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No water treatment method is perfect. It is better to treat it multiple ways if you can.


Boiling is the safest method. Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that some of the water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking. Boiled water tastes better if you add oxygen. Pour it back and forth between two clean containers. This also helps improve the taste of stored water.


Household liquid bleach kills microorganisms. Use regular liquid bleach that contains 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented or colorsafe bleaches, or bleaches with added cleaners. Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the process and let stand an additional 15 minutes.


Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water. This will remove microbes that resist the other two methods, as well as heavy metals, salt, and most other chemicals. To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the handle on the pot’s lid so that the cup will hang right-side up when the lid is upside-down. Place the lid on the pot, upside-down. Keep the cup above the water and boil the water for 20 minutes. The distilled water will drip down the lid into the cup.

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