The Bizarre Use of Banana Peels for Your Survival Water

We’ve known for a couple of centuries now that contaminated water is deadly, but is there a way to filter it if you don’t have access to charcoal or other traditional means?

After all, charcoal may not be quite readily available in a post SHTF scenario and it’s a bit pricey even now, especially if you want to filter large quantities of water. Coal is an option, but it’s not environmentally friendly or readily available to everybody either.

So what’s a natural, available alternative? Banana peels can filter water for survival, of course!

How Banana Peels Filter Water

Banana peels are full of acids and other purifying molecules that aren’t harmful to people. After all, we eat the bananas that are inside, right? One of the biggest sources of water contamination is heavy metals.

Mercury, lead, copper, iron, and other naturally occurring metals find their way into our water sources by both natural and man-made means such as agricultural and industrial waste and runoff. They are lethal to us and the unfortunate part is that they build up in our bodies slowly over time. Lead and mercury in particular build up and can damage the nervous system and, specifically, your brain. Not good.

Typically, engineers use aluminum oxide, silica, cellulose or other means to extract heavy metals but these are expensive and not readily available to John Q. Public. They also have side effects of their own. Charcoal filters out impurities but basically it can only get bigger pieces, so it’s not even that effective.

Banana peels, which are now being studied extensively for use as a water filter, contain atoms of sulfur and nitrogen, along with carboxylic acid and other compounds. Now, we’re going to get a little scientific but I promise to keep it brief. Think magnets, sort of.

The carboxylic acid ions become negatively charged and the heavy metals in water tend to be positively charged. See where I’m going here? The metals dissolved (or floating) in the water are attracted to the acids, which are bound to the banana peels. They stick to the peels and can be removed when you take the peels out of the water. You may not get them all, but you will get a significant amount of them.

Supplies Needed to Make Banana Peel Water Filters

This doesn’t have to be complicated. You need banana peels. Oh, and water. Typically, for a scientific process I would also recommend a book or a board game because they take so long.

However, in this instance, results are seen immediately, and if you’re willing to wait 10 minutes, you’ll see about a 60% reduction in heavy metals. If you’d like to measure your progress, you can always get some heavy metals and some water test strips, available online.

How to Filter Your Water with Banana Peels

Survivopedia Banana Peel Water FilterThere are a couple of different methods that you can use, but it seems that the peels work better when they’ve been dried a bit. Here are your options after drying the peels for a few hours:

  • Cut the peels into small chunks
  • Place the peels in the food processor and make a dust or meal out of them

Now, on to the actual process. You may place the peels or powder in a coffee filter or cheesecloth and pour the water through them. You also have to option of tossing the peels directly into the water letting it sit. Using the sieve method extracts a significant amount of the metals but letting the chunks or powder sit in the water for about 10 minutes extracts even more.

Studies show that you’ve achieved maximum results at ten minutes so there really isn’t any reason to let it sit any longer. After they’ve sat, simply use a clean fish net (if using powder) or a slotted spoon (if using chunks) to remove the peels. You can also just pour the water through a strainer or coffee filter to remove the peels or powder if you’re doing small quantities.

A surprising point that was discovered during research: the banana peels can be used as water filters up to 8 times and still be effective, so you’re getting some serious bang for your buck there.

In Conclusion

The conclusion here is that banana peels can be used to filter water for survival. They are more effective than most other methods for removing heavy metals from water. This doesn’t mean, however, that they’re useful for killing bacteria, so you still need to use your water purification tabs.

We recommend using both methods if you’re drinking from a water source that you’re not sure about. Banana peels get the metals but not the disease; purification tabs get the disease but not the metals.

Give this a try at home and see what you think, then let us know how it worked for you in the comments section below!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Written by

Theresa Crouse is a full-time writer currently living in central Florida. She was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, where she learned to farm, hunt, fish, and live off the land from an early age. She prefers to live off the grid as much as possible and does her best to follow the “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. For fun, she enjoys shooting, kayaking, tinkering on her car and motorcycle, and just about anything else that involves water, going fast, or the outdoors.

