The Ugly Part of Water Purification: Top 5 Mistakes You Make

Water is part of the survival triad – water, food, shelter.

You can only live for about three days without it and even after twenty-four hours, you start experiencing physical and cognitive decline.

Right now, it’s easy to turn on the tap and get fresh, clean water, but even without a SHTF situation, many of us are doing what we can to live off the grid. I’ve written several articles on collecting rain water and purifying water, and now I’d like to discuss how to make sure that your water is safe to drink.

Water purification is a primary skill that you need to have even if you don’t know much about other facets of survival because if you don’t have clean water, you’ll die. It’s that simple.

The EPA warns that as much as 90 percent of all of the water on the planet is contaminated in some way, so this is becoming a bigger issue for many of us who are trying to go off the grid. Even rainwater can be contaminated, and it’s best to assume that all ground water needs purified.

Even though being able to purify water during daily life and in an emergency situation is critical, you need to do it right. Improperly purified water can be just as fatal – but much more miserable – than having no water at all, so be sure not to make these mistakes.

Mistaking Water Filtering and Water Purification

There are many water filters out there; there’s a good chance that you have one in your fridge right now. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that filtered water is the same as purified water. Most water filters do exactly what they say: they filter out physical impurities such as debris, minerals, and pollutants such as insecticides. Most of them don’t purify the water, though, because illness-causing microbes are too small to be caught in the filter, nor are the filters designed to kill them.

This Device Easily Turns Air Into Water!

Your water may look clean and clear and delicious, but it may also be deadly. There are only two ways to ensure that your water is pure – heat and chemicals.

Not Getting Water Hot Enough

Though pathogens start to die as the water heats, at 160 degrees F to be exact, there are many disease-causing bacteria and viruses that won’t die until the water reaches the boiling point of 212 degrees F. Keeping that in mind, you need to maintain a rolling boil for at least one minute, and three is better, especially at higher elevations.

If you’re short on water and worry about losing it to evaporation, putting a lid on the pot will help with that. Then just leave it covered until it cools.

Using Chemical Purification Incorrectly

There are a few ways that you can mess up chemical purification. First, you can use too much. This is most definitely not a case of more being better because whether you’re using iodine, sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or calcium hypochlorite (pool shock), too much of it can make you sick or even kill you.

  • If you’re using iodine, use 5 drops/quart for clear water and 10 drops/quart if cloudy
  • If you’re using bleach, use 5 drops/quart for clear water and 10 drops/quart if cloudy
  • If you’re using calcium hypochlorite, dilute a teaspoon of the powder in a gallon of water, then add 2/3 ounce of that to a gallon of water. A small shot glass is useful because it usually holds one ounce.

There are also a few things to keep in mind when choosing your water purification method. Liquid bleach has a shelf-life of six to twelve months, so it expires and loses its strength. Pool shock keeps forever and a one-pound bag will treat 10,000 gallons. Iodine makes the water taste weird, but if you let it sit for an hour, you can add vitamin C (Tang drink mix or something similar) to eliminate most of the bad taste after the purification period is up.

Make sure that if you’re using bleach or pool shock that the product is pure without any additional additives such as perfumes. Let the water sit for at least 30 minutes before drinking.

Cross Contamination

This one seems like it may be simple, but it’s easy to re-contaminate purified water. Make sure that you don’t use the same containers or utensils for the clean water that you used before it was purified. In other words, don’t gather the water from a stream in your water bottle, boil it, then put it back in your bottle. You just re-contaminated your water and wasted time and fuel.

If you’re purifying in your bottle, make sure to pour some of the chemical into the lid and around the threads/ mouth of the container.

Failing to Purify AND Filter

This is another reason that you need to understand that filtering and purifying are two different processes. You need to filter your water to rid it of illness-causing pathogens, but you need to purify it to remove chemical toxins such as fertilizers and insecticides.

Of course, it also removes any other debris such as sand, rocks, and minerals. It doesn’t really matter what order you do it in, but I’d recommend filtering first then purifying just because it’s cleaner and there’s less risk of cross-contamination.

Either way, strain water that has visible debris in it before you purify it or filter it. Run it through a coffee filter or a densely woven cloth such as a bandana. Just a note: chemical purification is most effective if the water is at least 60 degrees F.

Studies show that at 50 degrees, only 90 percent of Giardia cysts were inactivated after thirty minutes. Warm up the water in the sun (or after it cools a bit from purifying), or let the water sit for an hour.

Failing to purify your water can cause such diseases as cholera, E.coli, rotavirus, hepatitis, staphylococcus, cryptosporidium and Giardia. These cause everything from upset stomach and cramps to severe vomiting, diarrhea, and even death. In other words, it’s nothing to mess around with, unless you want to die a slow miserable death.

Don’t put your life at risk! You need only clear water to stay safe!

Written by

Theresa Crouse is a full-time writer currently living in central Florida. She was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, where she learned to farm, hunt, fish, and live off the land from an early age. She prefers to live off the grid as much as possible and does her best to follow the “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. For fun, she enjoys shooting, kayaking, tinkering on her car and motorcycle, and just about anything else that involves water, going fast, or the outdoors.

Latest comments
  • Excellent information!

    • Not sure why no one has commented on this (that I can find), but there needs to be some clarification from the article. In 2 different sections it states opposites regarding filtering and purifying.
      In the section “Mistaking Water Filtering and Water Purification it states filtering removes physical impurities such as debris, minerals and pollutants (insecticides) while purifying involves heat or chemicals to kill microbes.
      However, in the section “Failing to Purify AND Filter” it states filtering is to get rid of illness causing pathogens and purifying is to remove chemical toxins such as fertilizers and insecticides.

