In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Can you boil any water and drink it?” We will also discuss What is the optimal time to boil water before drinking safely? When would you need to boil water for drinking? Which type of water contaminants is the target of boiling water? And finally, How can you improve the flavour of boiled water?
Can you boil any water and drink it?
Yes, you can boil any water and drink it safely if you have no access to pure water.
Boiling is the easiest and most effective method for purifying water since the high boiling temperature will kill all the germs that might make you sick.
In this article, you’ll learn everything about boiling water for drinking. When would you need this, how much should you boil water before drinking, and many answers to all your questions and concerns, so stay tuned.
What is the optimal time to boil water before drinking safely?
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has clearly recommended that the efficient boiling time for any water to be drunk safely is to bring it to a rolling boil for 1 minute.
It is estimated that boiling water above 160 degrees Fahrenheit will usually kill all types of pathogens within 30 minutes including both giardia and cryptosporidium bacteria.
However, if you are using a higher temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit for boiling your water, then almost all bacteria will be dead faster in only a few minutes except for a few pathogens such as botulism which is heat resistant and therefore can persist at even higher temperatures.
When would you need to boil water for drinking?
Water is a vital component of our bodies and is essential for the proper functioning of all our systems to the extent that dehydration will be fatal.
But at the same time drinking contaminated water will make you sick and cause you to have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and dehydration instead of rehydrating.
Thus we might all need at a certain time in our lives to boil water to drink, especially if we don’t have any access to pure water and do not have any bottled water on hand.
Several different reasons might put you in front of the decision of boiling water to purify it and make it drinkable, these reasons can be summarised as follows:
- Natural disasters (drought, flood, earthquake that damaged infrastructure)
- Outdoor camping
Which type of water contaminants is the target of boiling water?
Natural water is usually not safe for direct usage due to the high probability of being polluted and contaminated by different forms of pathogenic microorganisms that can cause severe intestinal infections and illnesses with severe symptoms or worse be fatal such as:
- Bacteria such as E. coli, coliform, cholera, salmonella, and shigella can cause serious illnesses and even death if not given proper medical treatment.
- Viruses such as coronavirus, norovirus, hepatitis, rotavirus, viral meningitis, poliovirus, and coxsackievirus
- Parasites such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Toxoplasma gondii, Entamoeba histolytica, and Cyclospora cayetanensis
- Harmful chemicals (pesticides, herbicides,…)
- Metals (iron, lead, mercury,..)
- Sewage water
The boiling water is only efficient and able to kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites whereas the latter contaminant will remain in the water despite the boiling process. The last three in the list are not affected by boiling water.
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How can you improve the flavour of boiled water?
Boiling of any water before drinking might slightly alter its taste, but this is not a problem anymore because we will share with you a useful technique to improve the taste.
To reduce or overcome this slight taste change of water after boiling you can simply pour the water between two containers back and forth a few times, this will help it to trap more air.
On the other hand, you can prolong the shelf life of your boiled water by simply refrigerating it to keep it drinkable for a longer time.
Other FAQs about Water that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Can you boil any water and drink it?” We have also discussed What is the optimal time to boil water before drinking safely? When would you need to boil water for drinking? Which type of water contaminants is the target of boiling water? And finally, How can you improve the flavour of boiled water?
Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.