How to Filter Dirty Water in the Wild

Best Selling Dirty Water Filter

As a lover of the wild, you are likely to go camping or hiking more frequently.

For you to survive in the wild, you need more water than food. It might be a challenge to carry gallons of water on your back for long, hence needing water filters.

Moreover, you might find yourself in a survival situation, and your first instinct will lead you in search of clean water. You might be lucky to find a water source, but that does not mean it is safe to drink. There are microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses that inhabit the water.

Therefore, without proper filtration, you are more likely to become ill after drinking it.

So how can you purify water in the wild?

Let’s find out.

How do You Filter Dirty Water in the Wild?

To be on the safe side, learn how to filter water in the wild by practicing at home. To create a tool that you can use to purify water in the wild, you should gather necessary filtration materials such as sand and rocks.

You should note that filtering water in the wild using rocks and sand does not purify it completely. It, however, eliminates physical risks and hazards.

To create your filter, collect a cone-like container such as a plastic bottle to hold your filtration materials. If there are no bottles around, create a cone using large leaves and bundled sticks.

The cone will prevent your filtration materials such as sand, rocks, or charcoal from escaping out the bottom. You should note that if you do not filter materials in the wild, use your t-shirt or a cloth bundle. Moreover, consider boiling or washing your cloth before using it as a filter.

If your water is murky and dirty, you can use the sedimentation method to eliminate unwanted particles. It is simple to follow since you leave your water stagnant for an extended period. This will force all the particles to sink to the bottom, leaving clean and clear water at the top.

Do your best not to disturb the water as you use a separate container to scoop the top part of the water using your purification system.

Can you Filter Contaminated Water?

Yes, you can. Contaminated water contains disease-causing parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. You can use water filters to remove such organisms from your drinking water. Moreover, if you choose a portable filter, ensure you pick one with tiny pore sizes that will remove parasites. Most portable water filters do not remove bacteria or viruses.

You should always carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the water filter you intend to use. After filtering, add a disinfectant such as iodine, chlorine, or chlorine dioxide to the filtered water to kill any viruses and remaining bacteria.

However, it is best to use methods that ultimately kill the contaminants such as germs, viruses, or bacteria to make it drinkable water. Such practices include boiling and disinfecting. If you are in the great outdoors, use a pot over a campfire and let the water boil for 5 minutes to kill the germs.

Additionally, you can use purification iodine tablets or drops that contain iodine or chlorine chemicals used as water purifiers.

Bleach can also be added to drinking water during emergencies. However, be careful while using it since you will need several drops per quart and avoid color-safe bleach or one with added cleaners.

purification drops added in water

How do you Filter Dirty Water with Natural Resources?

Water filtering is a necessity in most countries worldwide due to the increase in pollution. Sophisticated technology is used to filter water where water filtration systems have been set up to quicken the purification process. However, natural options have continually been used for many past years before the inventions came along.

The following are some of the natural options used to purify water;

1. Plants

Plants are natural option resources used to filter water, mainly found in wetlands. Therefore, they filter the water in which they inhabit by adding oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. Additionally, some plants remove heavy metals and toxic substances while catalyzing the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Plants are also used in the wild to purify and filter water. However, they are used by a very knowledgeable expert since even a small mishap may cause severe consequences.

Such magical plants include; –

a. Water hyacinth and water lettuce

They are practical and are often incorporated into the starting steps of wastewater purification.

b. Oregon grape

Oregon grape

Fruit peels and shrubs like the Oregon grape are a great way to purify your water. Seal and soak your water in a bag with this plant, and you will get clean drinking water. The inner bark of this plant naturally contains berberine, which is an antimicrobial alkaloid.

However, this plant is found in select settings, excluding tropical and desert areas. You can, however, use citric fruits and their seeds as an alternative.

2. Oysters

They naturally filter toxins when they feed. Therefore, the water passing through the oysters is purified for drinking. Oyster reefs are up to date preferred as a method of water filtration. One adult oyster can filter a 60-gallon of water tank per day.


