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How to Disinfect and Purify Drinking Water with Bleach

In emergency situations, it’s important to know how to purify water. When boiling isn’t an option, you can make purified water by adding the right ratio of bleach.

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Only treat drinking water with bleach if boiling for 1 minute isn’t practical. Once you know the correct dilution ratios, you can purify water with bleach by following the steps below.

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Steps to disinfect water with bleach

  1. 1

    Remove any debris

    Remove all suspended material by filtration using a clean cloth, towel, coffee filter or by letting it settle to the bottom of the container.


    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 or to store the water you treat.

  2. 2

    Pour water into container

    Pour clearest water into a clean container.

  3. 3

    Treat water

    Add 25 drops or ¼ teaspoon of Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach to 1.75 gallons of water (4 drops to 1 quart).  Stir thoroughly.


    Only use regular, unscented chlorine.

  4. 4


    Allow the treated water to stand for 30 minutes. Properly treated water will have a slight chlorine odor.

  5. 5

    Repeat as needed

    If there’s no chlorine odor, you’ll need to repeat the treatment. Add the same amount of bleach and wait for another 15 minutes. Check again for the chlorine odor before drinking water.


The treated water can then be made palatable by pouring in between clean containers several times.

If the water is contaminated with a chemical, adding the product will not make it drinkable.