BOB Water Purification

Top 5 DIY water purification methods

Author Bio: I am John Lewis, a blogger, survivalist and outdoor enthusiast. While I believe that everyone should enjoy their lives doing things they love, being financially, mentally and physically prepared to face challenges that may arise is inevitably important. You can follow me over at Epic Wilderness.

Being out in the wilderness alone or even when you are bugging out, you need water for survival. This article is especially for people who have difficulty accessing clean water which is prevalent in many parts of the world. Especially when you are hit with a disaster, it is very likely that your source of drinking water will become contaminated.

Beware, an earthquake or a flood can disrupt your supple of clean water, even your tap water may become contaminated! You should be careful with lake or mountain water as well because there may be protozoa or bacteria present in the water which can cause you to be seriously ill.

Take note that water purification goes a long way and comes in many degrees. Water that are used to brush your teeth or clean your body should be relatively clean but water for your consumption should be much cleaner. Even cooking food requires water!

Although the steps given are separate 5 steps, you can choose two or three of the methods to implement for a cleaner water.

DIY Water Purification

Drinkable Water

Cleaning the debris in the water

Starting off with a source of water contaminated with sewage or even pesticide, you need to clean the debris before you can purify it. Even if you want to purify it straight away, your water filter will easily get clogged.

Cleaning you water container should be your first priority. Make sure you scrub the dirt off the container or if possible use soap to more effectively clean the container. After washing it with soap and water, let it dry.

By cleaning the debris, I mean cleaning the big sized dirt be it on the container or suspended in the water. You have to clean out the rough stuff first before moving on to methods which are meant to clean the finer parts of water. This is just a preliminary step before you move on to the finer methods of water purification!

DIY Water Purification Method 1: Sand filtration

The first setup will be like a tripod where you tie the husk at the meeting point. I would state the important issues to consider for a sand filter. NOTE: The water that goes into the sand filter should be reasonably clear as the sand may get clogged up with impurities if your input has too much coarse dirt.

Using the husk of certain plants to hold a cone which is cut out from a strip of bark would be feasible. Just layer the cone with prepared sand or even stones to get rid of the coarser dirt. This method is meant for off-gridders, using the surrounding items. 

Giving some perspective on the type of sand, fine sand will give really clean water but the water flow will be slow. As for coarse sand, the output will be relatively worse but the water flow is much faster. Contrary to common belief, you should avoid sand from beach as there may a lot of contamination in it. Any commercial bagged sand such as Mason’s sand is a viable choice. Make sure that the sand is sifted first and washed until the water runs clear.

The container you use is also really crucial. The diameter of a DIY sand filter should be relatively small because a slow flow of water is critical for sand filtration. The only downside of a smaller diameter for the opening is a decrease in flow rate. It would be wise that you rough up the inside of the container using sand paper while ensuring the abrasion if present is not vertical (horizontal or random will do). A smooth surface will allow unpurified water to slip through.

As for the flow rate, a slower flow rate usually means better quality water output. I would recommend having really clean water unless there is a real emergency for water. The flow rate would mean the amount of water collected after a certain time period.

DIY Water Purification Method 2: Tree Branch Water Filter

This method is especially useful for people out in the wilderness. The items you need is a cut branch, a reasonable sized tube and a fastener. You can find a cut branch or just cut or break a branch while making the surface reasonably flat.

Researchers from MIT has proven that contaminated water ran through a sapwood branch will be reasonably filtered by removing experimental dye and even bacteria. All you have to do is have a fresh branch and plastic tubing.  Carve a portion of the brach to barely the diameter of the tubing and insert into the end of tubing.  Fill the tube with water and position it so the newly fashioned wood cork is on the bottom.  The water will slowly seep through the wood and in the process get filtered out.  This method can be slow but is very effective.

DIY Water Purification Method 3: Making a water filter (Homemade)

For the sake of simplicity, the steps provided are really easy and comprehensible so that most people can take up this advice and implement it.

Cover the top of a container with some sort of fabric cloth.  This can be a t-shirt, fine-mesh nylon stocking, a sock, a towel, ect. Slowly pour the water through the make shift filter and into the container. You can even put several layers of clean cloth or fold the cloth onto of itself.  A paper coffee filter also works very well.

Remember to reposition the filter after certain intervals to ensure that the water is flowing through a considerably clean fabric. Repeat the process until the water looks reasonably clean and clear.

DIY Water Purification Method 4: Solar water disinfection (SODIS)

This is basically the simplest and cheapest way of disinfecting water, which is using the sun to heat up and boil the water.

It is a fact that keeping your water past boiling point over 3 minutes will eradicate most detrimental organisms.  This DIY water purification method is known as solar ultraviolet water disinfection (SODIS) method, and you need to prepare plastic PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and have sunlight. If you do not have PET bottles, using glass bottles will work as well. Basically, PET bottles are recommended because they are light in weight and do not break easily.

The steps are as follows:

Firstly, ensure that your PET or glass bottles are clean before you fill them up with water.

Then, fill your bottles with water and close the bottle cap.

Later, expose the bottle to direct sunlight for at least 6 hours if it is scorching hot. You have to keep it out for at least two days if you are faced with very cloudy condition.

Voila, you can dink the SODIS water and you can be sure that it will be clean!

This is an alternative to boiling the water which may not be accessible to everyone. If you can boil water with ease, remember to boil it for a minimum of 1 minute which needs to be longer if you are higher in elevation.

DIY Water Purification Method 5: Using chemicals for water purification

It is feasible for you to use Chlorine Dioxide tablets to treat water. The obvious perks is that these tablets are compact and can be easily kept for water purification. Usually, it takes about 4 hours for a tablet to fully dissolve for treating one quart of water. Shaking or stirring the water is encourage as it can speed up the process for dissolving the tablet.

Furthermore, using liquid bleach is as simple but the time taken is much shorter. This DIY water purification method is ideal for when you are forced to shelter in place for a long period of time such as after a hurricane.  Simply add two drops of bleach per quart of water.  Since this is the cheaper and faster alternative, it is more advisable to use liquid chlorine. Take note, you should avoid using scented or even bleach with any other additives which will contaminate your water. Remember to stir the water after adding bleach to the water. It takes about 30 minutes for the water to be purified.

Make sure that your water smells a bit like chlorine before you drink it, if not you will have to repeat step doing water filtration again.


I hope this proposed method can help people out there to get clean water, especially those who are deprived of it. With this finer knowledge of water purification, I hope that the information shared can be really useful in your search for clean water. What other water purification methods do you think is effective? Please share with me in the comment box below!

Comments 1

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