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6 Simple Methods For Purifying Your Own Water

By Nicole Caldwell

Whether you’re out in the wilderness or hooked to an untrusted water supply, you don’t need to count on expensive and wasteful plastic purifiers to filter the water you drink. Here are six simple ways you can purify your own water: at home, on vacation, or during your next camping adventure. All you’ll need to complete each of these is a fire source, the sun, and a few items you can find in just about any backyard. 

Passively harness the sun for simple disinfection.

Solar water disinfection (called SODIS) is a process by which the sun disinfects water with just two ingredients: a clear plastic bottle and contaminated water. Simply fill a plastic bottle with the contaminated water, and sit it out in the sun for at least one full day. UV rays from the sun will kill just about any viruses and bacteria—although this method does not protect against chemical contamination.

There are a few more things you should know about SODIS before assuming you have a handle on this method. For one, it's useless if it is raining out (although in that case, you could just be collecting the rainwater). The bottle should not be glass for this to work properly, and you can't use anything bigger than a 2-liter plastic bottle.

Boil your water. 

If you find yourself in a situation without a trustworthy water source, boiling is an easy option that will get rid of most disease-causing microorganisms such as pathogenic bacteria, protozoa and viruses. One word of caution: boiling will not remove salts, heavy metals, or other chemicals. It also won’t help at all with dirt or other solid materials.