Step 2: Water

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Store a 2 week’s supply of water (1 gallon per person per day). Buy 55 gallon barrels, get several 5-6 gallon jugs, or fill up empty soda/juice bottles. Make sure it is food grade plastic, but not milk jugs as they deteriorate too quickly!

Key Points

  • Most sources recommend 1 gallon of water per person, PER day, for 3-14 days. Make sure to consider storing enough for pets as well.
  • Store water in “FOOD GRADE” or PETE plastic containers (stay away from milk jugs, but soda bottles are suitable).
  • Water storage boxes are another good option. Water is placed into mylar bags and then inserted into stackable cardboard boxes.
  • Store water away from too much light or heat.
  • Clean, sanitize, and rinse all containers prior to use.
  • Do not use containers previously used to store non-food products.
  • Store water in multiple sizes of containers to suit different emergency needs
  • Do not store water containers directly on concrete. Place on cardboard, wood pallets, or other materials.
  • Non-chlorinated water (most municipal water is chlorinated) should be treated with unscented liquid household chlorine bleach (5 to 6% sodium hypochlorite). See the chart below for appropriate amount to add to water.
  • Boiling is the safest way to clean water, however you can also use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms.
  • Rotate your water storage at least once every year
  • Alternate water sources include: Hot water heater tank, toilet tanks, water pipes, ice in freezer, canned foods, rivers, streams, ponds and lakes, melted snow and ice, rain water, etc.

Diagrams/Charts

More Information

Helpful Products

Boxed Water Kits: 5 gallon mylar pouches that store inside cardboard boxes. Stackable up to three high. Only need to rotate every 5 years.
WaterBricks: 3.5 gallon capacity bricks that can stack. Durable plastic that can store inside or outside. Great for storing in small spaces like closets or under beds.
Berkey Water Purifiers: High quality filters that both purify and filter water. Useful for emergency water storage as well as every day drinking water.

 

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  • Ann

    Can I clean with vinegar instead of bleach?

  • bonnie

    After reading through all the comments, I have a few questions. We use vinegar from Sam’s Club instead of fabric softener, in the dishwasher and for cleaning, so I can get a few empties a year. These bottles are heavier plastic than milk jugs, but are the cloudy white color. They are #2 plastic. Does anyone have experience with these particular bottles to know if they would be good for water storage?
    Also, we have a 15 gal barrel. It was used for Dr. Pepper syrup. I am assuming that since you can use litter bottles, there would not be an issue with this leaching into the plastic, like the milk jugs?
    Also (again), we live in Arizona, so I am concerned about the summer heat, rather than water freezing. Am I able to store water in the garage, or would the heat shorten the shelf life of stored water?
    Thank you

  • Grimm

    A good starting point for water storage is the 5-6 gallon jugs sold at Wal-mart near the sporting goods. They are roughly $5-10 each and are made for water storage. They are colored plastic so you don’t have to worry about light. Be aware they do sell red, yellow and blue jugs of this size in the automotive sections for the same price… STEER CLEAR OF THESE. These are meant for fuel and are not safe for your water storage.

  • Robin

    Two questions. Why do I have to put my 55 gallon drum on a platform and can’t just leave it on the cement on the floor of my garage? I filled mine 10 years ago, and just this summer emptied it out, it seemed to do fine there. I plan to refill it and leave it there. Second question: Why can’t I just fill containers with plain water, and then if we end up needing it, add bleach at that time if it seems contaminated instead of doing it now?

    • There are chemicals in concrete that can leach through the plastic into your water making it unsafe to drink. That is why it’s recommended to put it on something. You could definitely purify or “bleach” the water when you use it. It’s nice to put it in before you store it to keep bacteria or algae from growing in it allowing you to have a quick, clean water source. If you plan to purify upon use, remember that bleach evaporates out over time so your bleach in your storage may not be effective for purification if it’s been stored for a while. Hope that helps!

  • Anonymous

    Do not forget your hot water heater.  40 gallons or better.

    • Grimm

      And fish tanks if you remove the fish asap!

      • bonnie

        I guess that is one reason to tolerate our 125 gal and 110 gal fish tanks in the living room 🙂

    • Christine

      Getting safe, clean water from your hot water heater can be tricky. Be sure to do some research ahead of time and print out information on how to do it if you ever need to.

  • Cvgal2000

    How much water per day should I store for a 1 1/2 year old?

    • For food it is usually 1/2 the amount for an adult. I’d probably still store a gallon per day for a young child. You can never have too much water!

  • Tspenc2011

    I have water stored in water approved jugs that have been sitting for over a year.  Nothing has been in them but water.  I need to change the water.  My question is…..do I need to resterilize the jugs before putting in the new water?

    • I would probably rinse them with a little bit of bleach water, just to be safe.

  • D D

    There is water preserver out there for 55 gallon drums and will keep water for 5 years. 

    • Grimm

      It is bleach in an eye dropper bottle. I have used it and it reaks of bleach once mixed with water.

  • Easyonion

    I have a question.I have read not to store water in jugs(water, milk). What about the 16 oz and 20 oz bottles of water that you can buy. How long are they good for?

    • They will usually have an expiration date on them that will let you know how long you can depend on the plastic being good for.

  • CouponCook

    Question. We live right next to a lake. Ok so 5 wooded acres or so separates us from the lake. Our water table is so high that we can’t have an in-ground pool. We do have an option for well water, my folks changed it to city water years ago. We are considering 2 things. Getting a water filtration system like a Berkey. And converting the unused pump back for household use. I’ve seen systems where you can add a hand pump to your household pump and use it manually as needed. Considering both of these options. We probably won’t be storing so much water.   Any thoughts or opinions on these options?

    • If you have easy access to a good water source then it’s definitely a great solution to just have a good water purifier stored with extra filters. I would still store several smaller water containers with good drinkable water for shorter term emergencies and for if you have to grab and go somewhere far away. Good luck with your prepping!

  • emorra

    Please be sure that any container you use to store water (or food) is actually FOOD SAFE. 

    When plastics are molded at the factory the molds are sprayed with a “mold release” agent, and residue from the “mold-release” agents remains on/can be impregnated in the plastic. 

    Different agents are used for food safe plastic items vs. non-food-safe plastic items (no need to use a more expensive food-safe chemical to release a garbage can from the mold vs. kitchen “Tupperware” type plastic.

    Stainless steel and glass are totally inert when it comes to food and water storage, although both are heavier, can be more expensive, and aren’t always practical.  Please use common sense and keep your family safe 🙂

  • Molly

    What do you recommend getting to start storing water?

  • Molly

    We buy gallon jugs of water for our daughters formula, are those ok to reuse for tap water for emergencies?

    • Those types of jugs leak very easily. I’ve seen it a number of times. Not fun 🙁

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  • Kellie

    Milk jugs have plastic that breaks down quickly, and will not be suitable for long-term storage. 

    You can find 5 or 6 gallon water jugs at almost every grocery store. They are food safe and are made for the express purpose of storing water.

  • Dillon

    Why no milk jugs?? and where do i find food grade storage things to keep water in??

    • Kellie

      Milk jugs have plastic that breaks down quickly, and will not be suitable for long-term storage. 
      You can find 5 or 6 gallon water jugs at almost every grocery store. They are food safe and are made for the express purpose of storing water.

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  • barb23

    My family likes the tea you buy in the gallon jugs. The tea is more expensive this way but they jug are fantastic to keep and use for water storage.

    • Ron

      Yea but… it’s the same container as a Milk jug and will break down over time.

      • Grimm

        Not unless it the type used for Langers orange juice. It is a heavier plastic. The only draw back is it is clear.

  • Lhoovini

    i’m wondering if you can store water in glass containers.  we don’t drink a lot of soda, so i don’t have 2liter bottles.  i do have glass juice bottles, wine bottles (screw top), and the like.  i also have boughten small water bottles for “bug out”, but for home use, i’m hoping the glass jugs will be fine. (we dont live in earthquake territory) 

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  • I’ve read quite a few comments that mention stale taste of water…one solution is to just take a wire whip and whip air back into it….it’s not so much ‘stale’ but flat tasting…that should help…I also have 2 chest feezers in which I keep about a 1/4 of the space filled with 3/4 filled soda bottles of water…this will help keeping the temp cold for a longer period of time, if the power should go out…not having the means of getting a generator, I figure that will then give me enough time to process the frozen food without loosing too much of it.

  • Sarah_t

    Reality check– nothing plastic is a safe way to store drinking water.  Plastic leaches chemicals.  Water stored in plastic for any length of time is only good for washing, etc.  That’s why bottled water has an “expiration” date….the water doesn’t go bad, the container does.

  • Sarah_t

    Reality check– nothing plastic is a safe way to store drinking water.  Plastic leaches chemicals.  Water stored in plastic for any length of time is only good for washing, etc.  That’s why bottled water has an “expiration” date….the water doesn’t go bad, the container does.

  • Tonypinocchio

    They say to change water in containers every 6 months what do you do if you can’t change the water can you drink what’s left I have 4 55 gal containers food grade if i cant change them how can I drink the remaining water

    • You would want to make sure to purify the water when you end up drinking it, just to be safe. You can do this by boiling it or by using a purifier or purification tablets. Hope that helps!

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  • Mary Ann

    I live in a the country and we have well water, because sometimes the water is discolored we use bottled water for everything expect bathing. I want to buy a 55 gallon drum but not sure what method to fill it . I see my self filling the drum with 5 gallon water bottles. Not sure if you pour it in the drum since I can’t use a hose. Any ideas!

    • There should be a hole on the top that you could pour from your 5 gallon containers into the barrel. If you are worried about spilling maybe a large funnel would be helpful? good luck!

    • There should be a hole on the top that you could pour from your 5 gallon containers into the barrel. If you are worried about spilling maybe a large funnel would be helpful? good luck!

    • Tracey

      I would HIGHLY suggest that you have your water tested by your county to know exactly what you’re dealing with (probably just high mineral content, likely iron) and then invest in a water purification/filtration system.  A system that uses UV light isn’t horribly expensive, and would sure be a lot cheaper than buying all your water commercially!!!!  Even if you just purchased or made a smaller-quantity filtration system for your storage needs, it would be SO worth it.  Check out backwoods home magazine (they have a website with lots of articles on blogs online, plus you can order anthologies of back issues, subscribe, etc.).  I specifically remember a couple of years ago they did a great 3-part series on water filtration systems, both purchased and homemade, and the hows and whys so you could really understand it.  Good luck and keep up the good work!

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  • Janelle Smith

    Hi,
    We were given a 55 gallon drum, but I have no clue what was stored in it before–it’d be a shame to not use it, but I’m guessing from other posts that we should just use it for showering and cleaning and maybe cooking (is cooking safe..?).  So is that the 1/2 cup bleach to half barrel recipe that we should use?  And what are the recommendations on amounts of bleach to water if we’re planning on getting and using one for drinking water..?

    • for regular water it’s 1/2 tsp. per 5 gallons of water. So for a 55 gallon barrel you would need to add 5 1/2 tsps of bleach. Hope that helps!

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  • bluebird

    I have city water that is chlorinated but then run that water through a reverse osmosis and carbon filter before I drink it which removes the chlorine.  Can I use this purer water to store or will I need to add bleach? Thanks for your help.

