How to Make Your Own (Salt) Water Distiller

Drinking tap water is not as safe as most people may believe. Instead, it can be a cocktail of fluorine, chlorine, plus other chemicals. Now, imagine if the SHTF.

Your water mat be contaminated with heavy metals, bacteria, protozoa and even viruses. There are many ways to purify it but only one is guaranteed to remove ALL of them, and that’s distillation.

Water regulations and the treatment methods that are used in the United States are extremely outdated. Toxic chemicals are not addressed in the proper manner. The Safe Drinking Water Act only watches over 91 different contaminants.

However, there are over 60,000 different chemicals that are known in the United States. To really get an idea of how unhealthy tap water really is here are some facts you should consider:

  • Tap water has arsenic in it.
  • There are radioactive type particles in the water.
  • It includes mercury, lead, and other poisons.
  • There are dozens of thousands of different chemical compounds.
  • Water treatment plants are unable to remove all the toxins in the water.

Besides the E. coli scare that had prompted many bottling facilities to take put out a recall on fourteen different brands of water, choosing bottled or distilled water instead is definitely the best option.

Top Pollutants Found in Our Water

  • Fluoride
  • Chlorine
  • Pharmaceutical Drugs
  • Aluminum, Lead, and Other Metals
  • Arsenic
  • Hexavalent Chromium

Water distillation is a surefire way of making water safe to drink in 99% of SHTF situations.

How to Distill Water

In this article, we’ll show you how to make a water distiller easily, using cheap materials. The best part is, this will help you purify an UNLIMITED quantity of water.

There are many different types of methods that you are able to use for distilling water; however, mainly it involves boiling it into vapor. Due to the pollution that has accumulated, the rainwater is not always a very safe source. In a pinch, if that is the only water you can obtain, then it will do. The vapor will eventually leave all contaminants behind. When water turns to vapor completely, the latter will go into another container that is clean. Then it will condense into its liquid form, which is water.

Distilling with a Stainless Pot

You will need a pot that has a 3 to 5 gallon capacity. It will need to be made of stainless steel. You will also need a baking rack, a heat resistant glass bowl, ice, and tap water.

  1. First, put your rack on the bottom of the pot.
  2. Fill it up with some tap water up to the halfway point.
  3. Put the glass bowl inside of the pot. You will need to make it float on the surface of the water. Keep in mind that the rack will need to support that bowl so that it does not reach the bottom of the pot.
  4. Turn the lid of the pot upside down; place it on the pot.
  5. Fill the lid with the ice.
  6. Allow the water to boil for approximately 45 minutes.
  7. Put more ice in as needed. The ice will turn to steam when it begins to boil. Inside of the pot, the steam will hit the lid. It will then begin the condensing process due to cooling down. It will turn to water and drip inside of your bowl. Once your bowl is filled, you will turn your stove off.
  8. Remove the lid of the pot.
  9. Using a pair of heat resistant gloves, remove your bowl that has the clean water.
  10. Allow the water to cool down. You can then pour the water into clean bottles. Make sure that the bottles are safe to use for long time storage. There are many containers that should not be used long term.
how to make distilled water at home easy

Using a Stove or Grill to Distill Water

This is very similar to the method of using a stainless-steel pot. However, the water that is distilled is collected inside of a container that is on the outside of a pot. In order to use this method, you will need a funnel that will be attached using an aquarium type of tubing.

However, in order to get the funnel to work properly, you will need to have the tubing at a lower elevated level than your funnel. One of the advantages of this method is that you will not have to wait for your pot to cool down.

Homemade Water Distiller - DIY - Stove Top "Pure Water" Still - EASY instructions!

Getting Distilled Water from Rain and Snow

Just like you can with tap water; you are able to use rain or snow to obtain distilled drinking water. These are two of the main options of water sources that can be taken from the outside.

You will need to collect rainwater or snow inside of a clean container. The safest and cleanest snow to use is the one that is the freshest. The longer that the snow sits out, the more dust and dirt particles are collected; thus, increasing the number of minerals on the snow.

Another thing to keep in mind when collecting snow is to stay away from roads as there might be chemicals that are spread off to treat the roads.

You will then allow it to settle for a day. In most cases, you are able to pour off clean water from your collection and use a coffee filter to strain it. You will then boil it.

To test the water, make sure that it has a reading of 6 to 9ppm.

rainwater vs tapwater

Distilling Water Using Solar Power

Solar energy can save some money as all you really need is the the sun. This can be a permanent solar still that can distil water on a constant basis.

A solar still is a glass covered box that is painted on the inside. A pan filled with water is placed inside the still and the device is then placed out in the sun. As the water vapor hits the glass, it condenses the water and runs it down to the catch tube.

The sun powers solar distillation. It does not need any type of fuel or any electricity. It is extremely practical if you need to collect distilled water to collect. This process takes advantage of vaporizing water. This method will remove bacteria, salts, and metals from your water. Using this method can even take out the chemical called trichloroethylene, along with the carcinogens.


