How to Purify Dirty Water in an Emergency Situation

September 25, 2015

Today we'll take a look at how you can purify dirty water to get drinkable water for survival situations. This method is just one of many ways you can purify water, but it's a well known and widely used method (even in the military).

Step #1: What you need

To follow this tutorial, you'll need:

  • A cup of dirty water
  • A bottle
  • Charcoal ~200 grams
  • A clean cup
  • Mixture of clean sand and coarser gravel
  • Tissues or a piece of cloth


Step #2: Prepare the bottle

Cut off the bottom part of the bottle, puncture the cap with 4-5 small holes and screw it back onto the bottle. Stuff the tissues through the bottom, and all the way up to the cap. The tissues will act as a filter.

step2 step2a

Step #3: Add sand/gravel

Add about half the sand/gravel mix into the bottle on top of the tissue filter.


Step #4: Add Charcoal

Break the charcoal into smaller pieces and wash it. The pieces should be the same size as those in the picture below. Then add 150-200 grams of charcoal into the bottle on top of the gravel.

step4 step4a step4b

If you're purifying large amounts of water, you can buy activated coal in bulk here.

Step #5: Add more sand/gravel and tissues

Add the rest of the sand/gravel mix and top it off with some more tissues.

step5 step5a

Step #6: Start cleaning the water

Place the clean cup under the cap of the bottle, and slowly start to pour the dirty water through your newly made water filter. Once the water has run through the filter, you can filter it again and then leave it for a few hours in a bottle exposed to sunlight to further purify it.

step6a step6

Video of all the steps

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