How to make an activated charcoal water filter

Written by tracy morris
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Activated charcoal is one of the most widely used substances to filter water. Used in both drinking water and for aquariums, activated charcoal--also known as activated carbon--is very porous. Because of this property, the filtering material traps impurities in the water and holds them, allowing clean, pure water to pass through. Many commercial water-filtering companies take advantage of this by filling their filters with activated carbon. Now you can make your own water filter at home using activated charcoal.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Glass crock-style pitcher with a spout on the bottom
  • Commercial-sized coffee filter
  • 0.907kg. bag of activated charcoal

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  1. 1

    Clean and sterilise the glass pitcher using a solution of eight drops of bleach per gallon of water.

  2. 2

    Place the coffee filter on the bottom of the pitcher, making sure that the filter covers the spout.

  3. 3

    Purchase a 2-pound bag of activated charcoal from an aquarium-supply store. Soak the activated charcoal in water for 15 minutes to ensure that the carbon is saturated.

  4. 4

    Fill the pitcher ¾ full of saturated carbon, leaving space at the top as a reservoir for water.

  5. 5

    Fill the pitcher with water. Never fill the pitcher more than ½ full of water at a time. As water pours out of the spout at the bottom, it will trickle through the carbon and filter as it goes.

Tips and warnings

  • Save leftover carbon to change out every three to six months when the activated carbon in your filter is spent.
  • To find a suitable glass crock-style pitcher, look for sun tea pitchers generally sold with picnic items during the summer.

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