How to Make a Homemade Water Filter

How to Make a Homemade Water Filter

A homemade water filter could save your life. Learning how to make a homemade water filter is important because if you’re ever in an emergency situation without clean water and you have the materials, you can make a water filter and have clean water to drink.

Making homemade water filters are incredibly easy to do and takes only a few materials. But once you’ve made one, you can filter gallons of water in a matter of minutes.

There are so many impurities that you don’t want in your water, including heavy metals and pesticides.

Some of the things that can be found in your tap water can lead to serious illness if you aren’t careful – that’s why it’s important to know how to make a homemade water filter for water filtration.

In this article, we’re going to talk about how to make a homemade water filter using materials you might have lying around your house. It’s educational, fun, and not hard to do.

Remember that it’s not recommended that you use a homemade water filter as a replacement for a certified and tested water filter. Still, it can be fun to make a homemade water filter, especially as a last resort in an emergency when you need water filtration for dirty water.

What You Don’t Want in Your Water

This is very important to know, so you know what kind of filtration you need and want. We’re all away that water at its purest form is oxygen and hydrogen, or H2O.

However, this chemical reaction doesn’t take place on its own. Through the purification process, impurities, minerals, and chemicals are left behind in the water.

Some of these impurities are good minerals, such as magnesium and calcium, while others are extremely bad for our health. For example, some water sources contain harmful impurities such as bacteria, viruses, chlorine, industrial water, and pesticides. These can all be filtered out of your water!

However, there are some extra things that you might want to get out of your drinking water. These things don’t necessarily have a part to play against your health, but they do play a huge role in reducing build-up and prolonging the life of your appliances.

These are water softeners, and they’re named that because they reduce the number of hard minerals passing through your water supply.

How to Make a Homemade Water Filter

To help talk about how to make a homemade water filter, watch this video and then keep reading for an in-depth overview of the process.



  • Activated carbon
  • Coffee filters
  • Sifter
  • Empty and clean 1-liter bottle
  • Box cutter
  • Screen
  • Drill
  • Lid off a metal can
  • Mason jar

Step-by-Step: How to Make a Homemade Water Filter

Here are the steps to making a homemade water filter:

1. Rinse the carbon using a sifter that has a coffee filter inside it.

You’re going to use the whole bottle of carbon but start by pouring a little bit of the activated carbon into the coffee filter-lined sifter and run tap water over it until the water runs clear.

Rinse the carbon

2. Cut down your 1-liter bottle at the bottom using the box cutter.

Cut down your

3. Take a little square off the screen and put the cap on top of it and cut around the lid.

Then take that cut circle and put it on the inside of the cap. You might think that it’s too large at first, but you’ll find that it’s the perfect size as you get it put into place. The edges of the screen circle should fit right underneath the lip of the cap.

Man finger on bottle cap

4. Take the screen out of the lid and drill some holes in the cap.

Fit as many holes as you can into the lid because this is where your filtered water will come out. Once you’ve created the holes, put the screen circle back inside the cap.

screen out of the lid

5. Screw the cap back onto the bottle.

Screw the cap back onto the bottle.

6. Add your cleaned activated carbon to the top of the bottle.

cleaned activated carbon to the top of the bottle

7. Add a diffuser to the bottle so that the water will flow evenly through the homemade water filter.

You can make this from plastic or metal, but in our example, we went with metal. To make the diffuser, take the lid off a metal can and trim the edges to fit into the bottom portion of the cut bottle. Then drill holes all over the lid.

diffuser to the bottle

8. Take a coffee filter and place the metal can lid and place it inside the coffee filter. Then place the coffee filter and metal lid on top of the activated carbon.

coffee filter

9. Now you can use your homemade water filter to make clean water!

homemade water filter

10. When you’re done using your homemade water filter, take out the used coffee filter and throw it away – always use a new coffee filter. Dry off the diffuser, and it’s ready to be stored.

using your homemade water filter

This particular homemade water filter can make a glass of water in a matter of seconds and a gallon of clean water in three minutes and 15 seconds!

Benefits of a Homemade Water Filter

There are a few benefits to making a homemade water filter, including:

Healthier Water

This is the biggest benefit of having a good homemade water filter and is why water filters were created in the first place. They remove any dangerous and additional particles that can be found in your water.

For example, tap water, one of the most common ways people get drinking water, can often contain heavy metals such as copper, lead, mercury, arsenic, and more.

These metals can be harmful to you if they build up in your body and lead to serious health issues.

Economically Friendly

Using a homemade water filter to make fresh, clean water means you’re not using as many plastic water bottles; thus, you produce less plastic waste. This is crucial because plastic bottled water is one of the top synthetic pollutants on Earth.

