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Water Distillation

A gulp or two while swimming in the ocean isn’t so bad, but could you imagine drinking nothing but salt water? Salt water doesn’t refresh a human body – it actually makes a person more thirsty from dehydration! Eventually a person on a saltwater diet would become ill from dehydration.

One way to purify salt water is through a process called distillation. Distillation means heating the water until it boils and turns into steam. The steam is then collected in a separate container. When the steam cools and returns to liquid form, it is pure enough to drink. The condensed vapor will not include salt and other impurities.


1. Get a pan and put an empty glass cup inside it in the center.

2. Slowly pour the salt water into the pan and stop a little before the water level has reached the mouth of the glass. Make sure no salt water gets into the glass.

3. Place the cover upside down so the highest point or handle is right above and facing the glass.

4. Start boiling the water.

5. As the water boils it becomes steam, which re-condenses in the cover’s surface and falls right into the glass. As you probably know, when water boils it becomes pure steam, leaving behind anything that was dissolved in it.

6. Wait a little while before drinking the water from inside the glass, since both the water and the glass will be very hot.


  • It really helps a lot if you can cool down the cover while the water boils so, as to make the re condensation faster. You can use cold salt water to do that, just change it when it becomes warm.
  • This can also be done with urine if you’re in the desert and water is hard to come by. If you do not have a pot you can just dig a hole in the ground, urinate in the hole, place a glass/container in the middle and cover with something (plastic bag will work). The natural heat of the sand will evaporate the clean water into the glass.
  • As another alternative, you can also tie a cup to the pot’s lid to catch the water.
  • You can also run a drinking tube from the cup up to the surface to drink from rather than to keep removing the cover and taking the cup out.