How Long To Boil Water (And Why)?

How Long To Boil Water (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1 to 5 minutes

Before consuming anything, it is better to make sure there is less amount or completely no germs present. There is a difference between eating homemade food and the food made from a restaurant. Similarly, the water one uses or drinks is different based on its sources. While some use water from faucets and wells, some get their water from lakes and creeks, but that is certainly rare in the modern world.

Nowadays, since more than half of the world’s population has houses, they get their water from pipes, borewells, and faucets. Water is used to clean, drink, cook and the water which is not completely pure can be used to clean. Meanwhile, the water that is used to cook and drink must be clean and without germs. People nowadays connect water purifiers to the pipelines directly and purify the water from any sort of dirt that can alter the taste of the water. Yet, the purifiers only clean the purify the water of dirt, but to get rid of the germs, there are other ways.

Boiling water can get the water rid of its germs, at least to an extent. Everybody puts forth the question of how long water must be boiled so that it is free of germs and safe to drink. Normally, it takes about 2 minutes to boil water and it must be boiled for about 3 to 5 minutes to kill at least some of the germs.

How Long To Boil Water

How Long To Boil Water?

Percentage of germsTime
10%1 to 2 minutes
25%3 to 5 minutes
50%-80%7 to 10 minutes

When water is boiled, bubbles are formed, along with water vapor which is formed by the water evaporating. When water is boiled, some of the water gets turned into steam and mist and gets evaporated. According to a poll conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of the voters voted that is necessary to boil the water for at least 5 to 10 minutes. The entire process of boiling water takes only about a minute and to be considered safe to drink, the water should be boiled only for a minute.

There are multiple reasons why tap water is unfit to drink. The reasons include natural or manmade outbreaks, like diseases, medical and industrial waste, that get mixed into natural sources of water, and the bacteria can seep into the ground, getting mixed with the water. While some water sources are mixed with soluble dirt and mineral particles, some are mixed with chemicals, which is harder to purify.

Whatever the source of water might be, it is better to boil the water before drinking it. When the water is too contaminated with chemicals, there is nothing that can be done to purify the water. When the water is too contaminated for purification, there will be visible changes in the water’s physical and chemical characteristics.

Why Does It Take That Long To Boil Water?

Water is colorless, tasteless, and is a clear liquid that can be used for various purposes. The water that is used to drink and cook must be heated, while it is not necessary to heat the water for other household activities. When water is contaminated, the color, taste, and feel of the water change. There are reasons why one should heat the water.

Drinking water that is contaminated can lead to severe health issues like typhoid and any other water-borne diseases. It will also make a person seriously sick and cause side effects like dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, cold, throat aches, and even nausea.


Some of the most common contaminants of water include metal particles like iron, lead, mercury, parasites, bacteria, viruses, industrial, chemical and medical waste, and even pharmaceuticals. The reason water is heated is that high heat will kill microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and all sorts of germs.

People think that boiling water for about 15 to 20 minutes is necessary and safe, but that’s wrong. Boiling water for more than 5 to 10 minutes isn’t good because this will also evaporate all the essential nutrients present in water. Though water is a clear liquid with no noticeable qualities, it contains some nutrients that are essential for the body’s health.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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