    • If you have removed the chlorine I would either add bleach back in to avoid bacteria getting in during storage, or I would just make sure to purify it again when you use it in an emergency.

  • Any ideas on how to keep water barrels from freezing?

  • Marguerite McKell

    For my 55 gallon water drum, I am storing one in the garage elevated off the concrete, but I’m going to have the other one downstairs in my basement in an accessible closet.  Since the water drum in my basement is on carpet I won’t need to elevate off the floor.  I’m afraid when I fill it in its new place or take water out of it in the future, I will probably spill and get my carpet wet.  Any ideas on what might be best to put under my water drum to keep my carpet dry?  I was thinking about a plastic drip tray like I would put under a washing machine?  Is that a great idea or is there a better one?

    • I think that sounds like a great idea!

    • It’s a little water who cares. If you are ever using it in a survival situation, it will be the last thing on your mind as well. I would be more worried about leaving a permanent round impression in the carpet/pad.

  • Orpainthorses

    I was wondering if the 1 gal per day per person also includes water for cooking, mixing your powdered milk, etc… or if it is JUST for drinking.

  • Harmonylds

    How would I go about finding out whether our city water is indeed chlorinated? We are a major metropolitan area, don’t know if that makes a difference. And I’m assuming we fill our 55 gallon barrel with a hose? Can you tell I know nothing about this? :o)

    • Most municipal city water is chlorinated. You could probably call your water company to ask, just to be sure. You can fill the 55 gallon barrel with a hose, but it is recommended to use a special food safe hose you can get at a hardware store.

  • Ross1948

    After reading all 52 comments, I would like to offer my comment. My wife and I collecter free Purex bottels from our local hospital and used them for water storage for many years. However, after several years they began to leak. We had to empty over 80 bottles. Then we discovered glass bottles that had contained juices. These I rinced out and refilled them with hot water and put the lid on as tight as I could get them. Problem solved. Reciently, we have heard enough of what is going on in our country, so we started over with our process. We now have a 55 gallon water container with a pump. We bought the barrel from EmergencyEssentials.com. they are especially for water storage. This is a great place for purchasing items for emergencies. Check it out.

  • Derry

    Am I not suppose to use chlorinated water at all or is it that I should not treat chlorinated water? I have town water and have purchased a 55gl drum for storage -do I now have to purchase water to fill the drum?? confused

  • Derry

    Am I not suppose to use chlorinated water at all or is it that I should not treat chlorinated water? I have town water and have purchased a 55gl drum for storage -do I now have to purchase water to fill the drum?? confused

  • Meg

    What about buying the gallon jugs of distilled water? Is that acceptable?

  • Meg

    What about buying the gallon jugs of distilled water? Is that acceptable?

    • mallory

      Distilled water is not suitable drinking water. 

      • ndie3611

        Why not?

  • Jenlasater

    Hi! I accidently doubled my chlorine amount when I filled up my 55 gallon jugs!! Is this ok, or do I need to empty them and re-fill??

    • I would be hesitant to drink it with too much chlorine in it.

    • crunchem

      leave the contianers open for several days and the bleach will evaporate out

  • Tammy

    This is how we store water. Boil it, fill canning jars, seal and boil jars for 15 minutes.
    We don’t add anything, 1 year later water is still good. However, I have 100s of canning jars given to me by lots of people, so it only costs me the lid and the space. For easier storage go to the produce department and ask them to save you crates. Jars fit real nice in them.

  • Tracey

    My mom has always stored water in her empty Clorox jugs. She says the tiny amount of bleach left in the jug is perfectly sufficient to protect the water, but not so much to worry about, plus they’re not clear plastic. Anyone have any thoughts on this? We aren’t in a position to spend money on containers of any kind. THANKS!

    • If the plastic is considered food grade I’m not sure it would be a problem.
      I haven’t heard one way or another from any official sources though. It
      seems like it would make me a little worried, but if you rinsed it out quite
      well it isn’t any more bleach then you would put in to purify anyway.
      Interesting thought! Also, you may wish to ask neighbors or family or
      friends for their old juice or soda bottles. Those make for GREAT storage
      containers!

      • cct

        I read that bleach bottles are treated with antistatic chemicals and therefore don’t make it the preferable choice for drinking water bottles. Liked the idea of placing next to the toilet for nonpotable water needs.

    • Mccrjk

      Bleach containers are made of PVC, which leaches into the water and makes it not fit to drink. However, I fill plastic bleach containers with water (no need to rinse) and store in the back of the cupboard next to the toilet. The water can be used to flush and to wash; but not to drink. Penny McCready

      • Grimm

        Good idea! I’ll start this when we empty our current jug.

  • aliclay

    Does my pool water count as storage? It does have anti algae & chlorine in it. It’s cleaner than river water, but the chemicals….? I’m just not sure. I don’t have a problem boiling it for use.

    • I am assuming you can because my home water system can run on chlorine (Yellow jugs) . But maybe you would have to filter/boil it.

    • Kayci

      I have heard (although laws are different everywhere) that in the event of an actual disaster, your pool water could be claimed by the city/town/state.

      • Anonymous

        It might not be healthy for anyone to try to take it from me.

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  • ED56

    Is it safe to fill 55 gallon food drums with a rubber hose???

    • I have heard that you need to put a special spout on the end of your hose or
      use a special hose, or the water could get contaminated from what’s on the
      outside of your house nozzle. I don’t have a 55 gallon drum so I haven’t
      researched this fully yet. I also think if you used bleach to sterilize the
      water in the barrel it would be fine from the hose.

    • naturalMom

      Most hoses have lead in them.
      You need to use a designated “lead free” hose, safe for drinking water.
      The hose itself is blue and has clear signage that it’s lead free and for drinking water.
      Walmart carries them. 25 foot hose is about $10-$15.
      I bought two of these and connected them together just for water play with the kids and for watering my garden. I did not want trace elements of lead on my kids or in my garden!

      • Homemaid

        What about the white RV water hose ??

  • Rebecca

    This may seem like a stupid question and perhaps after a long day at work I’m just not thinking straight – but how would one sterilize a 2 liter soda bottle? Also – is it safe to store them on their sides? we’re a family of 4 plus a cat so we’re looking at about 125 2 liter bottles and storing them standing up will take alot of space.

    • Chrisandcathyd

      Hi Rebecca,
      We also use 2 liter bottles. We solved this problem by going to the grocery store and asking if we could take the plastic trays that the 2 liters are delivered in. They are perfect because they stack on top of each other and hold (8) 2 liters per tray. You would need about 16 of these plastic trays to store your water. Also the best way to sanitize your 2 liter bottles is to fill up your clean bath tub half way up with hot water. Add 1 cup of bleach. Fill each bottle up with water from the bathtub and let them sit for about 15 minutes. Drain your tub, empty the bottles and give a brief cold water rinse. Please don’t forget to sanitize the lids also. Fill your bottles with clean water, tighten the lids and stack them up. Oh, and I forgot to tell you to rinse off the trays before you add the bottles to them. They do get very dirty. Hope that helps you!

      • I wouldn’t drink anything that’s been in my tub! What I do is scrub my kitchen sink and then bleach it, and rinse. Then I fill the sink with hot soapy water with some bleach in it.
        I soak my reclaimed containers and their lids in that for a few minutes, turning occasionally so all surfaces are bleached. Then I rinse out the containers and dump the rinse water in the second sink. Finally, I fill the containers with cold water and put the lids on immediately. If the jugs are going into the freezer I leave space for ice expansion. With this procedure, not even the outside of the containers are exposed to any potentially unsanitary surface.

        I can soak 3 Newman’s Own Concord Grape Juice jugs in my sink at a time, so I generally save up jugs in a multiple of 3 (3, 6, 9, etc.) and then do this process. Before bleaching the jugs and filling them with water, I let them soak in a sink full of hot water for five minutes to loosen the labels and then use a clean cloth to scrub off any glue residue.

        Each summer I empty the jugs into the garden and wash and bleach them again before refilling them. This way the water I have saved is not wasted and I get fresh water for my storage. The only thing I don’t have to do is remove labels.

  • Auntbranna

    Can I store the 55 gallon barrells in my garage? I live in a duplex with no basement and have crammed all my closets with FOOD….where can I store my water safely!?? Help!

    • I think in your garage against the wall nearest your house would
      probably be ok. I would maybe just double check that it wasn’t
      freezing. I think it could crack your container if it froze. But
      maybe if you just left it not quite all the way full that wouldn’t
      even be an issue. I know that if you use the mylar bags to store
      water they are ok if they get frozen. Hope that helps a little.

    • I think in your garage against the wall nearest your house would
      probably be ok. I would maybe just double check that it wasn’t
      freezing. I think it could crack your container if it froze. But
      maybe if you just left it not quite all the way full that wouldn’t
      even be an issue. I know that if you use the mylar bags to store
      water they are ok if they get frozen. Hope that helps a little.

      • Lbdjunkmail

        Make sure you put your barrel up on a platform (not on the cement floor) and leave about 5-6″ of space at the top (for expansion if it does freeze).

  • Tamara

    I have 55 gallon drums, how do I get them clean enough to store water in?

    • I would probably just clean them out with bleach water and let sit
      outside in the sun for a day or two.

    • I would probably just clean them out with bleach water and let sit
      outside in the sun for a day or two.

      • Mable C.

        If you’re using these for storing drinking water, you need to 1). make sure they’re food grade and 2). make sure you know exactly what was stored in them before (if they’re not new). Example; if they were used to store milk or fruit juice, you can’t use them for storing drinking water because you can’t get them clean enough — the fat from the milk/acid from the juice leaches into the plastic and, eventually, molds (per FEMA). If you’re using them just for water (showering, toilet flushing, etc.), 1/2 cup bleach to 1/2 barrel of water, making sure the solution touches all areas, including the lid, should do it. Remember to rinse well (at least twice).

      • Jen

        I have a 30 gallon jug and am wondering how much bleach you would use with the water to clean the container before storing water in it?

    • I would probably just clean them out with bleach water and let sit
      outside in the sun for a day or two.

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  • KittenBites

    I’ve been struggling with the water storage thing a lot for many reasons, not the least of which is my Dad who routinely complicates everything so badly that nothing gets done >..<) and a complete gravitational defiance system so he never has to sit but can simply float within said sphere through any crisis.
    Just please, don't burst his bubble.

    • CrazyinIndiana

      Your dad and my dad must be long lost brothers! 🙂

    • Grimm

      I have used the product to start my water storage and I have to tell you… IT IS BLEACH! You can smell it once the water mixes with it. And yes, I did use it as directed.

  • Melody

    You mentioned not putting your water storage on concrete. Is this raw concrete, like a garage floor? Would it be ok to store water on ceramic tile laid over a cement foundation. I live in Texas and all our homes are built on concrete slabs.

    • Ceramic tile would be fine to store on. It’s just raw concrete like a
      basement floor that is a problem.

      • Ann

        Why is raw concrete a problem?

        • The concrete has chemicals in it that can leach into plastic that is
          stored directly on it. That can then get into the water you are
          storing in the plastic. Better to just put a layer of protection
          there. I use something as simple as a sheet of cardboard laid down
          underneath.

