How Much Bleach It Really Takes to Clean a Gallon of Water


(Modern – How many drops of unscented bleach does it really take to clean a gallon of water?

• Around 7 drops

• Around 4 drops

• Around 8 drops

• Around 12 drops

Answer: Around 8 Drops. Here’s why…

In the aftermath of a disaster, potable water is usually the first thing to disappear. Panicking people hit the stores and buy up bottled water, leaving shelves empty. For those who didn’t have to foresight to stock up ahead of time, going without water really isn’t an option. In as little as three days, dehydration can be deadly.

When tap water is shut off, or potentially contaminated, and bottled water isn’t available, knowing how to disinfect water can mean the difference between life and death.

Bleach It

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), regular, unscented chlorine bleach can be used to disinfect water. The bleach kills pathogenic bacteria and viruses which otherwise could lead to a number of nasty illnesses.

Bleach tends to be formulated with either a 6% or 8.25% sodium hypochlorite concentration, which means the amount of bleach needed to disinfect a gallon of water will depend on the concentration:

  • For a 6% sodium hypochlorite concentration, add 8 drops of bleach to a gallon of water.
  • For 8.25% sodium hypochlorite concentration, add 6 drops of bleach per gallon of water.
  • If the water is cloudy, sickly colored, or old, double the amount of bleach.

Once the bleach has been added to the water, stir the mixture and allow it to sit for roughly 30 minutes. If done correctly, the water should have a slight chlorine smell to it.

Combining this method with water filtration can make water from rivers, lakes, and ponds drinkable — though it’s best to steer clear of stagnant water sources if possible.

To see another way of purifying water in a pinch, check out our article on how to purify water in the wild.

~Here’s to Your Survival!

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