Filtering Water in a Pinch

Ah, water, sweet, refreshing, and deadly if tainted. Optimally we should be consuming 64 oz a day, that is unless you are in an arid climate, are sweating a lot, have a fever, or are throwing up or have diarrhea. What if the water source isn’t what you would normally choose but there is no alternative at the moment? If the water is full of pathogens or debris what are you going to do? You have to have water, but if it contaminated drinking the water could be worse than going without. So what are your available option? Here are a few tricks that will do in a pinch.

It’ll do

I know that in a first world country we don’t think about our water source. We go to the kitchen or refrigerator and there it is, good, clean, and sometimes fluoridated water. We also have the option to buy local water at our convenience. So what can you do? The easiest safest simply way to clean up the water is to boil it. Heating it up is ideal for making the environment a bit too toasty for the little nastiness you didn’t invite along. The minimum amount of time to boil water is for three minutes and that is after it starts to boil. Another item that can be used is a natural fiber cloth, the fibers capture microbial as they pass through the cloth. Chlorine bleach is a good way to clean water, but only a very small amount can be used at a time and you can only do that for a small period of time before the bleach can become your enemy instead of your friend.

  • Boil water for at least 3 minutes
  • Filter water with cloth or paper
  • Add a drop of bleach

Why the Need to Know

That’s the thing, you just never know when you might be required to clean your own water. The previous methods are all good if you find yourself in a situation where clean water is not available and you can’t shop local. You could live in an earthquake prone zone and a water main may have broken. Or sometimes something happens at the water treatment plant and they have issued a boil alert. It’s great if you own a filtering system in your home, but in some circumstances even that will not do. Whether it is a natural disaster or you are in a survival situation, you now know a few simple steps to get potable, if not tasty, water.
photo credit: Water World via photopin (license)