      I’m pretty sure the first section is the correct one but it would be wise to fix it so that there is no future confusion.

  • This is not specific to your article, but it would be nice to print these articles for a bug-out library, but all that prints is headers and pictures. Am unable to figure out how to format it to print. Any advice would be nice. Ben Simpson Lenoir, NC Got years of survival posts and no way to prep print!!!

    • You need to highlight the article and copy and paste to a program like word. Then delete all of the unnecessary content and save.

      • Thanks for the help. My wife will help me do this.

        • Ben, If you hit F9 on your keyboard, the text will be formatted nice for printing. Select F9, then from your menu, FILE, PRINT PREVIEW, then select your printer.

          • Don’t forget to hold the Function (fn) key when pressing f9

          • hi kirk,
            thanks,does this f9 trick work on other pages?

      • Yes on RO. We had to use RO in the dislysis unit where I used to work. Had a full time tech to ensure the water was pure enough to use. It was life and death for our patients to have pure water.

      • Distill.. It’s slow, but easy. Water will be a little bland. Just boil, and condense, just don’t let run dry.

        • If you drink nothing but distilled water, be sure to re-mineralize your body. A good ‘sea’ salt like Redmond’s or Himalayan are good choices.

    • You can highlight the text and copy and then paste to notepad and then print

    • Copy and paste it into your own paper. Then print it.

    • Hi not sure if you sorted this but at the end of the article is a PDF Icon, open as PDF and print.

      Regards Duncan

      • Yeah, download PDF file (blue link at the end of an article, then open in PDF reader (like Adobe) and print. If you want to print with some comments, then copy/paste the text and pictures into a Word file. Delete what is not needed (like those stupid icons).

    • Use Firefox browser on an older computer or some of its newer iterations for a newer machine. Install the “Print Friendly” app from Mozilla’s app list. It will allow conversion to PDF and printing.

    • You can also just hit the download as pdf buttong under the Watch Video (about Get your Device that turns air to water) the pdf is actuall the article not the “Ad” info wi
      thin the article

    • Bill, highlight the text with your cursor, and copy the text. Paste the text into some type of text processor. I don’t know what kind of system you are using, so these are general instructions.

    • Just hit the download PDF and then print

    • Copy….Paste to a blank Word page.


    • Ben….two ways to save/print these articles are:
      -like Rattlerjake says, copy and paste to a word program

      -simply download it as a pdf, save to your computer and print it for a hard copy. There is a “Print to PDF” link at the bottom of the article, before the comments section. It is highlighted in blue. Downloading as a pdf eliminates the comments, but reduces the article from 22 pages to 3

    • Ben,

      1) Open a new blank document., Press the return (enter) button a couple of times.
      2) Use your mouse to highlight the sections you want to copy from the web site (if you have permission to copy).. You can include your document, but also comments if you highlight them also.
      3) Simultaneously (at the same time) press down the CONTROL (CtrL) key [at the lower left keyboard corner] AND The letter “c”. Key. I tend to hold them down for a second or two because this copy method takes some time to copy all parts of what you highlighted (depending upon how long it is).
      4) Release the Control key and letter “c” keys.
      5) Go to your blank document and right-click the upper mouse button that is facing your computer screen. The “Paste” button will show up. Press Paste and it will deliver everything your highlighted to your “copy”.

      6. The reason why I suggest that you leave unused the top two lines of your blank document is so that you can go back to the web page address and copy the it also, in case you want to pull it up later (such as to read more comments). It is also good to have that information when you want to refer others to the document your read–you just provide the address and let them read it on their own. And thirdly, You are proving the source of your information and thereby giving credit to the source and/.or its primary address of authorship. It could be important to know your source address if anyone challenges you about who your are referencing. Respectfully

    • At the bottom of the article is “Download as a PDF” highlighted in blue. Download and then print. You get a clean print but none of the comments. I’m trying to figure out how to copy the comments, they’re many times as informative as the original article.

    • At the bottom of the article is a blue highlighted phrase: “Download as a PDF”. Download it, then print. Most of the graphics are eliminated that way. Also that way you have an electronic copy stored on your computer/hard drive and a physical copy. I also highlight the comments, “Copy” then “Paste” to a Word Document. “Save” the Word document on your computer, then print those out as well.

  • I cannot find anything but concentrated bleach. The only regular strength liquids I can locate are generic store brands. Do the same rules apply for concentrated Clorox?

    • It used to be that Clorox was 8% sodium hypochlotite. Now, it is 6% with the lie on the label, “concentrated”. Some generics are still 8%. READ THE LABELS. Do not use “no splash” bleach or perfumed for water purificaion. Use EPA recommended bleach dosages, for 6% or 8%. Filtering the water first reduces chlorine chemical reaction with debris, that produces chloramines & carcinogens. Filters can become a cesspool of biological contamination, as there is plenty of debris to live off of. Change filers highlly contaminated water areas. Boiling is truly excellent to kill bacteria & ameba, at low altitudes.

    • Go to a pool supply store for pool shock. Most hardware and box stores also carry liquid and powdered pool shock.

  • Good infor in all but not complete. You must talk about the actual size of viruses in order to measure if a particular water purifyer meathod would protect you against said virus. My Methos states purifucation down to 0.01 mincrons. That is more than enough to eliminate all human viruses and bac I would find in post disaster water.

    • The main concern with filters is that you never know when they fail. Did it work? Is the water safe?

      • There is a red dye test that will verify your filter status.

