Best Emergency Water Storage

A friend asked me for a suggestion on how to store water for emergencies. Today, I thought I would write a brief post about an easy, inexpensive, and safe way to store water in your home. Please stick around for the entire post (especially the last paragraph) as all of the info in here is important.

What makes a good water container?

It depends on your application, but here are a few characteristics that would make the ideal bottle or container:

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1. Container will not leak

2. Will not break when dropped or jostled.

3. Material won’t break down over time.

4. Portable.

5. Inexpensive

6. Easy to obtain.

Okay, so let’s look at a few common options and see if they fit the list:

Milk Cartons: Bad idea! They are easy to poke a hole in, can break if dropped, and the material in milk cartons is designed to break down over time so as not to fill up the landfills.

Nalgene-like bottles: A good choice for bulk water storage only if you are rich and money is not an object. Despite being expensive, it fits the other characteristics pretty well.

Glass, Ceramic, and Stone bottles: A poor choice because they are likely to break if dropped on concrete. This can create safety issues for little ones due to the broken glass/pottery They also aren’t the cheapest option. But they will be a safer option since they don’t have plastic in them. They are still not the best option we have available to us.

There are other options, but I think you get the idea. You now have the above list to help you think through whether you have picked a good water storage container.

The best option for long-term emergency water storage is…

Plastic Pop/Soda Bottles! Think through this with me. Pop bottles have a very strong plastic. Just how strong? According to one source, pop/soda bottles have between 40-55 pounds per square inch of pressure. When exposed to the sun, the gases in the bottle can make the pressure inside up to 100 psi! Pop bottles have to be strong to withstand the pressure from the carbonated water they contain. They definitely will not leak (characteristic #1).

Pop bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate (Source), a strong, yet lightweight plastic, so they will not break down over time, and, in fact, they can cause disposal problems in landfills. But not to worry, you are saving these pop bottles from going to the landfill when you reuse them for your water storage.

For the same reason, pop bottles will not break when dropped on concrete.

Pop bottles are also portable, inexpensive, and easily available. But if you are like me and you don’t drink pop, you may need to ask a friend to save their bottles for you!

How to Store Pop Bottles

The great thing about pop bottles is that they have a basically sterile environment (as I understand it). Just wash them out with some water and you should be good to go. If you are extra concerned about germs, you can always put a drop of dish soap inside, put the cap back on, and swish them out with some water. You may have to do this several times to get all of the soapy taste out. Once you have the water inside, I personally wouldn’t worry about the water going bad. So long as there isn’t anything in the bottle that would cause the water to go bad, it should stay good for many years. This is not medical advice and anything you do with the information in this post is at your own risk. The guy I got this whole idea from (Steven Harris of had water that was eight years old that was perfectly fine. If you are worried, you can always boil the water or use some iodine water purification tablets from Amazon, Wal-Mart, or your local camping store.

Pop bottles can be stored easily on shelves, or, if space is not a big concern, you may be able to get some 2 or 3 liter pop bottle crates from your local Coke or Pepsi plant. Ask them if they have any broken or damaged crates that they might be willing to give you. You might also check with your local grocery stores. Crates are not necessary, but they can help to keep the bottles upright and organized.

Keep the bottles in a cool, dark location. Store them in such a way that they will not drop onto the floor, but remember, they won’t break (but it would be most inconvenient to pick up hundreds of bottles off of the floor).

Summary and Acknowledgment

I would like to thank Steven Harris of and for sharing this valuable idea. I heard about it in one of his family preparedness classes here (be advised, there is some language.) Steve has some extremely practical info in addition to what I have shared with you today.

In conclusion, pop/soda bottles meet all the criteria for a viable long term water storage option. They are strong, lightweight, won’t degrade, portable, inexpensive, and easy to get. So ask that pop addict in your life if they will give you their 2 and 3 liter pop bottles. You will be taking something that was used to weaken humanity and turning it into something that could save your family’s life in a short-term emergency.

And that’s what Jesus does for us. We give Him the empty containers of our painful, broken, selfish lives, and, in return, Christ fills our hearts with living water, His presence in our lives! What once broke down our spiritual health is exchanged for fresh, vitalizing water that satisfies our deepest longings. And THAT is the ultimate transformation. Won’t you ask Jesus to give you that water today?

Did you like this article? Go ahead and share it! Please subscribe for free blog updates by entering your email address into the box at the top right of this page and clicking submit. Thanks so much for your time! Pray. Plan. Prepare.

John Erickson






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