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Can I shower? Can I wash my hands? Here's what to know if you're under a boil water notice

Be sure to boil water before drinking, cooking and ice making.

DALLAS — At least 17 cities in North Texas are under a boil water notice after power outages and frozen water lines.

Those affected should boil their water vigorously for at least 2 minutes before letting it cool to be used or consumed. 

To cancel a boil water notice, each water authority has to get the water tested for bacteria. It could take up to 24 hours for that sample test to be complete.

Be sure to boil water before drinking, cooking and ice making.

Here's what to know if you are under a boil water notice, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

RELATED: Multiple cities in North Texas under a boil water order as power outages continue

Can I shower?

  • Be careful not to swallow any water when bathing or showering.
  • Use caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.

Can I brush my teeth?

Not with the untreated tap water. Be sure to boil it first or use bottled water to brush your teeth.

Can I wash my hands and face?

  • Boil the water and let it cool first or use bottled water.
  • 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.

Do I need to boil filtered water, like from a fridge or Brita?

Yes, you do need to boil filtered water.

Can I wash dishes?

If available, use disposable plates, cups, and utensils during a boil water advisory.

Household dishwashers are generally safe to use if the water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit or if the dishwasher has a sanitizing cycle.

Be sure to 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 1 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.                  

Can I do laundry?

The water is safe to wash clothes as usual, according to the CDC. First, make sure your city is not on a "conserve water" notice. Many cities in North Texas have alerted residents to only use water for emergencies.

What about water for my pets or plants?

According to the CDC, pets can get sick by the same types of germs as people do. Use bottled water or boiled water after it has been cooled for your pets.

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.


You can use tap water for household plants and gardens.

When will I know when the boil water notice is lifted?

The public water system will issue a notice to let people know when the boil water notice is lifted. Check your city's social media pages or call the water department.

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