Can you Filter Water with a Shirt?

If you love camping and the outdoors, you know all too well the importance of having access to clean water. In most cases, you will carry water in a bottle but that can get depleted pretty fast. It might be tempting to bring all the water you need for the trip but it is easier to travel light. This is why it’s better to know how to filter water out in the wild with everyday supplies – like your shirt for instance.

How to filter water with a shirt

Take a piece of your shirt (preferably silk) and secure it on the mouth of a container (that has the water to be filtered) with a rubber band or string. You can fold the piece of cloth for better results. Make sure it is tight enough. Take another clean container for collecting the filtered water. Invert the container with water such that the water filters into an empty container right through your piece of cloth. Once done, the water will be free of any suspended solids.

The Silk used to make your shirt is usually tightly and evenly woven. Additionally, silk is not stretchy. These are the two qualities that make it an excellent filter. It might take time to filter a gallon of water, but it will greatly reduce turbidity.

A piece of your shirt may not remove all contaminants, but it can help get rid of some of the media for bacteria and other pathogens. Most bacteria and pathogens live on particles and plankton found in water. These are fairly large particles, and you can easily filter them out using a cloth. Of course, you will need to boil the water, but if you can’t do anything else to improve the quality, using a piece of your shirt is better than nothing. Your shirt will come in handy if the water source has dirt, sand, or other debris.

Can Cotton be Used as a Filter?

You can use cotton to filter water. However, cotton will filter out large particles and do very little for turbidity. It will not get rid of salts, minerals, and other chemicals. If you have a cotton cloth, fold it several times before using it as a filter.

You can also use cotton balls for filtering water. Secure a sizeable amount of cotton wool on the neck of a funnel. If you do not have one, you can use a plastic bottle with a narrow neck to make one. Make sure the pressure of water will not displace the cotton. Collect the water in a clean beaker and boil the water.

Can you Use a Sock to Filter Water?

You can use a sock to filter out large chunks of sediment. It is not 100% effective, but it is better than nothing. A cotton sock will do a good job. Tuck the sock in a larger container to make sure the moth remains wide open. You can add another sock for better results.

Pour your water into the sock to filter out dirt and other large particles. It might not reduce the turbidity, but it will remove most of the suspended solids. You can pour some sand into your setup to add another layer for filtration.

What Fabrics can be Used as Water Filters?

For the best results, make sure your choice of fabric is tightly woven. Additionally, the material used should be stiff. If your fabric has a stretchy material, it will create gaps under pressure. Silk is the ideal material since it is not flexible. Silk fibers are also fine and can be woven evenly and tightly. A piece of tightly woven silk fabric can reduce turbidity by .915% within five minutes of filtering.

Can I Use a Sari Cloth to Filter Water?

You can fold a sari cloth several times and filter your water. A sari cloth is proven to reduce the risk of contracting cholera from water. With a Sari cloth, you can reduce up to 99% of the bacteria that causes cholera.

For those who love the outdoors, clean drinking water comes first before food. Your shirt may come in handy when you do not have any other means of purifying your water. It will help you eliminate any suspended solids from the water. For the best results, use a fabric with a stiff material that is tightly and evenly woven. Silk is a good example.

Final Thoughts

After you have filtered your water, you should employ other purification steps to get rid of other contaminants like bacteria. An easy and effective method is boiling. According to WHO, boiling water can help kill pathogenic bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. The boiling point of water will vary with altitude. If you go camping on hills and mountains, you might want to boil the water for a while.

Another solution is to carry some water filtration tablets. Check out this blog for a more detailed explanation of how they work and how many you need to purify your water.