    • Filters to get particals and the other stuff big enough to be stopped by the filter is all well and good, so is the activated charcoal, there is still room for improvement. The best filtration system anyone can have is a Reverse Osmosis filter, or it’s equivalent. The operating issue for the Reverse Osmosis filter is that the water needs to be pumped through the filter. A RV water pump, well pump, or a hand pump, whatever it takes to build up enough pressure to get the water through the Reverse Osmosis membrane. Anything larger than the water molecule is going to be stopped by the membrane. The consumer available systems will take out the sediment stuff before it gets to the membrane. From the membrane the water goes to a storage tank, and when water is needed, it flows through a charcoal filter. Making this a priority operation, while time consuming, will provide safe water. Life Straw makes a good product as well. Considering where they get used in Africa, it would appear that the Life Straw filters are a good enough source for safe water.

      • Hi, Kerry. I don’t think it’s such a bad idea to have a couple of life filters on hand when you need emergency water on the run. Such as when you’re heading for your BOL. I believe the life straws will filter up to about a thousand litres or so before you need to actually replace the filter cartridge itself. For a longer term solution you may want to consider the Sawyer 1-gallon water filtration system. It’s supposed to be good for up to 100,000 gallons and they’re robust enough so that you can backwash them to clean them. ALMOST indefinitely. Howard mentioned it on this site and I think someone else may also have mentioned it on a sister site. I only learned about the Sawyer system a very short time ago. It’s rated to 0.1 micron absolute filtration. Might be worth looking into, No, I don’t work for Sawyer. I believe you can get these at Walmart or sporting goods shops like Cabela’s. I’m going to see if I can at least get a couple of these. Hope this helps, Kerry.

      • True. Reverse osmosis is good enough to even desalinate sea water. that’s why it’s used in emergency lifeboats and general maritime life support. For most other uses, even ‘suspicious’ water found in and around cities and farms, these other filters you mentioned and any kind of post-filtering chemical or boiling treatment is enough to get rid of pretty much everything harmful. I use Lifestraw and SawyerMini, the Sawyer being more flexible and slightly more capable. The body can take care of the rest, in fact it can take care of a lot more than we think, though it’s better not to count on that of course.

      • RO filters dump more water than is produced. While you can plan to run a RO system off-grid, it adds to equipment, water and energy needs.

    Reminds me of growing up dirt poor in connecticut. we lived in a barn, my sister and i slept in the hayloft. one of my chores was to gather a bucket of water from the river that crossed our property in back of the barn. the river water was well populated by all sorts of swimming critters, including the occasional frog. my grandmother would boil the water for 20 minutes to use for cooking and drinking – boiled critters of every size and imagination and all. if it was in the water bucket, it got boiled. i have no recollection of any of us becoming ill after drinking grandma’s boiled water. she boiled everything – potable water, clothing, chickens, hamburger – you name it. as a widow, she raised her 13 kids during the great depression and knew a thing-or-two about getting the most use out of anything.

    • For the “go bag”, try out the Life Straw, first. Might find it a better idea. If home base can handle it, get a reverse osmosis filter system.

      • Sawyer is a better filter and you don’t have to stick your face down where spiders and snakes live. It also comes prepared to fill bottles, canteens, cookpots, etc. easily.

    • Yeah it’s a good idea. It weights nothing and takes no space, so why not eh? I use coffee filters at the tip of my Sawyer and Lifestraw at times, and also to get clear water from muddy water before filtering further. I also carry a small pack of activated charcoal to improvise filters out in the woods, the other components are there already, rocks and sand and stuff. Charcoal is great to remove chemicals like pesticides and other harmful stuff, and also remove taste. Few portable filters have charcoal so I try and improvise on that.

  • Hello, Theresa C – I Always enjoy your articles and I Always Learn something from them. Everyone ALWAYS makes the creation of pure (Safe) Water to be Much More Complicated than it needs to be. OK, I opened my big mouth – Here it is . . . FIRST – ALWAYS run your water (Slowly) through an “Activated Carbon” Filter (Pure Charcoal OK) – NO SHORTCUTS here ! NEXT – Boil the water into STEAM and (Use Tubing) and thusly Condense the Steam. Thats it ! If you Boil the water, but Do Not Use an Activated Carbon filter, Then you have just permanently Activated and Energised ALL of the Organic Metallic compounds, and MOST of the Inorganic Metallic compounds ! You Cannot change them Back ! About 70 – 80 % of these are Seriously TOXIC. Of Course, Steam (200 Deg.+ F.) Will Kill ALL Living Organisms. Be Careful when Handling Steam..

    • Two Items that I Forgot to Mention . . . 1.) If your receiving vessel is Not Perfectly Sterile – then ALL of your Effort is Wasted ! -And- 2.) Always use a copper tube for your steam condenser – Never Steel ! REMEMBER – Steam can Burn You – Badly.

    • This is not gear I want to carry on my back in the wilderness – a good hiking filter like the Sawyer, a bandana and a cookpot or cup will do the job. Chemical disinfection (bleach) can be used in place of heat where necessary.

      That said, there is no need to pre-filter water that is being evaporated and condensed into a sterile container. After the water reaches a slow boil, you should allow about 20% of the liquid in your evaporator to vent to the air to eliminate contamination by chemicals with low volatility (alcohols, esters etc.) before connecting the condenser tube and you should stop when there is about 30% left in the evaporator to protect against higher volatility contaminants.. Your evaporation tank will need to be cleaned more often but there will be no change to the steam.

  • Thank you

  • Ben Simpson, try out the CleanPrint extension if using the Chrome browser.

  • Thanks for a Great article! Sorry, I tried to take out the caps but the box seems formatted for caps. I do have a question about water taken out of the air. Just how much purification will it need? Water taken from the air is obviously already as clean as the air; after all you’re breathing it as you remove it. If you can breath it without harm, isn’t it ok to drinK?

    • That water will be as clean as the container in which it is stored.

  • I’ve heard warnings about simply boiling water sometimes resulting in turning water impurities into a more concentrated form of the same making the water worse if anything. This is rarely ever addressed. Why not?

