What To Do During a Boil Water Advisory New Orleans

If there’s an active boil water advisory in New Orleans, this is what you need to know.

Because life is messy and New Orleans infrastructure is passable at best, a boil water advisory New Orleans is just a part of life (and a good opportunity to sip some classic New Orleans cocktails instead). Having lived in New Orleans for four years it seems like it’s pretty standard for once a year, for a day (or three) the water in the whole city is unsafe to consume. This was never an issue in any of the places I’ve lived before, but one of those fun quirks of living in an old city, built on a swamp.

Boil order safety

During a boil order the water may be contaminated with pathogens so you don’t want to consume it. You can boil your water (at a rolling boil for at least a full minute, or more to be safe) for use but who has time for that?


Drinking, using the water for ice, and brushing your teeth should all be done with safe water. If you have a compromised immune system, open or recent wounds, or have certain chronic illnesses you basically don’t want to touch the water in any way. Everyone else can carefully take showers (just don’t swallow water and try to avoid your eyes). You can also wash hands, but you should also use hand sanitizer after hand washing.

What to buy

The first thing you’ll want to do when you hear that it’s a boil water advisory New Orleans is go to your nearest store and buy a few gallons of water, or seltzer if you’re fancy. They go fast and if you like drinking plain old water it’s best to high tail it to a grocery store. Buy at least one gallon of water to use until the water is safe.

I personally write off using water for anything, including cooking. So, as someone who eats a lot of veggies, I also pick up a few microwavable bags of vegetables. You can seam them right in the bag without water, and there’s no pan to clean up after.

Also, some bars will have specials during boil orders! You can’t drink the water but you can drink beer.

Boil order hygiene

Opting out of bathing for a few days? Become BFFs with dry shampoo, perfume, and braided hairstyles. Dry shampoo can be used to make your hair look clean and smell nice till you can shower after the ‘boil water advisory New Orleans’ is lifted. If things are in dire straights you can always go for a hairstyle that hides greasy hair, and definitely be sure to check out our definitive best dry shampoo for dark hair article.

I love using Bioderma micellar cleansing water to remove makeup (especially eye makeup) during boil orders. Unlike other cleansers, micellar waters don’t need to be washed off. Cleanse your face and move right along! Then, when the water is a-okay, it may be time for a deep cleaning face mask.

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Bio: She's a New Orleans based beauty writer, nail polish hoarder, and doughnut enthusiast. When she isn't camping out in her local coffee shop for hours on end, you'll probably find her taking selfies in front of every colorful wall she's ever seen. Follow along on Twitter and Instagram @themercuteify.