Does bleach "clean" saltwater?

I had a women in my OLS class today tell the class that her husband, the fisherman, carries bleach on his boat to purify salty seawater in the off chance they get stranded somewhere. She claims that by adding some bleach, you can make the water safe to drink. Any truth to this?

You can use a very small amount of bleach to kill harmful micro organisms in water, making it safer to drink, but I don’t think it will remove the salt.

No, it won’t do anything to the salt. It’ll still be undrinkable. Perhaps someone misunderstood, and the bleach is to purify fresh water if they were stranded on an island or something. That would make more sense. The only way to turn seawater into drinking water would be to distill it, which would leave behind any microbes anyway.

:dubious: Clorox, heh?