Latest comments
  • Nice trick BUT, WIH am I going to get bananas for banana peels when TSHTF??

    • Hi Peter. It’s perfectly fine (even preferred) to use banana that you’ve dried and turned into powder, so you could dehydrate the peels and store them in advance in your stockpile.

      This isn’t an ideal method; it’s just a way to help remove the heavy metals from contaminated water sources. That’s why we recommended using it conjunction with tablets. Thanks a ton for throwing in. I should have been more specific about that point.

      • Just for fun… I am in the jungle, the water is filled with heavy metals due to the contamination from the petrol industry, and there are plenty of bananas…. so might be lifesaving, not for many but for many tribes living here.

    • I am wondering if one could also use the peels from plantains. Both bananas and plantains are from the “Musa” family…except you need to cook or fry a plantain for it to be edible. There are also a large variety of bananas such as the tiny ones you might find in a specialty store that have a slight apple taste. They are called “Figs” and there are others. Does anyone know about these? Will they work?

  • In post SHTF, Bananas are going to be hard to come by. Right?

    • Hey, I’m wondering if I can use my food dehydrator and bag up a bunch in advance! Maybe just add “dried banana peel/water purifier” to my food prep. What do you guys think?

    • You will always have banana and in all people life time.

    • O no you will always have banana in your lifetime and my life lifetime

  • Two questions come to mind. Where do I get the power to rum my blender and most importantly where do I get the bananas?

  • It’s all well and good to have a natural way to filter water but in a SHTF situation just how long will bananas be available. I live in the midwest and you just don’t find banana trees growing around!

  • Do you have any information about the number of banana peels, on the average, per amount of water?

  • This sounds pretty neat, and we toss out a lot of banana peels. Maybe we should toss them into the lake.

    There’s just one thing that bothers me about the technical explanation of how it works. “The carboxylic acid ions become negatively charged and the heavy metals in water tend to be negatively charged. See where I’m going here? The metals dissolved (or floating) in the water are attracted to the acids, which are bound to the banana peels.” With magnets, and with chemistry, I vaguely recall, like charges repel and opposite charges attract. If they are both negatively charged, how do carbolic acid ions attract the heavy metal charges? Is there a catalyst involved that got left out?

    • Ahhh-Chemistry majors.
      Carbolic acid from bananas-indeed. And metals floating in the water.
      Smoking too many banana peels.
      Can one ferment banana peels to make booze? Alcohol kills germs.

  • But – opposites attract, so the basic premise presented here is flawed.

    • Happyclinger is right. Negative ions repel one another not attract each other. So unless that is a typo I would recoomend doing it.

      • CORRECTION……..I would NOT recommend following that procedure.

        • Ohhh…good catch. That was a typo. Heavy metals tend to be POSITIVELY charged, and you were correct – opposites attract. Sorry about that…we’ll get it fixed ASAP.

        • Unless they’re homotrons.

  • could you dehydrate the peels and then rehydrate at at later date?

  • If this works it may come in handy, if you are trying to survive in South America where you may have a hard time finding clean drinking water but are surrounded by bananas. But if we are talking about a SHTF scenario in North America, I am sure that bananas will be gone long before clean drinking water will be.

  • There is only one problem with this. The variety of bananas that Americans like to eat is about to become a victim of the problems inherent in monoculture farming. There is a new disease that affects the variety of bananas most cultivated in the world. There is a real danger that they will be wiped out and bananas will become a fond memory unless other varieties are cultivated. It might be wise to explore the possibilities for drying and saving banana peels for the future.

    I find this sad because I grew up in Hawaii and enjoyed the bananas that grew in my yard and all around. I know that there are many other varieties of bananas that could be grown that are delicious to eat and a greater variety could overcome the problems of monoculture farming and keep bananas on the table into the forseeable future.

  • They can also be smoked-mellow yellow.

  • Others have brought up the ionic charges, which I would like to see resolved.

