If boiling your water isnt option, chemical purification may provide the disinfection that you need. There are a variety of off the shelf chemicals that you can use to make water much safer to drink: Did you know that charcoal can be used to help purify your water? Yes, it’s true! In fact, most filtration systems sold at retail stores actually contain a good deal of charcoal inside of them. Charcoal is a great purifying substance because it has the unique ability to absorb sediments and contaminants while also improving taste. Charcoal is also easy to find because it is created whenever you burn wood (like when you have to create a fire to survive).