DIY: How to Filter Water Using Binchotan Charcoals

DIY, Drinks

DIY: How to Filter Water Using Binchotan Charcoals //

Ok, so let me preface this post by saying that this isn’t a recipe. This isn’t a recipe for filtered water because that would be RIDICULOUS. And it’d be much like Paula Deen’s recipe for English peas. Remember this? It was amazing. No salt, no pepper, no nothing. Just lots of butter and peas. Very Paula-style!

A few months ago Rikumo offerred to send me a few pieces of Binchotan charcoal. I was super intrigued after reading about its purifying capabilities so I said yes, and a few days later it arrived wrapped in a piece of brown paper. As I did some research I found some interesting things. For starters, Binchotan charcoal is made in the Kishu region of Japan and is activated through extremely high burning temperatures, along with a rapid cooling process.

After this process, these charcoals are extremely porous and end up having a variety of uses; mainly ones that call for absorbing impurities. They’re specifically known for enhancing blood circulation when placed in hot baths, absorbing odors when placed in closets, smelly fridges or shoes, stimulating soil in your garden and lastly, purifying drinking water.

Purifying drinking water with these Binchotan charcoals is a bit of a process (albeit a very short and easy one), so I figured I’d show you, in case this is very new-to-you (it was to me too, like, two days ago).

If you’ve ever seen the film Chinatown, you know that water is a big deal in Los Angeles. There is heavy debate as to whether Los Angeles has super healthy water or water that follows outdated regulations. Because I can’t do a full-on investigation myself, I always filter my water or use bottled (though I try and stay away from the bottled stuff whenever possible). And honestly, I don’t love the way Los Angeles water tastes. When I lived in North Carolina, I thought the water was delicious! It tasted like it was straight from a spring. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I could taste the difference from these charcoals.

Step 1: When you receive the charcoals, they’ll be dusty. This isn’t a big deal if you’re putting them in a bath or placing them in your fridge, but since we’re purifying water with them, we’re going to start by rinsing and brushing off the excess ash.

DIY: How to Filter Water Using Binchotan Charcoals //

Step 2: Transfer the charcoals to a pot of water and boil for 10 minutes. Drain the water and allow the charcoals to cool completely.

DIY: How to Filter Water Using Binchotan Charcoals //

Step 3: Fill your container with water and place the cooled charcoal inside. Allow the two to sit for several hours; about 2-3 hours. During this time the charcoal will absorb the impurities in the water.

Step 4: Feel free to leave the charcoal in the container and refill it when you’re low on water. The charcoal will work for 2 to 3 weeks until it needs to be refreshed.

DIY: How to Filter Water Using Binchotan Charcoals //

Step 5: Refreshing the charcoal is super easy. Simply boil it for 10 minutes and it’s good to go. The company that makes this charcoal recommends replacing it all together every 3 months or so.

DIY: How to Filter Water Using Binchotan Charcoals //

This cool-looking Chikuno Cube has replaced the box of baking soda that used to be in my fridge—it’s very effective! I also have my eye on this charcoal toothbrush. I think they’re pretty cool.

*This is not a sponsored post. I just think it’s a super cool product and wanted to share.

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Leave a Reply

  • Reply [email protected] January 20, 2014 at 2:31 am

    I do this too! I used filtered water when making breads and coctails; so this super cheap and easy way.
    I saved a fortune on bottle water too. You should share more of your tricks for the kitchen; I would love to see what you discover!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme January 20, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Thank you! I’ll be sure to share more “tricks”!

  • Reply movita beaucoup January 20, 2014 at 3:31 am

    So… no recipe for filtered water?

    I guess I’ll go see if Paula has one posted…

  • Reply Lin January 20, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Thank you so much for this post. I have wondered about this charcoal and now I know. Have a wonderful day.

  • Reply T.R. January 20, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I’m going to try this. LA water scares me. When I lived on the east coast/south I NEVER bought water. Here I’ve heard so many rumors about the water, I’m more of a better safe than sorry kind of girl. But I’d love to find something different. And I’m digging the charcoal cube as well. The toothbrush may take a little more time to grown on me. :O)

  • Reply christin January 20, 2014 at 10:43 am

    i am totally going to try this with the bath. we have a pretty intense water filtration system because my boyfriend is into that sort of thing but i get what you mean about water. NYC water tastes like its from the pool!

