How to Make Your Own DIY Water Filter Pitcher in 7 Steps

Author: Rory Mullan - Published: 2022/08/19 - Updated: 2022/12/22

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Clean water is something that everyone should have access to, but sadly that isn’t the reality for many people. While buying a water filter pitcher is an excellent solution to the issue, this option might not be affordable for all.

However, there is another option: building your own water filter pitcher. While that might sound ridiculous at first, you can make a good pitcher-like filter with simple materials. Read on to learn how.

In this article, we’ll explain what a homemade water filter pitcher is, how to build one on your own, and how to test it.

So, here is our step-by-step guide on how to make a DIY water filter pitcher!


These are the seven easy steps to make your own DIY water filter pitcher:

  1. Cut off the bottom part of a plastic bottle.
  2. Flip the bottle upside-down. Then position it properly inside a large glass.
  3. Use a ball of cotton wool, cloth, or coffee filter as your first filter layer and place it inside the upside-down bottle. It should be roughly two inches thick.
  4. For the second filter layer, add about one inch of activated carbon.
  5. For the third layer, put a few inches worth of gravel and stones just right on top of the activated carbon.
  6. Add about three to four inches of sand for the fourth layer.
  7. Lastly, you can put additional gravel until the upside-down bottle is almost full, with only about half an inch of free space on top.

For using your DIY filter pitcher, fill water into the top and wait for it to trickle down and into the glass.

Making Your Own DIY Water Filter Pitcher

How to Make a DIY Water Filter Pitcher thumbnail

Making your water filter is a concept that many people are interested in. That’s because water quality is becoming increasingly important to Americans, who desire to remove as many harmful contaminants as possible.

The cost of maintaining and replacing filters can add up over time, so you might not want to spend your money on a professionally-branded water filter pitcher.

If this is the case, you may wonder if there are other ways to filter your water supply – fortunately, there are – building your own water filter pitcher.

While making a homemade pitcher filter is possible, maintaining one over time may not be feasible. Many homemade filtration pitchers will need their materials replaced regularly and may not provide the same level of filtration as professional ones.

In case you’d like to try it, we’ve put together a guide below on how to make a DIY filter pitcher, what materials you’ll need, and how to test its effectiveness.

What You Need

  • Empty plastic bottle
  • Glass
  • Activated carbon – great for removing chemicals and improving the taste and smell of your water[1]
  • Gravel – Traps large floating solids
  • Sand – Sand helps catching smaller particles
  • Scissors
  • Piece of cloth (cotton) – A piece of cloth is great for filtering finer sediment
  • Water

Follow These Steps

  1. Start by removing the bottom of your plastic bottle using scissors.
  2. Next, turn the bottle upside down (so that the nozzle is facing downwards) and place it in your empty glass. Now you are ready to establish the first filtration layer.
  3. In the bottom of the bottle, make a layer roughly two to three inches thick using a piece of cotton cloth.
  4. You will then add your activated carbon, about one or two inches thick.
  5. Next, add gravel on top of the carbon. A few inches should do.
  6. A layer of sand about three inches thick should follow.
  7. Another round of gravel will be the final filter layer.

How You Can Test Your Homemade Water Filter Pitcher

Want to put your DIY water filter pitcher to the test?

You can try pouring muddy water through it. Wait until it has trickled down into the glass and check for the results.

It’s a good idea to test any filtered water before drinking it. The many layers of filtration may prevent the most harmful contaminants from getting through, but remember that this is still a DIY water filter pitcher, so it will not be as good as a professional water filter from a trusted company.

For peace of mind, we recommend you buy a drinking water testing kit to test your water both before and after filtration, especially if you are trying this for the first time. By doing this, you will be able to see what contaminants your DIY pitcher filter removed from your water supply.

It is pretty easy to test if your DIY filtration system works. Follow these steps to do so:

hand holding water test strip

  1. From your faucet, pour two glasses of water.
  2. Fill your DIY filtering pitcher with one of the glasses and wait for the device to do its job.
  3. Use a water testing kit to test the two glasses. The unfiltered water should be tried first, followed by the filtered water. If it works properly, your water filter should have removed at least some contamination.


Homemade water filter pitchers won’t be as effective as their retail counterparts, but they are still an excellent option for people on a very tight budget that want a way to filter their water at home or on the go.

Building a DIY pitcher isn’t particularly complicated, and you only need a few materials.

Remember to test the filter, however, to see the difference in output.

Further Reading


Meet Rory Mullan

Rory Mullan Rory has joined the Water Masterz team as a contributing writer. He has covered all sorts of topics in the last several years.

Outside of his writing work, Rory enjoys photographing the Irish landscape and making music!

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