How to Make a DIY Water Filter Pitcher at Home

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Water filter pitchers are an affordable, effective way to filter water at home. But if you want to reduce your spend on consumer products or prefer the DIY approach, you might enjoy making your own water filter pitcher. 

Here, we’ve outlined the materials and equipment you need to make a DIY water filter pitcher, and the steps you should follow. 

📌 Key Takeaways: 

  • Making a homemade water filter pitcher can be a fun project and experiment, but it won’t be the most effective long term solution.
  • You’ll need to gather a number of materials before starting the project

🫗 How To Make A DIY Water Filter Pitcher

To make a DIY water filter pitcher at home, follow these steps: 

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Start by gathering the materials you’ll need for your pitcher and filter materials. 

You will need: 

  • An empty plastic bottle
  • Gravel/small stones
  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Activated charcoal
  • Scissors/a knife
  • Clean water
  • A coffee filter

You can find most of these materials in your cupboards at home or at your local hardware store. 

Activated charcoal powder is a slightly more specialist item that you may need to buy online or from your local health store.

Once you’ve gathered your materials, lay out everything you need on a clean work surface. 

How To Make A DIY Water Filter Pitcher - Step 1_ Gather The Materials

Step 2: Make The Filter Element

Start by making the “filter element”, which will hold the filter media materials. 

Take a clean, empty plastic bottle. Using a knife or a pair of scissors, cut around the bottom diameter of the bottle to remove it. 

Turn the bottle upside down, so the cap is pointing at the floor, and place it inside a glass or jug. 

How To Make A DIY Water Filter Pitcher - Step 2_ Make The Pitcher

Step 3: Construct The Filtration Layers

Next, add the filtration layers to the “filter element”, one by one. 

Start by placing a coffee filter at the very bottom of the bottle. Make sure the layer is around 2 inches in thickness. If you don’t have a coffee filter, you can also use a cloth or cotton wool

Next, add a 1-inch layer of activated charcoal on top of the coffee filter, then add 2 inches of gravel or stones to the activated charcoal layer. 

Finish up with a 3-4 inch layer of sand, then a final layer of gravel. There should be around half an inch of space left at the top of the bottle by this point. 

How To Make A DIY Water Filter Pitcher - Step 3_ Construct The Filter Layers

Step 4: Add Water 

Now your filter pitcher is constructed, the only thing left to do is add water. 

Pour water slowly into the top of the bottle, then wait for it to gradually trickle through the filtration layers and into the glass underneath.

You can keep slowly adding water until the glass is as full as possible without touching the filter. Don’t add too much water at once as this will cause it to overflow out of the top of the bottle. 

Any kind of water can be filtered in your homemade pitcher. If you want to really test the pitcher’s abilities, add soily, cloudy, or turbid water, and see if the water comes out clear after it has been filtered. 

How To Make A DIY Water Filter Pitcher - Step 4_ Pour Water 

🔎 How Does A DIY Water Filter Pitcher Work?

A DIY water filter pitcher works by sending water through several different filter media, which reduce contaminants of different sizes. 

Here are the filter materials and the different contaminants they remove: 

  • Coffee filter – Removes large debris and dirt. 
  • Activated charcoal – Removes contaminants like chlorine and pesticides in the process of adsorption
  • Sand – Removes slightly larger impurities and sediment. 
  • Gravel/stones – Removes large, visible sediment particles. 

💡 This filtration process mimics the natural filtration process of water seeping through layers of rocks and soils to reach an underground aquifer. While it doesn’t guarantee the removal of all impurities, pollutants, or chemicals, it should reduce sediment, dirt, and other physical contaminants from your water. 

🤔 Should You Make A Homemade Water Filter Pitcher?

There are a few obvious benefits to making a homemade water filter pitcher. 

You don’t have to spend money on expensive store-bought products, and you can enjoy the challenge of a DIY project. 

You’ll also get to feel proud every time you take a drink from your homemade pitcher. Plus, you know exactly what materials your pitcher contains, because you made it. 

However, maintaining a homemade water filter pitcher is difficult. You’ll need to replace the filter materials regularly, rather than simply replacing the filter cartridge, as you would in a store-bought pitcher. 

And, while you will be able to filter certain contaminants out of your water, the standard of filtration may be lacking compared to a store-bought filter pitcher’s performance. 

Weigh up the pros and cons of DIY water filter pitchers before you invest the time and money into making a pitcher yourself. 

Diy water filter pitcher

📖 How To Know If Your DIY Water Filter Pitcher Has Worked

If you do decide to make a DIY water filter pitcher, an important part of the process is to test your pitcher to see if works. 

We recommend buying an at-home water test kit that detects a range of common drinking water contaminants, including lead, nitrate, chlorine, and anything else you want to remove. 

To use an at-home test kit, follow the instructions on the test. The process usually goes like this: 

  1. Take a sample of your water before filtering it in the pitcher. 
  2. Dip a test strip in the water sample. 
  3. Wait for the strip to change color, indicating the contaminants detected. 
  4. Compare the colors on the strip to the colors on the included color chart to find out which contaminants your water contains. 
  5. Filter your water in the homemade pitcher, then repeat the test, using a new test strip, in the filtered batch of water.
  6. Compare the test results to see whether the pitcher has worked to reduce or remove any contaminants that were detected in the unfiltered water.  

📌 Keep in mind that your homemade water filter pitcher won’t be able to remove all contaminants from your drinking water supply, and it certainly won’t purify your water. 

If you want the most thorough, reliable water treatment and contaminant removal, you’ll need to buy a pitcher that uses a blend of filter media for the most comprehensive filtration. 

Test strips water test results

📑 Final Word

Do we recommend making your own water filter pitcher at home? Yes – but only if you want a fun experiment; not if you’re looking for the most effective long-term solution to filter your water. 

Buying a water filter pitcher might be more expensive than making your own, but a store-bought pitcher will remove more contaminants and provide a more guaranteed, reliable performance for longer. In our opinion, the reassurance of a filtration process that works is worth the upfront cost. 

👨‍🔧 If you want to get the best value from your purchase, consider buying one of our top-recommended water filter pitchers

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