How to Filter Water With Clay Pots

Written by megan shoop
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How to Filter Water With Clay Pots
Make clay pots to filter water. (cieling of clay pots image by Bionic Media from

In the modern age, water filtration systems are a given in developed countries. Much of the world needn't worry about getting clean water; all you have to do is turn on the faucet. However, in third world countries without running water or in areas damaged by natural disasters, clean water is at a premium. These places must rely on homemade water filtration for drinking water. Whether you want to go green with your water consumption or simply want to teach your children about other countries, making a clay water filter is a proactive place to start.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Dried clay
  • Water
  • Corn husks
  • Tea leaves
  • Coffee grounds
  • Plastic bucket
  • 5-gallon plastic pot
  • 4-gallon plastic pot
  • 6-gallon plastic water receptacle with bottom spigot and lid

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  1. 1

    Fill a 2- or 3-gallon plastic bucket almost full of dried clay pieces. Crumble about ¼ lb. of corn husks and half that amount of tea leaves and used coffee grounds into the clay. Add a pint of warm water and let everything soak for about five minutes.

  2. 2

    Begin working the moistened material, adding another pint of water. Work the material some more, squishing and mixing it with your hands. Continue adding water so the material is the consistency of thick modelling clay.

  3. 3

    Pull the material from the bucket and mould it into a rough pot shape. Place the pot shape into a 5-gallon plastic planting pot. Smooth the sides against the pot. Roll the material sticking up from the rim of the pot down into a clay pot lip. Slide your 4-gallon plastic pot into the clay pot and press, moulding it into shape.

  4. 4

    Flip all three pots upside down and lift up the 5-gallon pot. Flip the clay and 4-gallon pot right side up and pull the 4-gallon pot out of the clay pot. Allow the clay pot to dry and harden in the sun for 48 hours. It should be totally hard and rough before you use it.

  5. 5

    Slide the clay pot into your plastic 6-gallon water receptacle. These containers have a lip just below the rim to hold the rim of your clay pot. Pour rain water or other questionable water into the clay pot and snap the plastic lid into place. The water will filter through the porous clay, leaving contaminants behind. You should be able to drink the water from the spigot.

Tips and warnings

  • Scrub out your clay pot gently after two or three uses, especially if filtering very dirty water. If you see grime in your pot after just one use, scrub it out before using it again.

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