Whether it is rain, tap, or outdoor water, it is always best to run it through a filter before drinking it; yes, even tap water at home has traces of contaminants. Boiling water has always been the best solution to these problems but the most practical answer is to buy a water filter for your home. However, imagine you are in the middle of a natural disaster and no clean water is available? Or you are lost in the woods and dehydrated? Perhaps you can't make a fire to boil and purify outdoor water? Learning how to make a water filter is a great skill to know in these times of distress since water is essential to your body. Here are a few methods you can try at home for fun or even practice regularly to be prepared for any situation.

Aluminum Can Filter

You will need:

    • An empty aluminum can
    • Small pebbles
    • Sphagnum moss
    • Charcoal
    • Peat 
    1. Cut the top off the can and punch small, nail-sized holes at the bottom.
    2. Add a layer of sphagnum moss at the bottom of the can. This moss can either be bought from a garden store or even foraged in a home garden.
    3. Grind charcoal into a fine powder. If you use barbecue charcoal, make sure use the kind that has no lighter fluid added to it.
    4. Create a 50/50 mixture of peat and charcoal powder and add into the can until 2/3 full. Peat can also be bought from a garden store or foraged.
    5. Finally, add a layer of pebbles to fill the can.

    Slowly pour unclean water into the top of the can; the pebbles will slow the flow of water and catch any large particles in the water. The sphagnum and peat attract fine particles while the charcoal absorbs any biological contaminants. After the first run, the water will appear gray and cloudy, but this will lessen with use; the same how a regular household filter says to run water through the filter a few times before use.

    4 Water Filters You Can Make at Home

      Sock Filter

      You will need:

      • Preferably a tennis ball container or an aluminum can
      • 4 clean, cotton socks
      1. If a tennis ball container is not available, a beer or soda can will work also. The tennis ball container is ideal because it is longer to fit more socks for filtration. Regardless, implement the same step as last time and cut off the top and punch nail-sized holes at the bottom.
      2. Pack the clean rolled up socks very tightly into the can trying to get 3 to 4 socks into the container.

      Pour the unclean water very slowly into the top, making sure the water takes a while to pass through the packed in socks. The reason for cotton socks is because cotton is very absorbent and will remove many of the fine particles.

      4 Water Filters You Can Make at Home(50929)

      Sand in a Can

      You will need:

      • An empty aluminum can
      • Clean sand
      • Clean cotton socks or scraps
      1. Cut off the top and punch nail-sized holes at the bottom of the can.
      2. Add a layer of clean cotton to the bottom of the can.
      3. Fill with clean sand.

      This method is similar to the Sock Filter but uses sand instead. Sand also does a good job of filtering out fine particles while the layer of cotton will help prevent any of it from leaking through the holes at the bottom of the can.

      4 Water Filters You Can Make at Home(50930)

      Solar Water Distiller

      4 Water Filters You Can Make at Home(50931)

      This next water filtration device can be made from different materials such as plexiglass, wood, or plastic. Basically, it is a box with 2 sections and a slanted, transparent top. One side is filled with unclean water and as the sun evaporates the pure water, the slanted top will catch it and it will drip down into the pure water side. Here is a picture to better visualize how it works:


      Learning how to make a water filter at home is very fun and a great skill  for an emergency. However, all the methods mentioned above are NOT 100% foolproof. They should NOT be considered substitutes for proper water purification or filtration and should only be used in emergency situations if no way of obtaining clean water is available.  This article is mainly for your own personal information, so please make sure you filter and purify your water properly before drinking.  Cheers!