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I’ll copy and paste my response from another post about how I do things. Here are my thoughts about your process: 1. wash them out with Dawn – Good to do, even for a brand new container. You have to absolutely cover and clean every inch of the container. I do this by filling up with hot soapy water, getting a bottle brush or clean rag down in there and manually scrubbing all I can. Swish it around a lot, dump, rinse, and repeat. Take extra care of cleaning the lid and gasket, taking it apart and wiping down if possible. After I soap wash it twice I then fill up with water again and pour in a very concentrated amount of bleach. Let it sit for 15 minutes then flip the container over and wait another 15 minutes. Rinse this out until it is completely bleachless tasting. Be careful not to touch the inside and contaminating it. 2. rinse and dry – Definitely rinse out, but do not dry. Putting in a clean towel to dry will only expose the inside to bacteria. Just rinse and then fill with tap water as you state in step #3. Rinse off the outside of your container with cold water too because any residue bleach on the outside can stain your clothes. 3. refill with tap water – If you live in the city with clean tap water than this should be all you need to do, if you live off a well or get your water from another source then you will need to add bleach 4. add unscented bleach – Not 100% necessary if you followed the above steps perfectly, but doesn’t hurt to add. Make sure your bleach is less than 6 months old because that is the shelf life of bleach before it starts to break down. Using old bleach will not have the same kick as a newer bottle. Final step is storage. I dry off my sealed container with a clean towel and then let it air dry for a few minutes. I then take a piece of low tack painters tape and put it on the lid of the container saying when it was last filled so I know when to rotate. Keep your container in a cool and dark location. Heat and sunlight are the enemy and will lead to junk growing in your water. Make sure the container lids are screwed down completely and no air can get in. I like to screw down as hard as I can and then push on the sides and see if it burps out some air. Avoid storing in the garage as the fumes of your car can leach into the plastic walls of the container and contaminate your water too. These are the steps I’ve followed after taking The Prepared’s water course and it’s been serving me well so far. –End of my copied comment– Now in response to your specific question jgrif – Good choice on the 5 gallon Scepters, I love mine! Your question isn’t silly at all and as you can see from the forum post I linked to and responded to above, if you don’t do your prep work properly you will end up with some ruined nasty water. It’s very important to get this right. You don’t have to get hospital surgical room sanitized and sterile, but you do need to get it pretty clean. The baking soda will give you some grit to scour the inside of your container and absorb some odors. It’s a good cleaning product and I should add that to my cleaning routine in the future. Thanks for the tip. Bleach is 100% safe to use in cleaning your containers. Like I mentioned in my previous comment up above, use a very concentrated amount to sanitize the container and then follow through with multiple rinses until you can no longer smell or taste bleach. Every city water has a small amount of bleach in it. So if you are using tap water from the city for filling your container you don’t need to add any in your final fill, but if you are on well water you should add a small amount to keep things from growing. Look on Clorox’s website for the ratio of how many drops/tea spoons you need to put in per 5 gallons if you are on well water. I cleaned and filled mine in the bath tub. Be careful though because that 5 gallon container is going to be heavy when it is full. I dropped it on the drain plug in mine and cracked it. $20 later I got it replaced. Take the drain plug off of your bathtub before cleaning and filling to prevent this accident from happening. There are a few in my life who will not drink tap water and have to run everything through a filter before drinking. You have the right mindset that it is emergency drinking water and it’s either have a small amount of chemicals in your water during the apocalypse that will probably not do anything to you, or die from dehydration. If you want to reassure her, say that you will be filling it with tap water but she is welcome to run it through a filter during the emergency if that makes her feel better about drinking it. Tap water is safe to drink.  Let me know if you have any follow up questions or if anything I said was confusing. 


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I’ll copy and paste my response from another post about how I do things. Here are my thoughts about your process: 1. wash them out with Dawn – Good to do, even for a brand new container. You have to absolutely cover and clean every inch of the container. I do this by filling up with hot soapy water, getting a bottle brush or clean rag down in there and manually scrubbing all I can. Swish it around a lot, dump, rinse, and repeat. Take extra care of cleaning the lid and gasket, taking it apart and wiping down if possible. After I soap wash it twice I then fill up with water again and pour in a very concentrated amount of bleach. Let it sit for 15 minutes then flip the container over and wait another 15 minutes. Rinse this out until it is completely bleachless tasting. Be careful not to touch the inside and contaminating it. 2. rinse and dry – Definitely rinse out, but do not dry. Putting in a clean towel to dry will only expose the inside to bacteria. Just rinse and then fill with tap water as you state in step #3. Rinse off the outside of your container with cold water too because any residue bleach on the outside can stain your clothes. 3. refill with tap water – If you live in the city with clean tap water than this should be all you need to do, if you live off a well or get your water from another source then you will need to add bleach 4. add unscented bleach – Not 100% necessary if you followed the above steps perfectly, but doesn’t hurt to add. Make sure your bleach is less than 6 months old because that is the shelf life of bleach before it starts to break down. Using old bleach will not have the same kick as a newer bottle. Final step is storage. I dry off my sealed container with a clean towel and then let it air dry for a few minutes. I then take a piece of low tack painters tape and put it on the lid of the container saying when it was last filled so I know when to rotate. Keep your container in a cool and dark location. Heat and sunlight are the enemy and will lead to junk growing in your water. Make sure the container lids are screwed down completely and no air can get in. I like to screw down as hard as I can and then push on the sides and see if it burps out some air. Avoid storing in the garage as the fumes of your car can leach into the plastic walls of the container and contaminate your water too. These are the steps I’ve followed after taking The Prepared’s water course and it’s been serving me well so far. –End of my copied comment– Now in response to your specific question jgrif – Good choice on the 5 gallon Scepters, I love mine! Your question isn’t silly at all and as you can see from the forum post I linked to and responded to above, if you don’t do your prep work properly you will end up with some ruined nasty water. It’s very important to get this right. You don’t have to get hospital surgical room sanitized and sterile, but you do need to get it pretty clean. The baking soda will give you some grit to scour the inside of your container and absorb some odors. It’s a good cleaning product and I should add that to my cleaning routine in the future. Thanks for the tip. Bleach is 100% safe to use in cleaning your containers. Like I mentioned in my previous comment up above, use a very concentrated amount to sanitize the container and then follow through with multiple rinses until you can no longer smell or taste bleach. Every city water has a small amount of bleach in it. So if you are using tap water from the city for filling your container you don’t need to add any in your final fill, but if you are on well water you should add a small amount to keep things from growing. Look on Clorox’s website for the ratio of how many drops/tea spoons you need to put in per 5 gallons if you are on well water. I cleaned and filled mine in the bath tub. Be careful though because that 5 gallon container is going to be heavy when it is full. I dropped it on the drain plug in mine and cracked it. $20 later I got it replaced. Take the drain plug off of your bathtub before cleaning and filling to prevent this accident from happening. There are a few in my life who will not drink tap water and have to run everything through a filter before drinking. You have the right mindset that it is emergency drinking water and it’s either have a small amount of chemicals in your water during the apocalypse that will probably not do anything to you, or die from dehydration. If you want to reassure her, say that you will be filling it with tap water but she is welcome to run it through a filter during the emergency if that makes her feel better about drinking it. Tap water is safe to drink.  Let me know if you have any follow up questions or if anything I said was confusing. 


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