          • Kris

            I’ve just been doing some reading on this subject, and I’m confused. It’s not okay to store water in a container sitting on concrete, yet, there are water storage tanks made out of concrete. What’s the difference?

          • Maybe it is different chemicals used in the concrete water storage tanks. I
            know I have read in numerous places that chemicals in the concrete of a
            basement floor can leach through the plastic or your water storage jugs. I
            figure it’s better to be safe and it’s pretty easy to just set down some
            cardboard or something underneath the containers.

  • Melody

    You mentioned not putting your water storage on concrete. Is this raw concrete, like a garage floor? Would it be ok to store water on ceramic tile laid over a cement foundation. I live in Texas and all our homes are built on concrete slabs.

  • panhandlegal

    My question is about freezing. We will have to store in a building that is not heated. Is there any other concern apart from leaving enough room for expansion?

  • Anonymous

    Clorox really scares me. It is terribly dangerous even though it kills germs for sure.

  • Anonymous

    I bought two kinds of purification items from an Emergency website. One is drops one is tablets. There shelf life is VERY short! I called to complain, since this is supposed to be for Long Term Storage. The fellow was nice but said that is as long as they last (a few months only). So I will have to re-order them again. Maybe I will try a different site?

  • Leslie

    Could someone please help me to understand something. If you have treated the water and have it stored in a place that it is not in sun light (growing algae, ect…) and in sterilized food grade containers,then why do we need to rotate it?

    • It’s my understanding that it is mainly for flavor and also because whatever you used to treat it over time will not be good any more. For example the bleach used will dissipate within a year so then it is no longer “treated” water. I would guess that most water can last much longer than a year under good conditions but it’s better to be safe.

      • Sweet Dreams

        If you are using plastic soda bottles, when you rotate would you toss the bottle out too?  Or could the bottle be refilled?  

        • Enchantedmoments95

          Would love an answer to this also
          Thanks

          • Depends on if the bottle is food grade. Milk jug bottles for example disintegrate. I’ve found that a lot of water bottles bottle become brittle also. The soda bottles tend to hang up better, you just have to make sure to clean them very well.

    • Lewfam2003

      i read some where and i forget where… after about a year you will start to get a plastic taste and after about two it is horrible, i don’t know how bad it is other wise. if stored in glass you don’t get the plastic taste but the guy described it as stale after the 2 year mark…. i would just date and rotate it to the garden

  • Debbie

    We have purchased cases of bottled water from Costco…how long does that last? Do we need to ratate that out every year?

  • Hampal

    Hi I have a few questions after reading this section on water storage. First, If i buy bottled gallon water and the expiration date on the bottle comes, can I still use it safely afterward for drinking and add the 16 drops of bleach when opened? Also, if I begin storing water from the tap in soda bottles should I add the 16 drops of bleach when I fill the bottle or when I am about to use or neither? Thanks. Mary Ellen

    • Chrisandcathyd

      Hi Mary Ellen,
      I can only tell you what we did. We use 2 liter bottles and fill with tap water. We then add 4 drops of bleach to the bottles and seal them. If we need to use them for an emergency, you simply open them and let it sit for an hour. The bleach with have dissapated and the water can be used.
      Cathy

  • Makrsk

    We just got our Berkey water purification system and are so thrilled with it. I am drinking that water only. Filtering the stuff coming out of my home water. I am very picky about my water and am totally sold on it!!! Nothing better for the price in all the years we have had water filtering systems.

  • Misty B

    Can someone please just confirm that Im “getting”it…lol. So, I can store water in my empty soda 2 liters? I need to clean and sterilize them, right? Then once I fill them with water I can just screw on the lid and that keeps it “safe”? Do I need to add the bleach like the chart shows BEFORE I put water in the 2 liter or do I only add bleach IF an emergency arises and I have to use that water in the bottle? And lastly, how long is that water good once I put it in the 2 liter? Im sorry to be so dense I just want to do it correctly. Thanks!

    • Fiona

      Misty, if you aren’t on city water, I think you would need to chlorinate the water as you put it in the bottles. The water should be good for a long time, but it will taste “flat”, so what you’re going to want to do is to pour out a glass (when ready to drink it), pour it into another glass, and do that back and forth a few times to reoxygenate the water.

      • Misty B

        I would have never have thought of the reoxygenating…thanks!

    • If you have chlorinated water already you don’t need to add the bleach
      before storing. Yes I would clean the bottles out very well before
      storing. And just screwing on the lid is fine. I would swap out your
      water every year at least. Some people prefer every 6 months. But
      the aeration trick really can help if you haven’t swapped them out for
      a while. Hope that helps!

      • Misty B

        Thanks for the help! 🙂

  • Sherryjayne8

    I’m a little confused……it says you can use soda bottles to store water……but it also says, “Do not use containers previously used to store non-food products”. Wouldn’t soda containers be considered “previously used”? Also, the water I have stored now is in plastic gallon containers (kind of like the plastic gallon milk containers). Is that ok? How long will they store like that for? Plus, we don’t drink soda, so I’d have to buy soda and empy it just to put the water in there? Help! Thanks, Sherry

    • It says don’t use contains that used to store NON-FOOD items. So don’t store drinking water in a laundry soap container for example. I believe the gallon plastic water containers are stronger plastic than the milk jugs so they would be ok. You would rotate that water once a year. I wouldn’t buy soda and empty the bottles. You can purchase water jugs that would be more cost effective and less wasteful.

      • Happy Little London

        – Hiya, can I just add that you should only use the strong, clear plastic bottles. I used to have a black plastic re-used Tango bottle that I would carry with me, and It began to taste/smell funny after a while and my Dad told me that it was the wrong kind of plastic to be reused. There are numbers in triangles that relate to this sort of thing on the bottom of most bottles, you can search for their relation to storage quality on the web x

        • Victoria

          I noitced that no one ever answered the question about the cases of bottled water.  If you buy those, how long can you store them?  That is obviously the easiest solution if you can get it on sale at an economical price?

          • They say to rotate water about every 6 months. I have a few cases of water I just rotate through constantly. When one runs out, I buy a new one and put it on the bottom.

    • Johnna

      We don’t drink soda pop either. I got all my 2 liter soda pop bottles from other church members and from my husband’s coworkers. We asked the others to save the bottles and caps for us and they were very happy to help out. You can also use juice bottles. Juice bottles are actually a more heavy duty plastic. You really don’t have to spend unnecessary money to get you water and food storage under way.

    • llittlecabin

      Hi Sherry,
      I’m new to the site. I was reading your post about milk containers and from personal experience I would not use them. I used them several years ago and they ended up leaking all over my floor. The plastic in milk containers is made to break down. Hope this helps.

      • Sherry, my grandma had the same thing happen in her basement! We actually tell people NOT to use milk jugs as well. We recommend pop or juice bottles as they are made of stronger plastic. Thanks for sharing!

    • Rebecca

      Sherry, if you have someone you know who drinks soda from the 2 liter containers, just ask them to save them for you.  Also, when I lived in Washington State, I went to a class taught by a woman who is on the Washington State emergency team.  She said that if you fill the containers all the way up to the top until there is a “bubble of water” and no room for air, (also no bubbles of air in the water), it can store for much longer than a year.  She had a bottle she tests every year.  After 3 years, it still had no contaminates in it.  Just never use any jugs that are anything like milk jugs.  And she also said that the clohrine jugs have residue in them that you don’t want to drink.  They can also leak after awhile.  

  • greenmind

    @Joe&Kathee

    Kathee you´re right. However, there more options to use or reuse water, Joe. You can use the water that has been in the sink for watering your plants. Or you can use devices that save water.Look at http://www.aguaflux.com/ for example (there many sites more). These are installations that will help to save water. But in general, we should change our view on water and be aware of the fact that it is a rare good.

  • Mrbutler21

    I would recommend filling it after it is in the basement where you won’t want to move it for awhile, the water at about 8 lbs per gallon would weigh about 440 lbs. the screw opening likely need a bung wrench to remove them.

  • I never knew that about bleach breaking down. Interesting.

  • I have an important question. I have a 100 gallon water jug meant for storing water. It has been sitting empty in my garage for a couple of years on the concrete floor. I didn’t know that you can’t store water jugs on concrete. I have never put water in it but wants to get serious with food storage now. Is the water jug not usable anymore? What do I do?

  • How heavy is a 55 gallon drum filled with water? I just bought one at Macey’s and I’m clueless. Do I fill it first and then somehow lug it down to the basement storage room? It came with two small white circular screw type openings in the top and I don’t even know how to open those…Could anyone give me a clue about how to use this thing?

  • So is oxygen bleach an ok replacement for chlorine bleach?

  • Cmorgantx

    Check into mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. These will kill any pest and GREATLY lengthen the storage time. They're available online (check Amazon.com) and there are some great videos online explaining how to do this. It has been widely proven that the bay leaf prevention for bugs does not work.
    This is what I'm doing.

  • sm

    I have switched from using liquid bleach to calium chloride granules which purifies swimming pool water. Mix it with water to liquifly a bit of it (strong solution) then add to main amount of water. The chlorine does not lose its potency as you are keeping it dry

  • Paola

    It was a local bottling co in Houston TX, but they're not doing it anymore. THey had given it to me for free. My neighbor had a good pressure wash that I used to clean them out. THey have a tinge of that 'CocaCola Classic' flavor…but I don't care. It's clean and free. We have lots of different flavored TANG anyhow…and in a crisis we can flavor our water a bit to make it easier to drink! Either way it's clean, it's safe, and it's liquid! 🙂

  • Ldsladydi

    Hooking your hose up to a power wash or car wash attachment should work. In the past I took some to the real car wash, but many of them now use recycled water, which is not potable water so you wouldn't want to use that and introduce bacteria to your water storage. Where did you find this, and what did they charge for the drum? Thanks!

  • Milk jugs will actually corrode over time and start to crack and leak. However, juice or pop bottles will work just fine for drinking water. Just make sure to rinse them out well first!

  • mrspear

    I am new at this, and wonder if the water i store in cleaned out milk jugs with a bit of bleach is good for drinking too, or just good for sanitation purposes?

    I have just been buying a case of water each visit to Costco for drinking water.

  • Andrea G.

    The beans will store dry in for 5-10 years, but you should be slowly eating them over that time in order to keep your stock rotating and to get used to eating from your pantry. Brown rice stores dry for six months, white rice for a year. After that, the natural oils in the rice will start to go rancid.

    Rice and beans are perfect examples of low-acid foods that should not be canned without a pressure canner (which is different from a pressure cooker, being able to reach higher internal pressures).

  • tamerasergent

    Baby wipes are a great item to have for each member of the family. It's amazing how well you can clean up. My husband and I use these when we go camping.

  • tamerasergent

    Baby wipes are a great item to have for each member of the family. It's amazing how well you can clean up. My husband and I use these when we go camping.