  • Reply Lori January 20, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Very cool post. I’ve been using the britas for awhile and our city’s tap is no bueno. I think they do the minimum just to make it barely safe to drink. I looked up the site to buy the charcoal sticks, lo and behold the brick and mortar store is in Philly!! I live in Philly. Off to buy some sticks 😉

  • Reply AllieBeau January 22, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    The only thing better than that Paula Deen recipe is the comments (such as “once I mastered the can opener it was a breeze!”) Ohhh man. Thank you for calling this to my attention.

    My fiancé has mentioned filtering stuff with carbon. I’m glad I found this– I’m about to move to LA from Boston (actually found you by googling “LA food lifestyle blogs”) and was quite concerned about the tap water situation! This seems like an easy solution considering I drink like 5 gallons a day.

    Welp. I’m off to creep on the rest of your blog!

  • Reply Chris Filter January 23, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    It’s true that an activated charcoal can remove chlorine, so itl eaves no pool scence on water, thank you for sharing Adrianna

  • Reply Makeda March 31, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    This is great! How much charcoal would be appropriate for 3-5 gallons of water? Thanks so much!

  • Reply Mara October 5, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I recently started trying this, and I really want to stick with it, but I think it is giving me stomach pains? The first time I tried it, I only drank about a cup, and an hour or so later, I had horrible stomach cramps. They lasted for the rest of the day. I couldn’t think of what I had eaten differently that day, aside from drinking the charcoal water!
    So I didn’t try it again until a few weeks later. I had very little, just to test it, and I was fine. So then I drank more, and the stomach cramps were back, but very faint this time. I think because I drank less than I did that first time. SO. Has this happened to anyone else? And do you have any links about any risks there might be to this? I can’t find much about it CAUSING any problems, but I’m afraid to keep drinking it!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme October 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      Ooof! I haven’t heard any negative side effects to these charcoals, but if that was happening to me, I’d stop IMMEDIATELY! Sorry these are giving you troubles.

      • Reply Cassandra Cornwell June 5, 2018 at 4:57 pm

        Since the activated charcoal mineralizes the water in addition to filtering impurities. The more mineral deficient a body is, the easier it is to get an upset stomach when drinking mineralized water. It makes sense, that just a little was fine and more was not. One must simply work up incrementally to a full day’s intake of mineralized water by drinking a cup or less with a couple of hours or 4 in between, or even a whole day. After a couple or up to 4 weeks, the body is mineralized adequately to drink the water as desired.

  • Reply kc January 3, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    i moved to l.a. to a small rural town where the water is toxic. it consistently fails safe drinking standards and has for years. there is so much chlorine that filling up the washing machine can make streams of tears roll down my face if i’m there too long. i have sensitive eyes, but golly gee! same with baths, which i rarely take. my mavea water filter pitcher that i used in l.a. was not going to cut it here. installing a whole house filtering system isn’t an option or even a berkey, but i have been using the binchotan for quite some time with great success (I also boil it, because it is so nasty here, let it cool and then add it to the binchotan) i can actually drink the water and not gag…tea and coffee does not have a strange taste and food that has been boiled is actually edible now. luv me some binchotan!

    for those of you concerned with how much binchotan, which i was wondering the same thing. the rikumo video suggests 1/4 lb of binchotan for 1 gallon of water. adjust accordingly. i also think it depends on how nasty your water is.

    reminder for everyone to make sure that your water is cool, as warmth releases the toxins that your binchotan has captured. some people use their coffee make as a makeshift filtering system, defeating the purpose.

    good binchotan should be a shiny velvet. if you go through tons like i do, i order 3-5 lbs at a time you might want to look into binchotan for the bbq. it is exactly the same, but uglier not uniformed pieces nice enough to sell for the drinking bottles. it is quite a bit less. lastly. once the binchotan is to be retired from water duty you can recharge the sticks and then use as deodorizers. they also help with humidity too. so put it in the fridge, closets, or stinky shoes! you definitely get your monies worth!

    i’m sorry for mara’s tummy problems, but for the rest of you i wouldn’t let that put a doubt in your mind. never heard of anyone getting sick from binchotan water. have heard of a few people getting sick, because they used plain store bought bbq charcoal and thought it would do the same, but never with binchotan and i have practically the whole street using it now! who’s crazy now?

