Simple Solar Distiller Made From Trash




About: I have never been to Patagonia. I wear shoes in public.

There are quite a few of these solar distillers on Instructables, but they are really only helpful to the very poor or in survival situations. So, I thought, it would be best to see if one could be made from trash. Here is what I came up with.

Items needed:

  • 2 Liter bottle
  • 12 oz bottle
  • Short piece of hose
  • Black spray paint (or atlernative)
  • Cardboard box

Step 1: Paint the 2 Liter Bottle Black.

If you don't have spray paint, black electrical tape may work as well.

Step 2: Pour Dirty Water Into the 2 Liter Bottle.

I took a small amount from my pond.

Step 3: Connect the Hose to the 2 Liter Bottle.

My hose was not a good fit for the bottle but I found some pipe insulation that worked well in connecting the two.

Step 4: Connect the Other End of the Hose to the 12 Oz Bottle.

Soda bottles all have the same size lid, so whatever it took to connect the large bottle to the hose should work for the small bottle.

Step 5: Place the Whole Setup in the Sun.

Then shield the smaller bottle from the sun by placing a cardboard box over or around it.

Step 6: Wait a Long Time.

Although this method works to some degree, there are several problems. It takes a long time to distill even the minimum amount of water needed by one person for one day.

Granted, you could always build several of them since they are free. Also, they only work on a warm sunny day. They are useless in the winter. Most third world countries are equitorial, so this is an option year-round for them. But, if you are considering this for survival scenarios in the U.S. or elsewhere, you need an alternative for cold weather.



    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Sensors Contest

      Sensors Contest
    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

    9 Discussions


    This could be a great zombie apocalypse survival trick. You can distill clean water from everyday objects.

    2 replies

    2 years ago

    Well, it looks nice and simple but DON'T drink it. The water has been distilled but the open pipe will allow contamination.

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Yeah, well that's why I called it "solar".


    2 years ago

    Good idea, I have used this method before, it is slow and yes you get water, but also you could get some chemicals that have a lower evap temp then the water, it should still be filtered since this method does remove the solids from the water. you could try to wrap the hose with a rag that is soaked to cool it off more to try to get more liquid into the collector bottle.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Or rather the puddles are frozen but not the rivers :)


    2 years ago

    Interesting experiment! good creative thinking. The evolution - glass bottles and a campfire.