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5 Steps for Preparing Your Own Containers of Water

March 23, 2016

5 Steps for Preparing Your Own Containers of Water


(Edited from:


For emergency water storage, it is recommended to purchase food-grade water storage containers from disaster and emergency preparedness supply stores.

It is best to not re-use storage containers that were use to hold other liquids. There is the leaching of harmful chemicals that can contaminate your water.

If you do decide, however, to re-use storage containers, choose two-liter plastic soft drink bottles — not plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have had milk or fruit juice in them. The reason for that is that milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers and provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them. Cardboard containers leak easily and are not designed for long-term storage of liquids. Also, do not use glass containers, because they are heavy and may break.

To prepare your own safe containers of water supply follow these 5 steps:

  1. Thoroughly clean all containers with dishwashing soap and clean water, then rinse completely so there is no residual soap.
  1. For plastic soft drink bottles, sanitize the bottles by adding a solution of 1 teaspoon of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to a quart (1/4 gallon) of water. Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces. After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse out the sanitizing solution with clean water.
  1. Fill the container to the top with regular tap water. (If your water utility company treats your tap water with chlorine, you do not need to add anything else to the water to keep it clean.) If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine, add two drops of non-scented liquid household chlorine bleach to each gallon of water. 
  1. Tightly close the container using its original cap. Be careful not to contaminate the cap by touching the inside of it with your fingers. Write the date clearly visible with a waterproof marker on the outside of the container so that you know when you filled it. Store all containers in a cool, dark place.
  1. Replace the water every six months if you're not using commercially packaged water.

Need More Information?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Community and Family Preparedness Program and American Red Cross Community Disaster Education are nationwide efforts to help people prepare for disasters of all types. You can find information for your specific region on the American Red Cross website.

For more information, please visit and, or contact your local emergency preparedness outlet.

Contact FEMA at:



P.O. Box 2012

Jessup, MD 20794-2012


Here are some of the emergency water storage supplies we currently sell:
(Note: we sell additional items; this list is not exclusive)

Water Filter, Replacement (Cysts)

$ 16.95



LifeStraw Family Water Filter/Purifier

$ 89.95

Water Purifier, UV SteriPEN

$ 59.95




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