  • Barb

    I just broke down and bought a Big Berkley water filter system-stainless steel. It gives 7 gallons of water an hour, they have many sizes. They also last for 3/4 years and comes with a free replacement kit and other options. You can use rainwater etc and works perfectly in emergency situations. I have a pool for storage and found a running stream near my house. I also store water etc. This does give me peace of mind…

  • ChilenaSUD

    Hello…
    I am from Chile, Sudamérica. A friend of mine gave me this link to this blog and I think it is a great help. We just had a huge earthquake (about 3 weeks ago) and as RS President I am very interested in learning new ways of storage and preparation for emergency situations. We are working hard in prepared the sisters for every and each situation. We know as chileans people that our country is a seism country and we probably will continue having more aftershocks for at least one more year. We have to be prepared for whatever the Lord wants us to be prepared and the best way is starting sharing this information to everybody. So thanks you for sharing this. I´ll traslate some of this info to give my sisters over here, because most of them don´t know english.
    keep going!

  • PaolaBrown

    I called the local bottling company and I should be able to get a 50 gallon jug used to transport soda syrups. Any ideas on how to clean them out? They will come sticky with syrup residue…

  • Name

    Hi… you should send your tank water to a lab and ask them to tell you what that brown stuff is…could even be an algae.. brita or pur are not purifiers they are simply filters of flavour taking chlorine taste out with the charcoal bits …they don't affect the purity which is what we all want.It's the little 'bugs'and viruses we need to worry about. Purifiers like berkey, aquarain, with ceramic and silver impregnated tubes are what you want They are not cheap but you can drink from a mud puddle. They use them in 3rd world countries

  • Physixnut

    A good source of water storage is 50 gallon jugs used to transport soda syrups. Each container can only be used once commercially and are high quality food grade plastic. Just clean them out, put them somewhere out of the way and fill them with water and chlorine. Salvage yards will sell them from $10 to $20. If you put some plywood over the top, they can serve as partial shelving units as well.

  • Name

    and burn!!!! your mouth while yo're at it!!!! like I did !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Barb

    I think storing water is great…I even ordered the mylar system from BePrepared, great customer service! I am now considering buying another gravity system, larger than the one I got before. This filter system lasts for 12 years, because sooner or later we will run out of stored water unless in a large tank system(my ultimate water dream). The systems run from $42-provident living today to $1000s. Even a large family could get one for $450…Im storing food slowly but surely. But I keep thinking the water if going to be our most precious item. Keep Storing!

  • banutot

    Thank you for this.. I wanted to start emergency kits and food storage for a while now, and I am quite overwhelmed and don't know where and how to start. Thank you for this site and the step by step instructions.

    I just bought a sack of rice & pinto beans, now I have no clue on how to store it properly so it will last me 30+ years?? Thanks

  • missjacki

    We should really all discard the bleach idea for purifying water. Liquid bleach is not shelf stable. It slowly degrades, after 6 months to 1 year there will be almost no available chlorine in your liquid bleach bottles.

    Instead, store dry water purification granules that can be purchase from pool and spa suppliers. I have a 5 lb jug of calcium hypochlorite granules. This is enough to treat 50,000 gallons of water and if stored in a cool, dry place keeps indefinitely. I never have to worry about having available chlorine again, and also takes up a lot less space. It is about the height of a large bleach bottle and about 1/3 the width.

    It only cost $19.95 from the local pool/spa store for 5lbs. Each pound should treat 10,00 gallons of water.

  • You can use juice containers, buy bottled water, or look for camping jugs. There are also some great sources online for different water storage options. Check out http://beprepared.com. Also, if you have chlorinated water you don't need to purify it first. If not, then follow our directions here and add some bleach to the water before storing.

  • jessiemotherof4

    Hi I am new to all of this and like Jodi's mother it is overwhelming! Okay I understand the water issue but where do I get the containers to store my water and should I purify the water before I store it?

  • janet_bosley

    That is cool. Guess I wouldnt need it in AZ. we havnt had a Hurrican type storm for a while:)

  • Barb

    The idea behind BOB is for when you know a storm is coming, I live in Fl. you fill it,it stays in bathtub. And it is only for one time use. But it does hold 100 gallons of water and could be used in addition to other water storage methods.

  • janet_bosley

    If these are the jugs I bought from Wlamrt at on time, they will hold up they just don't hold their shape. I have to agree with another post I saw, I gal a day is just not sufficient. I know we are spoiled and there may a time for some of us that we have to give up some luxories but being somewhat clean and having sanitary eating ability is crucial.

  • janet_bosley

    So at what point would you fill it? I guess I am slow as it seems if you needed emergency water and you didnt fill it till you needed it your water could possibly already be contaminated. If it is a bath tub bladder I don't suppose you would leave it in the tub all the time.
    We use the blue 55 Gal drums and we have a tank in our travel trialer(80 gal)and a 50 gal hot water heater plus numerous smaller easy to grab and take containers. Rotation is a chore but worth it.

  • annastasia76

    we have a 5000 gallon water tank on the property that is there for fire protection purposes (we also plan on using it for emergency water). It is a steel water tank and we do try to rotate the water in it by watering our plants with it, just to keep it clean but it does get some brownish stuff on the top that looks like rust even though the company we got the tank from claim is not rust. The company we got the tank from claims that the water is drinkable but I think I need to have a good non electric powered water filter to keep in my food storage for just in case. are britta or pur filter pitchers good for something like this. It does not mention rust on the boxes.

  • Barb

    We needed water for my mother in law. It was so convenient having a good water storage to have at home. This also goes for other supplies, its so nice not to have to go to the store and shop at home.

  • Roger Weathersby

    Good basics.

    For short term water needs and vehicles, there are a couple commercial prepacked water solutions out there. I hate spending a lot on what is basically plentiful out of the tap, however in the case of these, you are paying for packaging that isnt designed to break down within a couple years. Shelf life of most of these runs 5 years and can generally withstand more environmental abuse (-40 to 210 deg F) than most other containment. Convenient 4oz packaging for the type i use, coast guard approved.

    On the subject of how much water is needed, the body generally needs one gallon per day to function. Depending on what you are eating, a good half of that is taken in with your food. If you are sticking to just dry foods and such, then obviously you arent getting much from that source, so you'll need to consider the full 1 gal.

    As far as cleaning purposes, if you need a lot of water to clean in an emergency you might want to consider what it is you are using to survive on. Meals that take a lot of preparation and cleanup probably should be reconsidered. Look to prepackaged camping food, emergency rations, MRE's, or even precooked canned foods.

    I should also add a helpful but strange tip. Dont use toilet cleaning tabs in your toilet tank… that's another source of emergency water! Not pleasant in the minds of many, but it's far cleaner than many alternatives.

    I like the BOB bag idea, great stuff there.

    On using 1-2 liter bottles, good stuff to get you started, make sure you label your bottles and rotate regularly. Once you get things well rounded out, start looking to a longer term water container. Worth the money if you consider the effort of collecting, prepping, and maintaining that many small bottles.

    On filtration, be aware that filters can't do much with viruses (back to high school biology, viruses are very small compared to bacteria and such) so make sure you consider your long term supply you plan on filtering, and supply accordingly. This site is wise in suggesting keeping bleach around, that should do the trick there.

  • Barb

    You can buy Water B.O.B. on line was $20, it is filled in the bathtub faucet. One style fits in the bathtub, another stands upright in shower, holds 100 gallons. It has a spigoutto retrieve water. It is good for a storm situation.BOB stands for Bathtub Oblong Bladder made by Way Safe Wausau, WI 54403=www.waterbob.com..Hope that helps.

  • Leia

    What's B.O.B.? What does the acronym stand for & where did you get it? Are you suggesting you fill it from the shower head, or why else would you keep it in the bathtub/shower?

  • Leia

    Nice. I have 2 filter bottles & a UV light purifier (a Steripen) along w/ a solar battery charger (in case batteries die while power is still out) in my camping/emergency supplies. When it comes to making sure I will have water to drink, I believe in having backups. Plus, if needed, I can help a few friends. Oh, & if you live in Utah, Harmon's is having a case lot sale from Jan 4-24th (2010), according to banners I saw in their store. I don't know if anyone else is right now, but keep an eye out for case lot sales.

  • Leia

    I've heard if you fill your containers w/ city/tap water, which already contains chlorine (in most cases) that you don't need to add chlorine @ that time. However, chlorine dissipates over time (if you have plants, you'll know that you can dechlorinate your plants' water by leaving water in an open container for abt 24 hrs), so you'll want to add some regular bleach shortly before you use it. Also, some places recommend rotating your water once a yr–using it to water your garden in summertime was the best idea I've heard (rather than just pouring it down the drain). One more thing–you'll want to aerate (get air bubbles into) your water before using it–apparently it'll taste better. You can accomplish that by pouring your water back & forth between 2 containers a few times.

  • With the Bath & Body Works printable coupons it is a new generation in shopping. In days gone by people sat patiently waiting for the coupon supplement in our Sunday papers, or went through countless magazines hoping that there would be one or two coupons they would be able to use. Everyone collected coupons that were handed out in stores. Every woman had a large collection of coupons in her purse but when she wanted to buy a bottle of lotion or needed shampoo, she never had the perfect coupon. The coupon was for a different size or a certain fragrance, naturally not the one you wanted, but it was not for what you needed.

  • Barbara

    If you are not leaving your home, water B.O.B. is a good solution. It holds 100 gallons of water, fits in your bath tub or shower. When I bought it a year ago it was $20. For hurricanes and short term situations it can add to your water storage needs. I keep water bottles and have a gravity system(for long term).

  • Agreed. 3 days is the standard recommendation by government agencies. But we still recommend a 2 week minimum. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • 3 days is not enough, I went through hurricane katrina inland MS, not on the coast. and it was 2 weeks before we had power and everytime we would be in line for water or ice or anything else they would run out. and gas was hard to come by too. So according to my experiance 3 days is hugely underprepared. I will have at least 4 weeks. hopfully more. i would have paid $10.00 for a 10oz glass of water, it was hot!!! LOL

  • Mel

    We had a 3 day 'lights out' where we used food storage food, candles, and shunned all modern things, even running water. I have stored 2 gallons per person per day and found that to be inadequate. This may sound huge, but if you figure 1 gal for drinking and 1 gal for cooking/cleaning it's not much. During our 'lights out' weekend, I alloted each child one sponge bath of 4 cups of water over the three day period. We scrimped to allow that. You don't get very clean in 4 cups of water! I reccommend storing 3 gal per person per day and will be adjusting my supply for this.

  • Toolip12

    One thing I have added to my food storage is a water purifier that you would use when hiking or backpacking, so if I need water that is not ok to drink I can pump it through and have clean water

  • Of course, due to the chemicals used, sources like pool water would be for cleaning, not drinking. That would help stretch your drinkable water.

  • yanamaria13

    I just found your website and it's AMAZING!!!…Thank you for all you do….I have a question that didn't occur to me until reading all the comments. Let's say I store my water in soda bottles or any approved bottle to store it in. I'm using bottled Spring Water from the grocery store and us transfering it. Do I store it and never think about it again until I need it? Or if I use tap water do I still need to clean it with bleach if I'm on city water? And if it is water that requires bleach do I do the bleach one time and forget about it? Do I have to rotate the water or purify it every so often?

  • Melanie

    We are huge seltzer water drinkers. I always buy the 2 liter bottles and then just recycle the bottles. One day it occurred to me why not use the empty bottles for our water storage? So now, every time we finish a bottle I just rinse it out, fill it up with tap water, and add it to our storage. I've already acquired over 25 gal. of water this way and it's practically free since I already had the bottles.