    Saying it is, the question I have is: Can peels be dried and ground in advanced and stored for future use? What would be the effectiveness of peel powder in LTS?

  • I agree with others. This seems to be more of off-grid or healthy living solution than a post-SHTF solution. That is, unless the banana peel powder/chunks can be saved, and for how long would it be effective. Any research on that?

    Also Theresa… some constructive feedback, I find your opening of the article misleading, introducing this method along with charcoal, etc. We find out at the end of the article, you still need both. Hopefully everyone reads the whole article, so as not to have in their head that banana peels may be an alternative to charcoal.

    My wife and I have tried various heavy metal detox chelation solutions now and then, but this sounds appealing – pun-intended 🙂 We may even have to try this for one of our kids upcoming science projects!

    • Todd, thanks for the feedback – I’m always trying to improve and your positive way of approaching this one was appreciated. I see what you mean about the charcoal. I did a bit more research and apparently banana peels are being tested (with great results) to see if they’ll remove pesticides as well as charcoal does. That still leaves the chlorine and other nasties that banana peels won’t touch but that charcoal does. I’ll be more careful in the future about proper lead-ins. Thank you@

      • I thought chlorine was one of the things used to purify water. Yet you say it’s “one of the nasties”. Is it nastier than e.coli?Giardia?Legionella?

        It was used as a poison gas in ww1, right?

        • I have a rain barrel…1,000 gallons. On a few occasions I have had to use the water for drinking. First…I have a metal roof and no trees over it so rats and cats etc. cannot get on the roof to pee. (rat and btw also cow urine can carry leptosporoisis) Second, I keep the gutters clean as possible from leaves and general dust in the air. I would draw a 5 gallon pail of water, run it through a coffee filter first to remove any floating particles (which I rarely ever found) Than I would decant the water into clean 1 gallon bottles and using an eye dropper, add just 3 drops of “Clorox” brand bleach. I would let it sit in the sun for about one hour and then boil the water for 5 minutes at a roaring boil. All this will make your water clean and very drinkable. BTW…boiling the water AFTER you have added the Clorox will evaporate it. Remember, most water authorities use straight chlorine as part of their sanitation of drinking water. just don’t overdo it. The Clorox brand should have 5% chlorine…cheaper brands have much less and that kills
          pathogens that boiling will not. My family and I have used this kind of water for weeks on end and never got sick.

  • Good info to know. Since I buy only organic bananas, I can put my precious Excalibur to even more work by drying these now and having them on hand when/if needed. Thanks for this appealing method to remove the heavy metals.

    • Is it true that Organic foods use human feces rather than chemical fertilizer? How much more Organic can you get. Do vegan feces demand a premium?

  • I think Discovery broadcasted something about it a while ago, but I can’t find it. I found this instead: Too bad I didn’t like Chemistry…

  • this fascinates me. I was curious if this would help with the desalination of water(making salt water into drinking water)?

    • I looked for research studies about banana peels and desalination but didn’t find anything linking the two. I’ll keep my ear to the ground though!

      • Can Plantain peels be used in a pinch?

  • HI everybody! Thanks for your comments here – I’m going to do my best to answer your questions.

    1. Yes, bananas (and power for blenders or food processors) will be in short supply. Since many of you are drying bananas for your stockpiles, go ahead and dry the peels, too. You can dry them then turn them into powder to help keep it dry and store it in a cool, dry, sealed container such as plastic bags or canned jars.

    2. The current experiment that received great results used 4.2g of dried banana peels to 300ml of water. They also used the same banana peels 10 times and each time the peels still extracted the metals with no problems, so you can reuse them.

    3. I messed up and didn’t catch a typo. Heavy metals are POSITIVELY charged and thus attracted to the negatively charged ions in the banana peels.

    This is just one more way to help clean your water. The peels can help remove the heavy metals from industrial waste, etc. and the purification tabs kill the bacteria that will make you sick. Use them in conjunction.

    On thing that i’d be curious to see research on is whether or not banana peels can remove radioactive metals that would make their way to our water sources in the event of a nuclear fallout. I’ll keep my ear to the ground on that one and keep you posted. Meanwhile, if any of you are chemists, let us know how it would work in theory.

