How to Safely Store Water for Drinking – Simple and Easy!

Knowing how to properly store water is an extremely important skill to have. Whether you are storing water for your food storage or storing it for your off grid cabin, you’ll want to make sure you do it correctly, otherwise, you could end up getting sick from contaminated water.

There are two main ways to store water. If the water is likely contaminated such as pond water or even if it is city water that contains traces of bacteria, then you need to treat the water with one of the following methods:  Boiling Method, Liquid Bleach Method or the Eco-Friendly Mineral – Water Purifier drops.

If the water is clear it does not mean that it is safe to drink.  If you are unsure of the source then you should take matters into your own hands. In 2014 the city officials of Flint, Michigan decided to change their water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River as a way to save some money.  Because the river and lake had different chemical levels, it caused pipes to leak trace amounts of toxic metals into the drinking water.  As a result, 12 people died and many others experienced metal poisoning which will cause health problems for years to come.

Although the example mentioned at Flint, MI resulted in contamination of drinking with toxic metals, water contaminated with large numbers of microorganisms can also lead to health issues.  To better protect you and your family, let’s review the different ways to ensure you have safe drinking water.

How to Decontaminate Water to Drink Safely?

The three methods described here include:  Boiling the water,  Use of Liquid Bleach or Use of Water Purifier drops.

*Note: Before starting either one of these processes, always strain the water through a clean cloth or layers of paper towels to remove visible contaminants, then follow these steps to purify your water:

Boiling Method:
1- Pour water into a large clean cooking pan.

2- Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 3 minutes.

3- Let water cool.

4- Pour water into clean into water-approved storage container.

Note: When water is boiled, the oxygen is removed and causes the water tasting “flat” or unusual.  The normal taste of water is restored by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers to put the oxygen back into the water.

Liquid Bleach Method:
1- Add ¼ (16 drops) teaspoon of household bleach in a 1 gallon of water

2- Mix thoroughly

3- Let Stand for 30 minutes – Water should have a faint bleach smell. If you can’t smell the bleach, repeat steps again and let stand for an additional 15 minutes before storing in a certified water storing container.

Note:  Make sure to use regular household bleach (contains no soaps, phosphate, or scent) and is fresh (recently purchased, has not aged).

Sachets, Tablets and Drops Method:

Additional options to purify your water when heat or bleach are unavailable is to use Eco-Friendly Mineral – Water Purifier sachets, tablets or drops.

These are some great items to have in your food storage, camping gear, travel bag or in your emergency go bag. Each item is slightly different, but will do the job of killing bacteria and making for some drinkable water.

Sachets:
The Sachet is a powdered water purification system that comes in a little packet. If used correctly, the packets are able to kill bacteria, viruses, and other microbes and parasites that are often found in contaminated water such as ponds, rivers, lakes or other outdoor water sources.

Follow the steps below to purify the water using the sachet.

  • Open the packet when you are ready to purify the water.
  • Read label to determine content to water ratio.
  • Mix powder packet with the appropriate amount of water.
  • Stir/mix well.
  • Let stand for 30 min or more if needed.
  • Enjoy or store.

While there are several types of packets on the market, we recommend the “US Military Chlor-Floc Water Purification” and the “DayOne Response P&G Puifier”.  Both are great options and will purify the water.

The US Military Chlor-Floc Water Purification sachet is extremely effective in killing many microorganisms including Giardia. One to two sachets will purify 1 liter of water, depending on how contaminated the water is.  If unopened, the sachet has a 1-2 year shelf life. You can find them on amazon’s website HERE.

The DayOne Response P&G Purifier comes in a slightly larger size sachet allowing the mixture of 1 sachet to 10 liters of water.  One advantage with this brand is that after the water has been mixed well after 30 min the water tastes like normal drinking water. If you have a family, then I highly recommend this option as you will be able to purify enough water for the whole family with one sachet. Click HERE to see the latest price on amazon.

Tablets:
Water Purifying tablets are considered to be among the best options for long term storage as they come in a small jar or bottle and have no expiration date.  Like the powder sachet, it can be used to treat contaminated water from sources such as ponds, lake, rivers and other outdoor water sources.

Note: Some tablets contain iodine which neutralizes any bad smell or taste of the water making it taste fresh.

Tablets are very simple to use, follow the steps below:

  • Open the bottle when ready to use.
  • Check label to determine the tablet to water ratio.
  • Add appropriate tablets to water.
  • Stir water thoroughly.
  • Let water sit 30 min (Each Brand requires different wait times).
  • Drink and enjoy or store for later.

