Water is critical to have in an emergency, so hopefully you’ve been storing some. Ideally, you should have a water filtration product to help with your water purification needs. eFoods Direct sells several types, from large countertop filers for use all the time to smaller ones that fit in a backpack for hiking. I have a Berkey, but we also sell ProPur water filters and the Katadyn Hiker Pro.
If you don’t have a water filtration method yet, or even if you do, you should know other ways to purify water. There are many ways to purify water. Here are my top four steps to help others be better prepared — and the best part is they use only cheap items from the dollar store.
We will start assuming you have found the worst water possible: standing still water with bugs and much debris in it.
- The first step is to get the large pieces of debris out of the water. For this, use a $1 wire mesh kitchen screen from the dollar store. It is metal and made for draining vegetables.
- You can also buy coffee filters for only another $1 as well. I first, put a coffee filter into the screen, then pour the water through at a slow rate, guided by what the filter and screen can handle. Let the water work its way through the screen and coffee filter. These two steps will remove all the debris, mud, sticks, bugs, etc. Buy a bucket also from the dollar store to let the water drain into.
- Pour in just a few drops of unscented bleach, also available from the dollar store. It only takes a few drops to purify a whole gallon.
- Allow the water to sit in the sun. Why? The sun will dissipate the bleach. How long do you have to let the water sit in the sun? Until you can no longer smell bleach in the water. Then do a taste test. If you can taste bleach, don’t drink it. Let it stay in the sun longer. It can take the sun anywhere from 30-180 minutes to purify a glass or a gallon. The time depends on many factors: how much bleach you put in, whether the water is in full sun or has cloud cover, strong noon-day sun verses evening sun, etc. Simply trust your nose and taste buds; they won’t let you down.
Can we use chemicals to clean water? Sure, but it’s more expensive and you’ll still want the water to sit in the sun to dissipate any chemicals in the water.
I have a few screens, several packages of coffee filters, several gallons of bleach, jugs to collect the water, a great place where my water can get the full sun of the day and storage containers to hold my water until I need it.
These are the simplest steps to purify water.
How many screens do you have? How many coffee filters? How many gallons of bleach? How many jugs? How many water containers to hold the water once purified? Take a trip to the dollar store, spend $8-15 and you’ll always be ready to treat any water you can find should an emergency arrive.
At our house, if hard times come, I will simply set up the whole system, teach all family members the process and all of us can continue the process during the day so we have plenty of drinking, cooking and cleaning water for our family.
To minimize using/needing too much water for cleaning, we have also bought cases of baby wipes to use for cleaning, conserving our water for personal needs. These are also available at the dollar store.
One more note: If you already have a Berkey filter, ProPur filter or a Katadyn filter, do you have extra filters in your storage? When/if you start purifying water, those filters can get clogged very quickly with bad water with debris, so pre-screening your water will make those filters last a lot longer.