Even when it looks clear, water can carry hordes of microscopic germs — bacteria and viruses that can wreak havoc on your body. Drinking water is normally sanitized at treatment plants before it enters the home, but if you’re camping or drinking water from a rural well, for example, you’re not drawing water from the typical water purification infrastructure. You can still protect your gut, though, with a simple water-purification method. This approach is similar to boiling water, though it is more effective because along with heat it uses a spectrum of UV-A light that kills many pathogenic microorganisms (see References 2, page I). However, it does not fully clean very muddy water or water that contains toxic chemical pollutants.
Items you will need:
- Plastic bottle with recycling code 1 (PET/PETE)
- Piece of clean cloth, such as an old T-shirt
- Cup or bucket
- This method also works with clear glass bottles, but not window glass.
- While this method works with PVC plastic, PVC contains additives that may be harmful to your health. Make sure your plastic bottle is marked with a number 1, or that it is fully clear and somewhat flexible (see References 1, page 16).
- If the water is very muddy, try letting it sit in a bucket or container for a day until much of the sediment sinks to the bottom. Very carefully scoop out the cleaner water and run it through the cloth filter (see References 1, page 15).
- PET plastic deforms under very high heat, and transmits less UV radiation as it ages (see References 1, page 17).