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Boiling is the most basic method to make water safe to drink and kill disease-causing microorganisms. When microorganisms such as those that indicate fecal contamination are found in drinking water, water suppliers are required to issue “Boil Water Notices.”

Here are some advices for you when choosing water boil:

  • Boiling water for one minute kills the microorganisms that cause disease.

  • Boil filtered and settled water vigorously for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers (at altitudes above one mile, boil for three minutes). boiling water

  • To improve the flat taste of boiled water, aerate it by pouring it back and forth from one container to another and allow it to stand for a few hours, or add a pinch of salt for each quart or liter of water boiled.

  • Do Not Boil Nitrates - it increase concentration and potential risk

  • Do Not Boil Lead - it also increase lead concentration. Always use water from the cold tap for preparing baby formula, cooking, and drinking. Flush pipes first by running the water before using it. Allow the water to run until it’s cold.

Chemical Treatment

Chemical treatmentWhen boiling is not practical, certain chemicals will kill most harmful or disease causing organisms. Typically, two commonly used chemicals are Chlorine and iodine. Chlorine is generally more effective than iodine in controlling Giardia, and both disinfectants work much better in warm water.

When the necessary procedure is not given, you could use the following table as a guide. (Remember, 1/8 teaspoon and 8 drops is about the same quantity.)

Available Chlorine Drops per Quart/Gallon of Clean Water Drops per Liter of Clear Water
1% 10 per Quart - 40 per Gallon 10 per Liter
4-6% 2 per Quart - 8 per Gallon 2 per Liter
7-10% 1 per Quart – 4 per Gallon 1 per Liter

If the strength of the bleach is unknown, add ten drops per quart or liter of filtered and settled water. Double the amount of chlorine for cloudy, murky or colored water or water that is extremely cold. Mix the treated water thoroughly and allow it to stand, preferably covered, for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight chlorine odor. If not, repeat the dosage and allow the water to stand for an additional 15 minutes. If the treated water has too strong a chlorine taste, allow the water to stand exposed to the air for a few hours or pour it from one clean container to another several times.

If you are concerned about nitrates, high lead levels, or any contaminates in your tap water, talk to your health care provider about alternatives to boiling water.

Related Articles:

What is Solar Water Disinfection?
Water Disinfection Methods, Part I
Water Disinfection Methods, Part II


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