Better Taste

This might not be as important as water filters getting rid of harmful chemicals from your water, but for some, the taste of filtered water is more pleasurable to drink than plain tap water.


Nobody wants an emergency to happen, but sometimes when large natural disasters happen, people don’t have access to electricity, clean water, and other things for a while.

For example, in February 2018, New Zealand was hit by an ex-cyclone. This ex-cyclone led to extreme damage to cities and towns and left people without access to essential things.

Even after water pipes were fixed and water was running again, the council warned people to be mindful and boil the water before drinking it. This is because bacteria, such as E. coli, will be removed when the water is boiled.

During this time, there was a lot of rainfall in a region with freshwater mountain creeks and streams. If people had homemade water filters, they would’ve had access to filtered, clean water to drink.


Drawbacks to a Homemade Water Filter

There are a few drawbacks to consider when talking about a homemade water filter, even with all the benefits.


Some homemade water filters can take a long time to filter your water. Depending on your situation, this can be a matter of life and death.


If you bought a water filter or made a homemade water filter, you should always remember to check on the condition of the filter. Sometimes you may need to replace filter cartridges or clean and sanitize them.

Every once in a while, you must do this to get the best filtration and keep the water filter working properly.

One Homemade Water Filter May Not Be Enough

One filter might not provide enough purification of your water. Instead, you may have to go with a multi-stage filter system. These combine different media and methods with filtering water.

But before you buy one, you need to decide what your issues are with your water and which ones you want to address.

How to Check the Quality of Your Water

There are a few ways to check the quality of your water, so let’s dive into that.

Use a Test Kit

After finding a good water test kit, make sure that you read through the kit’s instructions and follow the steps as they’re described.

Generally, you’ll expose each test strip to the tap water while keeping it submerged for the recommended time. Then you’ll remove the strip from the water and shake it until there aren’t any more drops of water on it.

You’ll have to wait a little bit before you can compare the color of the strip to the color chart.

Using Smell

Different scents can point to different chemicals in your tap water. For example, if the water has a bleachy smell, your water probably has chlorine. This smell can disappear when it’s exposed to the air.

If you smell rotten eggs in your water, that typically means that your faucet has grown some bacteria. To figure out where the bacteria are growing, wait a few minutes, then try running your water again.

If the sulfurous smell is gone, then the bacteria is probably growing in your drain. So, you must clean your drain.

However, if both the hot and cold water smells like rotten eggs, and it doesn’t stop when you take a glass of water into a different room, that means the smell is coming from the municipal pipes.

If you smell something musty and earthy, it’s likely due to the decomposition or decay of organic matter. If the smell doesn’t stop after taking a glass of water into a separate room, then it’s not your drain. In this example, the smell isn’t harmful, just annoying.

Using Taste

An important thing to remember here is that you should never swallow water that tastes foul. If the water tastes metallic, it can be because of a low pH level or a high amount of minerals in the water.

If the water tastes like bleach, then it’s being treated with chlorine. If you taste salty water, there might be chlorine ions or sulfates in the water – this can indicate irrigation or industrial drainage.

Using Sight

Fill a glass with some water and hold it up to the light. You should look for any cloudiness or particles floating in the water. For example, if there are orange, brown, or red colors floating in the water, they can be coming from corrosion in your water pipes.

If the particles look black, they can be from the hoses that the water came in from. Chlorine in water can lead to the deterioration of hoses over time.

If you notice tan or white particles or just overall cloudiness in the glass of water, this means you have hard water. This is usually caused by too much calcium carbonate or magnesium in your water.

Let your tap water run for a couple of minutes. If there’s any build-up, it should pass. Then you can fill a glass with water and hold it up to the light.

If there’s any sort of discoloring or murky, brown colors, this means there’s contamination in your water. This can be an indication of rusty pipes, water pollution, or something else.

Final Thoughts

Making a homemade water filter isn’t difficult and only requires a few materials. The homemade water filter we talked about making in this article can produce a glass of water in a matter of seconds and a gallon of water in just over three minutes.

There are also other ways you can go about making a homemade water filter at home. It is the same concept but requires a different type of filter material.

For example, a plastic bottle, gravel or small stones, clean sand, activated charcoal, gardening dirt, water, and a small cloth or coffee filter can be used to create a DIY water filter as well.

Having a water filter is very important to keeping you and your family safe from contaminants in your tap water. Knowing how to make a homemade water filter can save your life in case of an emergency.

Amanda Perkins

Amanda began her career as a technical writer for a healthcare group in 2008. Years after getting married and starting a family, she joined her husband Joshua on the Water Filter Authority journey to educate other families and households about safe, affordable, and effective water filtration systems.