  • So you need to filterall water before purifying it with bleach or pool shock, even if there isn’t noticeable debris in the water?

    • ALL water in a SHTF scenario or emergency should be considered as ‘suspect’, even if totally clear of debris or obvious contamination and should be treated in some way ‘prior’ to drinking or using for anything. Example: The myth of drinking clear, running, cold water from a mountain stream has probably been responsible for a lot of misery…especially if no one noticed a dead animal in that stream a half mile away. It takes very little to disrupt the digestive system to a severe degree. Rule of thumb…Better safe than sorry.

  • We have a pool, 35,000 gallons, give or take. Obviously with no electricity, the filter won’t work and would soon become green with algae and God knows what else from flying birds dropping little treats into the water or pack rats slipping in and dying.

    *First, allow collected water to warm up to 70 degrees if you are just treating with chemicals only–not recommended.
    *Strain water thru a kitchen strainer to get out the larger debris, slime or algae.
    *Then filter thru a coffee filter.
    *Rapid boil for a min. of 5 mins.,
    *Strain again thru coffee filter then add per ratio amount of POOL SHOCK (way better than Clorox because it lasts forever where as Bleach’s effectiveness lapses after 6 months).
    *Let treated water stand for 30 mins. You will want to be able to detect a mild “bleach” smell after the 30 mins. Lets you know it’s working.
    *Lastly, if you have a Brita Water filter system or something comparable, you can do a final filtering to remove any residual smell or taste.

    If you are looking for a good rocket stove, there are plenty on the market. I bought the SilverFire.

    • Boiled water does not need chemical treatment. Why would you want to add nasty chemicals to your sterile water?

  • For me, there are two contexts for bugging out: the travel context and the camping context. The camping context allows time for feeding the fire that purifies water and allows cool down. The travel context requires traveling with minimal weight, and avoiding every possible obstacle that might get in your way. Even if you were traveling by car trying to reach your preferred destination you will not build a fire in your car, and you may not reach your destination if you are stopping all the time for one thing or another.
    Though bleach purification certainly works, so does IODINE, which is a needed body nutrient needed by every cell in one’s body. Iodine is a disinfectant, a nutrient, andan antibiotic commonly used in the 1950s as the “goto” medicine for every kids cuts and scrapes and whether a bandaid was added or not. Chlorine is not a needed body nutrient, but is a toxic to the body. .
    There are whole states that have low levels of iodine in their soils. These states are often called “The Goiter Belt”. A goiter is a pair of glands in the front neck area, near the collar bone that swell up and cause discomfort and more. As best as I recall, the Goiter Belt runs parallel to the Tornado Belt. It has been said that if the body has no iodine in it, it is already a dead body because iodine is an essential nutrient (but in tiny amounts). It has been suggested by doctors that having sufficient iodine in one’s body has an anti-cancer effect, but I have not done the research to confirm this. One can research this on PUBMED,, the Governments 100,000 worldwide medical, chemical and microbiological research site free to the public.
    What I can say is that “iodized salt” is salt with iodine added to it to reduce goiters. Again it is an essential nutrient. I can add that decades ago iodine was added to Baker’s (50-lb) bags of flour as a leavening preservative agent, until it was replaced with a toxic ingredient also used in rubber-like flour mats that prevent slipping. But that ingredient was outlawed a couple of years ago.
    Unfortunately, I have not reviewed my research on iodine, so I cannot accurately say more than what I have suggested. Using iodine as a nutrient, disinfectant, antibiotic and for water purification deserves its own article as much confusion has existed for many years about it. And here is one aspect of the confusion.
    The USA recommended levels of any nutrient is based upon a large group of Americans “as they are”, and what level of nutrients they need. In other words nutrients are not based upon “optimal health requriements”, but are based upon what might be called “minimum survival levels”. Since it is common knowledge that most Americans are overweight, with diabetes growing, etc. etc. should that group really be the basis for determine allowable nutrient levels? My opinion is that nutrient levels ought to be based upon the nutrient needs of Olympians, active military, professional sports team players, etc. And iodine advocates and researchers approach levels of iodine needs on that basis.

    • I have to jump in here, radarphos. There’s no such thing as a “goiter gland”. Goiter (or goitre) is a swelling in the neck resulting from an enlarged thyroid gland associated with a thyroid not functioning properly. And we only have one thyroid gland. Which is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck below the Adam’s apple. And just to be more correct regarding iodine, it IS an essential mineral nutrient, being very important in the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency affects about 2 billion people and is the leading preventable cause of intellectual disabilities. Hope this helps. We all have to try and do our best to disseminate correct information for the sake of our fellow preppers. 🙂

      • Thanks Armin! I enjoy reading your comments on the Mercola.Com site also. I am not medically trained, though I have worked five years cumulative in one med-surg hospital and two psych inpatient hospitals, besides combat military field hospital support activity.

        And to Preppers in general I carry a variety of water filters (mini-sawyer and lifestraw, and others) for travel (hiking) water filtration; and then have a portable distiller, called “The Survival Still” manufactured by Glen Meders, who worked in his father’s water distiller company for many years prior to creating a non-power portable distiller that can be carried in a BOB (though it is bulky) or in a vehicle to another location. It does require a high “stove top” heat (or campfire) to get 2 cups of water within 45 minutes burn time. I first timed and measured its efficiency on my electric stove top (set as high as it would go). After that (considering the amount of electricity used to get 2 cups of water (in a glass measuring cup), I also bought a Rocket Stove. Meder also produces a portable “break down” Rocket Stove (heavy, but not bulky). Regardless of all the ‘yeas and nays’ to drinking distilled water, the ph of distilled water is 7, and 7 is a good drink. Glen Meders puts out the most information I have ever seen on the hazards of drinking “non-distilled purified waster”, including drinking the toxic byproducts (think bacterial and viral corpses) of killed bacteria, fungi, etc. and besides chemicals, etc. He has even said that distillation of water can eliminate radioactive ions in water. That is why I got it.

