How Long to Boil Drinking Water until Safe or Disinfected?

90 percent of the world’s water is contaminated in some way according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. There are a variety of microscopic organisms that can contaminate water supplies. They can cause potentially serious, even fatal, illnesses among wilderness travelers.

Dipping your head into a cold mountain stream and taking a long refreshing drink. It’s an experience that has basically vanished from the wilderness and other areas.

In the wilderness, water coming from a natural spring is probably your best bet. Most issues are not knowing the source or what’s in between. There are very few places where you might be certain that the water is safe to drink.

How Long To Boil Drinking Water – How Many Minutes

How many minutes does it take to boil water until it’s safe to drink?

The quick answer (read on for more detail and caveats)

By the time water reaches a rolling boil, it will be safe to drink.
(altitude explanation below).

– Rolling Boil: Instant Safe. The CDC suggests adding 1 minute for safety margin

Why Boil Water?

Biological contamination

– Water may contain microorganisms such as “Giardia” (common!) and if not killed, leads to intestinal disorders


Originally posted on Modern Survival Blog