What to do if you are under a water boil order

If you're under a boil order, it's important to follow all precautions to protect yourself and your family.

Be sure to stay up to date with local officials to know the status of water and to be vigilant until is deemed safe.

Affected area after massive water main break

Harris County Public Health shared some important tips on how to boil and disinfect water to drink and use.

BOILING WATER

You should bring tap water to a rolling boil for one to two minutes. Then, let the water cool until you can pour it into a clean container.

Even if your tap water is filtered, you should boil it. Most household water filters do not remove bacteria.

DISINFECTING WATER

In case you aren't able to boil your water, there are ways to disinfect it.

If the water is clear take the following steps:

  • Add 1/8 teaspoon of unscented bleach to 1 gallon of water
  • Mix well and wait 30 minutes before drinking
  • Store disinfected water in a clean container with a cover.

If the water is cloudy take the following steps:

  • Filter water using a clean cloth
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of unscented bleach to 1 gallon of water
  • Mix well and wait 30 minutes before drinking

PREPARING AND COOKING FOOD

Make sure to wash your fruits and vegetables and cooking surfaces with bottled or boiled water that has cooled. If you are going to drink coffee, tea or any other drinks that need water make sure you use boiled water.

Your pets also need clean water! So make sure to serve them boiled water that has cooled or bottled water.

FEEDING BABIES

If you're preparing formula for a baby, bring bottled or tap water to a boil for one to two minutes. Mix formula with the boiled water while it is still hot. Cool the hot formula under cold running water or by placing it into a container of cold water before feeding a baby.

Wash and sterilize any bottles and nipples before use.

CLEANING AND BATHING

Do not swallow any water when taking a shower or bathing and do not allow children to swallow water.

Make sure you brush your teeth with boiled or bottled water.

WASHING DISHES

If you are washing by hand, wash and rinse using hot water. In another tub, add one teaspoon of unscented bleach to one gallon of water. Allow dishes to soak in the tub for one minute. Then, let them air dry completely.

Dishwashers are safe to use because dishes are sanitized at a high temperature.