  • Kaytee, I recently came across a product that I think would work well in the car. Check out this link: http://beprepared.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_KW%20S

    Since they are not plastic you wouldn't have the trouble with chemicals leeching. Just make sure not to fill them completely full so they don't explode when they expand.

  • outstanding information! thank you!!!

  • great idea!!!

  • yes. before i had my baby and nursed/pumped and stored my milk in the freezer, my f-i-l actually stored juice bottles of water in th freezer. these would later be used to keep the super sized igloos cold when on an outing.

  • Sarah

    After reading more posts I see that chlorine would be better. How much clorine do I put in 2 quarts of water?

  • Yes a medicine dropper would work just fine 🙂

  • Sarah

    By drops do you mean like an eye dropper? Could I use a medicine dropper? I have all these apple juice containers I would like to fill with water storage but I don't want to poison my family either.

  • I understand the concern about chemicals (I avoid plastic as much as possible), but in the short term of needing safe-to-drink water in the event of an emergency honestly I think that is a lesser concern. I understand trying to find a solution for longer term water treatment or storage but I think for keeping on hand safe, portable, potable water, sufficient for 72 hours, the jugs are probably the best option at this point. Just my $.02

  • Leslie L

    I just discovered your website- this is great! I thought I would share our water storage solution. We have a water cooler in our house (the kind that you usually find in offices). Every 2 weeks we have 5 gallon jugs delivered, and they take away the empty ones. So what we did was order a lot, and then we rotate it. We always at least 30 gallons of drinkable water stored. And we have 2 more jugs that we are drinking. So we always have 8 jugs in the house, and every two weeks 2 of them are empty. Our family of 4 (2 adults, 1 preschooler and 1 toddler) goes through 1 5-gallon jug a week. The delivery service is relatively inexpensive, and we've found it to be cheaper than buying bottles of water. We also have empty containers ready to be filled at the first sign of trouble. We don't have huge amounts of space, we live in a townhouse with no basement or attic, so we store the jugs under our stairs. Not very pretty, but fairly discreet. 🙂

  • Thanks for checking!

  • Kaytee, I'm not sure of the answer to this. If anyone else has any ideas please feel free to share them in the comments. I will continue to research it and post if I find anything.

  • Any advice yet re: storing water in a car?

    Plastic leaches BPA and other undesirable chemicals, especially when the car heats up >100F, glass has safety (and resultant mess) issues due to breakability, and steel bottles are small and pricey. Right now, I do have one 1-liter steel bottle in my car (and my son's have the same), but that's hardly enough for an “emergency”.

  • All of our steps and checklists are available in printable pdf format in our Food Storage Made Easy eBook binder. You can purchase it via the link on the right hand side of our website.

    Storing water in milk jugs is not recommended as those containers will disintegrate and leak after a few months. The plastic is too thin. 2-liter bottles or juice bottles ARE ok though.

  • alexandrapearson

    Could you e-mail me the Baby-Step 2 in PDF? I would like to print the checklist without the ads.
    Also, I heard that storing water in clean milk jugs is not safe. Is that true? Why? What would you recommend instead?

  • Pingback: The Food Storage Shopper » Storing Water()

  • Ashley, We have heard differing comments about the WalMart jugs. We have had ours for over a year now and haven't noticed any warping or leaking. We don't live in an extreme climate though. We are working on researching some other options to let people know about if people want something more industrial. I wouldn't worry about safety in your jugs though, they should be fine to drink even with tipping and bending.

  • Ashley

    I bought the same 7 gallon water containers from Wal-Mart. I bought 6 of them, which gives me the recommended amount of water for my family of 3 for 14 days. Each container was about $9. I filled them all with water, after sterilizing (that was the hard part…I filled the jugs with 3/4 hot water and 1/4 bleach. You can transfer the solution to 3 or 4 other containers, but the bleach made it somewhat messy- my stretch pants have a large white spot on the behind now…I sat in some of the water/bleach mixture). I then filled each container with cool water and ¼ tsp of bleach and I put them on 2×4 wood blocks in my basement.

    Anyway, I filled the containers about 1 month ago, and I noticed they have started to warp. I don’t see them leaking or anything, they’re just starting to tip and bend. Is that normal? Just worried the containers may not be strong enough, safe enough…etc. Thanks!

  • Rebecca in Brigham City

    WOW! Thanks for the powdered chlorine information. I didn't know about the impurities in bleach and would have blissfully used it in water storage not knowing I could be harming my family!

  • Do you know why you can't store it directly on concrete?

  • I just got a 21 cubic foot deep freeze (charity fundraiser for only 50 dollars!) and we are working on getting it filled with food. It works best completely full, but I don't have enough frozen food to put in there yet. For the time being I have filled it with my water storage (in the plastic jugs that the water came in). Has anyone put their water storage in the freezer like this?

  • How should we store water in a car? Plastic will leach undesirable chemicals into the water when it gets as hot as it does inside a car… glass breaks… steel bottles are very pricey right now, and have plastic tops anyway.

    Also– how about storing food/energy bars, and medications in car– there's the problem with heat causing deterioration?

  • Christina

    Most garden hoses are considered nonpotable, in other words, the material the water passes through is not food-grade. You can purchase a potable grade hose though; we did that for our birth tub. Got ours at a standard hardware store, nothing special.

  • Hi, just found your site recently. I want to second those who recommend more rather than less water storage, and to prepare to be without power. After hurricane Rita I was without running water for 6 days, and without power for 3 weeks, and we were NOT in the hardest hit areas. Living without power is hard, but living without water is the worst. Being in the south, we needed much more than a gallon a day per person, even for drinking.

    Also–we bought gallon jugs of water, in plastic jugs similar to milk jugs–they definitely disintegrate–after a few months of storage, if you touched one it would sping a leak!

    BTW, I appreciate having access to so much information all at one site, presented in such a fun way!

  • Catherine

    Having been without water for a few days, I can tell you that 1 gallon of water a day per person is NOT enough to drink, cook and clean. My solution to the problem is using 2 plastic buckets (like ice cream ones). I fill them both up about 3/4 full. One is for soaping up and the other is for rinsing off hands. The next day the rinse water becomes the soaping water. The used soap water can be used to flush toilets or even wash clothes. You could use 2 more buckets for washing dishes, if you’re not using disposables.

    Another thing I do is to keep my liquid laundry detergent jugs. I fill them up with water and I have soapy water for washing! You would still need to add a little bleach to keep it sanitary. The push button spouts can be used to put the water where it’s needed.

    • Jodi — Food Storage Made Easy

      Thanks for the tips Catherine. 1 gallon per person per day for 14 days is the minimum recommendation. It’s good to know that it would be better to store more.

  • Catherine

    Having been without water for a few days, I can tell you that 1 gallon of water a day per person is NOT enough to drink, cook and clean. My solution to the problem is using 2 plastic buckets (like ice cream ones). I fill them both up about 3/4 full. One is for soaping up and the other is for rinsing off hands. The next day the rinse water becomes the soaping water. The used soap water can be used to flush toilets or even wash clothes. You could use 2 more buckets for washing dishes, if you’re not using disposables.

    Another thing I do is to keep my liquid laundry detergent jugs. I fill them up with water and I have soapy water for washing! You would still need to add a little bleach to keep it sanitary. The push button spouts can be used to put the water where it’s needed.

    • Jodi — Food Storage Made Easy

      Thanks for the tips Catherine. 1 gallon per person per day for 14 days is the minimum recommendation. It’s good to know that it would be better to store more.

  • Jennifer

    I just want to add 2 cents in here. Water storage containers can be found in Wal-mart, K-mart, any camping, RV, & most hardware stores. Online sources are Emergency Essentials, BePrepared and most “survival” outlets. Try GI Joe’s, REI, military surplus stores, etc. Store water AND a filter, the best you can afford!

    3 days is the low end estimate of Red Cross or other help reaching you. Take lessons from recent disasters- it takes much longer than 3 days in some cases, especially if the disaster is still ongoing i.e. aftershocks, fires, severe rain, etc.

    REMEMBER: YOU CAN LIVE MANY DAYS OR WEEKS WITHOUT FOOD, BUT YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT WATER PERIOD.

    Best thing to do is start – it will add up! Giving up 2 lattes a week will buy 1 (Wal-Mart price) 7 gallon jug. I priced them two days ago. Trade off? Prepared with peace of mind. Can’t beat that!

    I love the site, and the links. Ladies thank you for all that you are doing to help us all get the rear in gear! (Boy did I need that kick in butt!)

    Happy Mother’s Day to you all!

  • Jennifer

    I just want to add 2 cents in here. Water storage containers can be found in Wal-mart, K-mart, any camping, RV, & most hardware stores. Online sources are Emergency Essentials, BePrepared and most “survival” outlets. Try GI Joe’s, REI, military surplus stores, etc. Store water AND a filter, the best you can afford!

    3 days is the low end estimate of Red Cross or other help reaching you. Take lessons from recent disasters- it takes much longer than 3 days in some cases, especially if the disaster is still ongoing i.e. aftershocks, fires, severe rain, etc.

    REMEMBER: YOU CAN LIVE MANY DAYS OR WEEKS WITHOUT FOOD, BUT YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT WATER PERIOD.

    Best thing to do is start – it will add up! Giving up 2 lattes a week will buy 1 (Wal-Mart price) 7 gallon jug. I priced them two days ago. Trade off? Prepared with peace of mind. Can’t beat that!

    I love the site, and the links. Ladies thank you for all that you are doing to help us all get the rear in gear! (Boy did I need that kick in butt!)

    Happy Mother’s Day to you all!

  • Toni

    I have been told that you shouldn’t fill your large water barrels with a garden hose. What do you know about this?

  • Toni

    I have been told that you shouldn’t fill your large water barrels with a garden hose. What do you know about this?

  • lacee

    I bought 2 55gal drums thatt had fruit juice concentrate in them. Can I still store water in them if I add bleach?? Won’t the bleach kill any bacteria from the left over juice? Or are these useless:(

  • lacee

    I bought 2 55gal drums thatt had fruit juice concentrate in them. Can I still store water in them if I add bleach?? Won’t the bleach kill any bacteria from the left over juice? Or are these useless:(

  • Jill in Canada

    I just found out about your site. THANK YOU!

    I have a large water storage container that I filled 2 years ago. I always thought that I could boil the water from the container before drinking it. From reading the comments, that might not be the best way to do it?

    What I would like is a pump to pump the water through the container and into my washing machine so the water in the container is always fresh. Have you ever heard a pump like that?

    • Jodi — Food Storage Made Easy

      Jill, It’s always best to put in fresh water that has been treated with bleach if necessary. You never know in an emergency if you will be able to boil water. It’s better to be safe than sorry! It seems like I have seen a plastic tube that you can attach to the large blue water barrels that might be able to pump out the water. I actually don’t use the large barrels so I don’t know first-hand what all is available. Welcome to the site!

  • Jill in Canada

    I just found out about your site. THANK YOU!

    I have a large water storage container that I filled 2 years ago. I always thought that I could boil the water from the container before drinking it. From reading the comments, that might not be the best way to do it?

