How to Filter Water Using Charcoal Sand and Gravel? A Complete Guidline

Whether it’s for your next DIY plan, or you want to learn an important skill before your next camping trip, filtering water using with no commercial water filter can be a fun little project. We all know that you can filter water with nothing but sand, some charcoal and gravel. But doing it, in reality, can be a bit harder than you think.

So, in this article, we will explain, in detail, how to filter water using charcoal, sand and gravel. We will cover everything from the materials you are going to need to how to assemble them in a proper manner. So, without any more delay, let’s begin.

How to Filter Water Using Charcoal Sand and Gravel

Filtering Water Using Charcoal, Sand, and Gravel

Here’s how you can filter water with ingredients you will find almost anywhere in the world. This is an important life skill that can save your life. So, it’s worth learning and trying, even if you are not an outdoorsy kind of guy.

Things You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need in order to filter water and bring it to a drinkable state without any commercial or industrial equipment.

1. Charcoal

First of all, you are going to need charcoal. It is a porous substance that can absorb impurities and contaminants very effectively from water. 

2. Sand

Next you will need sand. It will act as a physical barrier and will trap larger particles and other impurities from the water.  

3. Gravel

Gravel, on the other hand, prevents clogging and provides support to the whole system. However, it will let water pass through. 

4. Multiple Containers

You are going to need at least two containers. One will hold the filter layers and the other will be used to collted the filtered water. 

5. Cloth

You will need to use a cloth on the opening of the filtration container. This will prevent the filter media from mixing with the filtered water.

Preparing the Filter

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare the filter using the materials we’ve stated above. 

1. Preparing the Containers

You will need to find two containers first. They should be of different sizes. Use the larger one to be the outer container that holds the filter layers. And use the smaller containter as a colleciton container that collects the filtered water from the larger container.

2. Prepare the Containers

Now drill a hole in the bottom of the large container. You can use something pointy as well. This hole will allow the filtered water to flow into the smaller container. You can also you a bottle and cut its bottom and use it as the filtration medium holder. In that case, you don’t need to make any holes, you can just loosen the bottle cap a bit and water will drip through it.

3. Create Layers of the Filter Materials

Now it’s time to layer the filter materials inside the bigger container. Use the following order:

  • Use the gravel first. Use it to create a layer at the bottom. It will facilitate drainage and prevent clogging due to residue buildup. It will also act as a support for other material’s layer.
  • Use sand as the middle layer. Place it on top of gravel. Sand will filter out small particles that charcoal cannot absorb.
  • Use charcoal as the last or the top layer. So, place it last, on top of the sand layer. It will act as an absorbent layer and will absorb odors, chemicals and other toxins from water.

4. Add the Cloth and Place the Small Container

Take the piece of cloth you’ve collected before and place it over the layer of charcoal or the last layer. You need to do this to ensure that sand and charcoal don’t mix with the filtered water. Next, you need to position the small container in the center of the larger container. Make sure that the hole at the bottom of the container is aligned with the hole in the larger container.

If you are using a bottle as the filtration container, place the collecting container at the bottom of the cap. You can also use a glass as the small container, or anything that can hold water really. 

5. Filter Your Water

Now that you’ve completed the assembling process, it’s time to filter your water. Carefully pour untreated water into the filter. You can pour the water directly, but it’s better to use a funnel. Now, allow the water to pass through the various layers of the filter. The water will go through the gravel, sand, charcoal, and cloth, getting progressively cleaner with each layer.

6. Collect the Filtered Water

Filtered water will flow through the holes and into the smaller container. Remember, the water should be noticabley cleaner than the water you’ve poured at the top. Otherwise, it’s not safe to drink it, check the filter layers again, make new layers if possible.

Required Maintenance of Your DIY Filter

It’s important to understand that the DIY filter you make to filter water is not permanent. It will require some maintenance. Over time, the filter medium will become filled with debris, chemicals and other impurities and will lose its effectiveness. Therefore, it’s important to regularly clean, replace, or refresh the filter materials to ensure the filter continues to produce clean water.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers 

How do charcoal sand and pebbles filter water?

When water runs through sand and pebbles, they trap small particles, debris, chemicals, toxins and other particles. This way, the filtered water gets clean.

What is the best material to filter water?

The best material to filter water is to use an activated carbon filter. They are really effective in removing any organic components from the water.

To Sum Up

It’s a very basic way to clean or filter water with charcoal, sand and gravel filter. However, it’s a very valuable skill that you should learn. It may save your life in situations where there is little to no access to clean water. And while this type of DIY filter may not remove all types of contaminants, it can greatly improve the quality of the water. Filters like this can reduce the presence of particles, debris, odors and other chemicals from the water. Also, remember that this type of filter is not meant to replace professionally designed and commercially available water treatment systems. It’s simply to use as an emergency solution when you need it.

Leave a Reply