Using Iodine for Water Purification: How to Guide

You may be reading this article from the comfort of your home or work, or perhaps you are waiting for a service. Even under these normal and ideal conditions, we can go about three days without water.

Fortunately, for most of us, getting clean, safe drinking water in our daily lives is fairly easy. Believe it or not, finding water in a survival situation is not always as difficult as it seems. After all, most of our planet is covered with it.

Finding water is only half the battle. Let’s take the classic case of someone lost at sea. They are surrounded by water as far as the eye can see, but getting drunk will only make the situation worse. But the same is true of freshwater sources we know nothing about.

The most delicate part is purifying the water to make it drinkable. Water in nature usually contains many microorganisms and other contaminants that our bodies are not used to. Drinking “dirty” water can make a person very sick and even result in death.

Given the importance of water to our survival, it is necessary to learn and prepare all means to make it drinkable. Therefore, in this article I will briefly discuss the use of iodine to make water safer to drink.

Why use iodine to purify water?

Like other chemical additives, iodine interferes with the natural processes of microorganisms, so it has no negative effects on us when consumed.

Another reason to use iodine is to nourish our bodies. But as with many other substances our bodies need, too much can cause serious problems.

Iodine can also be found in first aid kits, as it can be used for first aid and medical applications. Iodine should not be confused with betadine, as they are different. But since some first aid kits have it, it is also good to know how to use it to treat water.

Under iodine

When using iodine, remember that it primarily neutralizes live contaminants, such as microorganisms. If you are filling a container from a water source known to contain chemical contaminants, consider not using iodine, which would make the water safe to drink.

Although this is not a negative characteristic, the use of iodine in water also causes an orange color change. I only mention this because sometimes this color change causes discomfort and people think the water is not drinkable. Water turning slightly orange is a very normal side effect of using iodine.

Filter the water first

Before adding iodine to water, it is better to purify the water as much as possible by filtering it. If you filter it for the first time, iodine will be much more effective in purifying the water.

Coarse impurities such as grass, leaves, sticks, etc. can be removed by hand. Fine impurities such as sediment can be filtered through a cloth or fabric such as a bandana.

Use of Iodine

Iodine treatments come in a variety of forms. It can come in liquid, tablet or crystal form. Liquid form and tablet form are the most common and the easiest to obtain. And they are extremely easy to use.

  • Liquid iodine
  • Iodine Crystals

According to the EPA, using five drops per liter of 2% iodine tincture kills most harmful microorganisms. If the water to be disinfected is cloudy or discolored, the number of drops used can be doubled.

After adding the drops to the contaminated water, stir or shake the solution well and let stand for at least 30 minutes before drinking.

When using iodine tablets or iodine crystals, always follow the directions on the label. Often use one to two tablets per gallon of water. Stir the solution well and let it sit for as long as needed.


The use of iodine is an effective way to neutralize harmful microorganisms in questionable water. Iodine is also very affordable, readily available, easy to transport and easy to use.

If you have iodine on hand, you can always be prepared to clean dirty water, but be careful how much you use.

Thanks for reading and hydrating!

Have you used iodine to purify your water? What is your experience in this area? Tell us in the comments below and let us know!

Frequently asked questions

How do you mix iodine with water?

2% liquid iodine tincture Add 5 drops per liter if water is clear. Add 10 drops per liter if the water is cloudy. Polar Clear iodine crystals Fill a bottle of Polar Clear with water and shake. The solution is ready to use within an hour.

How many iodine drops are in a liter of water?

If using liquid iodine, add 5 to 10 drops to each gallon of water (or 20 to 40 drops per gallon) using a pipette.

How do you use iodine?

Iodine can be used topically in liquid form to treat and prevent infections. It works by killing bacteria in and around soft cuts and abrasions. Topical iodine should not be used on newborns. It also should not be used on deep cuts, animal bites or burns.

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