How do I use SolarBag?

Simply place SolarBag® (label-side down) in the sun for a few hours and enjoy purified water. Solar-activated nanotechnology renders harmless the broadest spectrum of contaminants of any portable device on the market today. That’s why one SolarBag can give a family of four enough clean water to last them for one year of continuous use. Imagine the power of SolarBag when preparing for natural disasters or for unexpected circumstances when you travel.

Fill a SolarBag with 3 liters of fresh water from any source. Notice that a sock-like pre-filter pouch hangs inside the opening of SolarBag to catch twigs and dirt. The less debris in the water, the better. This ensures longevity of the photocatalytic nanomesh which attracts debris and microbes in order to render pathogens and bacteria harmless. After submerging SolarBag into water, or after pouring water into the plastic pouch, place or hang in direct sunlight or in an area that’s open to the sky. (Put the label side away from the sun to increase photocatalysis of the mesh). In sunny weather, water is purified in 2-3 hours; on cloudy days, or if the water source is tea-colored, water is purified in 4-6 hours.

To test exactly how much time is needed in any location, squeeze one drop of Pur-Blue food grade dye (included in each shipment) into a SolarBag filled with water. The blue dye will break down at the same rate as contaminants break down. When the blue color clears, water is purified.

SolarBag can be used hundreds of times, does not clog, requires no backwashing or pumping to clean it. Requires no chemicals or additives to clean water or to clean plastic pouch. No replaceable components. Rinse sock pre-filters when dirty. Don’t drag SolarBag on the ground. Store in cool, dry place when not in use.

If any new SolarBag fails to pass blue-dye test for clear, clean water, send back for free replacement. If any new SolarBag arrives with a broken part or tear in plastic, send back

Why is SolarBag recommended by EPA and the World Health Organization?

SolarBag is a sunlight-activated portable and reusable water purifier that destroys or removes the broadest range of contaminants without pumping, power source, chemicals, additives or replaceable components. Sunlight activates a photocatalysis process that’s many times more powerful than disinfecting with Clorox or bleach. SolarBag is also effective because it’s portable, easy-to-use, and stores the water that it cleans. By placing SolarBag in the sun (label down) for a few hours, people during natural disasters or those without access to clean water can benefit from hydration. One SolarBag can be used continuously for a minimum of one year and provide enough clean water for a family of four.

Does SolarBag® hold any certifications that proves it kills 99.9% of contaminants?

The SolarBag has been tested to the US EPA Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers for inactivation of bacteria, viruses and protozoan cysts in a challenge water defined by the EPA.  Under these testing procedures, SolarBag killed more than 99.9999% of all bacteria, 99.99% of all viruses and 99.9% of all protozoan cysts.  It has also been certified or approved for use by several foreign countries, the World Health Organization, and won numerous innovation awards for clean water technology.

Why is SolarBag’s plastic safe enough to leave for hours in the sun?

SolarBag is made up of a variety of high-density polyethylene components, most of them BPA free. The water container pouch itself is made of BPA free polyethylene and safe for use in the sun. All other water contact surfaces including the lid are also certified by FDA as USP Class VI for cytotoxicity testing, too, and are also certified BPA free. The outer bag and blue fittings can be recycled. The mesh insert should be cut out, removed and discarded with non-toxic solid waste.

How much water can SolarBag® purify and for how long can I use it?

SolarBag treats up to 3 liters of water at a time, several times per day in sunlight, and can be reused hundreds of times. A family of four in developing nations can enjoy enough clean water from one SolarBag to last them for one year of continuous use. As each 3 liters of clean water is ready, it can be poured into clean containers for storage, and another 3 liters can be treated as long as there’s sun.

How does SolarBag® purify water to kill 99.9% of all contaminants?

Inside each SolarBag is a nanotechnology coated mesh insert that can be activated by UV light. Any water source, such as, rainwater, well water, lake water, or river water can be cleaned by a process called photocatalysis which renders contaminants harmless when the sun activates the proprietary nanomesh. Sunlight generates a photocatalytic reaction inside the mesh which creates oxidation compounds that degrade organic compounds and microbiological matter without chemicals and without creating a disinfection byproduct. To learn more about photocatalysis, scroll down to see how it works.

How long does it take for SolarBag® to purify water in different climates?

SolarBag requires only sunlight to purify water and that treatment is fastest with intense sunlight which further accelerates water temperature. Sunny days in tropical latitudes (or sub-Saharan, desert or mid-east climates) are ideal.  In higher latitudes, or with murky water or with overcast skies, water treatment takes longer. For example, on a clear, warm, sunny day SolarBag will destroy harmful microbes and chemicals in 2-3 hours.  As conditions become cloudy and cool, energy from the sun is reduced and the time required for purification can take 4-6 hours. The only way to know for sure how long SolarBag needs to purify water is to squeeze one drop of Pur-Blue food grade dye (included in each shipment) into a SolarBag filled with water. The blue dye will break down at the same rate as contaminants break down. Testing for performance in any new climate or location is recommended to ensure that the purification process completes. Testing after a year of continuous use is also recommended.

