Clean Water: 15 Ways to Purify Water Easily at Home

Woman pouring water into glass in kitchen, closeup

Water is essential for life, but not all water is safe to drink. It can have harmful impurities like microorganisms and chemicals. Purifying water is important to ensure it is clean and safe. This blog post discusses ten efficient systems for removing impurities from water, giving you access to cleaner drinking water.

These methods remove or reduce impurities like sediment, bacteria, viruses, metals, and chemicals.

Boiling

Boiling water in a stainless saucepan on a gas stove.

Boiling is one of the simplest and oldest methods of water purification. By bringing water to a boil for at least one minute, many pathogens are killed, making the water safer to drink. Boiling doesn’t remove chemicals or sediments, but it quickly kills disease-causing organisms.

Water Purifier

A glass of clean fresh water and set of filter cartridges on wooden table in a kitchen interior. Installation of reverse osmosis water purification system. Concept Household filtration system

Water purifiers use activated carbon filters, UV light, and reverse osmosis to clean water. They effectively remove impurities, including bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, and chemical contaminants. Water purifiers can be installed at the point of entry of your water supply or at the point of use, such as on a kitchen faucet.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (RO) is an advanced water purification technique. It involves passing water through a semi-permeable membrane under pressure to remove contaminants. RO systems are very effective at purifying water by removing up to 99% of salts, particles, proteins, and harmful bacteria.

Water Chlorination

Chlorination is a widely utilized method of water disinfection. It involves adding chlorine or chlorine compounds to water. Chlorine kills bacteria and other microbes by breaking the chemical bonds in their molecules. Water treatment uses two types of chlorine disinfectants: chlorine dioxide and chloramines.

Distillation

To distill water, heat it until it becomes steam, then cool the steam to make it liquid again. This process removes impurities such as heavy metals, salts, and microbes. These impurities are not vaporized and are left behind in the original container.

Iodine Addition

Iodine is used instead of chlorine to clean water, especially in emergencies or camping. Iodine kills various pathogens in water but has a taste that some people may find unpleasant.

Solar Purification

Solar purification, also called SODIS or solar distillation, cleans water using sunlight. The UV light from the sun kills harmful microorganisms in the water. This method is simple, cost-effective, and ideal for regions with abundant sunlight.

Clay Vessel Filtration

Clay vessels have been used for centuries to filter and store water. The tiny pores in the clay can filter out particulate matter and some pathogens. Moreover, the evaporative cooling that occurs in these pots can help keep water cool.

Coagulation/Flocculation

In water treatment, coagulation and flocculation are crucial for purifying larger bodies of water, like municipal supplies. Coagulating agents are added to water to bind tiny particles together into larger clumps, or flocs. These flocs can then be easily removed during sedimentation and filtration.

Sedimentation

Water is left to settle in a basin. Heavy particles and flocs sink to the bottom. Sedimentation basins can have a rectangular or circular shape. Water flows from end to end or from the center outward.

Filtration

Glass of clean water and filter for cleaning drinking water on the table in the kitchen. Purification of drinking water at home

Water is filtered to remove particles and microorganisms after coagulation and sedimentation. Filtration can be done through sand, charcoal, ceramic, activated carbon, and other materials, each designed to remove specific types of impurities.

Disinfection

Disinfection is one of the final stages of water purification. It involves killing remaining bacteria, viruses, and parasites that could potentially cause diseases. To disinfect, chemicals like chlorine or ultraviolet light are commonly used.

Sludge Drying

The sludge produced from the sedimentation process is often dried and treated before disposal. Sludge drying beds are commonly used to dewater sludge using gravity, making it easier to handle and less likely to carry pathogens or contaminants back into the water supply.

Fluoridation

Water fluoridation is a process where fluoride is added to drinking water to help prevent tooth decay. It has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.[citation needed]

pH Correction

Ph test of water acidity, closeup

pH correction involves adjusting the acidity or alkalinity of water to a neutral pH level (around 7) using chemicals like lime or soda ash. This process not only makes the water safer to drink but can also prevent pipe corrosion in water distribution systems.

FAQs about Water Purification

Can we remove impurities by filtration?

Absolutely! Filtration is an essential step in water purification that can effectively remove solid impurities, bacteria, and other microorganisms. However, some chemical contaminants might pass through filters, which is why filtration is often used in combination with other purifying methods like disinfection or reverse osmosis.

By Anita Brown

Anita Brown is our go-to contributor to our emergency preparedness website. Anita brings a wealth of personal experience and professional expertise to the table, having weathered several awful natural disasters. Anita is currently working towards obtaining her Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) certification.