    • Reply kam February 10, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Hi kc. Where do you buy the bbq binchotan? Thank you in advance!

  • Reply Haena March 13, 2015 at 5:02 pm


    Koreans use charcoal for many health benefits too! Many have them around the house to keep the air cleaner/take the electronic radiation away(?), use charcoal powder to wash fruits and vegetables, use charcoal toner to keep the skin healthy, etc. Now that I know that it’s good for purifying water as well, I think I’ll get some charcoal when I visit Korea next time!

    Thank you!

  • Reply Sorin May 8, 2015 at 7:01 am


    I’m using this charcoal too and I bought mine from Amazon(it comes with a very nice 750 ml bottle which has a very neat holding system for the charcoal inside so it doesn’t move when the bottle is being used), but when I received it it said that you only need to refresh it after 3 months (boil it for 10 minutes ) and it will last another 3 months. so it only needs replacement after 6 months basically. I was just curious if what you’re saying was specifically in the instructions you received for your charcoal. and what might be the difference with mine. Could be that in your case the seller just wants more profit and make you buy more often, but of course this is just my opinion.

    Another thing I’m curious about and wonder if you know is whether it can be kept in water at all times. Basically mine said that the water is best after 8 hours and it’s OK after the first hour. So what I don is replenish it after 8 hours more or less and just put the filtered one in a different bottle. What I’m doing here is keeping the charcoal in water basically all the time and I’m wondering if this is good for it or not? Any thoughts on this matter?

    Thanks and looking forward for more,

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme May 8, 2015 at 8:07 am

      Hi Sorin, I’m not really sure. I was following the instructions that came with my pieces of charcoal. That’s what you see here. Sorry I can’t be more help!

  • Reply Kishu Binchotan May 8, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    The original Kishu Binchotan are still available at
    Whether for cooking, water filter, deodorizer or used a dehumidifier, the best is and truest white charcoal is Kishu Binchotan direct from Wakayama, Japan.

  • Reply Colin Thackwray May 9, 2015 at 2:27 am

    Hi you say in step 4 ,after boiling and allowing the charcoal to cool, that they can last for 2 to 3 weeks? Don’t you meen months .as I am led to believe. Thanks for your post it was interesting

  • Reply Eva June 19, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Invest on a good home water purification system. it will benefit your family’s health and
    safety.I bought filters from this Seller on Amazon and they work great. I just ordered a
    replacement system and i’ll let y’all know the quality when i get it!

  • Reply BloomWorld July 7, 2015 at 5:01 am

    Charcoal is carbon when it is treated with oxygen, it works as activated carbon. This process removes tiny pores of the charcoal which adsorbs the chemical impurities. It is basically used in the water purifiers to remove chemical impurities like chlorine.and other carbon based chemicals.When the water is passed through the activated carbon, it blocks the chemicals from moving further thus resulting in water free from carbon related chemicals.

  • Reply will tetley September 10, 2015 at 5:24 am

    living in Ireland with a fluoride contaminated public water supply, will binchotan charcoal rid the fluoride from the tap water? -will tetley

  • Reply suzanne October 23, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Water purification system is good thing to stay safe. its very essential for every life sector.
    so i thought its very important thing for our daily life .

    any thing to know…

  • Reply Alexa Bartel December 19, 2017 at 7:56 am

    The thing I really love about this is that it turns water filtration into an art piece of sorts. You could also trip out your guests by sitting this out on the table and having it look like a table decoration, and then suddenly you start pouring them glasses of water with it.

  • Reply Emily March 18, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    Thanks for this!
    I actually have a Stefani Terracotta and am very unhappy with it and looking for another option. I find the terracotta impossible to keep clean! The exterior grows mold from the condensation. I have found myself emptying and disassembling it weekly to clean it – very frustrating! Also, it took many cycles to remove the strong clay taste from the crock when it was new. I think I filtered through at least 40 litres before it was drinkable! I loved the idea of ceramic, and love the look of it, but would NOT recommend it. My brother has a Berkey, and it seems FAR superior.

  • Reply Hanna September 17, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    Look simple but effective. Nice to try now to see the results. Does it cause any odor while using this method?

  • Reply Thomas September 25, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Everyone should apply this method. Cost-effectiveness and quality for health. Simple, but healthy for life when drinking water.

  • Reply Alex December 7, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for sharing,