        When I entered active duty, it was a peaceful time. Six months after I arrived at my unit we got the “call up” for deployment to a hostile fire zone (war). It happened so fast that it alerted me to pay more attention to SHTF possibilities worldwide. I use that combat experience to guide much of my BO planning for the unexpected..

        I also agree with all the “cross contamination” concerns that advise carrying dirty water in its own exclusive container (and especially when using iodine or chlorine to kill pathogens); and drinking from a different container that is only used for purified water. So one container (stainless canteen) is used ONLY for purified or distilled water; and the other is used to carry dirty water with added purifying chemicals–and this to avoid the contamination on the outside of the container (what the mouth touches) when iodine or bleach is used on the inside for purification.

        And for all the time and attention it takes to purify – distill water, I remind myself of how inconvenient and potentially dangerous it could be to be laid up, sick, with “SHT-G (Ground)” diarrhea. If one has stomach cramps and diarrhea it will affect movement, shelter building, water retention, eating, clouded thinking, aid to family or team members, etc. I’ve been told that the human body converts H2O (drinking water) to its own form of “body water that is a gel’ that is absorbed by cells; and possibly within 12 hours of drinking. This is why survival advice says that if you drink the water you have (instead of sipping occasionally), you will delay the clouded thinking that accompanies prolonged dehydration.. Though it is said that one dies within 3 days of not drinking water, my sources say that within the first 24 hours one’s thoughts get distracted by thirst, within the 2nd 24 hours one is behaving erratically and in unsafe ways, and on the 3rd day you enter a coma. Potentially diarrhea in the field can cut this time in half.

        “Cheating” what is right and proper (in terms of procedure for water filtration and purification) can be deadly–like dying tomorrow or the next day. In a hiking BO over considerable miles it may take hours and hours (a whole morning or afternoon) to filter and purify enough water for the next day (depending upon your gear equipment). If you need a co-worker/team member to be assigned to water purification find that person, and let others do the food gathering, shelter building. If you are traveling alone you cannot walk all day (like movies show), day after day, without securing enough purified water to support health and life (and this partly why folks in the USA and elsewhere live in homes and suggest Bugging in verses bugging out. Even bugging in may require the same attention to water filtration/distillation should tap water become foul.

        My comments are an example of :”the devil is in the details”. .

      • Armin, You are Exactly Correct. A Well Stated Comment !

      • You are right, however I believe the intellectual disabilities are when young children do not receive enough iodine growing up.
        Grew up in goiter belt…my mother started to develop a goiter in her 30’s. After starting use of iodized salt it never got larger. All her children had high IQ’s even 2 born during the goiter formation and she was sharp as a tack herself.
        The butterfly shape can look like 2 separate “glands I suppose…leading to that idea. Interestingly a lot of goiters seem to be on one side or at least appear so.

      • Dr. David Brownstein (author of Dr. newsletter “Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health” and the book “Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live without It” ( has repeatedly emphasized both the existence of widespread iodine deficiency in the US population and the need for greater iodine intake than the RMD. The Japanese consume 12 or more mg (milligrams, not micrograms) daily due to their diet without toxicity. *** Both fluorine/fluoride and bromine/bromide compete with iodine for entry into the body, and displace it. Thus eating baked goods made with “brominated” flour actually decreases the iodine available in the body; ditto for drinking fluoridated water and using fluoride-containing toothpaste, even if one doesn’t swallow. Use unbleached/unbrominated flour. *** The amount of iodine in iodized salt is nowhere near enough, especially with the current promotion of low-salt diets. Additional iodine is necessary and various products are available to provide that. *** Finally, cretinism is the medical condition in newborns whose mothers were iodine-deficient during their pregnancies.

  • Calcium Hypochlorite (pool shock) that I have seen comes with a lot of other ingredients. First, which of those chemicals are safe or harmful? It is one thing to swim in it. It is entirely different to ingest it. Second is there a source to purchase pure CH without the extra stuff? There are purification tables made primarily of CH. But they are expensive. long term they are not as practical.
    A water distiller is the best by far since, it removes pharmaceuticals and chemicals that even the best filter will not, and boiling concentrates. There are some that claim to do so. But I don’t have a lab to verify their marketing claims. But They are not practical for a bug out bag or get home bag.
    Grandma’s boiling everything was probably not getting water downstream from an industrial area or a farm using tons of chemicals. IMHO.

    • One possible problem with distillation might be that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with boiling points less than water would also be vaporized and condensed back with the water. Open-top container boiling, while losing some of the water to vaporization, would seem to be safer as the VOCs would boil off before the water boiled.

      • You have presented a Vital Point, Mikey. That is why I ALWAYS tell people to filter through activated carbon filtering FIRST !

      • Mikey, the issue you raise depends upon the “set-up” of the distillation process you are using.. Many distillers recommend pre-boiling the water to about 160-degrees F before attaching top, lid and tube, which boils off all the VOCs; and others recommend rapid boiling for 2-3 minutes to boil off VOC’s. The portable distiller I bought has 3 parts. lower boiler pot of polluted water; middle device that captures steam and runs it down a tube into a clean container; and an upper pot of cold water that provides the middle container with a cooling element above the lower pot-heating element. It is the combined “very hot” meeting Cold that causes the condensation; and the top cold pot is separated from the lower hot pot by the center “steam capture” device with tube for distilled water. Nothing is mechanical by design.
        So, yes, Mikey, the VOC’s will go back into the lower pot, but never get into the middle device by design (a gravity design that drips the first water back into the boiling pot (the dirty pot). This is why, for example, Meder says you can boil ocean salt water because it all stays in the lower pot, But, the devil being in the details, the proper procedure is to allow lower pot to reach a rapid boil for 2-3 minutes, then add the middle “condensor” and the the top cool water pot.

