How to Make a Water Filtration System (DIY)

by Jay | Updated on July 20th, 2022

Have you ever wondered how a natural water filter works? It is easy to replicate the natural water filtration system similar to one that works on the ground during water cycles.

Of course, some people have tried using strainers or linen to clean muddy water. Unfortunately, the resulting water is not very clean for use or consumption.


Water is essential for life. Similar to food, every living being needs water for survival. Without water, a person can last only for a few days. Therefore, when caught with acute water shortage or stranded in the world, it is useful to use some techniques to purify water and remove all impurities.

Reasons on Why You Need A DIY Water Filter

  • It is cheaper than buying a commercial filter system.
  • You can adjust your design to match your budget and water requirements.
  • Freedom of making any design.
  • You can use locally available materials.

Supplies needed

Water is passed through different layers for effective filtration.

Essential elements required include;

  • Charcoal
  • Gravel
  • Hammer and a nail
  • Plastic bottle with a cap
  • A mug
  • Sand
  • A jug/container
  • A knife
  1. Using the knife, cut off the bottom part of the plastic bottle (an inch/2.54 cm). Be careful when cutting the plastic so as not to harm yourself.
  2. Make two holes opposite each other on the cut side. The holes help you in making a small handle for hanging your filter.
  3. Using the hammer and nail, make a small hole in the bottle cap. The hole allows the free flow of water during the filtration.
  4. Put the coffee filter over the top of the bottle cap and tighten it. The coffee filter holds activated charcoal in position for active results.
  5. Put the bottle-cap side down into a mug.
  6. The process helps keep the bottle stable, and the filtered water is collected in the cup.
  7. Fill the third quarter of the bottle with active charcoal;

Before adding charcoal to the bottle, first, crush the charcoal into smaller pieces for increased filtration power.

  • Fill the middle Bottle with sand:

It is recommendable you use two different types of sand. The fine-grained sand will occupy the next lawyer after charcoal. Larger grained soil to follow after. The soil lawyer must be of almost the same size as charcoal. Avoid using colored sand because its dye will be leaked into your water.

  • Fill the rest of the bottle with gravel:

Gravel has bigger spaces for trapping solid particles. So leave at least 2.54 cm space in the bottle for adding the dirty water.

Using the Water Filter

  • Choose a collection jar/jug: Use a clean container to collect the water flowing from the filter.
  • Hold the filter over the container: You can hold the filter with your hands for a small amount of water filtration. You can also use the holders on the bottle to keep the filter and place the jar under.
  • Pour the dirty water into the filter: Slowly add the dirty water into the filter and let it flow to the bottom. The process is quite slow, and you can wait patiently.
  • Wait for the water to collect in the jar.
  • The filtration process takes up to ten minutes. After that, the water passes through all these lawyers and comes out very clean.
  • Pour back the water into the filter if it’s unclear: The filtration process can be repeated twice to three times until the water collected is clear.
  • Boil the water: After all the water has passed through the filter, boil it to make it safe for drinking. Filtration removes the dirt particles while boiling destroys microorganisms, chemicals, and bacteria in your water.

After boiling, allow the water to cool before putting it into a storage tank.

Steps in Water Filtration

This process involves five steps: aeration, coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection.

  1. Aeration: adds oxygen to the water.
  2. Coagulation: the water and other particles stick together. Water becomes colorless in this stage.
  3. Sedimentation: Most flocks in water settle within the gravel and charcoal, allowing water to pass through the filter.
  4. Filtration: all solid waste and floc are separated from the water.
  5. Disinfection: water is chemically treated or boiled to remove impurities and bacteria.

Other Forms of Filter Systems

Filtration Using a Coffee Filter

If you have cloudy water, you can obtain clear water by adding it through a coffee filter. You can also use a cotton towel to remove the solid particles from the water. The towel/filter is placed on the mouth of the cut bottle, and water is added.

The collected water is boiled before use.

Using Fruit Peels

Banana peels are the best for water filters. Take the peels and grind or blend them until they are fine pieces. Add the pieces to a coffee filter paper. Add the dirty water and hold a collecting jar under the bottle.

Banana peels remove bacteria from the water.

Make a Xylem Plant Filter Using Pine Branch and Water Bottle

Pine contains xylem tissues that filter up to 99.9% of bacteria from water. It is, however, recommendable to boil the water after the process.

  • Cut 4 inches of the pine branch.
  • Remove the barks and smoothen them using sandpaper.
  • Slide an inch of the branch into the bootleg cap
  • Cut the bottom of the bottle and put it upside down
  • Fill the bottle with dirty water and allow it to drain.

Do not let the sticks dry for effective filtration.

Stove Top Distiller

A stovetop distiller can be purchased or assembled at home. It is highly useful when you need to filter water for kids. The process removes all impurities and also boils your water.

Improvised Charcoal Filter

The bio-filter uses good-old coal to remove impurities in water. It is a great process when you are outdoors and do not have access to essential items. However, the resulting water may be a bit cloudy and needs boiling before consumption.

Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS)

The process utilizes solar energy to filter your water. As a result, SODIS may take longer when large amounts of water are needed.

The water is put in a glass container to prevent contamination. The water is left in the sun for two to three days, and all sediments will settle and the bottom for easy filtering.


Boiling is the most effective method of removing water impurities, microorganisms, and bacteria at a low cost.


Jay is a health and wellness enthusiast with expertise in water quality and nutrition. As a knowledgeable advocate for holistic well-being, Jay successfully manages Type 2 Diabetes through informed lifestyle choices. Committed to sharing reliable and authoritative insights, Jay combines firsthand experience with a passion for enhancing health."