    What I would like is a pump to pump the water through the container and into my washing machine so the water in the container is always fresh. Have you ever heard a pump like that?

    • Jodi — Food Storage Made Easy

      Jill, It’s always best to put in fresh water that has been treated with bleach if necessary. You never know in an emergency if you will be able to boil water. It’s better to be safe than sorry! It seems like I have seen a plastic tube that you can attach to the large blue water barrels that might be able to pump out the water. I actually don’t use the large barrels so I don’t know first-hand what all is available. Welcome to the site!

  • Kristine

    If we have those six gallon containers from WalMart & fill them with water from our Reverse Osmosis system, do we need to add bleach?? I don’t think it’s chlorinated because of the filtration but I know it’s pretty pure. Just not sure if it can be stored as is or needs bleach. Thanks.

    • Jodi

      Kristine, I’m not a purification expert, but I think the point of the bleach is so that you are storing pure water and it will keep it pure for about a year or so. I think the filtered water would be ok in the beginning but if it has taken the chlorine out then it might not KEEP the water pure over a long period of time. If you are worried, it never hurts to add the bleach just to be safe. Or you could do some with it and some without and test the water after a year.

  • Kristine

    If we have those six gallon containers from WalMart & fill them with water from our Reverse Osmosis system, do we need to add bleach?? I don’t think it’s chlorinated because of the filtration but I know it’s pretty pure. Just not sure if it can be stored as is or needs bleach. Thanks.

    • Jodi

      Kristine, I’m not a purification expert, but I think the point of the bleach is so that you are storing pure water and it will keep it pure for about a year or so. I think the filtered water would be ok in the beginning but if it has taken the chlorine out then it might not KEEP the water pure over a long period of time. If you are worried, it never hurts to add the bleach just to be safe. Or you could do some with it and some without and test the water after a year.

  • Shelly

    I purchased a lot of water a few months ago. About 30 , 2.5 gallon containers. Problem is…I have been storing them all in a nice straight line along the wall (which is concrete), and on the floor (which is concrete). What does this mean. Is it all garbage now? What exactly is the risk? Can I fix it? Thanks.

    • Jodi

      Shelly, if you are worried about it, just empty the containers and refill with fresh water. Then make sure to put something underneath them next time. I don’t know the technicalities, but I would guess that for just a few months it would probably still be ok, but just to be safe it wouldn’t hurt.

  • Shelly

    I purchased a lot of water a few months ago. About 30 , 2.5 gallon containers. Problem is…I have been storing them all in a nice straight line along the wall (which is concrete), and on the floor (which is concrete). What does this mean. Is it all garbage now? What exactly is the risk? Can I fix it? Thanks.

    • Jodi

      Shelly, if you are worried about it, just empty the containers and refill with fresh water. Then make sure to put something underneath them next time. I don’t know the technicalities, but I would guess that for just a few months it would probably still be ok, but just to be safe it wouldn’t hurt.

  • Carol

    I just found your website and love it…thank you. I have been buying water jugs (2.5 gal.) at Sam’s club. Do I need to rotate these? Can I keep them forever and just add water purification tablets to it?

  • Carol

    I just found your website and love it…thank you. I have been buying water jugs (2.5 gal.) at Sam’s club. Do I need to rotate these? Can I keep them forever and just add water purification tablets to it?

  • Kristin

    Hi – how do I know if my water is chlorinated? (FYI – I live in SLC, UT)
    Thx.

  • Kristin

    Hi – how do I know if my water is chlorinated? (FYI – I live in SLC, UT)
    Thx.

  • Tracy in Utah

    You may have mentioned this and I missed it. Remember no plastic container is dense enough not to have chemicals leach through it over time. So the regular bleach bottle will lose about half its clorine in 6 month. In a year most of the clorine is gone in a bottle of bleach. The clorine is what purifies the water ,so use new bleach. Another way is use pure clorine that can be bought at stores like Walmart for pools. It comes in dry form so it lasts much much longer.

  • Tracy in Utah

    You may have mentioned this and I missed it. Remember no plastic container is dense enough not to have chemicals leach through it over time. So the regular bleach bottle will lose about half its clorine in 6 month. In a year most of the clorine is gone in a bottle of bleach. The clorine is what purifies the water ,so use new bleach. Another way is use pure clorine that can be bought at stores like Walmart for pools. It comes in dry form so it lasts much much longer.

  • Jodi

    Heather, I think a vinegar bottle would work great. I’ve kept bottles of vinegar for longer than a year and they’ve been fine. Also the bleach bottles would work too. Anything that is designed to be for shelf stable liquids should be the appropriate grade of plastic.

    Vicki, Thanks for the reminder, we talk about not using milk bottles up in the main points above. They are definitely NOT good to use for long term water storage.

  • Jodi

    Heather, I think a vinegar bottle would work great. I’ve kept bottles of vinegar for longer than a year and they’ve been fine. Also the bleach bottles would work too. Anything that is designed to be for shelf stable liquids should be the appropriate grade of plastic.

    Vicki, Thanks for the reminder, we talk about not using milk bottles up in the main points above. They are definitely NOT good to use for long term water storage.

  • Vicki

    One thing I haven’t seen addressed is concerning storing water in milk type jugs. They are designed to be biodegradable, and tend to spring leaks after a couple of months. (I learned the hard way many years ago.) The 2 liter soda bottles and juice bottles (PET or PETE will be printed in the recycling triangle) are a better choice.

  • Vicki

    One thing I haven’t seen addressed is concerning storing water in milk type jugs. They are designed to be biodegradable, and tend to spring leaks after a couple of months. (I learned the hard way many years ago.) The 2 liter soda bottles and juice bottles (PET or PETE will be printed in the recycling triangle) are a better choice.

  • Heather

    I just noticed that my white vinegar bottle is the same grade plastic as bleach bottles. Can I use this as well??

  • Heather

    I just noticed that my white vinegar bottle is the same grade plastic as bleach bottles. Can I use this as well??

  • Heather

    When I was pregnant with my second child, our laundry room was three floors down. I was so lazy about laundry that I never threw away my laundry soap jugs, I just stacked them on shelves. They really added up fast! I was wondering if I could start saving them again for water storage. Of course, I would only use the water for flushing toilets, laundry, ect. I hardly ever buy bleach so that wouldn’t add up very fast for me. I would assume that they are made out of the same plastic as the beach bottles. I love your site, thanks for all of the great information. It has been extremely helpful!

  • Heather

    When I was pregnant with my second child, our laundry room was three floors down. I was so lazy about laundry that I never threw away my laundry soap jugs, I just stacked them on shelves. They really added up fast! I was wondering if I could start saving them again for water storage. Of course, I would only use the water for flushing toilets, laundry, ect. I hardly ever buy bleach so that wouldn’t add up very fast for me. I would assume that they are made out of the same plastic as the beach bottles. I love your site, thanks for all of the great information. It has been extremely helpful!

  • Theresa

    Thanks for your help Jodi!

  • Theresa

    Thanks for your help Jodi!

  • Jodi

    Theresa,

    My containers were 7 gallon containers so I just did the 1/2 teaspoon. I don’t think it’s a hugely exact science. I have read that if there is a bleach-y flavor you just move the water back and forth between two containers a few times and it will evaporate out. Also i think the bleach dissipates over time too. That’s why you are supposed to change the water out every year or so. Hope that helps!

  • Jodi

    Theresa,

    My containers were 7 gallon containers so I just did the 1/2 teaspoon. I don’t think it’s a hugely exact science. I have read that if there is a bleach-y flavor you just move the water back and forth between two containers a few times and it will evaporate out. Also i think the bleach dissipates over time too. That’s why you are supposed to change the water out every year or so. Hope that helps!

  • Theresa

    I have my water containers to cover us for 14 days, but before I fill them I have a question about the “drops” of bleach to add. What size dropper do I use since droppers can be calibrated for different volumes? Is this information available somewhere using metric system measurements like milliters? I do not want to over bleach the water. Thanks for all of your help!

  • Theresa

    I have my water containers to cover us for 14 days, but before I fill them I have a question about the “drops” of bleach to add. What size dropper do I use since droppers can be calibrated for different volumes? Is this information available somewhere using metric system measurements like milliters? I do not want to over bleach the water. Thanks for all of your help!

  • UtahChic!

    I’m not new to emergency preparedness, so I can answer some question that aren’t answered above.
    The Red Cross suggest a 3 day supply of water but the church suggests a 14 day supply…better to be safe than sorry, right? I would prefer to have one 55-gallon drum for each member for a month but most people think that’s a little radical. Just remember that if it was a major disaster and you were unable to use running water you would need water not just for cooking and drinking but for cleaning dishes, brushing teeth, cleaning your body, cleaning clothes, etc. If you think about how much water you use everyday it makes perfect sense to have that much on hand!
    As for storing water on cement; after time the water will start to taste and smell like what it is surrounded by. This is why you want to store water off the ground. Also if your storing it in your garage keep fuel and lawn agents away from it as well. In an emergency it would be hard to down a glass of water that tastes like cement or fuel. If it’s a 55-gallon drum; store it on a pallet a few inches from the wall and try to keep things stored in a different location.
    If you decide to store your water supply outside, keep in mind that the sun will cause a green algae to form in your water. This isn’t bad for you but to keep your family from being grossed out it’s best to keep a couple packages of green Kool-Aid on hand 🙂 Also the container you use to store your water can be a new or used container but you don’t want to use a container that has ever held anything but water in it. Plastics absorb whatever is being stored in them so if you’ve stored food in the container, even if you’ve cleaned it, after a years time you will start to see ‘floaties’ in the water. The plastic is releasing those substances and they will start to form bacteria making it unsafe to drink.
    If you needed water for longer than 14 days you would have to find an alternative water supply, i.e. streams, water heater, etc. in this case you may want to consider that electricity may not be available either so you may not be able to boil your water. If you choose to use bleach remember that there is only 5% of chlorine in bleach, which is what kills the bacteria and harmful things growing in your drinking water. Chlorine evaporates so after a years time there is no longer any chlorine in a container of bleach. Even if you do choose to still use bleach you’ll be left with the other 95% of harmful agents in the bleach. The best way to treat water is to use a spa essential brand chlorinating concentrate (spa companies carry this, it’s used to clean the water in hot tubs) a 2 lb. 95% or higher chlorine concentrate in a powder form will treat a year supply of water for a family of 5. The average cost for one container is around $17. You can purchase 100 chlorine test strips for around $7. Just add ¼ teaspoon of chlorine for a 55-gallon drum of water. Mix the chlorine and water and seal the container for 24 hours. Follow the test strip directions. If after 24 hours the water is still not clean add another ¼ teaspoon to the container and test the water again in another 24 hours. Leave the lid off for another 12 hours for the smell to dissipate. Boiling your water at an altitude (such as Utah) you would need to boil it for at least 22 minutes. If you use bleach, you are left with harmful agents in your water and you have no way of testing the water to make sure it’s clean. Using powdered chlorine you can test the water with chlorine test strips and you’ll know when it’s ready to use, it’s also under $25 to do so.
    I hope this helps, it goes a little beyond what you’ve covered. All of your information is wonderful and I’m glad that there are people out there willing to educate and pass along what they know to make it easier on others! I remember feeling very overwhelmed by all of it when I started and I wish there was something like this back then! But it’s true that it’s better to start small than not at all! 🙂

  • UtahChic!

