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Tried & Tested Survival Techniques On How To Purify Water

Survival Techniques On How To Purify Water

In any survival situation one of the most important survival priorities in a serious emergency is to get access to safe drinking water by finding and disinfecting enough drinking water to supply you and your needs.

In any survival situation one of the most important survival priorities in a serious emergency is to get access to safe drinking water by finding and disinfecting enough drinking water to supply you and your needs.

Finding A Water Source

There are plenty of water sources available around the world, but the amount of water available to you will be dependant on your location and your situation.

Sources of water:

  • Freshwater from streams, creeks, ponds and lakes
  • Freshwater from springs and underground sources (so long as they’re not contaminated)
  • New snow, sleet, hail and ice
  • Fresh rain water (so long as it is not water that has fallen through jungle or forest canopies)
  • Dew
  • Water from tapped trees, such as maple or birch

Most water should be considered dirty however, and therefore they will need to be disinfected.

How To Disinfect Water


Can kill parasites, bacteria and other harmful pathogens found in water you will need to boil the water for around 5 minutes before consuming it. This method is one of the most popular and reliable, although it may not always evaporate all forms of chemical pollution. You can do this over a campfire or a stove in a metal, ceramic or glass container. Or you can heat a group of rocks for around 30 minutes within a fire pit and put them into a container (rock depression, burned out wood, folded bark container, hide, or animal stomach) of water.


There can be a number of harmful contaminants that taint a water supply such as radiation, lead, salt, metals etc after a disaster. Distilling water is the best option for water of this kind. You would heat the water until it becomes steam, capture this steam and create a cleaner water supply.

Survival Straws

A survival straw, or water-disinfecting tool, us used to clean the water supply you find after a disaster by using a carbon filter element. It can be connected to drain valve on a water heater to clean the water up, or it can be connected to a garden hose to filter the water that runs through it. Examples include: The LifeStraw Personal Water FilterThe LifeStraw Personal Water Filter , The LifeStraw Mission Water Purification SystemThe LifeStraw Mission Water Purification System , The LifeStraw Family 1.0 Portable Gravity Powered Water PurifierThe LifeStraw Family 1.0 Portable Gravity Powered Water Purifier


There are a few different types of water filters such as pump-action filters and drip/suction filters. The pump-action filter will force raw water through a filter cartridge and a drip/suction filter will use filter cartridges that utilize a gravity drip action. Or you can build your own filter using the peel off a bark tree, a tube fastener and a xylem filter. See below for a way to make your own Xylem filter!

UV Light Devices

UV light can kill off small organisms by disrupting the DNA of harmful microbes and can therefore be used as a disinfection method for water. There are battery-free hand-cranked devices available. Examples include: The TaoTronics Black LightThe TaoTronics Black Light , The KOBRA UV Black Light FlashlightThe KOBRA UV Black Light Flashlight , The Escolite UV Flashlight With Black LightThe Escolite UV Flashlight With Black Light.

Solar Water Disinfection or SODIS

A water treatment method that uses the sun’s energy for the disinfection. Place the water in a plastic bottle and leave out in the sun for at least one day. The UV light will kill harmful bacteria and small organisms. Check out the video below for a demonstration!

Disinfecting Tablets

Disinfecting tablets are designed to effectively rid contaminated water of their impurities. The most popular disinfecting tablets are iodine or micropur.

Household Chemicals

Bleach or iodine can be used to disinfect water but you have to be very careful with your doses. Usually you’d use two drops of bleach for warm or clear water, or four drops for cold or dark water. You’d add the chemical, replace the lid and shake it for around one minute. You will also need to wash out the cap with the solution. The bottle will need to be stored in a dark place for around 30 minutes. Afterwards the water should smell like chlorine, if it doesn’t you’ll need to add a couple more drops and wait for another 30 minutes. Iodine can also be used but is a lot more dangerous if used incorrectly. Use 5 – 10 drops of tincture of iodine in a quart of water, allowing it to rest somewhere dark for 30 minutes, 5 drops for clear or warm water, or 10 for cold and cloudy water.


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