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How To Build A Solar Still

how to build a solar still
If you’ve ever been curious about how to build a solar still, look no further. This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on constructing your very own solar still. Whether you’re interested in purifying water for emergency situations or simply want to explore sustainable options, building a solar still is a useful skill to have. With easy-to-follow instructions and a few basic materials, you’ll be well on your way to harnessing the power of the sun and obtaining clean, drinkable water. So let’s get started!

Can Solar Power be Used to Operate a Solar Still for Survival Purposes?

Solar power benefits for emergency situations can indeed be used to operate a solar still for survival purposes. A solar still is a device that can convert saltwater into drinkable freshwater by utilizing the sun’s energy. By harnessing solar power, individuals in emergency situations can ensure a reliable source of clean water, making it a valuable tool for survival.

How to Build a Solar Still

Building a solar still is a simple and effective way to obtain clean drinking water, especially in areas where access to clean water is limited. A solar still uses the heat from the sun to evaporate water, which then condenses on a surface and drips into a collection container. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of building a solar still. How To Build A Solar Still Get your own How To Build A Solar Still today.

Materials Needed

Before getting started, gather the following materials:
  • Glass or plastic container with a lid: This will serve as the main collection container for the water.
  • Digging tools: You will need tools such as a shovel or spade to dig a hole for the solar still.
  • Small rocks or pebbles: These will be used to create a space for the water to collect.
  • Plastic sheeting or tarp: The sheeting will cover the hole and container, allowing condensation to occur.
  • Clean container to collect water: You will need a separate container to collect the clean, condensed water.

Choosing a Location

When selecting a location for your solar still, there are a few things to consider:
  • Sunny spot: Place the solar still in an area that receives ample sunlight throughout the day.
  • Flat ground: Ensure that the ground is level to prevent any water leakage.
  • No obstructions: Avoid areas with trees or buildings that may cast shadows on the solar still.
Check out the How To Build A Solar Still here.

Preparing the Site

To prepare the site for your solar still, follow these steps:
  • Clear the area of debris: Remove any sticks, leaves, or other debris from the ground where the solar still will be set up.
  • Level the ground: Use a shovel or similar tool to level the ground where the solar still will be placed. This will help prevent any water from pooling or leaking.
  • Dig a hole: Dig a hole in the center of the cleared area, making sure it is deep enough to accommodate the container.

Building the Solar Still

Now that the site is prepared, let’s move on to building the solar still:
  • Place the container in the center of the hole: Set the glass or plastic container inside the hole, ensuring it sits securely.
  • Arrange small rocks or pebbles around the container: Create a ring of rocks or pebbles around the container. This will elevate the container slightly and create space for the water to collect.
  • Cover the hole and container with plastic sheeting: Place the plastic sheeting or tarp over the hole, ensuring it completely covers the container and hole.
  • Secure the edges of the sheeting: Use rocks or other heavy objects to secure the edges of the sheeting, preventing it from blowing away.
  • Place a weight on top of the sheeting: This will help create a downward slope, allowing condensation to form and collect in the container.
How To Build A Solar Still

Creating the Condensation

It’s time to start creating condensation in your solar still:
  • Pour dirty or saltwater into the container: Fill the container with the water you want to purify. This can be dirty water from a natural source or saltwater.
  • Seal the lid tightly: Make sure the lid of the container is securely fastened to prevent any water from escaping.
  • Wait for the sun to heat up the container: The sun will heat up the water inside the container, causing it to evaporate.
  • Condensation will form on the underside of the sheeting: As the water vapor rises, it will come into contact with the cooler surface of the sheeting, causing it to condense into water droplets.
  • Water droplets will collect and drip into the container: Over time, the condensed water droplets will collect on the sheeting and eventually drip down into the container.

Collecting the Water

Once condensation has occurred, it’s time to collect the clean water:
  • Remove the weight and carefully lift the sheeting: Take off the weight and gently lift the plastic sheeting, being careful not to spill any water.
  • Collect the water from the container using a clean container or cup: Use a separate clean container or cup to collect the water that has accumulated in the main container.

how to purify water in the wild

Treating the Water

To ensure the water is safe for consumption, it’s necessary to treat it:
  • Filter the water to remove any remaining impurities: Use a fine mesh or cloth to filter out any sediment or particles that may still be present in the collected water.
  • Boil the water to kill any remaining bacteria or parasites: Bring the filtered water to a rolling boil for at least one minute to effectively kill any harmful bacteria or parasites.

Maintaining the Solar Still

Proper maintenance will ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your solar still:
  • Regularly check the water level in the container: Keep an eye on the water level in the main container and refill as necessary.
  • Ensure the sheeting is securely in place: Check that the plastic sheeting is tightly secured around the edges to prevent any air leaks.
  • Replace the sheeting if damaged: If the sheeting becomes damaged or develops holes, replace it to maintain the integrity of the solar still.
  • Clean the container before each use: Before using the solar still again, make sure to clean the container thoroughly to prevent any contamination of the collected water.

Alternative Method: Solar Cooker

Another method of building a solar still is by using a solar cooker:
  • Use a solar cooker as the container: Instead of a separate glass or plastic container, a solar cooker can serve as both the container and heat source.
  • Place a pot or tray inside the solar cooker: Set a pot or tray inside the solar cooker to collect the condensation.
  • Follow the same steps for condensation and collecting water: Follow the same steps outlined earlier for condensation and collecting water using the solar cooker.


Building a solar still is an excellent way to obtain clean drinking water in areas where clean water is scarce. By utilizing the sun’s heat and the power of condensation, it is possible to purify water effectively. Remember to properly maintain your solar still and treat the water before consumption to ensure its safety. With these simple steps, you can create a reliable source of clean drinking water and stay hydrated even in challenging circumstances. Get your own How To Build A Solar Still today.