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How To Turn Salt Water Into Drinking Water

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How To Turn Salt Water Into Drinking WaterEveryone living in a coastal area should learn this skill. If you run out of drinking water and there’s a drought or you have no access to lakes or rivers, you might have to gather water from the ocean.

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The cruel irony of planet Earth is that there is water almost everywhere, but less than one percent of it is safe to drink. Not only will drinking salt water make you even more dehydrated, enough of it will cause kidney failure and death. But knowing how to turn saltwater into drinking water can get you around this problem.

The simplest way to do it is the distillation method. When saltwater evaporates, it leaves the salt behind. Then when the steam condensates on a surface, freshwater drips off of that surface into a container. To see what I mean, watch this video by Jenny from MomPrepares.

The downside of this method is that it takes a lot of energy just to get a little bit of distilled water. That might not be a problem if the power grid is up and running, but if the power is out then this method will require a lot of precious fuel.

One solution is a solar water distiller. This method uses energy from the sun to heat up the water. It’s a very slow process so you would need to have a lot of these going (or a few very large ones) to get enough drinking water for the day, but it could work.

Hopefully, these videos helped you understand what the distillation method is and how to do it at home. If you live near the beach, make sure you know how to turn saltwater into drinking water using this method.

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13 Comments

  1. jeremiah on November 29, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    what chemicals do you use?

    • prsmith on November 29, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      There are no chemicals that I know of that will desalinate salt water. Only distillation or reverse osmosis will do that.

  2. Joe D. on November 14, 2017 at 5:32 am

    Some great tips is there a different method for purifying river water. We have a number of rivers quite nearby but they would not be very clean I think.

    • prsmith on November 29, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      Filtration for clarity and then boiling or chemical purification (Iodine or Chlorine generally). Do an internet search for sand filters or survival filters. There are videos on Youtube.

  3. prsmith on November 13, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Run a rubber tube under the plastic and into the distilled water cup so you can drink through the ‘straw’ without interfering with the distillation process. Use a clip to hold it securely to the cup and fold the drinking end over secured by a rubber band or paperclip to keep the tube free of dirt or insects.

  4. prsmith on November 13, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Painting the OUTSIDE of the bowls flat black will speed up the process considerably.

  5. Kate on January 12, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing this great information about solar water distillers. This is very helpful both for emergency and every-day use.

  6. Krystel on November 19, 2016 at 7:29 am

    I would definitely go for the solar water distiller. Although I probably wouldn’t use the water for drinking, I would most likely use it for other things like watering the plants or washing my clothes. Luckily, we use water in almost every chore at home. I’ve actually written an article about solar water distillation and it has some interesting facts about this whole process and even includes a DIY guide on how to make one. I would love to share it to everyone. Please do check it out. 🙂

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  11. db on March 6, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Living on the coast of Florida, less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean, I have access to LOTS of salt water.

    Luckily, there is also a vast amount of fresh water, and purifying freshwater is far easier than desalination seawater.

    But it is always good to have options!

    I find Mother Nature’s ironic sense of humor astounding. We cannot live without water. Or salt. But together, it is almost useless to use to survive.

    Too bad there isn’t a machine that takes in water, and pours out fresh water on one side, and food grade salt on the other 🙂

    Peace,
    db

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