Objectives: The objective of this study is to understand the characteristics of households who treat their water in the home. In promoting home water treatment, there may be valuable lessons to be learnt from countries with many home water treatment users.

Methods: Responses to the new Demographic and Health Survey question on water treatment were analysed for 21,972 Egyptian households interviewed during 2005. Logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between home water treatment and household characteristics.

Results: 5.9% (CI 5.2–6.7%) of households used home water treatment, mostly either home filtration or letting water stand to settle. Filtration use was significantly related to educational attainment and wealth, whilst letting water stand to settle was related to use of stoneware water vessels, groundwater sources, and water supply disruptions.

Discussion: The Egyptian data suggest that 4.5 million people use home water treatment and confirm some water handling behaviours reported elsewhere. Because of limited detail in the DHS data about the technologies used and their effectiveness, it is unclear whether this behaviour reduces waterborne disease. Further research should consider how such data can be augmented with additional information to address this question.