Food - Drink
How Long Must You Boil Water Before It's Safe To Drink?
By KATHERINE BECK
Whether you’re stuck in the wilderness or a strong storm has wreaked havoc on your neighborhood's water lines, you may need to boil water to make it safe for drinking. In the case of the latter scenario, caution should be taken with most instances of using even filtered tap water, such as using it to brush your teeth or to make ice (per the CDC).
According to the USDA, in order to properly boil water for drinking, the water must reach a roiling boil, which is when the bubbles in the pot of water are very large and break when they move to the top of the water’s surface. The water should boil at this pace for at least one minute; if you live at a high altitude, water must be boiled for at least three minutes.
To boil water faster, keep the cover on the pot, and once the water has boiled long enough, it will still need to cool naturally and be stored in covered clean containers. Boiled water may taste unusual, so the USDA recommends adding a pinch of salt per quart or liter of water, or to pour the water from one container to another multiple times.