Many outdoorsmen, survivalists, and households preparing for emergency disasters rely upon common household bleach as a disinfecting agent to make water safe to drink.
Bleach will destroy most disease causing organisms (boiling water to make it safe to drink is always the best method).
What is not well known is Calcium Hypochlorite is far better for chemically disinfecting water.
Old Way: Using Bleach to Disinfect Water
Some people who have emergency preparedness stocks of survival food and survival gear often keep a gallon or two of unscented household bleach on hand for making safe drinking water in large quantities. Bleach is often the chemical of choice because it is commonly available and frequently mentioned when discussing the how-toâ€™s of drinking water.
Typical fresh household chlorine bleach has about 5.35% chlorine content (be sure to read the label).
To use household bleach for disinfecting water:
1. Add two drops of bleach per quart or litre of water.
2. Stir it well.
3. Let the mixture stand for a half hour before drinking.
If the water is cloudy with suspended particles:
First filter the water as best you can.
Double the amount of bleach you add to the water.
Why Using Bleach to Disinfect Contaminated Water is a Problem
A little known problem with long term storage of bleach in your disaster emergency supply cache is that it degrades over time. A bleach manufacturing representative produced this statement:
â€œWe recommend storing our bleach at room temperatures. It can be stored for about 6 months at temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. After this time, bleach will begin to degrade at a rate of 20% each year until totally degraded to salt and water. Storing at temperatures much higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit could cause the bleach to lose its effectiveness and degrade more rapidly.â€
So if bleach is unreliable for long term storage in emergency preparedness kits then what other commonly available chemical methods of disinfecting water are there? As it turns out a better solution is easily available.
Use Calcium Hypochlorite for Disinfect Water
A 500g bag of calcium hypochlorite in granular form will treat up to 10,000 gallons of drinking water
Calcium hypochlorite is one of the best chemical disinfectants for water, better than household bleach by far. It destroys a variety of disease causing organisms including bacteria, yeast, fungus, spores, and viruses.
Calcium Hypochlorite is widely available for use as swimming pool chlorine tablets or white powder that is much more stable than chlorine.