Skip to main navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Water Purification: How Much Bleach to Purify Water for Drinking?

Need to purify water? Learn about water treatment and find out how much bleach to add to drinking water to disinfect and sanitize it to make it safe to drink.

More from Clorox experts
New Clorox® Free & Clear

Safe around kids, pets & food.* * When used as directed.

New Clorox® Free & Clear

Safe around kids, pets & food.* * When used as directed.

When a natural disaster results in unsafe drinking water, it may not be possible to boil water for 1 minute to make it safe to drink. And bottled water may not be readily available. Fortunately, you can use Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach for emergency disinfection of drinking water. Here are some things to remember when treating water with Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach to make water safe to drink in an emergency:

  • Before adding the bleach, it’s important to remove any suspended material from the water you have collected. You can do this by filtration (i.e. pouring it through a coffee filter into a clean container) or by letting it settle out, and then decanting it into a clean container.
  • To decant untreated water, first let it sit long enough to let any debris settle to the bottom of the collection container before pouring the clarified contaminated water into a clean container, leaving behind the debris.
  • After the contaminated water has been filtered or decanted into a clean container, then you can add the bleach. Use the table below to determine how much bleach to add—it depends on how much water you are treating.
  • Allow the treated water to stand for 30 minutes. Properly treated water should have a slight chlorine odor.
  • If there’s no chlorine odor, then you need to repeat the treatment. Just add the same amount of bleach, and wait for another 15 minutes. Check again for the chlorine odor before drinking the water.
  Amount of Water   Amount of Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach
  1 quart   4 drops
  1.75 gallons   25 drops or ¼ tsp.

Here are some other important things to remember.

    • ONLY use Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach or Clorox® Germicidal Bleach4 (Concentrated Formula). DO NOT use thickened or scented bleach products.
    • Use bleach that was purchased in the last year and that has been stored in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.
    • Check with your water service provider to confirm that your tap water is safe to drink.
    • If you stocked up on bottled water, save the empty bottles!! You can use some of them to collect untreated water, and others to store the water you treat.