There are several products available online and in select stores for water purifying tablets.  All  are about the same with some very small differences.  However, based on my research of reviews, my two favorite tablet options are:  Potable Aqua Water Tablet and Micropur Tablets.

Potable Aqua Water Tablets:  Product claims to clean and purify extremely dirty water.  It removes any traces of bacteria, viruses, or contaminants that may be in the water.  Additionally, it can remove Giardia Lamblia.  Each Bottle contains 50 tablets which can purify a total of 25 liters of water, or 2 tablets per 1 liter of water.  After placing the tablet into the water, it takes 35 minutes to properly purify the water.  Unlike other methods, the tablets have no expiration date, which makes this option ideal for long term storage in your emergency preparedness kits.

Click HERE to see reviews or buy the Potable Aqua Water Tablets.

Micropur Tablets:  These tablets are just as effective in removing the microbes and other contaminants from the water as the Potable Aqua Water Tablets.  Box contains variable number of tablets.  Regardless, one tablet will purify 1 liter of water. This allows you to filter/purify more water per tablet than the Aqua Water Tablets and the tablets meet the EPA Microbiological water purifier test standards.  If I could only pick one tablet to use, then it would be the Micropur Tablets.

Click HERE to see reviews or buy the Micropur Tablets.

Drops:
Water Purifying drops come in a liquid form and are able to purify more water than the tablets or sachets. The drops purify water that are infected with bacteria, viruses, and other microbes and parasites that are often found in contaminated water such as pond, rivers, lakes or other outdoor water sources.

Note: Some tablets contain iodine which neutralizes the bad smell and taste of the water making it taste fresh.

Drops methods are very simple to use, follow the steps below:

  • Open the bottle when ready to purify the water.
  • Check label to determine the tablet to water ratio.
  • Add appropriate drops to water.
  • Stir water thoroughly.
  • Let water sit for the recommended time per product.
  • Drink and enjoy or store for later.

The top two drop based products that I recommend are the Purinize and the Polar Pure Iodine Water Disinfectant.

Purinize:  Product Is an all-natural water purifier that is ideal for emergency preparedness/survival kits or storage.  Product has no shelf life and claims to be effective against bacteria, viruses, heavy metals and chemicals such as chlorine, chlorine dioxide and iodine.  The water tastes fresh and does not have a chemical after taste.

Click HERE to see reviews or buy the Purinize. 

Polar Pure Iodine Water Disinfectant:  Product is able to Purify up to 2000 liters of water and is EPA Certified.  In my mind, this is the most effective water purifying product on the market.  The drops are effective in killing traces of bacteria, viruses and other contaminates, regardless of size.  Additionally, it has no shelf life and can be used until the drops are gone.  The instructions are very simple and clear for understand.

Click HERE to see reviews or buy.

How to Safely store water for drinking

Once you have purified the water using one of the above methods, you will need to properly store the water to maintain its purity.   A common misconception is that milk jugs, fruit juice bottles, etc can be used to store water.  However, this is not true.  Milk jugs should never be used to store water.  This is because according to FEMA,

“…milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from the container and provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them…” (https://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf)

 

What Type of Containers Should Be Used to Store Water in?

Water should always be stored in food-grade containers that are BPA free.  Because some bacteria and other organisms can use sunlight as an energy source, the container should not be transparent, but thick and dark which will minimize the growth of bacteria that were not killed or removed from the decontamination process.   As a safety measure, water should be purified using one of the above methods, stored in an appropriate container and this process is repeated on an annual basis.

Plastic containers have numbers on them that give the rating of the plastic. Numbers 1, 2, and 4 are food-grade plastic and approved for storing your water.

 Food Grade Plastic Numbers

How much water do I need to store for myself and my family?

 According to FEMA, you should have at least 1 gallon of clean drinkable water per person per day.  Additionally, you should have a total of 2 weeks supply of water per person. To figure out the amount of water needed to be stored, multiply number of days of water needed (2 weeks/14 days) by the number of people in the home.

For example: a family of 4 would need to store 56 gallons of water.
14 days x 4 people =56 gallons of water.

Conclusion

You never know when a natural disaster will strike or when your city officials decide to use a cheaper water source that results in your water become undrinkable.  You should be prepared with a good water storage program or know how to properly store the water making it drink able.

Sources: https://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf