Introduction: How to Make a Syphon Without Getting Anything in Your Mouth

Picture of How to Make a Syphon Without Getting Anything in Your Mouth

Using a syphon (or siphon) is an easy way to move liquid from place to place without using a pump. It relies on the assumption that the liquid you want to move is higher than the location you're moving it to. The liquid will travel uphill, as long as the final destination is lower than the beginning level.

The problem with syphoning things is that there has to be some initial suction to begin the movement of the liquid through a pipe. This usually comes from the Mark I Human Mouth. When using a non-clear pipe you can easily end up with a mouthful of whatever liquid you're trying to move.

Using a couple of readily available household materials, a pair of scissors, and about 2 minutes of time we can avoid this unfortunate situation from happening.

What you'll need
1. A plastic bottle
2. A power cable
3. A pair of scissors

Step 1: Preparing the Pipe (cable)

Picture of Preparing the Pipe (cable)

The first problem with using a power cable as a pipe is all of the pesky wires inside the rubber insulation.

Cut only one end fully off the cable.

Cut through the insulation on the other end of the cable, making sure not to cut through the wires inside.

Stand on the plug (make sure you're wearing shoes) and pull on the insulation. You should start to see bare wires at the plug end, and the insulation should be hollowing out.

All being well you should pull all of the wires through the cable insulation and be left with just the insulation. This is your pipe.

Step 2: Prepare the Container

Picture of Prepare the Container

All you need to do to the bottle is make a hole in the lid using the scissors.

Make sure that the hole is not too big. It should be just a bit narrower than your pipe.

Step 3: Connect the Pieces

Picture of Connect the Pieces

Feed the pipe through the bottle cap. You only need to push through a little bit of the pipe.

Screw the cap onto the bottle with the pipe still in the hole.

Step 4: Use Your New Syphon

Picture of Use Your New Syphon

Your syphon is now complete.

Find some water and put the free end of the pipe into the water.

Squeeze the bottle a bit and some air bubbles should come out of the pipe at the water end.

Make sure the bottom of the bottle is below the water and release your squeeze on the bottle.

As the bottle pops back into shape it creates the initial suction required to start the flow of water.

Once the bottle has regained its shape you may wish to unscrew the cap slightly so that air can get into the bottle. Otherwise the flow of water will slow, and eventually stop. If you don't need to contain the water then you can just unscrew the cap once the flow has begun.

You can now syphon horrible liquids without leaving a bad taste in your mouth.


raeppasidi (author)2017-04-03

So clever!! Thank you for sharing!

swagato2017 (author)2017-03-25


eegerbvr (author)2015-10-05

Would this work for automatic transmission fluid (thicker) or even motor oil?

spencdood (author)eegerbvr2016-06-22

it worked with lawnmower motor oil when i did it, but it drains somewhat slower than gas.

OpeoluwaO1 (author)2016-04-13

Thanks so much for the information.It has been of great use to me.

bakedmuffinman (author)2015-04-07

The cable I pulled on seems to be held together way stronger then yours :(

bakedmuffinman (author)2015-04-07

Woops. Sshhhhh.

bakedmuffinman (author)2015-04-07

Woops. Sshhhhh.

bakedmuffinman (author)2015-04-07

intrud (author)2010-06-06

does the pipe sit in the water or not??

essteeyou (author)intrud2012-04-27

The end of the pipe that sucks the water up has to be in the water. The other end doesn't have to be. It just has to be lower than the other end.

nutsandbolts_64 (author)2010-04-23

Nice! I might as well make one now but I don't have any sort of tubing now. I'm gonna make a different style of siphon. 

itachi2458 (author)2009-12-13

useing this concept could you start the flow with the water bottle and then take it the tube out and water your flowers

 According me: yes (if you have a sufficient length of tubing)

sharlston (author)2009-10-20

5 stars great ible

baba sehgal (author)2009-05-09

i also did the same thing and it worked better

stephenniall (author)2009-04-06

Umm Aquarium air pump tubing works well enough Plus its see through so you can see the Red water Coming off that mans arm. hehe Wait a Minute .

whisky_ed (author)2009-02-21

I just searched for this from google and this is a great help, off to get some tubing and some cheap cola now!

essteeyou (author)whisky_ed2009-02-21

Cool, glad it's going to be useful for you. :) Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, they're always appreciated. :)

drphoto1 (author)2008-11-27

Why would you want to ruin a good power cord? Just get some cheap clear tubing.

essteeyou (author)drphoto12008-11-27

Where I worked we had loads of power cords hanging around. Some failed their PAT so we weren't allowed to use them. So yeah...

dreadybeaner (author)2008-10-07

thanks bro! gonna use this(with some modification) for the small fish tank i got for my desk at work... the syphon i use for the one at home is too big.. this is awesome

essteeyou (author)dreadybeaner2008-10-18

Thanks for your comment. I'm glad it's coming in useful for people. If your modification would be useful you should make an Instructable for it. :)

medicationreqd (author)2008-08-29

It's kinda like a turkey baster, only with the flexibility of a hose.

essteeyou (author)medicationreqd2008-08-30

Yeah, that's pretty much the idea. Although if you have a much bigger bottle then you can hold a lot more than in a turkey baster. :)

=SMART= (author)2008-08-22

wow very very cool my freind !! cant wait to do this!

essteeyou (author)=SMART=2008-08-23

:) Thanks. Let me know how it goes, or if you think of any improvements.

Dipankar (author)2008-08-20

Instead of using a power cable you can use a thin PVC pipe, those used in bikes and scooters as fuel pipe, they are cheap, thin and transparent.

essteeyou (author)Dipankar2008-08-21

Anything hollow and narrower than the bottle lid would work just fine. If you need it to be transparent then your idea is better. The power cable is just something I think a lot of people will have lying around. I know I've got hundreds of the things. :) Thanks for the comment.

Josho (author)2008-08-20

A slightly modified version is by putting a hole at the bottom of the bottle, then squeezing the bottle. Then put your finger over the hole and letting it suck the liquid through. Then when the liquid is flowing, just take yor finger off so you get a nice flow. Or if you want the liquid in the bottle, make a small hole at the top.

essteeyou (author)Josho2008-08-21

That'd work too, yeah, but then you'd have a hole in the bottle when you can fairly easily just unscrew the cap and let it rest in there, keeping the bottle in tact. It all depends on what you're using the syphon for, I guess. Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)

tiuk (author)2008-08-20

I wonder how long before someone makes a comment about high gas prices. Anyway, nice job.

Belcher1035 (author)tiuk2008-08-20

I will say that sucking gasoline into your mouth does not taste/feel good at all.

essteeyou (author)Belcher10352008-08-20

I've never actually done it. I can't imagine it's very nice though. I guess I'll never find out though. So long as I walk around with some scissors, a power cable, and a plastic bottle. :)

essteeyou (author)tiuk2008-08-20

Thanks. :) Gas prices in America are kinda low compared to over here in the UK. I'm working on some hydrogen ideas at the moment, actually. It'll be nice if I actually go through with them.

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