Is This The Most Natural Way To Filter Water?

activated charcoal water filter

Is This The Most Natural Way To Filter Water?

Do you love drinking filtered water but feel guilty about the environmental impact of using plastic water filters?

I’ve been doing some research into better alternatives for purifying drinking water, and recently came across the idea of using activated charcoal to filter water.

Activated Charcoal Filters For Water


activated charcoal water filter

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a fine black or dark grey powder that has no odor or taste, and is non-toxic. It is produced by heating wood in an enclosed space without any air. Activated charcoal is also referred to as activated carbon or activated coal.

Pure charcoal is generally recognized as being safe, and is in fact one of the safest products used to treat poisoning.

When charcoal is produced, it becomes a porous source. This means that it has a larger surface area available for adsorption. Note that I mentioned ADsorption- this is the ability for atoms and/or molecules to bind to a surface, and is not the same as absorption.

Uses for activated charcoal

What are some typical uses for activated charcoal around the home?

Activated charcoal is used:
To filter drinking water
For odor removal in refrigerators
As a tooth whitening paste
As a facial mask to draw out impurities
Can provide relief from bites and bee stings
As a filter for fish tanks and aquariums

Really, Can Charcoal Filter Water?

While the first thought that comes to mind is dirty ash, (and how can something so dirty be a) good for us and b) purify our drinking water), there’s a lot more to charcoal than meets the eye.

Because the properties of activated charcoal allow atoms and molecules to bind to its surface, it can be used in many different situations. One of the best and healthiest ways to use activated charcoal in the home is as a water filter.

Traditional water filters contain charcoal to help with the filtration process. This is because contaminants in water bind to the surface of the activated charcoal. This separates the contaminants from the water, and leaves you with filtered drinking water.

Using charcoal to filter water before drinking it is a great natural way to remove toxins in drinking water, and has been used for thousands of years. Water purification using charcoal is not something new- charcoal can be found in most water filter products, such as the ones you buy for pitchers and undersink systems.

Activated charcoal can filter water because of its ability to adsorb other molecules and atoms.

It can be purchased in stick, granule or powder form, depending on what you want to use it for.

To use activated charcoal for filtering water, buy the charcoal in a stick form- the stick is placed inside the water, and the toxins are drawn out of the water by the charcoal. Every 2-3 weeks it is recommended that you boil the charcoal stick to unclog it, and then it can be used again as a water filter. Each stick has a lifespan of around 3-4 months.

After this time, you can cut up the charcoal and place it in your garden as it helps improve soil quality for your plants.

Why Use Activated Charcoal?

Some people don’t like traditional water filters because they are made of plastic. This does not make them environmentally friendly. Other people don’t want to spend a lot of money on water filter products, or move house regularly so cannot install an under the sink water filter.

If you are one of these people, then activated charcoal water filters are a better option.

Activated charcoal is also great for people who travel a lot, and need a portable filter option. It’s great if you take your family camping and need access to filtered drinking water.

Activated charcoal water filters can also be used in coffee machines, to filter the water and make your coffee taste better.

What is Binchotan charcoal?

Traditionally, Binchotan charcoal is from Japan, and is also referred to as white charcoal. It is known as one of the most superior types of charcoal and is produced in Wakayama Japan.

It is made from oak and has a very fine quality. There is a high demand for Binchotan charcoal from Japanese chefs, because it does not release bad smells when being used.

The term Binchotan is now used to refer to white charcoal regardless of the region. This is because it is difficult to determine where the charcoal was sourced. But there are suppliers who call Binchtoan from the Wakayama region “Kishu Binchotan” (Wakayama was once called Kishu).

Where To Buy Activated Charcoal

Amazon stocks a range of activated charcoal products, such as the following:

Kishu Charcoal – Activated Charcoal Water Filter for Pitchers Activated charcoal filters for pitchers are larger in size so that they can filter a larger amount of water.

Kishu Charcoal – Activated Charcoal Water Filter for Water Bottles
Activated charcoal filters for water bottles are slimmer so that they can fit inside your water bottle.

Kishu Charcoal – X-large Activated Charcoal Water Filter for 3-5 Gallon Jugs
Extra-large activated charcoal filters are best suited for jugs that carry more water. The larger surface area of the charcoal filters means that large volumes of water can be filtered properly.

Charcoal Water Filters Replacement for Cuisinart Coffee Machine
If you own a Cuisinart coffee machine, you can purchase replacement charcoal water filters for your machine.

You may be wondering whether you can make your own charcoal filters using the ash from your fireplace, barbecue or any other fire source- it is NOT recommended you do this, as the coal used for these purposes contains other substances which may not make it as safe as activated charcoal.

Using charcoal to purify water is a healthy, environmentally friendly and cost effective way to improve the quality and taste of your drinking water.

Have you used activated charcoal to filter your drinking water? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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By Christine Carlisle

Christine is a freelance senior writer for Home Health Living and has been writing for us for 4 years. She's a health copywriter with over 10 years experience as a writer. Christine lives alone in a cabin in Maine and was once a hand model while living in New York City. She's a dog person.