There are different reasons for issuing a boil water advisory. These include:
Where the boil advisory is for drinking water only, the water can be used for general domestic purposes, including hand washing, bathing and showering (providing the water is not swallowed), dishwashing and laundry. Water used for drinking purposes should be brought to a rolling boil. This applies to water used for making infant formula and juices, cooking, making ice, washing fruits and vegetables, and brushing teeth. Discard all ice made before the boil water advisory was issued, and disinfect the ice cube trays. Alternate safe supplies of water, such as bottled water, can also be used. (Caution: Place kettles and pots on back burners or away from counter edges to avoid spillage and scalding.)
Can I take a bath? Adults and teens may shower or bath with untreated water as long as they can avoid swallowing water. Older children may take or be given a shower with a hand-held showerhead, avoiding the face. Younger children should be sponge-bathed instead of bathing in a tub because they are likely to swallow tub or shower water.
Can I use the water for drinking purposes? All types of boil water advisories include drinking water. The water cannot be used for drinking until it is properly sterilized by bringing it to a rolling boil. This includes water used for infant formula and juice, cooking, making ice, washing fruits and vegetables, and brushing teeth.
Can I use the water for hand washing? Water can be used for hand washing after the following water treatment: Use one part regular household bleach to 1,000 parts water. Mix and let stand for at least 10 minutes prior to use. (Use 5 ml or 1 teaspoon of bleach in 5 liters or 1 gallon of water.)
How else can I disinfect my hands? You can use alcohol-based hand disinfectants, containing more than 60% alcohol. These products are widely used in health-care settings for washing hands, or in situations when water is not available. The wet wipes used for cleaning babies during a diaper change are not effective for disinfecting hands and should not be used for this purpose.
Thanks to: Manitoba Health Well Water Fact Sheet – Office of the Chief Medical Office of Health, March 2001
1. How long should I boil water?
Bring water to a vigorous, rolling boil for a minimum of two minutes.
2. Can I make coffee or tea with the water from my tap?
Yes, but use boiled water or water from an approved source.
3. Can I cook with the water?
Yes, if boiled vigorously for at least TWO minutes.
4. Can I brush my teeth with the water?
Yes, use boiled water or bottled water.
5. Can I wash dishes with the water?
Yes, wash dishes as you would normally do, but rinse washed dishes in a sink full of water with a capful of liquid bleach or put a capful of liquid bleach in your dishwasher before commencing the cycle.
6. Can I wash clothes in the water?
7. Can I bathe or shower with the water?
Yes, but care should be taken to avoid ingesting the water, particularly in the case of children and those with weak immune system.
8. How do I wash vegetables and salad greens?
Wash with previously boiled water or use bottled water.