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How to purify water at home

Clean up your act and learn how to purify dirty water at home with our tips for healthy hygiene.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

a glass of water in front of a window

Key steps to purify water at home:

Enjoy crystal-clear water in 3 steps: 

  1. Check whether your water supply is drinkable. If it is, you don’t need to worry about filtering. 

  2. Natural solutions like sand and charcoal are great for purifying water but they can be trickiet to use. Stick to special tablets or water filters if unsure.

  3. Check the water is of drinkable quality before consuming. Not all filtering processes do this so choose your method carefully.

Water is the most essential element of our lives and that makes it crucial that the water we consume is clean. It can be difficult to know whether the water in your house is suitable for drinking or not, which is why we've put together these water purification processes for you to try. Whether you’re wondering how to filter borehole water yourself or how to purify wellpoint water, we have some great solutions for you.

Speak to your local authority for full details on which local water sources are drinkable and which need pre-filtering beforehand

Can you purify dirty water with sand?

Natural water sources are filtered through layers of rock so why can't you apply the same process at home? While you can remove large elements from water with sand, the process doesn’t always make the water immediately drinkable. There might still be bacteria present that can cause disease.

How to purify dirty water with sand: the right way

To filter large particles and rid of any remaining bacteria, try this water purification method. Always make sure you only drink water that you know is completely bacteria-free. If in doubt, opt for a different water source.

  1. Get two 2 litre plastic bottles.

  2. Cut off 10cm off the bottom of both.

  3. Remove the cap from both.

  4. Tie a coffee filter over the top of the opening of one using an elastic band.

  5. Insert this bottleneck into the other bottle, making sure they fit well. 

  6. Pour sand into the bottle opening.

  7. Pour your water into the top of the contraption, holding over a container to collect the water.

  8. It should filter down through the sand which will remove large particles.

  9. The water coming out the bottom should be noticeably clearer.

  10. Now it's time to learn how to remove bacteria from water. One way to do this at home is through distillation.

  11. Boil the water and use distillation equipment to condense the vapour that is released. This will be purified water.

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How to purify water with charcoal

Filtering water with sand and then distilling it is not the only way to purify water at home - you can also use charcoal!

Charcoal is a popular water filtering mechanism because it’s made of carbon: a porous material. This means it is able to absorb the harmful contaminants of water. To use charcoal to purify your water you need to build a filter in which to put the charcoal. This can essentially be the same at the sand filter above. Again, you must be very careful that the water produced in this manner is safe to drink. This can be difficult to do at home, so check with local experts about the particular water-borne bacteria in your area before consuming anything you have filtered yourself. 

How to purify water at home with tablets

This is the safest option for people who need to purify water for drinking. Water tablets can be purchased at a range of different outlets and tend to be very effective. However, to be sure the water you are drinking is safe it’s important to both follow the instructions on the pack and only buy tablets that are specifically designed to make water safe enough for human consumption.

How to use them to filter water will depend on the particular brand but usually involves: 

  1. Taking a large container of water (the pack instructions will specify how much). 

  2. Dropping a tablet into the water.

  3. Leaving it for the specified amount of time.

  4. Checking the tablets have done their job before consuming the water. 

How to purify water naturally with a filter

Using shop-bought filters as a way to learn how to filter water is perhaps the most straightforward choice but convenience is not the only benefit you stand to gain. This method is also particularly useful if you need to know how to remove iron from water.

  1. Buy a water bottle with an inbuilt filte. Ensure that it is designed to remove the contaminants present in your local water supply.

  2. If in doubt speak to people in the shop or call the manufacturers and ask what is and is not filtered out with the product. 

  3. Check how long the filter lasts. The longer you use it, the quicker it will need replacing. 

Those are our top tips when it comes to filtering water. Remember whatever you do, you must be 100% sure that the water is safe to drink before you take it. For additional tips on water quality in your home, check out our article on drinking bathroom tap water and whether it’s safe.

Originally published