Boiling water

What to do when warned that water should be boiled?

Boiling kills micro-organisms such as virus, bacteria and parasites. The water should boil briskly for at least one minute. An electric water kettle will normally bring the water to a brisk boil before it switches off automatically, which is considered sufficient. If using a microwave oven, one must ensure that the water actually boils briskly.  Industrially bottled water is always an alternative to boiled water.

The texts below are excerpts from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Norwegian Food Safety Authority web pages.

Any water for direct consumption must be boiled.

Also use boiled water for:

  • All food not to be boiled or exposed to heat over 100 °C
  • Mixing syrups and other products for drinking or eating
  • Coffee. Generic domestic coffee machines do not heat the water sufficiently, therefore the water used must be boiled. The performance of other types of coffee makers should be checked with the manufacturer
  • Ice cubes
  • Rinsing of fruits, salads, and vegetables not to be boiled
  • Brushing teeth

Unboiled water may be used for

  • Boiling food
  • Hand wash. Use soap, rinse and dry well
  • Showers and bathtubs. Take care not to ingest water, and show special attention to children
  • Manual dishwashing and machine wash. If washing up by hand, rinse with boiled water or at least dry off thoroughly. The effect of detergents containing disinfectants is not sufficient
  • Washing of clothes
  • House cleaning

Other domestic use

Children should not be allowed to play with water sprinklers or use paddling pools during announced periods of reduced water quality and subsequent recommendations.

Access to clean drinking water – find out what applies to your municipality

Check the municipality’s web pages. In situations of prolonged duration, you may be able to obtain clean drinking water from tanks provided by your municipality.

Water samples and analyses

Whenever recommendations for the boiling of tap water are issued, water samples are being sent to a laboratory for analysis. Test results are normally returned within one working day. Affected households will be notified by SMS and/or voice mail when normal water quality has been restored.