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5 DIY Water Filters You Can Make Today (With Pictures)

diy natural water filter outside using water bottles rocks and charcoal

Water filters are excellent ways to ensure that yucky contaminates and harmful sediment have been expunged from your drinking water. And there are a ton of different options available for purchase ranging in price from economical to very expensive.

But you don’t necessarily have to purchase a prefabricated water filter. You can build your water filter at home with little-to-no effort.

In this article, we’ve put together five different methods of removing impurities from the water that you can use at home.

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The 5 DIY Water Filters

1. Boiling and Filtering Water

boiling water in a pot
Image Credit: music4life, Pixabay

Let’s start with the easiest method available—boiling water. Boiling your water isn’t going to remove every little bit of contamination or sediment by itself. However, it can suffice for an emergency.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

  • Pot or cooking vessel
  • Water
  • Heat source
  • Storage container
  • Coffee filters
  • Rubber bands
  • Mason jar


  1. Get things hot by starting up your heat source. This can be a stovetop, campfire, or electric burner.
  2. Fill your cooking pot with the water to be filtered.
  3. Bring your pot of water to a rolling boil for a minimum of 3 minutes.
  4. Once boiled, remove from heat and allow it to sufficiently cool.
  5. Prepare your Mason jar by putting two coffee filters within the mouth of the jar and securing them with rubber bands.
  6. Carefully pour the boiled water through the coffee filters into the jar. This will remove any large particulate and sediment.
  7. Once full, transfer the contents of your jar into your storage container.

2. Stove Top Distillation

If you’re looking for even more filtration and purity, you might want to consider making distilled water. However, this does take a bit more work and prep than just simply boiling water. But it’s not too difficult. Fortunately, this method can also be used to turn saltwater or dirty water into fresh, clean, potable water.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

  • A teakettle
  • Coffee filters
  • Tygon tubing or a stainless-steel hose
  • Connection fittings
  • Glass collection vessel
  • Heat source


  1. Fill your tea kettle with the water that will be purified. Do so by passing the water first through coffee filters to remove any excess particulate.
  2. Using the appropriate size fittings, attach the tubing or stainless-steel hose to the spout of your tea kettle and place the open end into your glass collection container.
  3. Place your tea kettle on your heat source and allow it to boil.
  4. As the kettle boils, steam escaping through the spout will be collected within the hose and tubing.
  5. Collected steam will then condense resulting in distilled drinking water.

3. Solar Disinfection and Filtered Water

Solar Disinfection and Filtered Water
Image By: Survival Sullivan

If you’re out in the wilderness and need filtered water, you can always create your own using the power of the sun. Solar power disinfecting is an excellent technique you should learn in case of any outdoor survival situation.

*Note: This method works best on clearer waters. For cloudy or sediment-filled water, you’ll need to strain it multiple times to get the best results.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

  • Water
  • Coffee filters or fine mesh cloth
  • A clear plastic or glass container with a lid
  • A separate container for straining purposes


  1. Collect your water. This can be from any moving body of water such as a stream, river, or natural spring. You don’t want to use a stagnant body of water as more bacteria and growth will develop in them.
  2. Strain your water through the coffee filters or mesh cloth to filter out as many contaminants and sediment as possible. You may need to repeat this step several times until the water becomes clear enough to see through.
  3. Fill your clear container up with filtered water.
  4. Place your water vessel out in the open sunlight. The sun’s UVA rays will kill harmful organisms within the water. Ensure that you lay the vessel on its side to ensure maximum UVA exposure.
  5. Allow the water to purify for at least one day before drinking. If the weather has more than 50% cloud coverage, you should let your water purify for at least 2 days.

4. Charcoal Filtration

Charcoal Filtration
Image Credit: Survival Cache

When it comes to filtering water, few other natural filters can do so like charcoal. Charcoal is a carbon residue that has tons of small, low-volume pores that are perfect for absorbing particulate.

What You’ll Need to Get Started

  • Charcoal
  • Sand
  • 2-liter plastic bottle
  • Cloth
  • Scissors or knife
  • Collection vessel


  1. Prep your bottle by using the knife to cut off the bottom of your plastic bottle. Try to remove as little of the plastic as possible. The more you cut off, the less room your water will have to purify.
  2. Invert your bottle so that the bottom is right-side up.
  3. Line the narrow interior end of the bottle with the cloth to help retain the sand and charcoal.
  4. Layer the bottle with charcoal and then sand.
  5. Place your new filter into a collection vessel.
  6. Slowly pour unfiltered water through your filter. The water will trickle through the sand first removing any large contaminates. After breaching the sand, the water will then flow through the charcoal where it will be further refined and filtered.

Since this method is only a filtration device, the water will still need to be boiled for safe human consumption.

5. Bio-Filter

Image Credit: All About Water Filters

This method is the same as charcoal filtration but with two extra steps. You’ll need to add an extra layer on top of the sand. And that’s gravel. The gravel will be your first filter that your water will pass through collecting any large particulates.

The second thing that makes this different is that you’ll use activated charcoal instead of regular charcoal. This will cause the chemical absorption of impurities to further filter your drinking water. We still recommend boiling your water after though just as a precaution.

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Why You Should Drink Filtered Water

To best take care of our bodies, we need to be safe about what we put in them. And that’s especially true about the water we drink. Clean drinking water is an absolute necessity for human survival.

Thankfully, with these methods, you’ll have a way to create potable water no matter what circumstance you’re in.

Featured Image Credit: itman_47, Shutterstock


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