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Tincture of iodine 2% for water purification

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by troutfisher13111, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. troutfisher13111

    troutfisher13111 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 30, 2006
    How well does tincture of iodine 2% work for water purification? What are the pros and cons? Is it safe? I know Cody Lundin reccomends it in his 98 degrees book, but I would like another opinion. How does it compare to iodine tablets? Thanks
  2. billym


    Jan 8, 2006
    It will work but iodine is pretty much obsolete. Check out Aqua-Mira Chlorine Dioxide tabs and Katadyn MP1 tabs. They leave no taste or smell and kill Cryptosporidia while iodine does not.
  3. Triquetra


    Mar 7, 2002
    Iodine is getting hard to find around my area. I looked for about 2 weeks at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, local drug store and grocery store, etc. Most places didn't even have a spot for it. I finally asked my pharmacist where it went and she said that they pulled it because it was being used to make Meth. She sold me a bottle that she had behind the counter because she knew me but that's the only way that I got any. Don't know if that's the way it is in the rest of the country.
  4. SkunkWerX


    Jul 27, 2006
    The other thing about iodine is if you use too much it can kill you.

    For the Aquamira and other tabs, I think they would be wise to put a little Chlorine taste in them. I like chlorine drops because you can tell you've applied them, then, as it dissipates, if you still smell a hint of it after 30 mins. you can be pretty sure it killed all bugs. The smell "talks" to you.

    Bonus, chlorinated water kills bad breath and can brush your teeth with it. :D
  5. RescueRiley


    Mar 22, 2006
    form the books I've read and from personal experience, boiling is hands down the best way to avoid harmfull bacteria from drinking water (and it's free) :) all you need is a can....however I can say that what ever method you choose.... a pinch of salt or a teabag goes along way as..boiling leaves the water tasting a little flat, and chemicals leave it tasting.....well chemically
  6. alco141


    Mar 28, 2001
  7. Varius


    Jan 25, 2007
    My brother used chlorine dioxide in a "backpack" trip around the world. He used that on many suspect waters, including the Ganges. We were shipping him bottles of Pristine around the world (I don't know why this particular brand)! It was one essential thing to have for him and he doesn't want any other kind of chemical cleaning system since. He traveled 29 countries in 18 months using only that, never sick (because of water), so I'm confident that's the chemical process to have.

    - There is an "inactive" web site describing the adventure in french but with pics of many places around the world.-

  8. darkhawk424


    Feb 10, 2006
    I will be getting a water purification soon but i was wondering if anyone hae use Aquatab because its the only one sold at my pharmacy
  9. mr_wilson


    Jan 18, 2002
    YMMV, but none of these methods IMO are better than using a proper water filtration system and FWIW, the betadine in my first aid kit is as good substitute for chemical purification as any of the chemicals noted above, incase you didn't know.
  10. pict


    Jan 7, 2003
    I have used the 2% Tincture of Iodine here in Brazil for many years. In fact it is the main method that I teach in my class. The #1 reason for this I that any of my students can walk into any local pharmacy and buy a bottle of the stuff for about $.75 and it will last them a good long time.

    If we really want to get fancy down here I'll have the pharmacy make me up 100 capsules of 50mg of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) to add, basically duplicating the action of the Potable Aqua Plus sold in the US. Just add the Vitamin C after the half hour wait to neutralize the iodine.

    I teach 5 drops of 2% to a liter/quart, up to 10 drops if the water is cloudy or cold. One of the pros to 2% tincture of iodine is that you can safely double the dose and double the exposure time (10 drops and one hour) for really suspect water. I have never had a waterbourne illness nor have any of my students using this method.

    In the last two years one tablet per liter chlorine tables apeared again on the market here called Clor-in 1. I use these in all of my kits but they have a shelf life of only two years. I like these better as you can use the water to cook with right away. If you add iodine water to food funny things happen, like your food turning blue. Once neutralized with Vitamin C it won't do that.

