Everything You Need to Know About Purifying Water

In an emergency, it’s important to have on-hand water that you and your family can safely consume. Whether camping or in a dire survival scenario, understanding the basics of purifying water in the wilderness is an essential skill for any outdoor lover.

When it comes to accessing clean drinking water, it’s essential to know how to purify it to make it safe for consumption. There are a variety of methods to filter out impurities and contaminants from water, which can be used for drinking and cooking. By following step-by-step instructions, you can learn how to purify water yourself.

You can select the right filtration methods, such as using activated carbon or reverse osmosis and gather the appropriate tools and equipment to get started. Whether you’re out camping, hiking, or just want to make your own purified water at home, with the right knowledge, you can achieve your goal of safe and healthy drinking water.

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How Long Can the Human Body Last Without Water?

Your mouth, throat, and stomach are the first parts of your body that feel the effects of dehydration. This is because 70 percent of your body is made up of water. 

While your organs can survive a period of dehydration, the rehydration process will severely harm your health. It may be challenging to keep your body hydrated without access to clean water, especially in times of emergency. 

The answer to the question “how long can the body survive without water” is 3-7 days, but everyone’s physiology is different. Babies, the elderly, and those with severe illnesses can dehydrate faster.

The Importance of Purifying Water in the Wild

The purifying procedure removes hazardous viruses and germs that might cause waterborne diseases, allowing you to use water discovered in the wilderness safely. If you get stuck in nature, knowing how to purify water is a crucial survival skill since it allows you to keep hydrated safely. 

What’s the Difference Between Filtering and Purifying Water?

Filtration is siphoning water through a filtration system to remove harmful particles and microorganisms. Standard water filters depend on sieve-like physical components to remove pollutants.

Purifying water, on the other hand, includes adding a chemical or disinfecting element (such as UV radiation or chemical purification tablets) to the water to eliminate dangerous components such as viruses and germs. Water filtering eliminates pollutants, but viruses and bacteria that are too small to be captured by a standard filter are left out.


How to Purify Water

Method #1. Purifying With Chemicals

  • Treating water with purification and disinfection tablets. Water purification pills has chlorine or iodine that aids in eliminating germs and viruses in the water. To treat water with these tablets, fill a pitcher or jar with water and add the required number of tablets. Typically, one tablet treats one quart (1 L) of water. These pills often need between 30 minutes and four hours to take effect.
  • Treat the water with a small amount of bleach. Bleach may be used to disinfect water, but it must be handled cautiously to prevent toxicity. For bleach to be effective, it’s supposed to be far from expiration. Here are some quick steps to purify the water with bleach:
    • Get the jug of water
    • Put in 4 drops of bleach per quart or liter of water
    • Shake or stir the water with bleach
    • Let it settle for about 30 minutes to work
  • Treat the water with iodine. Iodine works by destroying bacteria and viruses that cause disease, making it an essential ingredient for water purification tablets, but its taste can be off-putting to some people. To do the procedure, collect the water and add a 2 percent iodine solution to purify. Stir four drops of iodine into one liter (liter) of water and allow it to settle for thirty minutes.

Method #2. Filtering Contaminants

  • Make use of a commercial water filter. A commercial water filter is the most convenient and efficient method to remove silt, bacteria, metals, and other contaminants from water. These filters include substances, such as charcoal, carbon, ceramic, sand, and fabric, that are meant to remove harmful pollutants. Here are the types of filters you can use.
    • Whole home filters
    • Point-of-use filters
    • Countertop filters
    • Bottles and straws with inbuilt filters
    • UV water purifiers
    • Refrigerator filters
  • Filter the water with pine trees. Pine trees are among the most extraordinary plants for filtering harmful pathogens out of water. To purify your water and get rid of harmful microorganisms, all you need to do is cut off a short branch of a pine tree. Remove the bark and toss the naked stick into a container. Pour the water slowly; don’t rush it; so it trickles down the stick and into the bucket. As water travels through the sap within the stick, the sap captures and collects pathogens.
  • Filter heavy metals with cilantro. In the same way, pine trees effectively eliminate viruses; cilantro shines at removing heavy metals from water. Fill a pitcher with water and add a few cilantro leaves. Give the water a good stir, then drop the leaves and let them sit there for at least an hour. Get rid of the cilantro before you drink the water.
Purifying water with a self-made filter

Method #3. Purifying Water with Heat and Sunshine

  • Boil the water. Boiling your water helps kill off bacteria and viruses that cannot be filtered out. Boil the water to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius). Make sure the water is boiling for three minutes and that it reaches a rolling boil. After boiling, the water is clean; however, boiling water does leave some unpleasant flavors behind. You can add some lemon or lime juice to your water to get rid of these flavors.
  • Another effective way to purify water is by heating it in the sun. The sun’s UV rays are powerful at killing off bacteria and viruses. Fill a bucket with water and let it sit in the sun for at least an hour. The sun’s rays will kill off any pathogens in the water, but it may take longer than the boiling method.

Method #4. Filtering Out Large Particulates

  • Strain the water. You can strain water polluted with big particles such as stones, insects, plant debris, or soil. Use muslin, cheesecloth, a clean dish towel, or a clean cotton shirt to line a fine-mesh strainer. To remove the debris from the water, set the strainer over a basin and pour the water through it. However, note that filtering the water in this manner will not remove pathogens, heavy metals, or other pollutants.
  • Utilize sedimentation. Without a filtering device, you can still remove oversized particles from water by allowing them to settle. Gather the water in a basin or bottle. Give the water one to two hours to settle. During this period, heavier particles will sink while lighter ones will float to the surface.
    • To clear lightweight particles, skim them from the water’s surface.
    • To clear heavier particles, pour the water slowly and carefully into a clean dish or jar. Stop pouring before reaching the bottom of the container. This leaves the heavier sediment behind.

Author’s Note

Water is an essential element in our lives. We cannot do without it, whether to drink or use it for cooking or cleaning. Natural water sources could become contaminated and unusable if a disaster occurs. 

Water purification methods are many, but the best and most accessible are boiling and filtering. Boiling water kills most bacteria and viruses, while filtering removes chemicals and suspended particles from the water. Therefore, every household must have a backup plan that enables them to purify water if they ever face a shortage. We hope this article has helped you prepare for the future.

Related: Ways to Conserve Water, Plastic Water Bottle Alternatives, Rainwater

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