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How to Purify Water

Updated on January 7, 2013

Important Note:

Before we discuss water purification please make note of this: No matter what method you decide to use, NEVER cross contaminate your bottles. Purified water goes in one bottle and potentially contaminated water goes in another. Be sure to keep track of this or you could end up sick!

Drinking Water:

So you have found water but you need it to be purified of bacteria and other organisms and all you have is a bottle? No problem, but you'll have to wait for a drink. Firstly, you must use a bottle made out of PET (Polyethylene tephthalate). The reason I suggest this bottle is because it doesn't block the UV rays that make this method effective.

Water is the most important resource in a survival situation. A human can survive 3 weeks without food, but can only make it 3 days without water. There are many methods of water purification that you can use to help you survive, and this one is terribly easy to employ in a survival situation assuming that you have the proper bottles.

This method makes use of the sun's heat and ultra violet rays to kill bacteria in the water. The reason you want to kill the bacteria is that it can make you severely ill and in some instances kill you.

There may be other types of plastics that don't block these rays, but the only ones that I've used in survival situations and know work are made from PET.

What You Will Need:

  1. Bottle composed of PET (Polyethylene tephthalate)
  2. Water
  3. Filter (for turbid water)


Important Note:

If the water is turbid: Filter the water before putting it into the bottle!

Definition of Turbid: Cloudy or containing visible debris.

The Method:

  1. Put the water in the bottle
  2. Put the bottle in direct sunlight for 6 hours. If the day is cloudy then you must leave it in the light for at least two days (sounds extreme but better than dysentery!).


What Happens:

The constant UV rays and the heat generated from the sun will kill the bacteria in the water. I am not sure of the exact science behind it so I got this information below from

  • UV-A interferes directly with the metabolism and destroys cell structures of bacteria.
  • UV-A (wavelength 320-400nm) reacts with oxygen dissolved in the water and produces highly reactive forms of oxygen (oxygen free radicals and hydrogen peroxides), that are believed to also damage pathogens.
  • Infrared radiation heats the water. If the water temperatures raises above 50°C, the disinfection process is three times faster.

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    • debris profile image

      debris 8 years ago from Florida

      That's great to hear that it's being promoted around the world. I think everyone should have access to clean water.


    • rbnstr08 profile image

      rbnstr08 8 years ago from Philippines

      Great hub! I watched on TV a similar way to purify water promoted for free and no patent. It is being used, I believe, in third world countries where potable water is a scarcity. They use a cheap device to let water pass through the UV light.