How to Clean Dirty Water

Healthy Water

Purification of Water In An Emergency

How to Clean Dirty Water In Emergencies

The definition of “dirty water” can mean all the difference between simple cleaning methods or a full-blown chemical and filtration system needed to clean water sources and transform them into drinking water. Naturally occurring water sources can have a mixture of chemical and biological contaminants that render the water unsafe for drinking; taking these contaminants out during the “cleaning” process is the secret to answering how to clean dirty water.

For water that is abundant in open sources but remains largely free from heavy pollution sources common in urban areas, the simplest means of purification involves filtration and then boiling. In these cases, how to clean dirty water isn’t really a very hard question to answer. The filtration process separates the solids from the liquid and the degree of separation depends on the diameter of the pores in the filter. If the water is already clear in first view, single-step filtering by ordinary cotton cloth should be sufficient but if it is muddy, separation by settling should first be done before filtering the water in cloth three to five times or until the water is clearer. Afterwards, boil the water for 2 to 3 minutes to kill off biological contaminants and this should be sufficient for making the water potable. This one suggestion on how to clean dirty water.

Another method on how to clean dirty water is by using plain and unscented household bleach. Add 8 drops of bleach to one gallon water and stir. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes or more. The bleach acts as a disinfectant and kills biological contaminants like worms, parasites, viruses and bacteria and should render the water drinkable. Again, do not forget to filter the water if it is not clear.

There are also available iodine tables that act exactly as household bleach does. Simply dissolve a tablet of iodine from the supermarket – only those marketed for water purification purposes – into one gallon of water and it should disinfect the solution. However, wait an hour or two before drinking it.

When preparing an emergency kit for potential moments of calamity, there are portable water filtration systems available in many big hardware stores. The same principles of how to clean dirty water are at work in these devices. Oftentimes, they contain multiple stage filters that are made of ceramic, sponge, and activated carbon.

Physical decontamination is done via the ceramic filters while the activated carbon strains and retains biological contaminants. In most cases, the product from these filters are already drinkable but if you want to be sure, you can always boil the water for at least 1 minute so all biological contaminants are thermally killed. If water is contaminated using more than one purification method will make it even safer.

One your dirty water is purified as best it can be under conditions you have to work with, you may want to pour the water you have cleaned back and forth between two containers a few time. This will put oxygen back in the water and give it a better taste.

We cannot take shortcuts with our drinking water as poor water quality can lead to a variety of life threatening illnesses like cholera. Strive to ensure the highest water quality possible in your family by learning a number of “how to clean dirty water” tips and applying it in cases where you think added sanitation and decontamination is required to ensure the quality of your drinking water supply.

We have a huge collection of articles on our site concerning emergency water purification and many other areas having to do with clean drinking water. We add others of a regular basis such as this one on how to clean dirty water, so be sure and come back periodically or bookmark us for and emergency situation where you have no water.