Steps of Water Purification

Steps of Water Purification

Rid your drinking water of contaminants

By Jeffrey Jenkins

Water and Leaf
Photo by iStockphoto.comBookmark and Share

Governments typically set standards for maximum and minimum amounts of contaminants allowed in drinking water. Water purification involves removing potentially harmful materials, chemicals and contaminants from drinking water. To purify your water at home, you can use filters, iodine or chlorine bleach.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Consider the most cost-effective, time-efficient water purification method for you before making a decision.
Water Purification Steps

Step 1:

Boil your water. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms present in the water and will definitely purify it, but you can't immediately drink scalding water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should boil the water for one minute, allow it to cool and then store it in clean containers. For altitudes above one mile, boil the water for three minutes, according to the EPA.

Step 2:

Install a water filter on your sink to purify your water. Two different types of filters are available. One is mounted under the sink; the other is mounted right on the faucet. The under-the-sink model filters all the water all the time and is a bit more expensive than the faucet-mounted filter and is also more complicated to install. The faucet filter is less expensive and easily mounts on the tap, but you must change the filter often. It does have the advantage of allowing you to turn the filter off if you're just running water to mop the floor or for purposes other than drinking.

Step 3:

Use iodine to purify your water. According to the University of Minnesota, you should use iodine that is two percent United States Pharmacopeia strength. Use 20 drops of iodine per gallon of water for clear water and 40 drops of iodine per gallon of water for cloudy water.

Step 4:

Use chlorine bleach to purify your water, but first check the label to make sure that chlorine bleach is the only active ingredient. According to the University of Minnesota, you shouldn't use bleach that contains soap. Use 40 drops of chlorine bleach per gallon of water for 1 percent chlorine; use 8 drops per gallon of water for 2 to 6 percent chlorine; use 4 drops per gallon of water for 7 to 10 percent chlorine and use 10 drops per gallon of water if you don't know the percentage of chlorine, according to the University of Minnesota. Mix the chlorine bleach with the water, and let it stand for a half hour so that the water gives off a chlorine odor. If it doesn't, repeat the dosage and allow it to stand for another 15 minutes, according to the University of Minnesota.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • If you take bottled water with you on camping and hiking trips, be sure to dispose of the bottles in the trash when you are finished drinking the water.
  • Do not use iodine if you are pregnant or have thyroid disease.
  • Be careful when traveling especially as different country have different standards for their water. Drinking non-potable water is harmful to your health. You run the risks of contracting diseases or parasites such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid, flukes and leaches that are harmful to your health. Follow the process to the letter and use clean disinfected containers to store the purified water.

About the Author

Jeffrey Jenkins is a regular contributor to DexKnows.

Related Guides

Faucet with hand

VIDEO: Faucets and Showerheads that Save Water and Money

There is a lot of fairly new technology that has been developed to create more energy efficient shower heads and faucets. Choose the right shower head or faucet for your home with tips from a third-generation master plumber in this video on plumbing.... Watch Video

Plan your Home Maintenance

Sign Up

Already have an account? Log In

Log In with your Facebook account.
We’ll never post without your permission.

Create a DexKnows account:

At least 6 characters
By clicking Sign Up, you agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. You'll receive the DexKnows Tips email newsletter as well as email updates about your account.

Please share the issue you encountered with our search

I am a(n):


Please check at least one issue checkbox.