3. Charcoal

Charcoal is an extremely slow but effective water filter. The carbon in your charcoal is a useful component that helps remove toxins in the water. Charcoal filters out particles in the water down to 1 micron, including lead, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxide.

Dirty and soft charcoal automatically dissolves into the water instead of purifying. Therefore, make sure to buy hard charcoal and wash it thoroughly before purifying your water.

4. Coconut

The fiber layers of the coconut are associated with the ability of the coconut to filter water. Also, coconut milk acts as a water purifier. Coconut carbon fibers are used commercially to remove toxins and particles.

Whether used commercially or in a do-it-yourself filter system, the husks trap most particles, parasites, and toxins, including cryptosporidium and giardia.

Opened Coconut

5. Sand

The sand was used as a filtering agent since more than 2,000 years ago. It was used by the Greeks and Romans to remove sediment from the water in their pools and bathhouses. Sand can filter out particles as small as 25 microns.

What are the Different Ways to Purify Water?

Pure water in a drinking glass

After filtering your water, it is crucial to confirm whether your water has been purified or treated before drinking. If it is contaminated and you do not have bottled water, you should not worry, for you can use the various water purification methods. You can use other purification methods to make your water safe for drinking.

1. Distillation

This is a water purification process that uses heat to collect pure water in vapor form. It is effective through the notion that water has a lower boiling point than other contaminants and disease-causing elements found in water. Water is subjected to a heat source until it reaches its boiling point.

It is then left at the boiling point until it vaporizes. This vapor is then passed through a condenser to cool. Upon cooling, the moisture becomes liquid water that is clean and safe to drink. Other elements that have a higher boiling point are left as sediments in the boiling container.

This method effectively removes bacteria, germs, salts, and other heavy metals such as lead. It is ideal for people who have access to raw, untreated water. However, it is a slow process that may work best in small quantities of water.

2. Chlorination

Chlorine is a strong chemical that is continually used to treat water for home consumption. It is an effective water purification method that kills germs, parasites, and disease-causing organisms found in water. You can purify your water using chlorine tablets or liquid chlorine.

As an off-the-shelf water purification product, chlorine is cheap and effective. However, caution should be taken when using chlorine liquid or tablets to treat drinking water. When using the chlorine tablets, it is important to apply them in heated water, as they dissolve better. They kill all bacteria leaving your water clean and safe to drink.

3. Filtration

When using the right multimedia filters, filtration is effective in ridding water of unwanted compounds. This method uses chemical and physical processes to purify water and make it safe for human consumption. It eliminates large and small compounds, toxic contaminants, and disease-causing organisms with a simple and quick filtration process.

Since filtration does not deplete all the mineral salts, water that has been filtered is healthier than water purified using other methods. It is considered adequate for the selective elimination of much smaller molecular compounds such as chlorine and pesticides.

It does not require a lot of energy hence less costly. It is an economical method of water purification because little water is lost during the purifying process.

4. Boiling

Boiled water pouring into a pot

Boiling water is the cheapest and safest method of water purification. Any water source you get your water from may render your water unsafe. For instance, parasites, germs, and disease-causing organisms are things you may not see with your bare eyes; hence their effects can be life-threatening.

In this method, clean water should be brought to a boil and left at a rolling boil for 1-3 minutes. Boiled water should be covered and left to cool before drinking. For water drawn from wells, let it sit for compounds to settle before filtering out clean water for use.

What are the Types of Water Filters and How They Work?

Several types of water filters work differently from the other. Each one of the water filter types addresses a different water problem. Many filters use a combination of these methods to perform multiple levels of filtration. They include;

1. Absorption

Black charcoal formation

Absorption in water filters is mostly carried out using a carbon filter, highly effective at ridding water-borne contaminants. Since carbon has a huge internal surface that is jam-packed with nooks and crannies, it readily absorbs pollutants, thus trapping chemical impurities such as chlorine.

Most standard domestic filters contain granular activated carbon (GAC), which reduces unpleasant tastes and odors by absorption. Different substances can be used to make carbon for filters, including wood and coconut shells. Coconut shells, however, are more useful but more expensive.