    I have had good results with 2% iodine. Mac
  11. Howitz


    May 7, 2006
    Does anyone use just plain old chlorine?
    I usually use just 2-4 drops of chlorox when getting water in the woods, and haven't had a problem so far....
    The Fed gov't i believe recomends it for use in natural disasters so i'd always assumed it was good enough for the backcountry. Anyone got any info on this I should know?
  12. pict


    Jan 7, 2003

    Bleach works fine as long as you know the percentage of available chlorine in the particular bleach you have and treat accordingly. Not all chlorine bleaches are created equal.

    The main reason I don't use liquid chlorine bleach is that it is BLEACH and I can never seem to manage the stuff without getting it on my clothes, boots, or gear at some point. Lot's of little white spots...

    Tablets of either iodine or chlorine are much easier to use IMO. Mac
  13. sherlockbonez


    Apr 28, 2002
    Concentrated iodine solutions can be used to dress wounds, can chorines be used for the same purpose?
  14. skammer

    skammer Banned by Moderators

    Jan 18, 2005
    No it destroys flesh.

    Providone/Betadine iodine can also be used to treat water and wounds dilute 10x for the later.

    The great thing about iodine is that it is cheap relatively.

  15. SpookyPistolero


    Dec 13, 2005
    My understanding is that tincture of iodine will work in a pinch, but is definitely an archaic way of disinfecting your water supply. I'm trying to find the research (I think it was on PubMed) that mentioned the tincture containing large amounts of sodium iodide (as opposed to iodine), which doesn't contain an anti-bacterial/viral properties and thus unnecessarily increases your iodine intake. This would only become a problem when disinfecting water on the order or weeks-months, but I don't like to tempt fate when the chlorine tablets are readily available.

    And there's always boiling...
  16. troutfisher13111

    troutfisher13111 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 30, 2006
    What brands of chlorine tablets are there other than micropur?
  17. billym


    Jan 8, 2006
    Micropur MP1 is not chlorine it is a tablet that releases chlorine dioxide when put in water. This is not the same as chlorine. Chlorine alone is slightly less effective than iodine and its effectiveness is hindered by how much organic matter is in the water.
  18. billym


    Jan 8, 2006
    You do not put iodine in high concentrations on a wound it burns the tissue and hinders healing.
  19. kr1


    May 30, 2006
    Betadine/Povidone iodine is 10% iodine. It is very useful for cleaning skin and in cleaning water. 4 drops per liter with one hour contact time. 8 drops if you are in a hurry with a half hour contact time. If you need to clean out wounds then cut it 10:1 with water. Thats ten parts water to one part iodine to clean internal wounds. You should never use more than 2% or 3% concentration to clean internal wounds and 1% is fine. Also those 50mg pills with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) will render virtually no taste of iodine like pict says. Just remember if you need a one hour contact time do not add the vitamin C until you are ready to stop the reaction. I typically like to smell the iodine smell in the water after the appropriate amount of contact time. That way I know that its still trying to work and I have added enough to do what I need done. After the proper amount of contact time if I can still smell the iodine I will add the ascorbic acid. If after the proper amount of contact time if I cannot smell the iodine I will add a couple of more drops and wait some more time to make sure.

    I should point out that I usually use a filter. I carry iodine both as polar pure and povidone/iodine as backup for emergencies.

  20. abo4ster


    Aug 24, 2003
    I use and like 2% tincture of iodine. I can treat a lot of water, it doesn't spoil as fast (like aqua tabs), and can be used as a disinfectant. No, it does not work on Crypto, but that is rare.

    I am also a fan of the Micropur tabs. Very conveinent - I tape a couple to my Nalgene bottle when that is all I carry. Also, no bad taste which is a downside to the iodine.

    I would stay away from the CL bleach; as I understand it, if you have a lot of organics in your water, it may become ineffective.

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