As much as we’d like to believe that the water from our faucets is pure H2O, sadly that simply is not the case. And while your water supplier is required to treat the water before it reaches you.
This water typically features a great many other things besides. Even if the water looks perfectly clear, that does not mean to say that there are no hidden nasties in it.
Depending on where exactly you live, your water could contain any number of contaminants, from aluminum through to uranium. Not to mention microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.
The good news, however, is that there are several different ways to purify your water. Some of which are rather easy, convenient and straightforward, and the strength of other methods is in their effectiveness.
In this article, we’re going to discuss and explain several methods of purifying water, before discussing which method is perhaps the best.
By the end of the article, at the wrap up, you will know what your options are for purifying your water, and be able to choose the best method for your particular circumstances.
Please feel free to scroll ahead to any section that jumps out at you. Here goes.
Boiling water is hands down one of the most convenient ways of purifying your water. You can do it cheaply, without the need to buy any fancy equipment – all you need is a kettle, or alternatively a stove top and saucepan.
To purify your water by this method, all you have to do is bring the water to the boil, and let it continue to boil for about 3 minutes. (Longer if you are at high altitude.)
The effect of boiling water in this way is that it will kill off or inactivate pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and other organic impurities.
This is because the heat damages the structural components of these pathogens, for example by denaturing their proteins.
However, it’s important to note at this point that although boiling water can purify it from various organic impurities, there are several contaminants that boiling does not remove.
This includes, for example, the likes of chlorine, fluorine, iron, magnesium, nitrates and even lead. The evaporation that is caused by boiling water means that inorganic matter remains in the water
If you wish to remove both organic and inorganic contaminants from your water, while boiling the water is a very important step, you would be well advised to carry this out in conjunction with an additional water purification method, wish leads us nicely onto our next section.
While boiling water can help to purify it of organic impurities, such as pathogens like bacteria and viruses that cause disease, it does not however rid the water of inorganic contaminants.
However, it is possible to remove these inorganic contaminants by way of filtering. This method does not have to be especially expensive…
For example, if you happen to own a standard coffee filter (or other conventional filter) then you can simply use this.
Unfortunately, however, if you are using this method to filter your water, you have to remember that coffee filters do not actually boil your water for you as well.
They simply raise the temperature of the water to between 180 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not high enough to kill of pathogens such as bacteria.
If, however, you wish to filter your water in an outdoor environment, then you will need to improvise, perhaps by using clean fabric such as cotton wool or clean clothes.
Another simple way to filter water, is to buy a dedicated water filter pitcher. These are typically designed to fit within the door of your refrigerator, and they feature a specially designed filter.
You simply pour water in the top part, and the water that filters through to the bottom of the pitcher is free of inorganic particles, and what is released by the pitcher is only the purified water. Here’s the link for a good one.
Or for a comparative price tag, you can invest in a faucet mount water filtration system, like this one.
If you wish to both boil the water and filter it, it is generally recommended that filter the water first before you boil it.
Adding chlorine dioxide to water is also a very effective way of purifying it. It kills off germs, parasites, and other disease causing organisms.
This is why it’s so commonly used in communal swimming pools. And this chlorine will also react with inorganic impurities as well.
Of the various different types of water purification tablets on the market, one of the more common ones are chlorine based ones, like this one from Amazon (though there are other, iodine based ones like this).
Chlorine dioxide based water purification is also available in liquid form, like this.
And if you follow the links, you will see that these treatments are very affordable as a short term, temporary measure.
But you can’t be expected to buy chlorine dioxide every time you want to enjoy a glass of water. It’s no good as a long-term solution for purifying your drinking water.
So, there we have a quick run through of three of the most common and effective means of purifying water. Which method you use will depend on your circumstances, and whether you happen to have the right equipment to hand.
If you are specifically looking for a method you can use while camping, you should check out our article titled “How To Purify Water In The Wild” which is available on this link.
But for purifying water at home, your best solution is to either boil or filter it, or ideally a combination of both.
You don’t need expensive equipment, and for the most part all you need is one or more of the following: a kettle, a stove and saucepan, a coffee filter, or a water filter pitcher for cold drinking water.