Can Water Filters Remove Viruses?

Water filters remove contaminants like chlorine taste and odor, limescale, lead, and arsenic from drinking water.

Viruses are found in all water sources, from lakes to streams. They spread disease and breed disease-causing bacteria.

Short Answer

Not all water filters remove viruses, but some do. Boiling water is the best way to kill viruses and other germs. Parasites can be removed from water by an absolute 1-micron filter or an NSF Standards 53 or 58 filter, but viruses and bacteria cannot. Reverse osmosis filters eliminate viruses. Membrane and depth filters cannot remove viruses completely, but reverse osmosis and nanofiltration can.

Ensure a filter can remove 1/10,000th of a micron of particles before buying it. Many virus-removing filters have a three-stage filtration system with an activated carbon filter. Portable water filters for hunters, campers, hikers, and families are virus-free.

UV water filtration systems kill 99.9% of water’s pathogens, viruses, and bacteria. Nano-rated high-performance filters can remove viruses along with other methods. Most household water filters don’t remove viruses.

As a technician, I’ve seen the benefits of good water filters. A client was worried about their well water due to nearby agriculture. We found harmful bacteria and viruses in their water after testing. We recommended a UV-based whole-house water filtration system to eliminate pathogens. Our client liked their water and felt safe drinking it. Choose the right water filtration system for your family’s health.

Reverse osmosis

Filtering dissolved contaminants from water is easy with reverse osmosis. Chlorine, lead, nitrates, and more are removed from the environment by this water purification method.

Reverse osmosis separates large and small particles by forcing water through a membrane. Water can taste better and be healthier after this filtration process.

Bacteria and viruses in tap water can cause diseases, so a reverse osmosis water filter removes them.

Most bacteria cannot pass through reverse osmosis filters with pore sizes of about 0.0001 microns.

These filters reduce sediment, minerals, and odors in water.

Carbon filtration

Carbon water filters remove chlorine and many organic pollutants. Unfortunately, it won’t remove viruses, arsenic, fluoride, or dissolved solids.

Activated carbon is made by heating and steaming petroleum coke, bituminous coal, lignite, coconut shells, or wood products without oxygen. This creates porous carbon with more adsorption surface area.

This makes it ideal for chlorine, VOC, and other pollutant reduction. It can also remove trihalomethanes, algae toxins, and other water disinfection byproducts.

Filters remove lithium and other trace elements. Antidepressant and stress-relieving properties are found in tap water’s naturally occurring metal. Its thickness and water contact time determine how much lithium is removed.

Ultraviolet light

Ultraviolet light is used worldwide in water treatment to kill bacteria and viruses resistant to chlorine and other chemicals.

Short-wave UV radiation (260 nm) damages microorganisms’ DNA in the most common UV disinfection systems. UV rays can cause adjacent thymine bases to bond, which is bad for DNA.

However, some types of UV rays can alter the DNA of living cells, making them more able to survive and increase, leading to tumors.

UV disinfection works best in water with low color, turbidity, and particulates. Sediment or activated carbon filtration is required before the UV unit achieves this.


Vapor rises from boiling water as molecules change from liquid to gas. The enthalpy of vaporization refers to this energy.

B boiling kills most pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and protozoan parasites, making it the most effective way to purify drinking water.

In an emergency or “boil water notice,” boiling water may be a temporary solution.

Add unscented household chlorine bleach to your drinking water to disinfect it. This makes water safe to drink quickly and easily. Add a few chlorine dioxide tablet drops instead.