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Water Boil Orders: What You Need to Know


When the word comes out that your area has been affected by a boil order, it’s time to take stock of affected water and manage its reach in your home. Any place in your home that uses water is affected, from the kitchen to the laundry room. Start by following these guidelines to avoid contact with contaminated water.

How to Stay Safe from Contaminated Water

  • Don’t drink the water, prepare food, brush your teeth, or use any materials that have been in contact with water.
  • Throw out ice cubes, coffee, tea, and any stored beverages made or used with your home’s water.
  • Turn off water or block access to refrigerator water dispensers and faucets to provide a visual reminder and help curb normal habits.
  • Boil water for a minimum of three minutes and use that water to clean containers to store sanitized water.
  • Use boiled water to clean any dishes and utensils you plan on using. Wash hands and prepare food with boiled water.
  • Do not use your dishwasher.
  • Have young children take sponge baths to prevent any swallowing.

Culligan Expert Tip: Place bottled water or pre-boiled water containers in bathroom sinks as a visual reminder to brush and wash hands with clean water.

Hydration Tip: A pinch of salt can help improve the taste of “flat” boiled water for drinking.

After the Boil Order is Lifted

Keeping you and your family safe and healthy during a boil order extends beyond the duration of the order. To make sure your home is prepared to integrate safe, uncontaminated water back into your routine, ensure any remnants of contamination are addressed before you go back to business as usual.

  • Run the dishwasher through an empty bleach cycle.
  • Flush water lines.
  • Boil faucet screens.
  • Purge and sanitize water-using appliances, including the refrigerator water line, icemaker, coffeemaker, and tea kettle.
  • Change your refrigerator’s water filter.

Optional but recommended: Run a bleach cycle through your washing machine.

You’ll also want to make sure you sanitize any water filtration or water softening systems after a boil order has been in effect. Contact your local Culligan Water Expert to help you navigate this process, and ask any more questions you may have about bringing your home back from the boil order.

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