Binchotan Charcoal: An Inexpensive Way To Mineralize and Filter Water

White charcoal or Binchō-tan is a charcoal that loves adsorbing things. Binchotan, which has been produced in Japan for centuries, naturally adsorbs toxins such as chlorine, lead, mercury, cadmium and copper from tap water. It also releases useful minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphates.

To use Binchotan, you simply place a piece of the charcoal into a water pitcher, and leave it to sit for 6-8 hours. After this time, the water in the pitcher will be purified and mineralized.

It is recommended that the Binchotan stick be boiled in a shallow pan of water for 10 minutes every month to keep the exterior pores open. After four months, boil the charcoal stick again. If you don’t see a profusion of bubbles circulating around the charcoal stick when it is returned to the pitcher and water is added, the stick has reached its capacity to absorb toxins. At that point it is ready to be composted in the garden or used as an odor absorber in your refrigerator.

You can get Binchotan on Amazon: 1 pound of Binchotan costs about $18. A single pound will last you 3-6 months depending on the amount of water you purify, and the amount of contaminants in your water. You can also get a portable Binchotan bottle for on-the-go filtration.

Binchotan: A Super-Adsorbent Charcoal


Binchō-tan is only made in the forests of Wakayama, a province in southern Japan. The branches of Holm Oak trees are sustainably harvested then slowly fired in traditional kiln ovens over many days.

The very dense wood of a Holm Oak has a multitude of open pores through which the tree breathes, nourishes itself, and redistributes chemicals back into the earth. The microorganisms (which are utterly harmless to humans) that live in these pores efficiently decompose toxic chemicals like chlorine, pesticides and herbicides. This phenomenon of adsorption (not to be confused with absorption) ensures that contaminants stick to the active charcoal until it is completely saturated. This is why it is necessary to reactivate the binchotan every three months by soaking it in boiling water.

Japanese Binchōtan water filtration

The fineness and high quality of binchō-tan are attributed to steaming at high temperatures (about 1000 degrees Celsius). Although it is often thought that binchō-tan burns hot, it actually burns at a lower temperature than ordinary charcoal but for a longer period. It does not release smoke or other unpleasant odors. Binchō-tan or white charcoal is harder than black charcoal, and rings with a metallic sound when struck. Wind chimes and a musical instrument, the tankin (“charcoal-xylophone“) have been made from it.

A number of Binchotan-inflused products are now on the market: Binchotan pumice stones. Binchotan body scrubsBinchotan eye masks and even Binchotan facial soap.

12 thoughts on “Binchotan Charcoal: An Inexpensive Way To Mineralize and Filter Water”

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  2. I’m haven’t gotten my Berkey but am contemplating of adding Bintochan and Bone Char to the system. I am concern with Alumina leeching Aluminium. Do you think that is possible granted that you have tried all 3? Berkey, Bone Char and Binchotan.

    Thank you.

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  5. Thank you for your terrific website. Can this charcoal be used in a bath to remove lead? If so, do you leave it in the tub while you’re soaking? Should it sit for some time, before bathing? Do you have any other suggestions for removing lead from bath and shower water?

    I’m glad to hear there’s a solution to the chlormaines situation. How much vitamin C is used in the tub per # gallons? Can in be used in conjunction with essential oil bubble bath? Thanks so much!

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