What is photocatalysis and how does it work to make even metals harmless?

Photocatalysis, which is activated when a sufficient amount of light wave interacts with the mesh, includes five separate photochemical actions: chemicals break down into harmless minerals; metals separate from the water and become sequestered by the mesh insert; the full solar spectrum disinfects pathogens; heavy metals become neutralized by adsorption, photo-oxidation and photo-reduction; and metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic are reduced in concentration. Photocatalysis is much stronger than chlorine disinfections and results in carbon dioxide and water.

How is the proprietary nanomesh inside a SolarBag® affected by metals build up?

Adsorption of a metal by the mesh (which cause it to adhere to its surface) can eventually saturate the mesh’s ability to remove that metal from water. If that happens, the performance of the mesh in removing organic contaminants or even other metals may improve or degrade depending on the chemical composition of the water source.  In emergency usage, SolarBag will improve drinking water quality for a sufficient time to allow experts to assess the water quality of the source in order to address acute high concentrations of specific contaminants that may require additional treatment modalities.

What kind of water should I put into SolarBag® and will it desalinate?

Water from any fresh water source is suitable for SolarBag. This includes rainwater, well water, lake water, and river water.  For best results, the water should be clear and without color to ensure longevity of the proprietary nanomesh insert. The nanomesh inside of Solarbag cannot remove salts, desalinate, or remove monovalent monatomic anions like chloride or fluoride.

What’s the shelf life of SolarBag® and how should I store it?

The original Solarbags currently for sale were invented and manufactured by Puralytics in Oregon and determined shelf life based on the materials used for fabrication. These are commonly used materials that have been tested by individual material suppliers. If handled properly, by being stored in a cool place, and not dragged across the ground which could damage seams or edges, each SolarBag should last for years or several hundred uses.

Between uses, prepare SolarBag for storage by following these steps: (1) Stand the bag up on a wire shelf or dishrack with the opening down and the lid off to let the remaining water drain and to let air circulate in aid of the drying process (do not excessively squeeze or shake SolarBag as this can damage the mesh insert); (2) when most of the water is gone, turn Solarbag over to let any remaining water evaporate up and out the opening; (3) after all remaining water is gone, close the lid completely and store the bag in a dark location at moderate temperature. (4) For the next use of SolarBag, fill with the cleanest available water and place it in the sun for a full day before putting the bag back into use. You’ll want to wake up the nanomesh insert because it’s the catalyst for purification.

How often should I use the small bottle of Pur-Blue included with each shipment?

Pur-Blue food grade dye is an easy visual indicator for you to see exactly how long it takes SolarBag to purify water in any location. Factors such as changes in sun exposure, number of uses, and the water quality of the water source can all affect the performance time that it takes for SolarBag to complete purification.  Using Pur-Blue will slightly extend treatment time but will also ensure a thorough and complete process for those who want that kind of daily verification. It’s most helpful for first time use in any new location, or if there are changes of season or weather conditions which effect sun exposure.

Why should I use SolarBag’s pre-filter that’s attached to the cap?

It’s important to use the pre-filter because it removes larger particles like grains of sand, leaves, twigs, hair and sediment from the water as its being poured into SolarBag. Testing has shown that the pre-filter removes particulates as small as 100 microns as well as parasites like cryptosporidium. 

When filling SolarBag just remove the cap and insert the pre-filter, stretch and fold the elastic to secure it around the opening, push the filter fabric into SolarBag and then pour the source water through it until the bag is full. Remove the pre-filter from SolarBag by placing it outside the opening; and then screw the cap back on. The pre-filter can be gently rinsed by pouring clean water back through it.

The pre-filter was tested as part of SolarBag for US EPA Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers for inactivation of bacteria, viruses and protozoan cysts in challenge water defined by EPA. The pre-filter was also quantified in US EPA Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers at the University of Arizona which showed that the pre-filter alone reduced cryptosporidium oocysts by more than 1.5-log in both general (low NTU) and EPA challenge waters (greater than 30 NTU).  The residual microbes were always killed inside of SolarBag following filtration to the necessary EPA requirements for water purifiers (more than 99.9999% of all bacteria, 99.99% of all viruses and 99.9% of all protozoan cysts) in all test cases. The pre-filter removes larger particles (>100 micrometers) but allows dissolved species to pass through.  The nanomesh insert inside Solarbag treats the dissolved species in the water through photoadsorption, photooxidation, photoreduction, photolysis and photodisinfection but is not intended to act as a filter.

How do I repair SolarBag® if it leaks? How do I dispose of it?  

Solarbag is designed to be durable and will stand up well to normal use which includes not puncturing it or dragging it across the ground. Small leaks can be repaired with clear packing/box tape or superglue, but large leaks are cause for disposal. If discarding, cut SolarBag open and remove the mesh insert to dispose of it with nontoxic solid waste; recycle the BPA free outer bag as Type 7 plastic.