How To Use Solar Disinfection: 

Step 1

Fill a plastic bottle with source water.

Step 2

Leave the bottle in direct sunlight for six hours. If it's a cloudy day, leave the bottle out for two days instead.

Step 3

Drink the disinfected water straight from the bottle!

In SODIS, a combination of UV light and heat from the sun destroys disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

Why is SODIS special?

SODIS has many advantages that lend it for use in impoverished areas and developing countries, including:

  • Proven reduction in pathogens: up to 99.9999% reduction of some bacteria
  • Low cost of implementation: less than $1 per person per year
  • Ease of use: used by over 5 million people every year
  • No taste change


The efficacy and capability of SODIS has been consistently shown in research studies around the world. Current published data on SODIS clearly supports its advantages in several countries, such as:

  • India
  • Cambodia
  • Kenya
  • Uganda
  • Bangladesh
  • Peru
  • Cameroon
  • Costa Rica
  • Ethiopia

This map summarizes the current published research on solar water disinfection and its effectiveness in reducing bacterial loads in contaminated water sources. Each point on the map includes important data and information from a SODIS study. The gold star icons indicate the specific research studies that reveal an especially important fact about SODIS.

Do people use solar disinfection?


Over 5 million people in 28 developing countries around the world use SODIS for the treatment of regular drinking water. SODIS has been explored since the 1980's and is a proven method for making water safer to drink.

Figure 1: SODIS Use in 55 countries around the world (McGuigan et al, 2015)

Great! What's the catch?

The simplicity of SODIS does present some challenges to be overcome: water that is too cloudy must be pre-filtered, limited quantities can be purified in each batch, and most importantly, it is hard to tell when the water is actually safe to drink!

Because cloud cover, differences in bottles, and water cloudiness impact purification time, one set of simple guidelines can't address the needs of the diverse communities around the world who could benefit from using SODIS. Learn how the OSPRI solves these problems

Solar Disinfection has great potential, but there is still room for improvement.

Learn how the BBP-designed OSPRI is enhancing SODIS to make it easier, faster, and more accessible.


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