Self Sufficiency

How To Make Water Drinkable



Feature | How To Make Water Drinkable

Learn to make water drinkable and survive any emergency situation where drinkable water is inaccessible! Find out about the methods of purifying water which is simple, effective, and inexpensive.

Water purification is one of our favorite topics on Survival Life. Why? The reason is simple — water is absolutely vital when it comes to survival. No matter what the situation, you're not going to survive more than a few days at most without clean, drinkable water.

Luckily, there are several ways to make water drinkable. Whether you find yourself without running water in your home or searching for water while out in the wilderness, you can be sure that one of these techniques will do the trick!

Make Water Drinkable: Simple Ways To Purify Water


1. DIY Water Purification Process

Use a pant leg or cone-shaped object and fill it with charcoal from your fire and two alternating layers of clean sand and small rocks.

2. Boil

Boil | How To Make Water Drinkable

  • Boil water for 5 minutes to be sure all bacteria are dead.
  • Boiling will not remove mineral, solids, or metals in the water.

3. Distill

Distill | How To Make Water Drinkable

This is effective at removing water from bacteria, metals, minerals, and other solids.

  • Water vapor rises through the hose.
  • The vapor condenses as it cools.
  • Condensed water collects in the bottles.

4. Tablets or Drops

Iodine tablets or chlorine drops are effective at killing bacteria in the water but may result in undesirable taste.

5. UV

Ultraviolet pens kill any bacteria in the water. Simply insert the bulb into the water, agitate for the specified amount of time and your water is safe to drink.

6. Filter

  • Filters for camping comes in all shapes and sizes.
  • Most are small enough for backcountry use.
  • These filters usually use a ceramic and carbon-based system to clean and purify your water.

Why Learn to Purify Water?

Untreated water can cause major problems, especially in the back-country. Among the dangerous bacteria present in untreated water are the following:


  • Found in animal manure and seasonal run-off
  • Symptoms include flu-like, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and nausea


  • Found in groundwater and pipe breaks
  • Found where wildlife and humans use the same water source
  • Symptoms include diarrhea and abdominal discomfort


  • Found in contaminated water and food
  • Symptoms include dry mouth, blurred vision, muscle weakness, and trouble breathing

SPECIAL: Looking for a portable water purification solution? Click here!

The following infographic from Black Point Outdoor illustrates several different ways to make water safe to drink. Check it out, and be sure to share your own water purification tips in the comments below.

Infographic | How To Make Water Drinkable

We need not stress out the importance of clean drinking water not only for survival but for your daily life. Even utility water for bath and kitchen use must achieve a level of cleanliness for you and your family's safety. This simple illustration will arm you with the know-how on the simple process of the water purifying systems for use when you need it the most. You might also want to know the Ways to Get Clean Drinking Water in an Emergency!

Have you ever been out in the wild with nothing to drink? Have you ever survived on self-purified water alone? What's your purifying method of choice? Share your survival stories in the comments below.

Up Next: How To Stay Hydrated In Hot Conditions

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Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 19, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. Eric

    January 20, 2016 at 10:00 AM

    You left out purification by adding 8 drops of chlorine bleach per gallon of water.

    • Michael

      November 11, 2017 at 12:45 AM

      Read it again its there and it makes the comment it leaves an undesireable taste

  2. JJM

    January 21, 2016 at 12:53 AM

    Water can be UV purified by putting into a clear container (jar or jug) of less than 2 liter size and leaving it exposed to sunlight. Full sun with just a few clouds for 6 hours, or if 50% clouds expose for 2 days.

    • Bill Robertson

      May 1, 2018 at 9:02 PM

      Yes, this is basically the same as using a UV light but it takes longer. I’ve read they use this technique in Africa with a standard water bottle that you can buy a case of. Remember that you need to remove the label. 🙂

  3. Bridget Bolden

    January 24, 2016 at 2:29 PM

    I have purchased water bricks.
    I need to put water in them but I’m not sure what if anything I need to do to treat the water after they are filled. Any tips, please let me know. Thank you.

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