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How to Make a Water Filter for Home Use? (Step-by-Step)

Published by: Paulo Baker

How to Make a Water Filter for Home Use

Water is a fundamental element of life and precisely, clean water. You must have a water filter in your home that works to remove toxic contaminants from your water and leaves you with just safe and healthy water. 

In this article, we have provided some steps on how to make a water filter at home with just a few materials that you can easily find right inside your home. 

There must be multiple circumstances when this process can come in handy for you. So make sure you follow all the steps carefully and make your water filter. 

Make a Water Filter for your Home Use

Step 1 — Assemble all the Materials

Here, we will make a filter that will depend on different layers for operating. If you wish to use this filter for drinking purposes, you must boil the water after the process of filtration. 

Here are all the things that you need for making the water filter:

  1. A plastic water bottle and its cap
  2. A craft knife
  3. Hammer
  4. Nail
  5. Coffee filter
  6. A big mug/cup
  7. Activated charcoal 
  8. Gravel
  9. Sand
  10. Jar or cup for containing the filtered water 

Step 2 — Cut the Plastic Water Bottle

Cut the plastic water bottle from its bottom for about 2.54cm. Keep the knife glued to the bottle and begin to cut it gradually. Making little cuts, up and down will likely be easy just like you do while sawing. 

Note: Get help from an adult in your house for this step if you’re a kid.

Use a handle for hanging it when the water gets filtered. Begin by shoving a couple of gaps near the particular rim of the plastic bottle that you just cut.

Make sure that both these gaps are on the opposite side of one another. Bind a little portion of the thread through these gaps. After that, make a knot in the string. 

Step 3 — Make a Drain Hole

Take a hammer along with a nail for inserting a gap in the bottle cap. This gap will help to hinder the water flow rate a little which will make your water filter even more powerful. 

In case you can’t find a nail or a hammer at your home, you can take the craft knife instead for cutting the shape of an X in the cap of the plastic bottle. 

Step 4 — Prepare the First Layer

Place your coffee filter on the plastic bottle’s mouth and twist its cap after this.

By using a coffee filter, your activated charcoal will stay inside the plastic bottle and prevent it from coming out. And the bottle cap will help to keep your coffee filter at its position. 

Step 5

In a jar or cup, place the bottle cap down. It will help to maintain the steadiness of the plastic bottle when it will get filled.

In case you can’t find a cup, you can use a table and put the plastic bottle down there. You will be required to use one of your hands for keeping it stable. 

Step 6 — Put Activated Charcoal

Place some activated charcoal in the lower third of your plastic bottle. In case your charcoal is in bigger chunks, you will be required to crush it down into tinier pieces. 

You can do so by placing the big pieces in any bag or pouch and then breaking them using any rough item like the hammer. Make sure that the pieces of the activated charcoal are not bigger than a bean. 

Activated charcoal may get very messy. So, remember to wear a pair of gloves so that your hands stay clean when you work with them. 

Step 7 — Place Fine Sand

Fill some sand inside the plastic bottle. For this, you can take any kind of sand that you wish, however, make sure that you don’t use any colored craft kind. This kind of sand can result in leaking color dyes into your water and you would just not want that. 

Try that the layer of your sand is almost equally thick as your layer of activated charcoal. Your plastic bottle must be slightly more than 50% full by this time. 

If you can, try to get two different kinds of sand for this step: fine-grained and coarse-grained.

The former kind will be used first, after the last layer of activated charcoal. And on the top of this layer will come the latter kind. This will help in creating multiple layers for your water to run through, making it even safer and cleaner.

Step 8 — Place Gravel

Now, for the last step, use gravel for filling the remaining portion of the plastic bottle. Make sure that you do so by leaving about 2.54cm of the blank area between the cut portion of your bottle and the gravel. 

Keep in mind that you don’t end up filling the entire bottle with gravel as otherwise, water will most likely overflow if it is unable to soak quick enough. 

If you can, try to get two different kinds of gravel for this step: fine-grained and chunky. The former will be placed first after the last layer of the sand and the layer of the chunky kind will follow next after the layer of the fine-grained type. 

You can also watch this video to see how to make a water filter at your home…

Using the Water Filter

Here are the steps to help you use the water filter…

  1. Take a jar for storing the water that will get filtered. Keep in mind that the container must be properly clean and also big enough for holding the amount of water that you wish to filter. In case you can’t find any jar, you can take any mug, cup, bowl, or pot from your kitchen. 
  2. Carry your water filter above this jar. Make sure that the cap of the bottle points towards your container’s bottom. If the container that you are using has a big opening, you can also put down your filter on the top of its surface. You won’t be required to carry the water filter this way, saving you some extra effort. If you have a handle, you can hang your water filter up. Put the container right below it. 
  3. Now start pouring some water into your filter. Keep in mind to pour it gradually so that the water doesn’t spillover. When your water begins reaching the filter’s top, know that this is the time to pause for the water to come down a little. When you can notice the gravel, you can pour again. 
  4. Now, wait till the water flows into your container. This may take up to 8-10 minutes. When your water will pass through different layers of your filter, it will keep getting cleaner. 
  5. You must repeat the process if the water that comes out isn’t clear enough. Once your water begins to drip, remove the container from its place. Take a fresh container and place it under your water filter and then start pouring the previously filtered water into the filter. You may be required to repeat this process of water filtration a couple more times if the water doesn’t come out clean. 
  6. Make sure that you boil this filtered water for 60 seconds or more for making it fit for drinking purposes. The filtered water may still comprise various microorganisms, chemicals, viruses, or bacteria that are highly dangerous for you to drink. When you boil this water, all of these contaminants will get killed. 
  7. Finally, allow the water to get a little cool before you shift it to a clean jar. Make sure that you don’t end up leaving this boiled water open for any long period as other bacteria can make their way inside the water. 


So that was all about making a water filter at your home. The process is no rocket science and you can easily make your filter at home in just a few steps and get clean and safe drinking water. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Why is sand used for purifying water?

A layer of sand aids in trapping tiny elements like grit or dirt, making your water much cleaner.

What is the role of activated charcoal in removing bacteria from my water?

The role of activated charcoal is to absorb. In simple words, all the elements present in your water that you are unable to see with the naked eye get chemically bound to this carbon. When water passes completely through the carbon, it is only left with limited bacteria and chemicals.

Is it important to boil the filtered water before drinking it? Or is filtering sufficient?

The truth is just filtering your water isn’t sufficient. Several kinds of microorganisms, viruses, and bacteria are too tiny to get removed during the process of filtration. You can only get rid of them at increased temperatures.

Is it necessary to only use activated charcoal? Can I just use charcoal?

No, you cannot use just charcoal, it has to be activated. You can easily get it from grocery or pet shops in the fish supplies compartment. Make sure that you do not get pellets that are crushed charcoal.

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Article by:

Paulo Baker

Paulo is a senior writer at Dash Appliances, where he research, writes, and reviews home and commercial water filters. Paulo is covering home-related things like water filters, vacuum cleaners, and more since 2019. When he's not researching and testing, he's traveling and playing golf.

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