How To Survive A Boil Notice

A boil notice is issued when a municipal water provider detects dangerous pathogens and microorganisms in the water that can make us sick.  Other reasons for a boil notice include lead in the water, water main breaks, power outages and flooding.    Your need to be able to survive a boil notice often comes in the aftermath of hurricanes, like in Puerto Rico.

WHAT Is A Boil Notice and How Can You Survive It_

How To  Survive A Boil Notice

Surviving a boil notice takes preparation.  First, you’ll need to know exactly what you can and can’t do with your tap water.  Some boil notices will state that tap water is not to be used for drinking, ice cubes or cooking, but can still be used to do laundry in.

But, you know the s has really htf  when the water restrictions say the water can’t be used in any form or fashion.  This is what Puerto Rico has been dealing with for almost a year now.

BTW, we are less than 3 months away from the start of the next hurricane season.  Are you prepared?

All The Ways We Use Water

Brushing Teeth
Washing Dishes
Mixing Baby Formula
Washing Fruits and Veggies
Mixing Medications

And most important……..DRINKING!

Take a minute and think of all the ways your family uses water in a 24 hour period.  That is going to be the amount of water you would need to boil to keep up the status quo.  Yikes!

How To Boil Water For A Boil Notice

According to the CDC, to make water safe to drink,  you should fill a large pot with water and bring it to an actual boil for at least one minute; and then allow the water to cool and place in a clean container.

If you can’t boil water, you can disinfect it by using 1/8 teaspoon of NON-scented bleach per one gallon of water. Mix it well and wait at least 30 minutes before drinking it. Make sure your containers are clean by sanitizing them with bleach as well. Rinse containers thoroughly before storing water.

When my family lived in Turkey, we often had to rely on using non-scented bleach to disinfect our water.  No doubt about it, this water is going to have a funky taste.  Consider having powdered Kool-Aid or something to help cover that taste.

You will also need to use BOILED or disinfected water in your coffee pot.  Even though that coffee pot heats the water up, it doesn’t boil it safe. 

Pro Tip:  When trying to survive a boil water notice, water filters will NOT be enough to purify your tap water.  You’ll need to either rely on stored water, boil the water, or disinfect it with bleach.

Cutting Down On Daily Water Needs

Let’s face it.  Trying to boil the amount of water you typically go through on a daily basis will be impossible.  You will need to be prepared with items to help cut down on the amount of water you’ll need.

1. Stock up on no-rinse bathing wipes.  These wipes clean well with just a bit of water, but you don’t need to rinse afterwards.  We use these often when my son is in the hospital.

Even if the boil alert says it’s okay to bathe in your tap water, I wouldn’t suggest it if you have any open wounds, or are immuno-compromised.

2. Have a can or two of dry shampoo on hand.

3. Stock disposable plates, napkins, and utensils.

4. Fill empty bottles of laundry detergent with water and mark them as ‘cleaning water’ and store them with your other water supplies.

5. Have hand sanitizer available.

6. Cleaning wipes will come in handy!

PRO TIP:  Use tape to wrap around facets  and handles to disable them.  Put BIG signs reminding people NOT to use tap water.   People are so used to using water from the tap, that it is simply second nature to reach for the faucet.

Survive  A Boil Notice By Storing Water

Do you know how to figure out how much water per family member to store?  Our post on Calculating Drinking Water has done the math for you!

Next, you’ll want to know how to fill soda bottles and larger containers with safe drinking water for storage.   We’ll walk you through it in our Emergency Drinking Water and Storage post.

Think A Boil Notice Can’t Happen To You?

Emergency water boil notices are issued hundreds of times a week all though out the country. Sometimes they only last a day or two. Often they last longer. For Preppers water storage must be a priority in order for your family to survive a boil notice.

Has your family ever lived someplace where the tap water was not safe to drink?  How did you provide clean drinking water for your family?


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