    I’m not new to emergency preparedness, so I can answer some question that aren’t answered above.
    The Red Cross suggest a 3 day supply of water but the church suggests a 14 day supply…better to be safe than sorry, right? I would prefer to have one 55-gallon drum for each member for a month but most people think that’s a little radical. Just remember that if it was a major disaster and you were unable to use running water you would need water not just for cooking and drinking but for cleaning dishes, brushing teeth, cleaning your body, cleaning clothes, etc. If you think about how much water you use everyday it makes perfect sense to have that much on hand!
    As for storing water on cement; after time the water will start to taste and smell like what it is surrounded by. This is why you want to store water off the ground. Also if your storing it in your garage keep fuel and lawn agents away from it as well. In an emergency it would be hard to down a glass of water that tastes like cement or fuel. If it’s a 55-gallon drum; store it on a pallet a few inches from the wall and try to keep things stored in a different location.
    If you decide to store your water supply outside, keep in mind that the sun will cause a green algae to form in your water. This isn’t bad for you but to keep your family from being grossed out it’s best to keep a couple packages of green Kool-Aid on hand 🙂 Also the container you use to store your water can be a new or used container but you don’t want to use a container that has ever held anything but water in it. Plastics absorb whatever is being stored in them so if you’ve stored food in the container, even if you’ve cleaned it, after a years time you will start to see ‘floaties’ in the water. The plastic is releasing those substances and they will start to form bacteria making it unsafe to drink.
    If you needed water for longer than 14 days you would have to find an alternative water supply, i.e. streams, water heater, etc. in this case you may want to consider that electricity may not be available either so you may not be able to boil your water. If you choose to use bleach remember that there is only 5% of chlorine in bleach, which is what kills the bacteria and harmful things growing in your drinking water. Chlorine evaporates so after a years time there is no longer any chlorine in a container of bleach. Even if you do choose to still use bleach you’ll be left with the other 95% of harmful agents in the bleach. The best way to treat water is to use a spa essential brand chlorinating concentrate (spa companies carry this, it’s used to clean the water in hot tubs) a 2 lb. 95% or higher chlorine concentrate in a powder form will treat a year supply of water for a family of 5. The average cost for one container is around $17. You can purchase 100 chlorine test strips for around $7. Just add ¼ teaspoon of chlorine for a 55-gallon drum of water. Mix the chlorine and water and seal the container for 24 hours. Follow the test strip directions. If after 24 hours the water is still not clean add another ¼ teaspoon to the container and test the water again in another 24 hours. Leave the lid off for another 12 hours for the smell to dissipate. Boiling your water at an altitude (such as Utah) you would need to boil it for at least 22 minutes. If you use bleach, you are left with harmful agents in your water and you have no way of testing the water to make sure it’s clean. Using powdered chlorine you can test the water with chlorine test strips and you’ll know when it’s ready to use, it’s also under $25 to do so.
    I hope this helps, it goes a little beyond what you’ve covered. All of your information is wonderful and I’m glad that there are people out there willing to educate and pass along what they know to make it easier on others! I remember feeling very overwhelmed by all of it when I started and I wish there was something like this back then! But it’s true that it’s better to start small than not at all! 🙂

  • candace

    I’ve really enjoyed all of the great tips and the discussion in general.
    Also, don’t forget about any animals you may have.
    We have dairy goats and laying hens as well as a dog and a cat. They would need a great deal of water as well, esp during the milking season!

  • candace

    I’ve really enjoyed all of the great tips and the discussion in general.
    Also, don’t forget about any animals you may have.
    We have dairy goats and laying hens as well as a dog and a cat. They would need a great deal of water as well, esp during the milking season!

  • Angie

    Where did you buy the 7 gallon water jugs and how much did they cost?

  • Angie

    Where did you buy the 7 gallon water jugs and how much did they cost?

  • Angel

    Kristen I store bottled water. I buy a case most every time I go to the store AND bigger bottles I have found.
    Its just more expensive so I think these are more cost effective suggestions.
    As long as its stored I dont think it matters.

  • Angel

    Kristen I store bottled water. I buy a case most every time I go to the store AND bigger bottles I have found.
    Its just more expensive so I think these are more cost effective suggestions.
    As long as its stored I dont think it matters.

  • Kristen

    Would it be fine just to buy bottled water? Not sure if someone asked about it, but I didn’t see it as I was scrolling through 🙂

  • Kristen

    Would it be fine just to buy bottled water? Not sure if someone asked about it, but I didn’t see it as I was scrolling through 🙂

  • Hi, I’m new here, and have done emergency food preps because of living on the coast, and normally try to have lots of food, but now I’m going to try for a 3 months supply and am going to use your fun site and excel sheet as my guide.

    I’m not an expert when it comes to emergency preparedness, but I am experienced: I’ve been through 2 hurricanes, evacuated hurricanes 2 times (neither hit), and have had water in my home 2 times. I can’t begin to count the number of times we’ve lost power for 4+ hours just from thunderstorms, and one lightning strike to our transformer.

    I learned some preparedness from my mother who grew up on an island up north that occasionally had hurricanes. When Alicia formed 3 days out, she filled cardboard milk jugs with water and put them in the freezer. Meanwhile, she fixed as much freezer and fridge food as possible so she wouldn’t lose as much food, and to have more room to put the frozen containers.

    Since 2 lt plastic soda bottles came out, I save them every spring to have on hand in case I need them for the freezer. They drove my husband of 9 years crazy, until Ike, when we didn’t lose very much food because we had more time before it went bad, plus we had cool potable water without me having to go to the food lines every day just for ice and water.

    I also turned the fridge as high as possible the day before Ike, and covered the fridge with every blanket possible once we lost power.

    I also saved many 1 gallon glass bottles, which I cleaned and bleached, then filled to use for coffee. We were the only ones on our little dead-end block that could make coffee with our campstove and camp-percolator, and we went through ALL the water I’d saved in the glass in about 5 days because of making coffee for the neighbors. It was a good trade though, because they’d bring us home ice from their jobs (hubby’s job didn’t give out ice, in fact I had to send extra food for lunches quite a few days).

    With Alicia ’83, it took about 4 days before water was declared safe; TS Allison was maybe a day or more; and Ike was about 10 days in Houston. So unless you want to be dependent on the kind helpers and government, I’d recommend a lot more than just 3 days worth of water storage. Remember you’re going to want to wash clothes and dishes during this time too.

  • Hi, I’m new here, and have done emergency food preps because of living on the coast, and normally try to have lots of food, but now I’m going to try for a 3 months supply and am going to use your fun site and excel sheet as my guide.

    I’m not an expert when it comes to emergency preparedness, but I am experienced: I’ve been through 2 hurricanes, evacuated hurricanes 2 times (neither hit), and have had water in my home 2 times. I can’t begin to count the number of times we’ve lost power for 4+ hours just from thunderstorms, and one lightning strike to our transformer.

    I learned some preparedness from my mother who grew up on an island up north that occasionally had hurricanes. When Alicia formed 3 days out, she filled cardboard milk jugs with water and put them in the freezer. Meanwhile, she fixed as much freezer and fridge food as possible so she wouldn’t lose as much food, and to have more room to put the frozen containers.

    Since 2 lt plastic soda bottles came out, I save them every spring to have on hand in case I need them for the freezer. They drove my husband of 9 years crazy, until Ike, when we didn’t lose very much food because we had more time before it went bad, plus we had cool potable water without me having to go to the food lines every day just for ice and water.

    I also turned the fridge as high as possible the day before Ike, and covered the fridge with every blanket possible once we lost power.

    I also saved many 1 gallon glass bottles, which I cleaned and bleached, then filled to use for coffee. We were the only ones on our little dead-end block that could make coffee with our campstove and camp-percolator, and we went through ALL the water I’d saved in the glass in about 5 days because of making coffee for the neighbors. It was a good trade though, because they’d bring us home ice from their jobs (hubby’s job didn’t give out ice, in fact I had to send extra food for lunches quite a few days).

    With Alicia ’83, it took about 4 days before water was declared safe; TS Allison was maybe a day or more; and Ike was about 10 days in Houston. So unless you want to be dependent on the kind helpers and government, I’d recommend a lot more than just 3 days worth of water storage. Remember you’re going to want to wash clothes and dishes during this time too.

  • TracyinSC

    Wow. Great ideas Morning Sunshine. Thank you for sharing!

  • Morning Sunshine

    Since some of your water storage is to be used for cooking, store liquid chicken or beef or vegetable stocks. That will give your rice/beans/dehydrated vegetables a tastier flavor and added nutrients. I am not advocating doing this totally in place of water, but in addition to.
    In that vein, your canned vegetables and fruits (tomatoes, green beans, peaches, etc) also have water in them that would be great in cooking instead of plain water. Use fruit juice to cook your oatmeal, or tomato juice to cook your rice. And that leaves more of your 14 gallons of clean water for drinking or cleaning.
    To Tracy: A good way to rotate your water is to use it on your garden during the summer. I have done the “store your water in empty canning jars” method which is great, and then, as the summer comes to an end, use those to water my garden just in time to fill them up again with produce. And as I eat my produce throughout the winter, I fill the empty bottles with water until the end of summer. It is a great way to rotate.

  • Angel

    I have been storing cases of water bottles and jugs.
    I will be getting bigger containers and we want to build a storage tank up on the hill to catch our spring overflow. It will be naturally gravity fed.

    The original safety plans were for 72hrs.
    The ‘powers that be’ have admitted that although that is a great start, you should really have at least two weeks supply for your home keeping your 72hr kits ready for an evacuation if needed.

    So do both.
    Start with 72hrs kits/bags and expand to the 2 weeks at home use.

    I too have heard not to store your water OR food on concrete directly.

  • Pam

    I love your website. A friend from church showed it to me and it is really helping with our preparedness classes at church. Thank you for your time and help. There is so much information in this site that it is taking me a while to go through it. Thanks again, Pam, NC

  • TracyinSC

    Sigh. No Macey’s out here. We do have Macy’s department store, and I have a feeling they don’t sell water storage stuff…

    Question about the bottled water: I have purchased a good amount of 1/2 liter bottles when on sale, and I’m wondering if I have to rotate those every once in a while. And when I do, can I just refill them with tap water? Then, once it’s tap water, how often do I have to rotate THAT?

    Thanks! Tracy

  • Michelle B

    Oh, one more thing…

    Macey’s is having a big food storage sale including water drums, buckets, etc. Thought you might want to know.

  • Michelle B

    Sorry if you already answered this, I was to busy to read through all the posts…

    I was not aware of the not putting your water storage directly on concrete so I have several bottles on my basement concrete floor. I want to make sure to be safe, so can i just empty them and refill them with clean water, or do i need to throw out all the bottles that have been sitting on the cement and start new?

  • Jodi

    John, thanks for the great tips.

    Mary, that is a fabulous idea! i have a whole shelf of empty jars taking up space right now. I’m going to fill em up for sure!

