How to Treat Rain Water for a Shower

Written by desdemona delacroix
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How to Treat Rain Water for a Shower
Harvesting rain is an eco-friendly way to gather water for bathing, whether you are at home or roughing it in the wilderness. (rain image by tomash from

Harvesting rainwater is a great way to take advantage of the Earth's natural resources for your personal use. There are several techniques you can use to purify any moisture you collect, and the result is a potable source of water for drinking and bathing.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Collect the rainwater in an appropriate-sized container. If you plan to use rainwater on a regular basis, purchase a barrel or similarly large container. If you only plan to catch enough rain for a day or two, then a standard size mop bucket will be big enough to serve your purpose.

  2. 2

    Boil the water. Depending on how much water you need for your shower, you can use pots of water and heat them over the stove or a camp fire. Allow the water to boil for at least one minute.

  3. 3

    Add bleach to the water if you can't boil it. If the water is dirty, strain it through clean clothes or material first. Once the water is cleared, add household bleach to the water at a ratio of eight drops to every gallon of water. Let the bleach disperse in the water for 30 minutes before using it for bathing.

  4. 4

    Purchase clean water treatments from a camping store. These treatments will include powders and tablets you can add to the water, and different kinds of filters. The individual treatments will come with instructions.

  5. 5

    Purify your water with a combination of UV light and ozone injection if you plan to use a large or long-term rain barrel. This system is actually used in commercial water plants all over the world to purify drinking water, and provides a powerful protection against bacteria and other contamination. You can buy the equipment for such a system from retailers online.

Tips and warnings

  • Water treatments sold in camping stores can be expensive, and are usually for making the water safe enough to drink. If you only plan to bathe in the rain water, you do not need to purify it to the same extent you would for drinking water.

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