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
Get more for less with bundles

Tackle household messes with 10% off curated cleaning bundles or build your own.

Get more for less

Save 10% on curated cleaning bundles or build your own.

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, the East Coast is really taking a beating from the weather, making this an important time to review how to use Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach for emergency disinfection of drinking water. It’s not always practical in an emergency situation to boil water for 1 minute to make it safe to drink (especially if you are one of the 5 million people without any power right now, or the 1.5 million people who have been evacuated).  Here are some things to remember when treating water with Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach:

  • Prior to addition of the bleach, it’s important to remove all suspended material from collected water by letting it settle to the bottom or by filtration. This means that after you collect some water that hasn’t been treated, you need to let it sit long enough to let any debris settle to the bottom of the container.
  • Next, decant the clarified contaminated water into a clean container, then 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 bleaches, Ultimate Care Bleach or the Bleach Pen.
  • 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.