Please enter your First Name.
Please enter your Last Name.
Please enter your email.
Thank you for subscribing!
Under (Water) Pressure: How to Stay Healthy During a Boil Water Advisory
General Wellness

Under (Water) Pressure: How to Stay Healthy During a Boil Water Advisory

By Your Health staff
Posted: February 19, 2021

Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) issued the division’s first-ever boil water advisory until further notice Thursday, February 18, due to low water pressure and other issues stemming from this week’s record-breaking winter weather.

As a precaution, the advisory recommends using bottled water or boiling tap water, because water could be contaminated with germs that can make you sick. MLGW’s advice follows the state’s stringent water quality standards to keep everyone, particularly people with weak immune systems or kids, safe.

Because it’s often hard to know how to respond to these orders, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare has compiled a few helpful, CDC-approved tips to get you through the advisory as safely and seamlessly as possible:


Use bottled or boiled water for drinking, as well as to prepare and cook food.

If bottled water is not available, bring water to a full rolling boil for three minutes, then allow it to cool before use. Boil tap water even if it is filtered.

Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator.

Breastfeeding is the best infant feeding option. If your child is formula-fed, provide ready-to-use formula, if available.

Brushing Teeth

Brush your teeth with boiled or bottled water.

Do not use untreated tap water.

Bathing and Showering

Take short showers instead of baths.

Be careful not to swallow any water when bathing or showering.

Use caution when bathing infants and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.


and you'll receive more health & wellness tips right in your inbox.



You can use tap water and soap to wash hands, but be mindful of your water usage.

Be sure to scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and rinse them well under running water.

If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Washing Dishes

Use disposable plates, cups and utensils, if possible, during a boil water advisory. Delay washing dishes in the dishwasher.

If necessary, household dishwashers generally are safe to use if the water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150ºF (65.55ºC), or if the dishwater has a sanitizing cycle.

Sterilize all baby bottles.

To wash dishes by hand:

  • Wash and rinse the dishes as you normally would using hot water.
  • In a separate basin, add one teaspoon of unscented household liquid bleach for each gallon of warm water.
  • Soak the rinsed dishes in the water for at least one minute.
  • Let the dishes air dry completely before using again.


It is safe to wash clothes; however, MLGW has advised delaying this until the boil advisory has been lifted.


Use bottled water, boiled water or water that has been disinfected with bleach to clean surfaces and washable toys.

Caring for Pets

Pets can get sick by some of the same germs as people or spread germs to people.

Provide bottled or boiled water after it has been cooled for pets to consume.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, MLGW will notify the community that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes. Follow MLGW, as well as Methodist social media channels, for updates.

Should you have any health-related questions regarding the boil water advisory, please contact the Shelby County Health Department at (901) 222-9000.