Learn how to make a salt water distiller with only very minimal resources and the sheer will to survive.
In this article:
- How to Desalinate Water
- What You’ll Need
- Step 1: Set up the Metal Trays
- Step 2: Fill the Trays with Sand
- Step 3: Position the Bottles Evenly Mouth to Mouth
- Step 4: Wet the Sand Surrounding the Receiving Bottle
- Step 5: Fire up the Heat Source
- You’re done! It’s time to taste your distilled water!
Make Your Own Improvised Version of the Salt Water Distiller
How to Desalinate Water
How would you like to make your own off-grid water distiller from the simplest materials? When you’re in the middle of nowhere and waiting for rescue to arrive, you always have to prepare for the worst possibilities to survive.
Below, you’ll find out how the desalination process is done.
What is desalination? Desalination is the process of separating salt from seawater to make it safe for drinking.
What You’ll Need:
- 2 bottles of water
- A pair of metal trays
- Homemade rocket stove
- Beach sand
Step 1: Set up the Metal Trays
To start with your salt water purifier, position the metal trays in such a way that the two bottles rest mouth to mouth. Cut a notch on one side of both trays, so the neck of the bottles can sit a little lower in the pan.
Suspend one of the bottles over a heat source. For example, here, a homemade rocket stove is shown.
Step 2: Fill the Trays with Sand
Secure the trays in place and fill them with sand. The sand will allow the trays to act more efficiently as the heat sinks.
The first tray is for cooling one of the bottles, while the other tray evenly heats the other bottle, so it doesn’t shatter from too much heat on one side.
Step 3: Position the Bottles Evenly Mouth to Mouth
Press the bottles firmly into the sand to give them good thermal contact and allow for evenly distributed heat. Make sure the bottles meet up as steadily as possible to prevent the water vapor from escaping.
Fill up one bottle with just enough volume of seawater so it doesn’t spill when turned sideways.
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Step 4: Wet the Sand Surrounding the Receiving Bottle
As an additional measure to keep the cold half of this setup, wet the sand on the receiving bottle’s end to allow evaporative cooling to take place. You can cover the entire bottle with more wet sand or a wet towel as an alternative.
Step 5: Fire up the Heat Source
It’s time to fire up the heat source. The quantity of sand on the tray may delay the water from reaching its boiling point immediately, but once the sand is heated enough, it stays hot for a long time.
As the water boils dry, simply refill it to continue with the distillation process as long as you want.
You’re done! It’s time to taste your distilled water!
There you have it! Now, you have your DIY water distiller. Since you already know how to remove salt from water without boiling, it’s time to test if your newly distilled water is good for hydration and no longer has a salty taste.
You can do this desalination of seawater for drinking all over again until you have a large enough water supply to keep everyone hydrated in a survival situation.
Here’s the full video of this simple distillation process from NightHawkinLight:
For the purpose of this tutorial, the metal trays hold both bottles firmly in place. While you probably won’t have trays ready in a survival situation, you can substitute them with a pile of sand and bury one of the bottles at the very top of the pile with its mouth sticking out.
Then, you can build your fire on top of the mound. As for the bottles, sadly, human trash has gone everywhere and plastic bottles usually wash up on beach shores, so they won’t be hard to find.
Have you tried making a simple salt water purifier? Share your experience in the comments section below!
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Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 16, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
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