      • Mikey, the Glen Meder protocol is to not place the steam capture unit on the boilder pot, until up to five minutes after a rapid boil and for the reason you stated. If the boiling is done outdoors the VOCs will drift off and not contaminate the boiling Pot steam. Glen also designed his distiller so that rapid-boil “back splashing” could not enter the steam capture area. It was a simple and great design, and does worki well with no moving parts, but is time consuming.

  • I recommend the Sawyers .02 viral purifier. It is way better than filters since it actually filters our biologics and VIRUSES due to the .02 micron small size if the purifier holes. This can be used with a 5 gallon bucket and works by gravity. It’s about the size of your hand and just weighs a few ounces. Can do 5 gallons in 45 minutes.

    It can be backwashed and will last for a million gallons. Uses the same technology principle as kidney dialysis. I wish I had these when leading Short-Term mission teams back in the 1980-90’s

    Here is some helpful information from their site :

    0.1 AND 0.02 MICRONS

    Each Sawyer filter is certified for ABSOLUTE microns; that means there is no pore size larger than 0.1 or 0.02 micron in size. This makes it impossible for harmful bacteria, protozoa, or cysts like E. coli, Giardia, Vibrio cholerae and Salmonella typhi (which cause Cholera and Typhoid) to pass through the Sawyer PointONE™ biological filter. At 7 log (99.99999%) the filter attains the highest level of filtration available today.

    If viruses are an issue, we offer the Point ZeroTWO Purifier (0.02 micron absolute pores). This is the first portable purification device to physically remove viruses. And it does it at a >5.5 log (99.9997%) rate, exceeding EPA and NSF recommendations.

  • Many users of water distillers fail to discard the contaminated parts of the distillate. As the temperature of the distillate rises the first bit to emerge will be the components with a boiling point less than 212 degrees. Once the output is 212 then you are producing water out the end of the pipe, let it run a bit, then discard everything up to that point. When the still is almost empty shut it off, let it cool, then discard the last few ounces from the heating pot.

    It is only the middle part of the run that is pure water, pogo please note

  • Measure beware. Most shot glasses today hold 1.5-2.02 ounces when filled to brim

  • If using Bleach-
    Do so carefully as continued use will
    Deteriorate the Enamel on the teeth

  • Thank you for this. I thought you needed to boil the water for 5 minutes. All the other I already knew.

  • If using ‘dry’ pool shock…be damn sure it is closed tightly so no moisture can get in and store it ‘away’ from any ‘oxidizing’ materials. If your storage container, of choice, lets water in, you might find the heat that can be generated can get positively hot. Also, once wet or made into a solution…it’s life expectancy will be about the same as liquid bleach. Use a brand such as Chlor-Brite that has no residue that will be left. Pool shock or calcium hypochlorite is very caustic in dry form and will corrode metals such as aluminum or your skin. Never use or mix without eye protection…it doesn’t take much of a breeze to get a speck in your eye and if that happens flush with clear water for about 10-15 min. Even then, your next few days will, most likely, be shot…it burns like hell, too. If, for some unexpected reason, a bunch of dust gets produced…DO NOT breath it in as it destroys lung tissue quickly and permanently. If the opportunity to use chlorine gas, for purifying water, presents itself…leave it alone. Chlorine gas is lethal and can be hard to contain.

  • What would be the best water making machine. Makes water from the humidity in the air

    • Brad, you are referring to a dehumidifier. These are very common in many northern states during our warm season when moist air travels to cooler lower places in a home, and where if the indoor humidity gets too high (about 15%-20% or more) it forms mildew or mold on wood beams and metal objects (that can rust). High humidity in basements also tends to form dank (still air) odors.

      In many northern states the outdoor temperature is not “so hot” as to require air-conditioning, which also pulls humidity out of the air, but then it drains into a floor drain through a tube. Lots of northern homes are well-shaded by trees for acceptable indoor temperatures, but in basements humidity builds up and gets trapped. I used a small dehumidifier in more than one home basement, where from Spring to Fall I would get 2 gallons of water per day. If you get a dehumidifier, get a large one that can produce 5+ gallons of water per day; that way you get more water from the air you are milking, so to speak, while you have electricity. I also recommend that you “boil” your condensate collected water, because the dehumidifier machine itself is not sterile and most people do not clean their machine as often as appropriate. After you boil it, start putting your machine-air-made water into any variety of containers as you choose. I use brand-new glass ½ gallon jugs. I have one from 5 years ago on a basement shelf as crystal clear as the day it was made (and there is no limestone silt buildup anywhere in the bottle).

      What you have to keep in mind with a dehumidifier is that the water you collect is “only as clean” as the air in your basement and the cleanliness of your machine. Basements in Wisconsin store paints, oils, (never gasoline), tools–often not cleaned after last use, old sleeping bags, cardboard boxes of whatever; often washing machines and dryers, bug poisons. Lots of things stored in a basement will freeze in a detached and unheated garage or shed, so they end up in a heated basement.

      The difference between a dehumidifier and a distiller is that the distiller catches boiled-water steam that it cools into pure water (as clean as the distiller is clean). The dehumidifier does not boil the water, but condenses it from the air in the environment (that can be plentifully dirty with tiny particles of molds, mildews, VOCs, etc. My opinion is that dehumidifier water still needs a boiling prior to storage.

