How to Make Your Own Water Filters and Purifiers

Create your own water filters using iodine crystals, cloth and charcoal filters to rid suspect water of chemical and biological contaminants.

  • In "Extreme Simplicity: A Guide to Urban Homesteading," Christopher and Dolores Lynn Nyerges provide a guide to self-sufficent city dwelling, showing the path to self-reliance, with strategies for coping with disasters and making the most of everyday life.
    Cover courtesy Dover Publications
  • While boiling water before drinking it has the ability to remove biological contaminants, some other inexpensive methods have the ability to treat water for chemical contaminants. Using iodine crystals to make a solution to pour into a larger container of water is one way to treat potentially unsafe drinking water.
    Photo by Fotolia/luchschen_shutter

In Extreme Simplicity: A Guide to Urban Homesteading (Dover Publications, 2013), Christopher and Dolores Lynn Nyerges explain the most practical and inexpensive methods for creating personal water filters for protection from chemical and biological contaminants. The following is an excerpt from Chapter 6, "Water."

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Extreme Simplicity.

If you ever suspect your water of being contaminated, boiling is the easiest and cheapest way to purify water. Any hobo can pick up an old can and use it to boil water. According to U.S. Forest Service hydrologist Mike McCorison, who is familiar with the water situation in the California forests, boiling kills every living organism that can make us sick. Of course, boiling does not deal with chemical contaminants, merely biological contaminants. Distillation is the only method of purification that purifies water from chemical as well as biological contamination.

Distillation and Purification

Distillation is the best way to purify water, because only pure water distills out. However, distillation setups are generally not portable, nor cheap.

If you already have a kitchen distillation unit, that's good! These devices are sold at appliance stores and are most often used for distilling tap water. However, because most of these run with electricity, a high-tech distiller may be of no use when you need it most urgently. We have seen some low-tech distillers that need only a flame to operate and some that actually work with concentrated light from the sun. We haven't used one of these ourselves, but they are worth investigating.

2/8/2019 12:02:49 PM

I believe reverse osmosis also removes chemical toxins in tap water -- fluoride, for example.

1/23/2019 4:14:08 PM

Please advise You wrote: "To purify water using this method, add about 4 grams of USP-grade iodine crystals to a l-ounce glass jar with a plastic lid (Bakelite is best," Where does one find a 1-ounce jar and a Bakalite lid to fit??? I think you might have misprinted???

1/23/2019 4:14:07 PM

Please Advise.... You wrote: "To purify water using this method, add about 4 grams of USP-grade iodine crystals to a l-ounce glass jar with a plastic lid (Bakelite is best," Where should one find a 1-ounce glass jar???? Let alone a Bake lite lid to go with it???? I think you have a misprint Maybe here???



Fall 2021!

Put your DIY skills to the test throughout November. We’re mixing full meal recipes in jars, crafting with flowers, backyard composting, cultivating mushrooms, and more!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters