Natural Ways to Purify Your Water at Home

Reader Contribution by Megan Wild
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Everyone needs access to clean water, but in many areas, the available water supply contains bacteria, chemicals and even sediment. These contaminants can cause everything from an undesirable taste to long-term health problems. Purifying your water can remove these unwanted elements and prevent these problems.

Some purification methods, though, involve adding even more chemicals and can be taxing on the environment. Buying plastic water bottles instead of using tap water is harmful in its own way. Whether you’re concerned about the safety of your water, or just want it to be as clean as possible, you can use these natural water purification methods at home to protect your health and the environment too.


You’ve probably boiled your water before if your city issued a water safety advisory. Boiling is a reliable water purifier that’s effective for removing almost every contaminant except dirt.

It’s a simple, natural technique that’s been used throughout history, but it’s not the most efficient technique. It takes a substantial amount of energy to heat water to the boiling point, and you’ll lose some water to evaporation. If you don’t have any other methods available, though, boiling your water can be a smart choice, at least as an occasional solution.


Plants are natural water filters both above ground and in the water. Hikers and other outdoor adventurers use plants in the woods to get clean drinking water, but you can do the same thing at home. There are a wide variety of plants you can use to filter your water.

Cilantro is one of the most common household items that can purify water. Just grind it up and filter water through it. This herb may even remove heavy metals as effectively as charcoal filters. You can also use lemon peels, the core of a cactus and pine tree branches.


If you’ve used ceramic pots for houseplants before, you know they allow water to flow through them. Ceramic has been shown to filter out water impurities in remote areas such as Cambodia. At home, all you have to do is pass water through the pores in a ceramic material. The water that comes out on the other side will be free of microorganisms. This method, however, is less effective against pesticides and organic pollutants. If microorganisms are your main concern, though, this method should work for you.


Carbon filters are another common type of water purification method, which has been found to suppress bacteria. There are several types of carbon filters. Activated carbon, which may be referred to as activated charcoal, has a positive charge, so it’s especially effective at attracting impurities. But block carbon has the benefit of a higher contaminant removal ratio.

Carbon filters are ideal for removing chemicals such as chlorine, benzene and pesticides, as well as unwanted tastes and odors. It’s not the best choice for removing heavy metals. It can remove larger microorganisms, but smaller viruses can slip through.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is one of the most effective ways to purify water, but it is a little more involved than the other methods. This method is used on a large scale to provide clean water to whole cities full of people, but you can have a smaller system installed in your home.

Reverse osmosis is the process of water passing through a semipermeable membrane. These filters, which have a pore size of approximately 0.0001 microns, are very effective at removing viruses, bacteria, protozoa and chemical contaminants. It can even turn salt water into drinkable water.


This method takes some time, but it’s a completely natural, affordable way to purify water. Just use the power of the sun to evaporate dirty water. The vapor will be clean, while contaminants get left behind.

You can make a solar water purifier at home with two water bottles and a thin PVC pipe. Place dirty water in one bottle, and let it evaporate into the other bottle. See the full instructions here.

If you want to purify your water naturally at home, you have plenty of options, and many of these same methods are providing access to clean water to communities around the world. Whether you want to invest in a long-term solution or just want a one-time fix, there’s a method for you. Using them can improve health and the well-being of the planet.

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