Purifying Water With Iodine

Purifying Water With Iodine

        Whether you're backpacking across the country or preparing for emergency, the need for fresh water is always number 1. You can live for weeks without food. Gandhi went 21 days with absolutely no food. But water is a different story. Water makes up most of your body. More then 60% of your body is made of water. Every cell in your body needs it to function properly and without it you can die in a matter of days. 

        The problem is that your body is constantly loosing it. In very harsh conditions your body can loose a liter of water through sweating per HOUR! That's pretty nuts, but hopefully none of us find ourselves stranded in the desert anytime soon. Needless to say. We all need the stuff and it needs to be clean.

        Our bodies love water and so does every other living thing on the planet.... Including mico-organisms like bacteria and virus's. You can catch some pretty bad stuff from drinking water that hasn't been purified, and no-one wants any of that right? One quick and easy way to purify water is with iodine drops.

      WARNING!! You should not use the iodine method if you are pregnant/ nursing or have a thyroid condition. Iodine should not be used for more then 3 weeks in controlled doses. Too much iodine can lead to iodine poisoning. Symptoms include 

  • diarrhea
  • burning sensation in your mouth
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • swelling of your airways
  • turning blue (cyanosis)
  • weak pulse
  • coma

Here are the recommended Safe levels of iodine per age group

  • children ages 1 to 3: 200 mcg per day
  • children ages 4 to 8: 300 mcg per day
  • children ages 9 to 13: 600 mcg per day
  • adolescents ages 14 to 18: 900 mcg per day
  • adults ages 19 and older: 1,100 mcg per day


Iodine Tincture Solution can be found easily online or in your local drugstore and its pretty simple to use. 


  1. Once you find a water source you'll need to fill up your water bottle or container. Make sure its not stagnant if at all possible. Fill your water bottle from the top of the water source. Don't completely submerge the water container. This helps keep most of the floating matter out. Another way to solve this is to put a bandana or cloth over the mouth of the container. After your filled up, examine the water and make sure there's not too many impurities in it. 
  2. Add your iodine. Take out your dropper and fill it up with your iodine solution. How many drops you add depends on the source and quality of the water. If your gathering from a lake or another non flowing source of water, you'll want to add close to 10 drops per liter. If the water is very cloudy, You'll want to add 10 drops per liter. If you're collecting from a flowing water source such as a stream or river you can add less. I wouldn't go under 5 drops per liter.
  3. Wait 5 minutes after filling your bottle to let the iodine do its work. After the 5 minutes you'll need to disinfect the mouth of the container because it also touched the contaminated water. To do this flip your water bottle upside down and start to undo the cap. Don't completely take the cap off or you'll loose everything lol. Once you see a small ring of water around the rim of the bottle, you're good to go. You just want to make sure the iodine solution touches the lip of the bottle where you're going to put your mouth so it gets disinfected as well.

You'll want to wait at least another 30 minutes before drinking to let the iodine do it's work. Your health is very important. Especially in an emergency situation where a doctor isn't right down the road. Be safe and never drink from an unknown water source if you have access to clean drinking water. 

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