Lifestyle Wellness

The Chic Japanese Way to Filter Your Water

This hunk of coal will change the way you drink water forever.

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Water has gotten pretty elaborate, right? We’ve complicated and extronicized the simplest of basic human needs. Alkaline-infused water, ‘raw’ water—even Brita has a WiFi-enabled pitcher that self-orders replacement filters when the time comes. C’mon, people: It’s water! But with that being said, it doesn’t mean we can’t make the display and process of drinking water more aesthetically pleasing, while also simplifying it.

With that in mind, may I present to you the chicest, simplest, ancient way to filter your water: a charcoal stick.

Charcoal sticks

are nothing new. For centuries, artisans in Japan’s Kishu region have been burning oak branches to yield binchotan charcoal, aka activated charcoal, which is renowned for its purifying properties.

How it works

Binchotan charcoal is activated through extremely high burning temperatures, along with a rapid cooling process. Once the charcoal has been activated, the increased surface area can bind easily and is extremely porous, thus making it extremely useful at absorbing impurities and contaminants. (It’s also worth mentioning that it is odorless, tasteless, and nontoxic.)

So, when placed in tap water, the charcoal absorbs up to 75 percent of chlorine, while also infusing your water with nutrient-rich minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Beyond just water filtration, though, these charcoal sticks can also be used to absorb odors in rooms and refrigerators, or give a healthy boost to the soil in your garden or potted plants.

How to use it

Drop it into a carafe of tap water—ideally for six to eight hours for optimum results—to soften water and improve the taste. A single stick usually lasts about three to four months, and you can boil it for 10 minutes every three weeks to refresh it. Once the stick stops releasing bubbles, you can either use it to deodorize or enrich your compost or soil.

Where to get one

Morihata Kishu Binchotan Charcoals, The Line, $16

The most popular brand of charcoal sticks is Morihata, and it’s also the most respected. Made in Japan out of Japanese Oak, Morihata also offers charcoal toothbrushes, facial puffs, and eye masks for all your detoxifying needs. Just put this one in a glass jar or carafe at home, and enjoy.

Black + Blum Eau Carafe, Anthropologie, $45

Get the carafe with the charcoal sticks as well, thanks to London-based brand Black + Blum. It’s convenient for those who want the whole shebang with one easy purchase.

Keep reading about hydration:

Apparently, We’re All Drinking Water Wrong Changing This One Thing Will Improve Your Hair Immediately 11 Watering Cans You’ll Love More than Your Plants

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Kristin Limoges


Kristin can usually be found face, hair, and body masking simultaneously, while thinking-up clever DIYs for her small-space Chinatown apartment. She’s always on the search for the greatest and most life-changing beauty and wellness hacks (hello nootropics and adaptogens) and is happy to report she loves dogs and cats equally.