Japanese Water-Purifying Charcoal Sticks

Traditional Binchōtan charcoal from Japan made with oak wood. These water-purifying sticks produce an alkaline effect, naturally softening and improving the taste of your tap water. Comes in three sizes: ¼ lb., ½ lb. and 1 lb. packages. (more info)

  • Japanese Water-Purifying Charcoal Sticks - Kaufmann Mercantile1
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Japanese Water-Purifying Charcoal Sticks - Kaufmann Mercantile

Binchōtan, a type of traditional Japanese hardwood charcoal made from oak, was first produced in the Wakayama prefecture of Japan and dates back to the Edo period. These charcoal sticks are made in much the same way, by a skilled artisan in a small Wakayama workshop.

The entire process takes approximately two weeks. First, the artisan waits until the kiln becomes very hot, knowing when the correct temperature has been reached by the smell and color of the smoke. The charcoal is then carbonized by being burnt at extremely high temperatures (around 2,400 °F) and then rapidly cooled. This critical end process, called “nerashi” in Japanese, completely carbonizes the structure of the wood, leaving countless microscopic cavities in which unwanted water-borne chemicals, such as chlorine, are easily trapped. Fun fact: One gram of Binchōtan charcoal has as much surface area as a tennis court.

Due to its porous nature and absorbent qualities, Binchōtan is also an effective deodorizer when placed in refrigerators or closets. It promotes healthy soil in the garden and blood circulation when placed in a warm bath. For a full list of uses and instructions, see below.


Use & Care

Before first-time use:
Rinse the charcoal with running water and gently brush to remove any excess ash. Next, bring a pot of water to a boil and insert charcoal. Keep the water at a boil for another ten minutes. The charcoal is now ready for use.

To purify water:
Gently place cleaned charcoal in a glass pitcher or other container. Fill the container with tap water and let sit for several hours. The natural circulation of the water through the charcoal will remove chemicals and odors, leaving water that tastes fresh. The water will now be ready for drinking or cooking. Continue to refill water as it is used.

To maintain the charcoal:
Approximately every two weeks, or as the charcoal loses effectiveness, boil the charcoal in tap water for 10 minutes. This will refresh the charcoal, removing all captured chemicals and making it ready for reuse. Depending on frequency of use and the quality of your tap water, you may not need to refresh the charcoal as often. The charcoal should be replaced after several months of use.

This charcoal has been prewashed and is not safe for use when cooking with non-potable water.

The many uses of Binchōtan:

1. Purifying water: Add ¼ pound of charcoal in up to a gallon of water. The charcoal will release alkali ions to increase the water’s pH, release natural minerals and absorb unwanted chemicals from the water.

2. Cooking: Add charcoal to a pot or steamer. The far infrared rays released by the charcoal during cooking will retain the taste of the food and eliminate any unpleasant smells. The charcoal will absorb any chlorine or chemicals from the water used for cooking and release good minerals into your food.

3. In the bath: Add approximately one pound of charcoal to a hot bath. The charcoals will emit far infrared rays, which improve blood circulation and keep your body warm and relaxed long after your bath.

4. Around the house: Binchōtan works great as a deodorizer. Place charcoal pieces inside your fridge or cabinets and the charcoals will absorb airborne odor that causes molecules and bacteria. They will also absorb moisture, helping to combat dampness and mold in a closet or drawer.

5. In the garden: Recycle your used charcoal by adding broken pieces to the soil. The tiny holes in the charcoal helps to aerate the soil, increasing microbial activity and creating healthy natural soil for your plants.

6. For healthier living: Place charcoal next to radiation emitting appliances like your computer, microwave or television. The charcoal is known to block harmful low frequency electromagnetic waves.

Production & Design

The company that produces these water-purifying sticks promotes traditional and contemporary Japanese aesthetics through a unique and carefully curated collection of products. Its essential values of “Japaneseness” are represented through superior craftsmanship, timeless design and an efficient use of materials.


Choose from three sizes: 
¼ lb, ½ lb and 1 lb packages

Japanese Oak

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