are not designed for long-term storage of liquids. Also, do not
use glass containers, because they are heavy and may break.
water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap.
water. Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottle so that it
touches all surfaces. After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly
rinse out the sanitizing solution with clean water.
Fill the bottle to the top with regular tap water. (If your
gallon of water.
Tightly close the container using the original cap. Be
it with your fingers. Write the date on the outside of the
container so that you know when you filled it. Store in a
cool, dark place.
commercially bottled water.
The instructions below are for treating water of uncertain quality in
rare emergency situations in the absence of instructions from local
authorities when no other reliable clean water source is available
and you have used all of your stored water. If you store enough
water in advance, you will not need to treat water using these or
In addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water can
contain microorganisms (germs, bacteria, and viruses) that cause
diseases such as dysentery, typhoid, and hepatitis. You should treat
all water of uncertain quality before using it for drinking, food
preparation, or hygiene.
There are many ways to treat water, though none are perfect. Often
the best solution is a combination of methods.
Boiling or chlorination will kill most microorganisms but will not
remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts, and most
other chemicals. Before treating, let any suspended particles settle
to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel, clean
cloth, or coffee filter.
Boiling is the safest method of treating water. In a large pot or kettle,
bring water to a rolling boil for 1 full minute, keeping in mind that
some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking.
Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by
pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This
will also improve the taste of stored water.
You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use
only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 to 6.0 percent
sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches, or
bleaches with added cleaners. Because the potency of bleach diminishes
with time, use bleach from a newly opened or unopened bottle.
Add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let
stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight bleach odor. If it
doesn’t, then repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes. If it still
does not smell of bleach, discard it and find another source of water.
Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products (sold
in camping or surplus stores) that do not contain 5.25 to 6.0 percent
sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.
While the two methods described above will kill most microorganisms
in water, distillation will remove microorganisms that resist these
methods, as well as heavy metals, salts, and most other chemicals.
Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that
condenses back to water. The condensed vapor will not include salt
or most other impurities. To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie
a cup to the handle on the pot’s lid so that the cup will hang right-
side-up when the lid is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dan
gling into the water), and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water
that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled. (See illustration