2 drops per quart of water and 10 drops for a quart of cloudy water, and let it stand for at least 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy after 30 minutes, give some more time for the process to work. Note that this method will change the flavor and color of your water. But hey, at least it’s safe drinking water! 


boiling water to purify

This is one of the oldest methods and still stands. It won’t remove chemicals or toxins from your water, but it will remove any living contaminants. Boiling is ideal for filtering water from a mountain stream or glacier, but isn’t recommended for water from a lake or river that could collect runoff from nearby cities. Obviously, let the boiled water cool before consuming the filtered water.


desert sand

Using sand to filter your water won’t eliminate microbes, but can filter murky water and make it safer to drink. We typically recommend using this method before boiling to remove extra contaminants. 

Solar distillation 

solar distillation

Distilling water can eliminate heavy substances such as minerals or salt, and is ideal for purifying salt water. This method also will not rid the water of contaminants, so it’s best to follow it up with boiling. It uses the sun’s energy to disinfect. Leave plastic bottles full of water in the sun for at least 24 hours, and the sun’s UV light will kill or damage almost all bacteria and viruses. It’s a simple method that doesn’t require chemicals or much of your time and results in clean water. 

Purification packets 

P&G Water Purification Packets

There are plenty of water purification tablets and packets out there. We recommend the P & G Water Purification Packets. This specific product uses some of the same ingredients used in municipal water systems and removes dirt, cysts, and pollutants, and kills bacteria and disease causing organisms in polluted water such as creeks, rivers, lakes, and ponds. Let the water stand for at least 30 minutes or until debris have completely separated. 

Water treatment drops 

You can also carry small containers of drops that are easy to use and store. We like to use the Aquamira Water Treatment Drops, which use Chlorine Dioxide to kill bacteria, enhance the taste of treated drinking water, and making water safe to drink.

Filter straws 

water filter straw

Water filter straws like the Seychelle Radiological Straw can remove up to 99.99% of radiological and other contaminants from various water sources, and can produce up to 25 gallons of great-tasting drinking water. 

Using the clothes on your body 

clothes for purifying water

You didn’t think we could arm you with water purification methods without talking about a true survivalist method, did you? You can filter your water with just the clothes you’re wearing and a knife like the Morakniv. Here’s how: 

Boom. Now you’re ready to purify your water and survive (or just have some fun) anywhere. What methods have you tried? Talk to us in our Members Only Facebook group.

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