  1. Make a box out of plywood with a door for the water pans. The inside dimensions of the box should be 23 inches long by 19 inches wide. The front of the box should be 6 inches tall, while the back should be 9½ inches tall. The side of the box is constructed from two layers of half-inch plywood, and the bottom should be constructed from ¾ inch plywood.
  2. You will need a piece of glass that is 24 inches.
  3. When inserting the glass into the box, hold it in place with a silicone caulk.
  4. A base shoe or quarter round can be placed on the glass to finish the box.
  5. When nailing the box in place, make sure to avoid the glass with the hammer or a nail.
  6. Cut a ¾ or 1-inch thick aluminized insulated cover to fit inside the box.
  7. Place it in the bottom with the aluminum side up.
  8. The inside of the box should be painted flat black so that it can absorb as much light as possible.
  9. For the water pans, it’s recommended that you use Pyrex dishes to reduce the risk of any breakage. (This still can hold two Pyrex dishes).
  10. Use a rubber door seal at the drip edge. Glue it in place with the silicone caulk and allow to fully dry. (Ensure that you have filled the side that attaches to the glass).
  11. Place the glass on the box to mark where the drip edge is. Remove the glass to install the drip edge before installing the glass back onto the still.
  12. Install a ½ inch schedule 40 PVC pipe that is slightly less than inch (0.875 inch).
  13. Partially drill through the opposite wall of the box from the inside.
  14. Glue the pipe into the hole and secure with the silicone caulk.
  15. For the catch tube, cut two lengthwise pieces of ½ inch PVC pipes at about 120 degrees. The drip tube should be secured with a pin at the outlet end.
Fresnel Lens Solar Distilled Water from the Sun

Distilling Water from Plants

If you are faced with a water emergency, you can distil water from plants. You will need green plants, a clean container, plastic wrap, or equivalent, as well as a small sized rock.

  1. You will dig a hole. It should be enough so that it is able to accommodate the container in the middle.
  2. Pile up some wet plants around the hole around your container.
  3. Cover up the hole with the plastic. Make sure to secure it with some rocks. You will need to ensure that the moisture does not escape.
  4. Place a small rock or pebble in the center of the plastic to make a small depression in the plastic.
  5. One the water begins to evaporate; the vapors will condense on your plastic. It will collect and fall from the depression that you made using the small rock. Even though this is a time-consuming method, it might save your life should TSHTF.

If you would like to speed it the method up, you can dig your hole right where the sun is shining directly onto the ground. It will capture the heat more and evaporate the water much faster.

If you would like to continue this method, just add more plants like ferns and cacti. Ensure that you do not collect any of the poisonous plants, as they are full of toxins.

Distilling Seawater

Just one drink of ocean water can cause you great discomfort and deadly dehydration. This is due to the extremely high salt content. However, it can be distilled into water that will keep you alive and well.

  1. Fill up a pan and put a clean glass in the middle of it.
  2. Pour the seawater inside the pan and stop once it reaches the mouth of your glass.
  3. Make sure that none of the seawater escapes into the glass. Place the cover of your pot upside down.
  4. Build up the fire and begin to boil your water.
  5. The water will boil and the steam will then condense onto your lid and fall into your glass.

Using Glass Bottles for Distillation

You will need two empty bottles made of glass. These bottles should be clean. This one method is best done using bottles that have a curve on the outside of the neck in order to prevent the steam water from returning into the bottle it was once in.

  1. You will fill up one of your bottles.
  2. Fill it till it is about 5 inches from the very top.
  3. Set the bottles next to each other.
  4. Using duct tape, secure them together.
  5. You will then get a pot. Fill it up with enough water to cover the bottle that you have filled with water.
  6. Tilt the bottles at a degree of 30 with the bottle that is empty leaning on the side of the pot rim. It will be a good angle to catch the evaporated water.
Structured Water Vortexer


Everyone agrees with the fact that we need water to survive. The biggest hazards we face from water are the microorganisms like bacteria, protozoa, and other parasites that are able to enter our bodies through the water that we think is clean.

This is an issue that every survivalist should think about and find ways to combat this growing problem. We will have enough to worry about if the SHTF that we don’t want to add finding clean water into that list.

If you do not wish to get distilled water from any of the methods above, there is an option for you to purchase an expensive or inexpensive distiller.

Disclosure: This post has links to 3rd party websites, so I may get a commission if you buy through those links. Survival Sullivan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See my full disclosure for more.

An inexpensive distiller can give you high quality equipment and great performance while still being easy to use. There are plenty of options in the market, you can choose one that suits your wants and needs.

However, if you want to be a true prepper and try to figure this out yourself, we’ve got just the thing for you.

This article gave you all the feasible ways to make it slightly easier for you and your loved ones to enjoy clean and drinkable water no matter what happens.

water distiller pinterest

5 thoughts on “How to Make Your Own (Salt) Water Distiller”

  1. Distilled water can only be used as a temporary solution. Since it lacks all necessary minerals you will eventually die from it. You cannot rely on it as a permanent fluid source.

      1. I agree with you, Dan. The minerals in water provide an ionic bond in the body which allows the body to retain the fluid and provide trace elements needed by the cells. Distilled water is plenty good when it is all you have and the minerals can be replaced with supplements. One must have a supply of clean water to survive and distillation is a time proven strategy.

      2. There is a book called “The choice is clear” one may find on the internet to read. It considers the distilled water as the best choice, because in this way inorganic minerals stored in the body are removed, and that is considered a good thing. People with arthritis or other diseases were helped in this way.

  2. All the methods that involve boiling and condensing have the VERY REAL possibility of passing organic compounds with low boiling points (example: methanol – highly toxic) into the vapor and therefore to the distillate.

    To avoid this, one should measure the vapor temperature and discard any distillate that forms while the vapor temperature is below 205 Deg F. This will likely only be 40 – 50 ml.

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