4 Simple Water Purification Techniques

A steaming, stainless steel tea kettle.

Easy water purification techniques are in high demand when it comes to keeping the earth environmentally sound and its population healthy. Water is an important natural resource that people can do their part to control and recycle, utilizing "green" techniques wherever possible. These four methods are good, simple ways to purify your water.

1. Boiling

The easiest method to use without any chemicals or additives is to boil it. Bring your water to a full rolling boil and leave it for about a minute to remove the impurities. The resulting liquid is more than adequate for drinking water once cool.

2. Iodine

Iodine right out of your first aid kit can also be used. Approximately 20 to 40 drops will do the trick, depending on how contaminated the water is. Be sure to let it stand for half an hour before drinking. If you’re using tablets, wait half an hour after the tablet has dissolved.

When doing chemical treatments, the cloudier and more contaminated the water, the more chemical it will require to disinfect it. To help with this, strain the water using a cloth before treatment to eliminate any large particles.

Also, temperature can interfere with the effectiveness of a chemical treatment. If the temperature of the water is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, double your wait time after adding the chemicals before drinking; the ideal temperature for chemical treatment is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Distillation

For true water purification, you need to distill it. Manufacture a non-absorbent cover to set above a boiling pot of water. Be sure it is set at an angle and that you have a container at the end to collect the purified water. As the steam rises from the pot, it will condense on the covering and then run down to drip into the containers. This condensation, when cooled, is almost completely sterilized.

4. Bleach

Tiny amounts of bleach can also purify contaminated water. You should add 16 drops of regular, household bleach per gallon. Let it set 30 minutes before drinking. Eco-friendly bleach can easily be found at your local grocery store.

Another tip for when you’re purifying water with chemicals is to pour the water between two containers to allow the oxygen to circulate through it as well. This helps provide a better taste despite what you’ve added.

Keep in mind that these techniques are only effective for water that is biologically contaminated. Water that is chemically tainted with things like pesticides or mine tailings cannot be purified using any of these methods.