  • All the calcium hypochlorite I’ve looked at says 68% or 80% chlorine 32% other additives. It doesn’t say what those other additives are though. Am I looking at the correct stuff? I can’t find any are 100% calcium hypoclorite

    • Cheryl,

      You are looking at the right stuff when it says 68% calcium hypochlorite. Good luck.

  • My two cents: always filter before trying to purify. I work at a water treatment plant for the city’s drinking water. Failure to properly filter the water could lead to having particulates in which the pathogens can hide and make the chemical purification not as effective. Also, if available, use fine sand for a filter. Believe it or not, really fine sand can filter out most pathogens. Also if available you can use the remains of burnt wood and crush it up and put over the fine sand for a little extra filtering and purification by adsorption (getting pathogens and even some chemicals to stick to the burnt crushed up wood). It can help with some taste and odor issues as well. You would still want to boil or chemically purify the water afterwards, but at least you should have fewer pathogens and contaminants to worry about. Hope this helps

  • What KIND of iodine? Povidone? What strength? Need more details

  • Having installed and maintained true stills for thirty years I read some miscalculations about what distilled really is, First true distilled is not H2O it is HO. what this means it is devoid of all living organisms and natural elements, At this point it it becomes acidic.. It is not a good thing to drink on a regular basis, this is because it being acidic it can absorb needed minerals from the body.. the older we get the harder it is to maintain necessary vitamins to stay healthy. The concept used in the use of distilled water is that we call it hungry water. there are many uses for distilled water from controlled medical and industry systems but drinking is not the best use. if some one wants to drink it the safest thing is to get basic body needed minerals and add to distilled water or buy already purified water with required minerals for the body. one example of the hungry water ability is that you run distilled water through a copper pipe and in time it will eat holes in the copper. It is hungry and is trying to balance mineral loss in distillation process. that is called hungry water. I would like to also note that drinking some of liquids in water as a purifying process mentioned above be careful some may not be compatible with some medications. talk o your doc.

  • I was confused while reading the paragraph titled ” Using Chemical Purification Incorrectly”. The 3rd bullet
    *If you’re using calcium hypochlorite, dilute a teaspoon of the powder in a gallon of water, then add 2/3 ounce of that to a gallon of water. A small shot glass is useful because it usually holds one ounce.
    The measurement is unclear. Is the author saying add two-thirds of an ounce or is he saying add two to three ounces?

  • This sounds like so much fun, especailly if you started this back in 2014. You’d be up to speed by now,, with all the variations, exceptions & caveats. Otherwise, your goose is cooked.

  • My advice…store copious amounts of water….always.
    Have various ways to filter and purify.
    It takes gallons per person per day…most for consumption.
    In a SHTF with family, animals sanitation, laundry, gardens, dishes…the drinking H2O would have priority.
    In my area…we usually have enough moisture, but it is mostly winter…freeze issues or early Spring, late fall.
    Once it gets hot. Especially after July 4…you might see no rain until mid Oct or early November.
    We have cold…-25 and very hot/Dry 100+
    You need to learn to garden in ways to conserve crops water use, mulch, shade, wood in beds, cardboard etc
    Th estimate animal needs, drinking and cooking needs
    (One reason MRE’s are not as useful as canned (liquid)…
    How to clean yourself and clothes w/o contaminating water sources. Practically a gullte job!!!
    Great article…good comments!

  • On DUTCHSINSE.COM a professional (but also Independent) geologist, vulcalogist, and astrophysicist (studies sun, sun spots, planetary gravity) offers “free views” of all of earth’s plate boundaries, where most earthquakes happen. It turns out that where earthquakes happen, in at least several countries, oil and natural gas can be found, such as CA, NV, MT (Yellowstone), AZ, NM, TX, OK, AR, LA, AL, though there is a gigantic Cauldra between the Rockies and Appalachians and it travels generally from Yellowstone down to AZ, then across to TX, up to OK, down to mid-AR (Highway 40, I believe towards Little Rock), then diagonally up to New Madrid area, where it hooks like the small case letter “n”, then goes downward towards N LA, then follows the Appalachians all the way up to Maine. So why are you reading this? Well, “Dutch” uses Satellite imagery sponsored by US Gov’t when they note the location of where tremors and earthquakes happen in USA. Then he zooms down the satellite imagery to find out what is in the vaccinnty of the epicenter. More often than not what he finds is thousands of FRACKING natural gas wells especially in CA, NV, TX, OK, etc. They fill whole counties.
    Do you remember the train wreck with hazardous chemicals that happened in NE Pennsylvania about a year ago, and then the leaking tankers drooled into a creek headed for the Ohio River? About a year later, what could be retrieved was going to be sent to Texas. I don’t know where it went in TX; but what I do know is that (1) it went into the ground somewhere; (2) Fracking uses water and chemicals able to dissolve shale to release natural gas. I don’t know how deep Fracking wells are. I suspect they are very deep. They could be deeper than a 100-foot water well. So I am thinking that potentially all the water wells nearby fracking operations are potentially polluted possibly with very hazardous materials that may be entering the well water supply areas. I don’t live in a state that has fracking, nor oil drilling. What I am suggesting is that readers in states identified above compare where Fracking and oil wells are located (if they may be near you), and get your water tested for any kind of contaminant; and still install a water distiller in your home and then add electrolyte minerals to your water. You might also check maps showing the altitude of your area, with any counties above your area, because if USA Geography is lower where you are, with Fracking at a higher elevation than you, it is reasonable to assume some of the in ground pollutants are heading your way..
    Dutch teaches all listeners about how to predict earthquakes happening along fault lines and where they should show up within 100-200 miles of the line he will explain. Because he is Independent I enjoy listening to him. He talks like a real person, not a newscaster. Sometimes he is raw, but not “potty-mouthed”. Recently he picked up a secret USA Laser beam that in one second passed between South LA up to the state above it. So he went to look where it may have started and where it finished, and in both places was a military base. He also has shown the valley in NV where above ground nuclear bomb testing was done decades ago–the craters are still there. And he explains that earthquakes respond to electricity (and every nuke produces ElectroMagnetic Pulse Waves (EMP) that go right to the center core of the earth, heating it, then they get dispelled back upward to earth surface along the fault lines (whether as tremors or big quakes).

