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How To Make A Water Filter

Learn how to make a water filter with only a plastic bottle and activated carbon.

How To Make A Water Filter

Bring the Survivalist Out: A DIY Water Filter That Costs Less Than A Dollar

When going camping, it's a good idea to stock up on water bottles because as we all know too well, there isn't always drinking water available. Unfortunately, water bottles can't always be lugged around on long hikes, so that's where water filters come in handy. With a portable water filter, you can easily convert water from a creek or lake into clean drinking water.

While it's relatively easy to purchase a portable water filter online, why not just make your own? Using activated carbon and an empty water bottle you can easily make your own water filter in a pinch. Check out the tutorial, from Instructables' user makerboat, to learn how to make a DIY water filter.

What You Need:

  • a water bottle
  • needle
  • lighter (or something with a flame)
  • pliers
  • activated carbon
  • filter paper
  • cup
  • water


1. Find a water a bottle, remove the cap and empty it out.

2. Using a lighter, candle or stovetop, heat up a needle (or small nail) using your pliers.

3. Once it's hot enough, use it to poke a handful of holes at the bottom of the bottle. Make sure the holes are small enough that none of the activated carbon doesn't get through.

4. Now get the activated carbon and fill 1/3 of the bottle. Activated carbon is used in many filtering methods to filter water, swimming pools, fish tanks, air, alcohol and more. Those tiny black specks you see in your water filter at home? Yup, that's activated carbon.

You can easily purchase it online or at department stores like Walmart or any pet store. Find out more about activated carbon over at EPA's drinking water treatment page, where you can read about how it removes hazardous particles, as well as bad tastes and odors.

5. In order to remove larger particles from the water, before putting it through the activated carbon, use filter paper or coffee filters. If you're using filter paper, make a cone out of it and paper clip the bottom of it so that it catches any of the large particles, such as dust, stones or leaves. Place the filter paper into your plastic bottle.

6. Before you start filtering, place the water bottle above a cup. Begin the filtering process by slowly filling the filter paper with dirt water. It will slowly trickle down into water bottle, where it will then be filtered again by the activated carbon.

7. Once there's enough water in the bottle, blow lightly into it to help the water get through the activated carbon. Water will begin to shoot out of the tiny holes at the bottom of the bottle.

8. You now have crystal clear water! This filter will remove most larger particles, as well as chemicals and metals, but you should know that it won't get rid of viruses or bacteria. To get rid of that, you should boil the water. Since boiling takes out dissolved oxygen from the water, slosh it between two containers to put the oxygen back, that way your water won't taste flat.


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