Charcoal Stick Filters

Looking for plastic-free water filtration?

charcoal sticks for water

Try activated charcoal sticks…the only significant difference between a Brita filter and a stick is that water is filtered through a Brita filter but a stick is placed directly in the water. A Brita Filter ‘filters’ more rapidly than the stick because the water is forced through the plastic filter which contains powdered activated charcoal. Sticks on the other hand take some time as the charcoal stick must attract and then pull out the toxins. The longer the stick is in the water the more metals and toxins it will pull out.

Most activated charcoal sticks on the market are oak branches kiln heated to 1000 degrees and then rapidly cooled. Most quality branches come from Japan, some from Taiwan.

According to one producer, Kishu Charcoal a 23.5 gram (0.8 oz) stick left in a 500 ml (16.9 oz) pitcher of water decreased metal levels by:

  • 89% of lead is removed after 24 hours.
  • 20% of mercury was removed after 24 hours, 28% after 48.
  • 25% of cadmium was removed after 24 hours, 30% after 48 hours.

Activated charcoal sticks remove chlorine and other chemicals from water and release natural minerals back into the water. Because the sticks are natural product and each branch is different it is hard to give exact toxic adsorption percentages.

According to Natural News* Brita filters remove 14% of lead, 75% of mercury, 6% of cadmium, 33% of aluminum and 12% of arsenic.

There is no plastic to discard or recycle after your stick is toxin saturated in four to six months (the percentage of recycled plastic filters is very small). Simply throw your charcoal stick in the garden or use in the fridge as an odor eliminator after four months. Some boil the stick once a month for ten minutes and this, they say, keeps the stick active for 6 months.

Want a quicker fix: make your own charcoal filters by filling empty tea bag pouches with powdered food-grade activated charcoal. Wait one hour before drinking water to give your charcoal time to attract toxins. Or filter your water in a chemex or other such coffee maker for immediate drinking.

activated charcoal sticks

Activated charcoal has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Charcoal has the ability to remove toxic metals but leaves beneficial nutrients in place.*

Activated Charcoal Sticks on Amazon:

Notice the stick weight, this will estimate size:

Still stuck to Plastic?

A highly rated water pitcher filter from ZeroWater:

A larger counter top water filter with excellent reviews:

Another Option: There are many excellent tap water filters on the market that are not covered here.

Written by Keiren

Keiren is an artist who lives in New York City. A lover of animals, nature, science & green building. Keiren originally founded Inspiration Green in 2007, which merged with Insteading in 2016.


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  1. Hi!
    Do charcoal sticks also improve water PH?
    What’s the difference between these and alkalising sticks?

    Thank you!!

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