There are many situations where one may require a DIY water filter. For example, have you ever received a phone call from your county health department to let you know that your water system has gone bad? If that’s the case, then you will have to figure out how to filter water and provide your family with clean water to drink. Purchasing water does sound like a quick solution your home water is no longer safe to drink, but it can also be very troublesome and expensive over time.

READ MORE: What is filtered water?

Luckily, there is a way get ample amount of clean water via a homemade water filter and that is what this article is about. In this post, we will show you how to purify water so that you will get clean water at home whenever you want.

So, without much ado, here are some creative and innovative ways to make a water filter water for home use.

DIY Charcoal Water Filter

This is a simple method to make a water filter for home use with a 2 liter bottle. To begin, you will need charcoal, sand, 2 liter plastic bottle, and a mason jar. While this is a good option if you are camping in the outdoor (in the waters of Lake Minnetonka) and need some filtered water, it is also simplistic enough for home use.

Specifically, with this method, you will place a layer of sand over a layer of charcoal. These components will be crushed inside the plastic bottle where you then pour water over to be filtered. While the charcoal is the main purifier in this process, you must not forget to put the mason jar underneath the 2L plastic bottle to catch all the filtered water.

Boiling Water

Often, someone will ask “does boiling water purify it?” You don’t need to learn how to make a water purifier machine or shop for charcoal at Best Buy for clean water. You can still purify water at home without charcoal or a water filter science project. Indeed, a very fast, easy and cheap way to go about this is to boil water to purify it.

With access to a safe source of heat, all you have to do is put water in a vessel (e.g. pot) to boil it. Once boiled, the heat/high temperature will kill any harmful bacteria, germs, parasites, and other waterborne pathogens after which, you can cool off the water, and have yourself a nice refreshing drink.

So, how long do you have to boil water to purify it?

If boiling water is one of the best ways to make it safe for drinking, how long do you have to boil it for? According to the World Health Organization, a water temperature of 158°F (70°C) will kill 99.999% of bacteria. Therefore, once water has reached its boiling point (at 212°F or 100°C at sea level), it will be safe to drink. For an added margin of safety, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend boiling water for the avoidance of doubt.


  1. Before boiling water, it is important to check if it’s in a reasonable state or not. This is because boiling water does not remove debris or chemical toxins.
  2. Boiling temperature changes at altitude. Therefore the higher one goes the lower the boiling temperature of the water will be. Regardless at the highest point on earth (29,029ft on Mt. Everest), the boiling temperature is 158°F (70°C) which is still enough to kill waterborne pathogens in less than 1 minute. However, the CDC recommends boiling for 3 minutes at altitudes above 6,562 feet for the avoidance of doubt.

Homemade Biofilter

A biofilter is a homemade water filteration system that consists of three separate layers of sand, gravel, and activated charcoal. This strategy is to filter out the impurity of the water as it moves down these layers.

If you are interested in a biofilter, it’s very easy to set up. First, turned the water gallon container upside down, then cut a hole at the top of the container. This is where you will pour all the material and water for filtering. The first layer should be the gravel. Gravels are small pebble-like rocks that help filter common dirt and debris from the water. The second layer should be sand, and it will help filter out smaller particles that gravel cannot. The last layer is the activated charcoal which removes impurities that we cannot see. These are often pathogens and chemicals that still linger around in the water.

Once you have these three layers set up, you can place a mason jar on the bottom where the filtered water will be collected. Afterwards, you can slowly pour the water in and watch it filter all the way down to the mason jar.

These three methods are very convenient and can help you easily filter and distil water efficiently. However, there is a lot of false information regarding purifying water.

Below we consider some of the most common myths on filtering water that you should be aware of.

Common Myths on Filtering Water

Solar Water

People think that the heat from the sun can help filter water. Unfortunately, this is not how water filters work. Because the sun is extremely far away, its energy and heat are not enough to kill bacteria, pathogen‘s, dirt, and debris from the water.

Even in hotter climates where some are said to place water in the sun for several days in order to filter it e.g. for school, it’s worth noting that the process is not thorough enough and there might still be pathogens or particles that are left inside. The fallout of drinking water ‘purified’ this way, therefore, may be far from what’s desired.

Chlorinated water

Another popular myth is that people often think that chlorine can help purify the water at home. However, it can be difficult to come by a household bleach that does not contain dyes or added perfumes. Therefore, when you chlorinate your water with chlorine powder or attempt to purify water with bleach, while it can definitely kill the majority of the pathogens or microorganisms, you cannot get rid of the chlorine or harmful chemicals therein.

Consequently, those who filter the water this way may end up drinking chlorine in the process. This can lead to nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, and even diarrhea. Furthermore, those who are allergic to chlorine can have severe rashes hence the reason why it’s not a good idea to filter your water with chlorine.


Learning how to filter water is an excellent skill to have. This can be very useful on a hiking or camping trip, and even more so as a lifesaver when the water system in your house has been contaminated.

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