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How to Make a Water Filter for Removing Iron

Mackenzie Maxwell

Ready to rid your water of iron? You have plenty of options. First, determine what type of iron you're dealing with and then you can get the filter you need.

How to Make a Water Filter for Removing Iron

Iron is a natural and regular part of the tap water in many homes. While it may be safe to drink, plenty of people choose to eliminate this mineral due to their taste or aesthetic preferences.

Determine the Type of Iron and Manganese

The type of treatment that works best in your home may be different from the removal method that works for someone else. This difference happens because there are three distinct types of iron that can find their way into tap water. Before you install a filter for your water, it's essential to determine which variety of these minerals are in your water.

If your water is clear, you have the dissolved form of ferrous iron. While this type of iron may not be immediately visible, it can make your water "hard." Hard water can cause buildup on washed dishes and show other subtle signs. If the water from your tap comes out rust-colored, the precipitate form of ferric iron is present. The colloidal form causes water to have a yellow tint. This type of iron comes when it has combined with other organic material and it can be particularly difficult to filter.

Salt-Based Water Softeners

If your water is clear and you want to soften it, you may turn to traditional salt-based water softeners. These softeners work by creating an ion exchange with minerals in the water. Contrary to what some may believe, the salt in the filter does not leave the water with a salty taste. Instead, these devices use sodium's positively charged ions to stop iron from entering your home's water supply.

Oxidizing Filters

If you have either dissolved or precipitate iron in your water, you may use a greensand filter to remove it. These popular filters use glauconite, a green, clay-like material. Like the salt-based softeners, this material exchanges ions with the iron in the water. Many professionals call this process oxidation. While this mechanism is efficient at removing unwanted iron, it also requires significant maintenance. Backwashing is vital for greensand filters. This process washes the build-up of iron and manganese away from the filter. Basic greensand filters may also require replacement at some point.

Some new devices, called Birm filters, use a similar process to filter out the iron. Like greensand filters, these devices oxidize the water. However, Birm filters cleverly use the raw water's own oxygen for this process. Therefore, these filters require less maintenance and do not require regeneration.

Adding Chemicals

If you're trying to get pure-tasting water from your tap, it may seem counterintuitive to add more chemicals to your water. However, the strategic injection of chlorine, potassium permanganate or hydrogen peroxide can help, especially if you have stubborn iron particles in your water. These chemicals make it easier for filters to trap the iron.


If you choose this method, it is vital that you work with a water specialist to get a perfect balance. Chemical injection systems can be dangerous to operate. Do not do this on your own.

When it comes to improving your water's taste by removing iron, you have many different options. First, determine the type of iron in your water. Then, you can work with a water professional to get your H2O on track and help you explore all the options to find the best fit for your situation.