    • 4.2 grams is 1/6 of an ounce. Awfully small test. How do you purge the “heavy metals” from the peels after each use? How much “heavy metals” each time?

      Can one save the heavy metals and cast bullets from them?

      • Wich leaf. Puryfi for water

  • If you have access to pine trees you can branches and make a filter using them to enhance what you do with the banana peels
    Cut a roughly 1 inch diameter branch. Then cut a couple inch long section off. Place in a tube (you’ll need to have that in your supplies) that can bring water from a funnel and filter it. It will remove most bacteria and other particles the banana peels don’t.

  • If I start saving, dehydrating, and milling the banana peels, and I store them in containers with my SHTF supplies, how long are they good for? In other words, how often do they need to be rotated?

  • This article and advice would carry more weight if you actually told us what “studies” you are referring to. A link, the name of the institution or researcher, something.

  • I have read that horseradish is effective as well as a binding agent for heavies both as a filter and ingested. Garlic as well once oxidised for about fifteen minutes and eaten. Sulphides, I’ll bet, are the active ingredient. Perhaps ingestion triggers glutathione synthesis in the body. (Glutathione is a potent antioxidant and detoxifier)

    Read more at:
    Copyright ©

  • Brussels sprouts are the best media to use.

    • Grinch, why are you making such snyde remarks? It’s very irritating. If you aren’t interested in this kind of stuff…why don’t you go to another website? Don’t you have a life? I think this article is very interesting, and helpful, to those of us who will be helping to keep people like you alive in a post SHTF world.

      • from:
        Castro doesn’t advise the use of banana peels for home water purification. For starters, the concentration of heavy metals in tap water is usually negligible. Also, while putting banana peels in contact with water will likely remove some metals, the average person isn’t likely to be able to measure success.

        Castro said his study findings are most likely to be useful in industrial settings.

        The new study appears in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, a journal of the American Chemical Society

        I get a laugh out of all you pseudo-scientists and your crackpot ideas.

  • Thanks for the info & idea. I would suggest you check up using powder of the Moringa’s tree seads. I think it makes wonderful efect on contaminated/ derty water. it can be used paralel to the Bananas. please share with everyone your opinion on the Moringa seeds powder

  • When shit hits the fan , There will not be any bananas

  • Well, where do we get bananas and electricity if we are in survival mode? We can burn wood possibly and get charcoal.

  • Awesome information, unfortunately a lot of people replying aren’t very intelligent here. Yes, true, banana’s are going to be hard to come by if SHTF, that’s why we learn and use information such as this to prepare NOW while resources such as banana’s are plentiful NOW. The bit about no power to pulverize the peels into a powder literally made me laugh out loud, I mean seriously?!?! How does that guy think they made flour a hundred years ago? Has he never heard of a mortar and pestle, a rolling pin, hammer, or a rock??? I can think of a thousand different things I can use to crush something dried into a powder. These are the people who despite all their preps and all the info they read who WON’T survive SHTF. No critical thinking skills at all in them. Leaves more resources for those of us who have a damn brain and know how to use it at least…

  • The last big blizzard in my area that we had people were complaining about not having a means to make coffee or cook their food but were thankful they had a fireplace to heat their house… I was like YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! Civilization is great and all, but people like this is why I hate being forced to be a part of it, they normally and NATURALLY would not be alive without the care and help of other’s.

  • Hi! We tried this kind of purifying, however, there is this yellowish color mixed with the water…

  • How can I use banana peal as filter medium..

  • Great I love it !!!

  • Hi Theresa. I find this very useful and may I ask if I could get some ideas from this/your article for my Science Investigatory Project?

  • Regarding””BANANA PEELS TO PURIFY YOUR WATER!!!!!!!!”””””””” of heavy metals etc. how about clorine+other non heavy metals??? I heard you can add a pill…what is the name of this pill and where can be bought.Thanks-Mario-Canada