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Will Vinegar Purify Water?

I've heard that bleach and iodine tablets are only good for water purification for six months. What about white vinegar? Will it purify water?

Question:

I’ve heard that bleach and iodine tablets are only good for water purification for six months. What about white vinegar? Will it purify water? And does it have an expiration date?

Submitted by - Kit, Cheshire, CT

Answer:

You’re probably correct about bleach being good for about six months.

The makers of Potable Aqua (iodine tablets) say the tablets are good for one year after being opened and three years if the bottle remains sealed. I’m not sure about vinegar.

The EPA does not list vinegar as an acceptable water treatment. I suspect it might disinfect water, but the amount of vinegar needed would probably make the water undrinkable. —BUCK

1 Comment

  1. Michael

    Here are the EPA’s recommendations for Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water. http://www.epa.gov/safewater/faq/emerg.html

    As for using granular calcium hypochlorite (pool shock) to disinfect water here is what what they recommend.
    Add and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (approximately ¼ ounce) for each two gallons of water, or 5 milliliters (approximately 7 grams) per 7.5 liters of water. The mixture will produce a stock chlorine solution of approximately 500 milligrams per liter, since the calcium hypochlorite has available chlorine equal to 70 percent of its weight. To disinfect water, add the chlorine solution in the ratio of one part of chlorine solution to each 100 parts of water to be treated. This is roughly equal to adding 1 pint (16 ounces) of stock chlorine to each 12.5 gallons of water or (approximately ½ liter to 50 liters of water) to be disinfected. To remove any objectionable chlorine odor, aerate the disinfected water by pouring it back and forth from one clean container to another.

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