Chemically Treating Storage Water

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December 21, 2013

Treating water is essential before storing it. If you neglect to do so, algae and other biological contaminates can infect the water over time, deeming it undrinkable. The most common and effective ways of treating water are boiling, filtering, and using chemical treatments. All three are effective, but depending on your situation, may not be ideal. For example, when storing large amounts of water for an extended period of time, boiling may not be the most feasible option. In this case, chemically treating water is the safest, most effective method. Here are some of the most common ways to chemically treat your water before storing, starting with the least effective.


To treat water with bleach, add 1/8 of a teaspoon of liquid household chlorine bleach (containing 5% to 6% sodium hypochlorite) for every gallon of water. Beware not use bleach that contains thickeners, scents, or additives.


Generally iodine works best when the temperature of the water is at least 68 degrees F. Use an iodine tincture with 2% iodine and about 47% alcohol. Add 5 drops to a quart of clear water or 10 drops if the water is cloudy. Shake well and let stand for an hour. Iodine is more effective than chlorine at eliminating Giardia, but it is not for everyone. Consult with a doctor before using iodine if you are allergic to iodine, have thyroid problems, are on lithium, are a woman over 50, or are a pregnant or nursing woman.

Specialty Products

The safest and most effective way to treat water is often with specialty products designed specifically to treat water before long-term storing it. These can come in the forms of drops, tablets, pouches, and more. When using these products, follow closely the directions provided. These treatments can reach their full range of effectiveness anywhere between 5 minutes to several hours. Our favorite treatments are featured below:

Aquamira® Water Treatment Drops – 2 oz.

Aquamira® Water Treatment Drops treat drinking water using chlorine dioxide to kill bacteria, control the buildup of slime and improve the taste of stored water. The chlorine dioxide formula has consistently proven to be effective in clear, muddy, warm, and cold water. The 2oz. size is perfect for treating stored water in 55 gallon or smaller drums. Aquamira® Water Treatment Drops are also ideal for treating water in RV storage tanks, animal drinking troughs, on site water storage tanks such as cisterns or camp water systems. The economical 2oz. size boasts the same portability and long shelf life as our popular 1oz. dropper bottles. Each kit contains everything you need to treat up to 60 gallons of water. Also available in our Aquamira® Water 1 oz. size bottle to treat up to 30 gallons of water

Aquamira® Water Purifier Tablets – 24 Pack

Aquamira® Water Purifier Tablets provide all the benefits of our popular Water Treatment Drops in an easy to use solid format. Each tablet purifies one liter (32oz.) of water and is conveniently sealed in an individual child resistant foil pouch. The individual tablet pouches are stored inside our re-sealable storage pouch that eliminates packaging waste and can be packed away almost anywhere. To use, simply drop one tablet into one liter of water and wait the required time. Aquamira® Water Purifier Tablets are great for weekend hiking, camping, hunting, or fishing trips and 72 hour emergency kits. Also available in our 12 Pack.