2. Reverse osmosis

Reverse osmosis is the process of removing dissolved inorganic solids such as magnesium and calcium ions from water. This happens by forcing it through a semipermeable membrane under pressure so that the water passes through, but most of the contaminants are left behind.

It is a highly effective way of purifying water and is usually combined with other filters such as a sediment filter and an absorption filter. Water pressure is used to force water through the membrane. There is no energy usage, though a certain amount of wastewater is produced to be sent to the drain.

3. Ion Exchange

Ion exchange is a process used to soften hard water by exchanging the magnesium and calcium ions in hard water with other ions. They include; sodium or hydrogen ions. It physically removes the hard minerals, reducing the number of salts, and making the water suitable for use.

This process is usually carried out using an ion exchange resin that normally comes in small beads. Some water softeners use a similar type of resin, which utilizes sodium ions, periodically recharged to prevent the resin from becoming ineffective.

You should note that Calcium treatment units can be returned to the supplier and be regenerated since they are sealed. It is possible to replace water filters with new ones.

Which Household Items can be Used Can You Use to Filter Water?

You don’t have to be a camper, a hiker, an outdoor enthusiast, or a wilderness expert to know how to purify your water. With cities running out of drinking water, it can be useful to know how to filter water yourself. Though it might sound risky, there are a few easy and effective methods to get clean and drinkable water. Here are some of them;

1. Bleach

Regular, unscented bleach can actually purify water in approximately 30 minutes. Make sure your bleach is fresh or has been stored at room temperature for less than a year. About 4 quarts of cloudy or muddy water will require 16 drops of bleach.

Colder or muddier water needs more bleach than warm or more transparent water. Add the bleach and gently swirl the water around before letting it sit for at least 20 minutes. You’ll get the smell of chlorine, which allows you to know that the water is ready.

2. Iodine

Iodine dropper

Iodine can be harmful, so it should be avoided by people who have thyroid problems and pregnant or breastfeeding women. It also takes 30 minutes to purify, but it requires more drops than bleach. However, the water will have an unpleasant taste, so it’s not the best substance to use for purification.

3. Chlorine Drops

They are readily available and easy to carry around. Chlorine kills the bacteria in the water but can be harmful if added in excess. The package contains instructions that will guide you on how many drops for how many liters and for how long you need to let it sit. It typically takes about 30 minutes to treat your water.

Moreover, you can use your fire to boil water or purify through solar energy.

What Should You Consider When Buying a Water Purifier?

You might not be sure whether the tap water in your kitchen is drinkable. Although your water supplier might have filtered and purified it, some contaminants may still get through to your glass. Therefore, consider buying your own household filter or purifier. To do so, here are things to consider when buying your water purifier;

1. Water Quality

The water supplied to your home is mostly hard water, which means your home water has a high amount of TDS. Total dissolved solids in water contain inorganic salts such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, bicarbonates, chlorides, and sulfates.

The best water purifier to get rid of these inorganic compounds is the reverse-osmosis system. An RO membrane’s pore size is .0005 micron and makes it impossible for the dissolved solids to exist in your drinking water.

2. Water Pressure

Your water supply flow determines which filter you should get. Water pressure is dependent on the elevation of your home building and other factors like blocked pipes and clogged filters. Water purifiers generally need a pressure of 5-40 pounds per square inch.

A booster pump can also be attached with the reverse osmosis system if the water supply in your home has less water pressure. Otherwise, you could go for an activated carbon purifier if your water supply has less TDS.

3.  Electricity

Electricity plays an important role when it comes to water purifiers. Most purifiers require electric power and are useful for homes with dire power shortages.

  • An ultraviolet filter will not work if there is no electricity used to produce ultraviolet radiation that rids bacteria.
  • The reverse osmosis system would not work without electricity as it uses electric energy to provide enough water pressure for the reverse osmosis membrane.
  • Activated carbon purifiers don’t require electricity, just like sediment filters and ultra-filters.

It is advisable to use water purifiers that use electric energy since they eliminate disease-causing organisms and germs.

