How to Make Ceramic Water Filters


Countries without running water see clean water as a luxury. Places like Sri Lanka have to produce filtration systems for individual homes rather than linking several homes up to the same pipe system. The Sri Lankan answer to contaminated water is ceramic filtration systems. The porous ceramic used to make these materials traps and filters out dirt and chemical contaminants, resulting in drinkable water that drips through the bottom. You can make one of these simple filters yourself to see how they work.

Things You'll Need

  • Unglazed broken ceramic pieces
  • Clean drop cloth
  • Rubber mallet
  • Bucket
  • Dried grass clippings
  • Used coffee grounds
  • Dried corn husks
  • Used tea leaves
  • Warm water
  • 5 gallon plastic beverage holder with lid and spigot
  • Place about 2 pounds of broken ceramic pieces in a single layer on a canvas drop cloth. Fold the drop cloth over the ceramic and hit them firmly with a rubber mallet to break them into pea-sized pieces. Pour the pieces into a large plastic bucket.

  • Add about a ¼ pound each of dried and crumbled grass clippings, used coffee grounds, dried corn husks and used tea leaves. The organic material will help filter organic contaminants. Add enough warm water to just cover the ceramic pieces. Mix the ceramic and organic material with your hands and let it soak overnight.

  • Squeeze a handful of soaked ceramic; it should squish and stick together easily. If it doesn't, add warm water a little at a time until it does. The clay should be pliable and squishy but not dripping. Knead and mix the ceramic until all of the organic material is worked evenly through it.

  • Turn the ceramic out onto a flat, clean surface. Mold it into a deep bowl about 1 inch thick on the sides. Pinch a lip around the edges of the bowl wide enough to sit on the lip just inside your beverage holder. Set the bowl in the sun to dry for 12 hours.

  • Ease the bowl down into your beverage holder. The holder should have a lip just below the rim for the lip of the bowl to sit on. Fill the bowl with water and snap the holder's lid into place. Clean water should drip through the bottom of the bowl and be available through the spigot.

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  • Photo Credit ceramics pots image by JoLin from
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