How to Use Silver for Water Purification

Our bodies need to be continuously hydrated; drinking plenty of water is the best way to do this. Having clean water to drink and for other home uses is crucial. Access to clean water helps to ensure people are safe from water-borne diseases. It turns out that silver can be used to purify water. Initially, this seems complicated, but purifying water using silver is pretty straightforward. The precious metal is usually associated with silverware and fancy jewelry. It may be a surprise that that has a fantastic ability to purify the water we drink.

The ability of silver to purify water is based on the fact that silver ions and their nanoparticles can help lower the number of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in water. Silver ions work to prevent DNA replication of bacteria and fungi in water, which kills the microbes. Nonetheless, it should be clear that silver shouldn’t be used on its own to purify water. It’s used alongside other techniques for it to be effective. For instance, it works best with carbon or ceramic filtration.

If you’re worried that your water may not be fit for drinking, read on to find out how you can use silver to purify your water.

Using Silver to Purify Water

Many water purifiers are sold yearly, and it’s not surprising that silver is in most of these purifiers. Silver hampers bacteria and algae growth since it’s bacteriostatic. When used in purifiers, it allows filters to do their job effectively – eliminate bacteria, trihalomethanes, chlorine, lead, odor, and particulates.

Silver ions are typically added to purification systems in community water systems, hospitals, pools, and spas. The water you drink at home may contain silver since it’s known to prevent Legionnaires’ disease.

The effectiveness of silver in preventing bacteria and microbes from reproducing has made it a preferred choice in commercial water filters. Usually, silver nanoparticles between 1-100 nanometers in diameter are mixed with carbon for bacterial control. Activated carbon can remove contaminants, but it doesn’t kill bacteria. So, combining activated carbon and bacteria ensures that bacteria and other contaminants are removed from the water.

Type of Silver Used to Purify Water

Not all types of silver are used to purify water. Silver ions (ionic silver) and silver nanoparticles are the main types used for water purification.

Silver Ions

Silver ions are obtained from silver salts, including silver chloride or silver nitrate. The ions can also be produced chemically.

Research shows that silver ions are pretty effective in reducing common bacteria in water, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Legionella pneumophila, Escherichia coli, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia.

Silver Nanoparticles

Silver nanoparticles can be in the form of resin beads, fiberglass, polyurethane, or ceramics. These nanoparticles can also help remove bacteria in water, including Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus faecalis, and Escherichia coli.

Essentially, both silver ions and nanoparticles work in the same way by killing microbes. The forms of silver work best when used with activated carbon filters or ceramic filters.

Silver and Carbon Filters

Carbon filters using silver are usually found in water filter pitchers, faucet filters, reverse osmosis systems, and refrigerator filters. Activated carbon filters are known to be good contaminant removers. They are often used to remove heavy metals in water. But unlike silver, activated carbon doesn’t kill bacteria. Silver is impregnated into the carbon filters to kill bacteria, making water safe for drinking.

So, what happens in carbon filters that don’t have silver? Studies reveal that carbon filters without silver increase the number of bacteria in water. The filters provide bacteria with the perfect breeding environment since they only eliminate contaminants without killing bacteria. As a result, the best way to purify water and ensure it’s safe for drinking is to invest in a filter with carbon and silver.

Silver and Ceramic Water Filters

Ceramic water filters also use silver nanoparticles. In most cases, you’ll find that these filters feature two containers, the upper ceramic part and the lower part, which can be made of plastic.

Water passes through the ceramic part through tiny holes that filter out chemicals, debris, dirt, and even bacteria.

Since the ceramic filters only filter out impurities, silver nanoparticles are impregnated to make the filters more effective in purifying water. Silver is used to kill bacteria and also to prevent microbes from reproducing. Silver can also be coated on the ceramic. During the making of the ceramic, silver is added to the components before it hardens. The final ceramic product will have silver nanoparticles in it.

If you’re using a ceramic water filter for the first time, it’s advisable not to drink the first water purified in the container. Discard the water and fill up the ceramic filter again to purify the water you can now drink. The initial purification may have some loose particles, which may be unsafe for consumption. To be safe, consider filling up the filter a second time.

Silver Purifies Water By Killing Bacteria in Water

Silver ions and nanoparticles kill bacteria and other viruses in the water, making it safe for drinking.

Silver acts on the bacteria cells and damages their DNA, preventing further growth. It also interacts with the cell membranes of the bacteria, compromising proteins in these membranes. Plus, the silver binds to the surface of the bacteria and alters the cell membrane properties.

The Right Way to Use Silver to Purify Water

The properties of silver make it a good purification metal. Ions and nanoparticles are the main types of silver used. However, it should be noted that silver doesn’t work on its own. It should be used with other purification systems, like ceramic water filters and carbon filters.

Can you add silver on your own to disinfect water? You don’t have to worry about adding silver to water to make it safe for drinking. The system should have silver already impregnated if you’re using a purifier. If you don’t have a purifier, you can use high-quality colloidal silver.