  • If you want to be a subscriber to DUTCHSINSE I believe it will cost $5.00 a month. But if you check the site every few days you can see what he has to say. If you are looking for “older videos”, he has some posted. I am a free subscriber so I find one or two newer (30-minute to hour lng) videos where he teaches and talks about every week, and I check it about twice a week (unless the news reports a major volcanic explosion or major earthquake). I do recommend that if you live in a frequent quake or tremor area that you learn what Dutch has to teach so that you can learn to predict better than 50-55% where the next quake may happen and when (such as within a week period of time. Right now even mainline news suggests that we are at the very TOP of what was once called the 11-year SOLAR FLARE cycle. And already in the last several months there have been two X-class solar flares that can disrupt satellites. WORSE THAN THAT, RUSSIA FIRED a nuclear capable satellite (apparently over USA (don’t ask me how. I don’t know). But it has been suggested that if the same item was floating 50 miles above Kansas, it could knock out all “unprotected” electrical components (utilities ahd homes and cars and stores) in Kansas and every state around Kansas. It the same Russian Satellite is hovering at 250 miles above USA, it could knock out electrical utilities and homes, cars, etc. all across the USA, but maybe not Maine, and not the furthest NW part of Washington State, and potentially not along the Caribbean Coastline east of Texas. Even an EMP can affect water supply, because pumps need electricity to draw up water.
    If you are concerned explore EMP-SHIELD.COM The founders are ex-military (I would guess at least one was a full-bird Col, if not a General); and I suggest that because they have produced a way to “SHORT” an incoming EMP-1 (billionth of a second) that I presume is the nuclear flash; EMP-2 (maybe the rest of the first second); and an EMP-3 that I associate with pictures of how the sky twists and turns as the air gets electrified by the nuclear explosion (and this part lasts a minimum of 3 minutes, if not 5 minutes). As I write this I bought two, one of my house and one for my car (they also have shields for electric/solar generators, RVs, “plug-ins”. BUT HERE IS THE THING–it only protects what is plugged in (and not, for example, battery operated things–for those you need to make your own Faraday Cage, that means essentially what you are trying to protect must not touch anything metal. So what you want to protect can be insulated with cardboard, or a tightly rolled and taped paper bag, then tightly covered with Aluminum foil, of in a metal trash can, or metal File cabinet (but all openings, such as drawers need to be completely sealed with, for example, Aluminum HVAC Duct tape.
    Canadian is my go to source for speculation (better, military analysis) of what may or may not be happening in the ongoing current war between apparently the 39 NATO countries and Russia, potentially China, North Korea. Canadian Prepper calls is “THE CONTINUING WW3. There are many things I do not know, though I am also a combat veteran. I do know I included this information under the subject of WATER PURIFICATION. So, what is the connection to Wa ter? EMP SHIELD MAY BE ABLE TO SPARE YOUR WELL PUMPS (if you have an alternate power source beyond the Electrical Grid. Maybe the grid in your neck of the woods is protected from an EMP. I don’t know. I wish someone who knows much more than me would offer comment, or a full article. on Survivalpedia. I sure hope so, because the cost of power outage is gigantic; Because I am a combat vet; and I have seen everything. I refuse to take no chances. My wife and adult son think I am extreme (e.g., PTSD)–I don’t care what they think, when you are Shi-OutOfLuck basically all you can do is die, or maybe be saved by some power beyond your lack of preparations. What I do know in my case is I have a huge Maple Tree next to my house and it has been hit by lightning several times (EMP SHIELD protects against that also); and my house has aluminum siding (that is not good); and it was built in 1939; and lots of homes hit by lightning burn to the ground because “something” overheated, started a fire, such as in a wall, maybe from a wire impaled by a nail to hold up a picture of “Grandma Moses” (I’m dating myself to be in my 70s, which I am). So, what the heck!!! If lightning can burn my house down, while I am sleeping; or stop my car in the middle of St. Louis when I travel 10 hours by car South of my state — and then an EMP is more powerful than lightning. I CHOOSE NOT TO BE THAT VULNERABLE DURING WW-3. I apologize for spelling mistakes on almost every article I write–the commenting print is so small I can’t see those mistakes well.

  • One water treatment technique not mentioned at all in your article is the use of UV light for destroying infectious organisms. UV light can destroy the cellular mechanisms in infectious organisms thus rendering them harmless. There is a commercially available Steripen for UV treatment of water- both battery powered (classic) and handcranked power ( Sidewinder). These are quick and effective but obviously UV techniques don’t remove chemicals- which for short term are less likely to make you sick and I am not sure about the susceptibility of these devices to EMP damage and are ineffective if the battery powered unit has empty batteries. . Another UV system is called SODIS (solar disinfection).. With SODIS systems (used in developing nations/austere environments) clear water is placed into clear plastic 2 liter or smaller containers and placed into direct sunlight to allow the UV from the sun to damage infectious organisms. The big disadvantages of SODIS is that it requires at least 6 hours on a sunny day and 48 hours in cloudy days and may not work on rainy days. Furthermore there is no clear endpoint for success (like seeing water boiling). But is very easy, cheap, and doesn’t require fuel/fire which can give off a smoke or light signature.