How to boil water in a plastic bottle? (+3 ways)

In this brief guide we will address the question, “How to boil water in a plastic bottle?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like should you boil water in a plastic bottle.

How to boil water in a plastic bottle? 

I won’t be talking exactly about boiling water in a plastic bottle, because that is just crazy! However, we will talk about ways to disinfect water, which is the main purpose of boiling.

While it is never actually recommended to boil water in a plastic bottle, it is still possible. You can use one of these 3 ways that we will talk about in this article. Note that boiling anything in plastic will cause the toxins from plastic to get mixed with the water. 

I only recommend using plastic containers for boiling when your life is literally on the line. It is like a survival tactic. Why? Because that is the only acceptable situation in my head where I would want to consume lesser evil – water that has been boiled in a plastic bottle

Method 1

This is probably the direct and the simplest method that we can use to boil water. Just use a thread to tie up the bottle, and then hold it over a source of fire. This will make the water hot enough to at least call it pasteurized. Drinking this water won’t be safe, but it will maintain your hydration levels. 

Method 2 

This is more of an indirect method that involves heating the water with the help of stones. If you can not put a bottle in fire, you can put fire in the bottle. Simply put, just add something that can indirectly heat your water bottle. 

You can do this by heating stones in direct heat for 30 minutes and then putting the hot stones in the water bottle. Water bottles developed for outdoor activities are generally made from Lexan plastic that is impact and heat resistant.

When this method is used, you should let the stones stay for at least 10 minutes.

Method 3

The third method that you can use is the solar disinfection method. This is a traditional method that was developed in the early 1980s as an inexpensive way for disinfecting water. Also referred to as SODIS, this method utilizes sunlight to kill the harmful pathogens that may be present in your water. This is the most reliable method when it comes to disinfecting water in plastic containers. 

In SODIS, water inside the bottle is exposed to natural sunlight for a day, or 2 in case of overcast conditions. The rays from the sun kill the harmful organisms inside water, which can then be consumed later on. An important thing to note is that this technique is only effective when water is in small quantities – 2 or 3 litres at maximum. 

Should you boil water in plastic bottles? 

Well, like mentioned before, you should not boil water in plastic bottles as it is never recommended and the plastic releases dangerous chemicals like BPA. This chemical compound in particular can have adverse effects on the health of an individual. 

There is one exception when it comes to disinfecting water using plastic bottles, and that is SODIS or Solar disinfection method. This traditional method discussed above is a good approach in small villages where resources are limited. Moreover, limitation of quantity is another key thing that we need to keep in mind when using the SODIS method for disinfection of water.

Information from CDC gives us valuable knowledge on why and how this method can be used to solve problems in background or rural areas. It has been proven to inactivate the viruses and bacteria inside the water. However, it also has its own cons. For example, you can not use solar disinfection to disinfect large quantities of water, because it relies primarily on the availability of plastic bottles capable of holding 2-3 litres of water.

Moreover, it relies on the sun way too much, and even the time required for disinfection is one complete day. 


In this brief guide we have addressed the question, “How to boil water in a plastic bottle?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like should you boil water in plastic bottles.