4. Contamination

Due to the increase of metal-based infrastructures, metals such as lead, arsenic, magnesium, copper, and iron are found in abundance in water. They can be toxic if taken in large amounts, and you should also make sure to look out for nitrate contamination, which is also a cause for great concern.

In reverse osmosis, the dissolved impurities get reduced, and it is advisable to use reverse osmosis. Ultraviolet (UV) filter where the water gets disinfected since the harmful microorganisms cannot multiply with the UV lamp’s radiation.

Using this knowledge, you can choose the best water purifier that will suit your needs and give you the confidence to take that sip of water.

Why is Reverse Osmosis the Best System to Filter your Water?

Reverse osmosis water offers more benefits for you and your household. When you decide to install a reverse osmosis system in your home, you get a limitless water supply. Moreover, your water will taste better, you will spend less, and a positive difference will be made to the environment.

The following are some of the positive impacts you will experience with the reverse osmosis filter system;

1. Clean and Safe Water

Clean and clear water

Many substances may be floating in your tap water without your knowledge. For instance, sediment, disease-causing organisms, bacteria, among others. They can cause your water to emit an unpleasant odor or a taste-off and can also cause health issues over time.

The reverse osmosis system removes 99% of contaminants in your water and leaves your water with a better taste and safer to drink. It might even be better than your bottled water, which may still contain some contaminants and minerals. Contaminants removed by the RO system include lead, salts, colloids, and pyrogens.

2. It Provides Unlimited Supply Of Better Tasting Water

Your family and friends can drink all the water they want since you do not have to purchase bottled water, which can be expensive. The reverse osmosis filter system gives you an unlimited supply of clean water, which can also be used in other household activities such as cooking and making beverages such as lemonade and tea.

3. Eliminates the Need for Bottled Water

Single-use water bottles contribute to plastic pollution, which is very high in the world. Therefore, using this bottled water every day in your household may be eliminated by using the reverse osmosis system. You get to preserve the environment, and you get to benefit more through;

  • Decreasing your utilization of single-use plastic bottles, which contributes to a safer environment.
  • Receive an endless supply of filtered water whenever needed.
  • Reducing your carbon footprint.

4. Saves your money

If you have a reverse osmosis system in your home, you will have constant access to clean, better tasting water throughout the year. This means you get to spend less on single-use bottled water hence saving your money. Moreover, you get to save time since you only need to turn on your tap and clean, drink or cook with water you trust.

What are Your Options on Water Filters?

Water filters are different in terms of shape and size. They, however, depend on your filtration need, lifestyle preferences, and your budget. The following options may steer you to pinpoint what you need;

1. Carafe, or “Pour-through” Filters

Pour-through filter filtering coffee

These are the easiest to use and simplest water filters. The filter is fitted into a pitcher that can be stored in your refrigerator. They are cheap; however, they have a short lifespan and are limited to filtering a small amount of water at a time.

2. Faucet-mounted Filter

Faucet-mounted filter

It is just as the name suggests. A filter is screwed directly on to your faucet. They require minimum installation; however, they slow the water flow and cannot be mounted on all faucets.

3. Plumbed-in Filters

These filters are installed directly onto an existing water pipe. They are often plumbed-in under the sink, which requires drilling a hole in the countertop. Cabinet space is compromised since they tend to take up the cabinet space for plumbing modifications.

4. Point-of-Entry or “Whole-house” Filters

They are installed directly in the main water entry into the house. Kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room water are filtered, thus requiring a professional to install.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you filter viruses from water?

A water filter is designed to remove and eliminate waterborne protozoa and bacteria, but not viruses. You will need to purify your water to kill the viruses.

2. Which water filters remove the most contaminants?

Reverse osmosis filter systems are the most effective filters for drinking water. They are known to remove more than 99% of dangerous contaminants in the water. Such contaminants include herbicides, pesticides, and heavy metals.

3. Are home installed water-filter systems worth it?

Using a home installed filter ensures you have cleaner, healthier water for drinking, cooking, and showering.

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