    Erika, are you worried we are going to yell at you about storing water? Hehe. A couple things to consider for YOU in particular. You probably still want to have some stored in your car kit or disaster kit. If you have to evacuate quickly and have to head a direction without easily accessible water that may be a consideration. If you have space to store some more water I’d still do it (you never know if there could be an emergency where you are trapped in your house, you are injured, etc.). But it is true if you have an easy access to water you might not need to stress about it AS much as other people. We like to keep our recommendation to store water so that people don’t try to justify a way out of it (i.e. I COULD walk to that stream that’s 2 miles away …). And for situations like the hurricanes those people could not access fresh water for up to a week. Having a supply in their house would have been HUGE! Thanks for the tips on the filters too, we will be discussing this more later this week.

  • Erika

    I Love your site I just stumbled on it after messing around with my food storage closet! ( I googled years supply of food worksheet and found the 3 month one!) Ok so I was looking at the baby steps! Our ward just had a R.S. on food storage and in particular water. I know you laddies are stressing actually storing water which I think now after reading your site and the comments is something I need to do. The gal that taught the lesson went to REI they sold her a water filter. But then she consulted with and avid backpacker in our ward and she said that a water purifier is what you really need! The difference is in the microns it filters down to and the fact that the water purifier filters out viruses. She demonstrated the difference with red soda, and the purifier filtered to just plain water and the water filter only really weak red soda. I probably still need to store water but here in the California, Central Valley we have ag water and canals so in a disaster I could get water and we have several lakes near by so a purifier is really handy. So for people like me in an upstairs apartment with no real storage and afraid of stored water leaking I will be buying a purifier soon the one used at the demonstration was by a company called First Need I am sure you can find others. Just a thought for those close to water that can’t store vast amounts a purifier is great idea.

  • Mary Lee

    If you do home canning, you probably have many bottles of fruits and vegetables in your storage. When you use the product, wash the bottle thoroughly and fill it with water, put the lid back on, and put it back on the shelf. The bottle is going to use the shelf space anyway, so why not have it filled with water.

  • John

    A couple of points. First, make sure any old barrels didn’t contain anything nasty in them, even food based stuff like syrup as it will add a flavor to the water.

    Second, as Misty said, if you have to evacuate your house because of tornado, forest fire, or earthquake, you cannot manhandle a 55 gallon drum quickly or safely. Make sure you have sufficient water in small containers to last for 3 days per person.

    While part of your gallon a day is assumed for washing, I’d be sure to add wet ones or other moist towelette for cleaning to avoid wasting water.

    Don’t forget the idea of rain barrels. If that is too expensive, keep some brand new plastic sheeting which you can put on your roof to help catch rain without collecting asphalt in it. Lay it out and bend the corners in to make a funnel for your containers.

  • Tracy

    I inherited two 55-gallon jugs from a friend who was moving. Don’t know how old they are, but they’re white plastic. All the ones I see lately are dark blue. Is there a color preference? Will these older ones still serve our needs just fine? (Of course, any water is better than none, but is there a preference?) I do intend to store drinking water in smaller containers as well. Thanks!

  • molly

    What about using non-chlorine bleach? Will that work as well for purifying water?

  • jweiss08

    Thanks Misty, Jodi and I appreciate when some experts share so kindly their knowledge.

  • Misty Sutton

    The best game plan for storing water is to store it in many different sizes and types of containers. For example, can you imagine what would happen if all you had was one larger container holding your entire 14 days of water and it either sprung a leak or got severly contaminated? Spread your storage out over large containers, 5 gallon or 1 gallon size containers, and even store-packaged bottles of water if you like. Also, according to emergency preparedness experts, culinary (tap) water should not be purified until before you are ready to use it rather than before you store it. Purifying chemicals eventually wear out, and bacteria can grow. As for water purification systems, experts do recommend storing at least 3 to 14 days worth of water and to purchase water purification tablets or systems to use beyond the 14 days. In your planning it is important to consider local water sources you would use close to your home, such as springs or pools. Some areas around your house that you don’t usually think about include, the toilet tank (not the bowl), your water heater, a water bed, and even rain water.

  • Jodi

    Thanks for all the great comments and tips guys. That’s a great idea to use milk jugs/old bleach containers for flushing toilets or washing dishes, etc.

    Valerie – When we developed this page everyone was recommending 14 days but it seems like they’ve changed now to say “at least 3 days”.

    Natalie, Valerie, Emily – I can’t find an official source but we have heard from several of our readers that storing the jugs directly on concrete can cause chemicals to leach into your water and also weaken the plastic causing the containers to leak. There is some great info a this site http://blog.totallyready.com/?p=15 with more details. Natalie I would get a wood pallet for your 55 gallon drum, that’s what my mother-in-law uses.

    Emily – Heat and light increase the rate at which plastics will decompose. So if you know it will be hot, get heavy duty plastic jugs instead of thinner containers like soda bottles. Also, I’d check and replace the water more often in that situation.

    Hope that helps a bit! Keep the questions coming 🙂

    -Jodi

  • Emily

    Great site. I am working on getting my water supply stored. Assume I have used the proper containers and am storing them on a shelf. I live in California and it gets VERY hot in the summer. My house is small. Can I store water in the garage? Is heat detrimental to stored water? I am also interested in the answer to Natalie’s question.

  • Natalie

    Hi Ladies,

    Love your site! Quick question….I have a full 55 gal water drum stored directly on concrete…will I have a problem? Please expand

    Thanks!!

  • Heidi

    In reference to milk jugs – definately not good for drinking water – but we do store some for toilet flushing in case of an emergency where the water is turned off. We don’t want to use our good drinkable water for that function. If you have a pool in your backyard, you wouldn’t really need to worry about flushing water. We have also thought that milk jug size will be easy to pour in the toilet if ever needed. Thanks for all your great information!

  • Jayne

    You guys are great! When I was young…well, I don’t know what I did when I was young…But don’t forget your bleach bottles. (if you have the space…) when you are done with a bottle, (completely empty) fill it with water, cut off the label and write ‘water’ on it with a permanent marker. it takes about 2 seconds everytime and I have many bottles (I’m really old…) in my garage of water to flush toilets with, wash dishes with and etc. It has the residual bleach left in it and I would probably drink it if I had to. The bottles are dark which is also good. tip: shake your storage water before using to add air so it doesn’t taste ‘flat’. You probably already knew that! Great job…keep up the good work!! P.S. I have 3 (unmarried) kids in college in 3 different states…I am making the ‘milk jug 72 hour kits’ for them for their cars for Christmas…shhhhh…Their only job is to keep their gas tanks full so they can get home immediately in case of an emergency (no waiting in line for gas!!!)

  • Valerie

    I had it in my head that I should be storing 14 days supply of water, but when I looked at the FEMA and Red Cross websites, they only recommended “at least” a 3 day supply. Could you tell me some of the sources where you found the recommendation of 14 days? (I’m preparing info for others for a R.S. mtg. and want to make sure my sources are sound). Also wondering what your source is for the recommendation to not store plastic water containers directly on concrete floors. I hadn’t ever considered that as a risk before. Thanks for all your work at compiling information.

  • Jodi

    Debbie, From what I have read glass bottles are fine for storage. I don’t think the color makes a difference. If you already have chlorinated water you don’t HAVE to add bleach, but we like to do it just to be on the safe side. Just follow the diagram above to get the correct amounts. Hope that helps.

  • Debbie

    Can i store water in dark glass bottles? I have been doing this, but didn’t know I should add chlorine to my filtered water that I filled them with. Can I add it later?

  • jweiss08

    Dina,
    Good question. Those water jugs can be used if you replace them every six months or so, or if they are food grade plastic. In all our research we found that storing water in “milk” jugs isn’t a good idea because the plastic isn’t strong enough. Evaluate the grade of plastic, if it’s like a milk jug, replace them every 6 months. If it’s thicker, like a soda bottle, every year is probably good.

  • Jodi

    Terry-

    Thanks for the tip, but we STILL stand by the recommendation to store actual water. I saw on the news today that people in Galveston, Texas are still without access to food and water and it is 10 days into their emergency. How wonderful would it have been if they all followed the recommendation and had 2 weeks of water on hand. I know that humanitarian groups have come in to help them, but isn’t the point of food storage to be self-sufficient? A water filter can definitely be useful but please do not consider it as a replacement for actual water, it should be used in ADDITION to your water storage.

  • Dina

    Hey,
    I am real new to this. I am starting to make my 72 hour kits. Now why can’t I just use a jug of water bought from the store rather than the 2 liter soda bottles?
    Thanks for the great website!

  • Terry

    A less expensive way to go is this filtered water bottle. We gave one of these to all of our kids (and ourselves) for Christmas last year. They’re great in a 72-hour kit also — in addition to some regular bottles of water. You can shop around or just go to this URL: http://giardiaclub.com/water-bottle-filter/index.php.

  • Jodi

    Hi Denny,

    We actually don’t recommend storing 1500 gallons of water. If you view the key points above you will see that we recommend storing 14 gallons total per person. This is what most emergency organizations suggest. You might be home-bound for a period of time, or need to grab a bunch of water and leave your house quickly. Obviously for a longer-term emergency you will have to have a back-up plan for your water situation. That goes a bit beyond being EASY and will be discussed in the future when we get into advanced techniques beyond the baby steps.

    Thanks for sharing the link, we will consider that as an option as we explore water storage further. But for now we are sticking with the recommendations here as it is very reasonable and will help in a lot of situations.

    -Jodi

  • Denny

    There is a company that just invented a great device. Greatly reduces the need to store large quantities of water because it purifies it. I have NO affiliation with the product, but you can check it out at http://www.lifesaversystems.com/
    I think we’ll get one just because it’s easier than trying to store 1500 gallons of water.

  • Jodi

    Hi Valerie.

    If you don’t have naturally chlorinated water you will need to add bleach. Our water in Utah is chlorinated but I added the bleach just to be safe, it can’t hurt. So if you use the chart we posted above, you can figure out how much to add. 5 gallons = 1/2 teaspoon. So 55 gallons = 11 1/2 teaspoons or 5 1/2 teaspoons. There are 3 teaspoons per tablespoon so I’d just round up and put in 2 tablespoons for the 55 gallon barrel. Hope that helps!

  • Valerie

    I have a 55 gallon water barrel. Do I add bleach to it to when we fill it? If so, how much?

  • Jodi

    Cecile,

    Thanks for your input. That’s definitely something to consider for people who don’t have a good water source. In the future we are planning to talk about how to purify water in case you run through your stored amount. That could be especially important in your situation!

  • Since our water in NJ is nasty, we have water delivered. We had them deliver extra containers at the beginning for water storage. When they deliver a new water bottle each week we use the older bottles first. Instant water storage!

  • jweiss08

    We clarified the instructions. Thanks for the input. We went into further detail in our game plan, but if the first part wasn’t perfectly clear, we’re glad you pointed it out.

  • Michelle

    You girls have a great site here, I’ll be passing it along. I wanted to point something out to you about something under your “Key Points”. It says “1 gallon per person for 14 days”. It should say 1 gallon per person per day for 14 days. It kind of sounds like all you need is a gallon of water to last a person for 14 days. Not to be knit picky, but I know you want to put accurate information. I’m sure it was just an over site.
    Thanks for your hard work, it’s going to help a lot of people.
    Michelle

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