Activated charcoal is a product that has been used in many applications since ancient times. In this guide, I’ll teach you to make activated charcoal from natural ingredients!
With some know-how and some scientific magic, you’ll soon be able to learn how to produce your own activated charcoal at home.
The environment is beautiful, and it is filled with immense resources enabling humankind to flourish. This is a very effective tool. Besides some homemade chemistry, it’s always fun if you create it yourself.
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is made from materials that are high in carbon, such as wood, coal, or coconut shells. When the carbon has been exposed to a gas (such as steam) at very high temperatures it develops lots of internal spaces or holes between its particles.
This gives the activated charcoal a huge surface area and enables it to adsorb gases or other substances very easily.
Supplies needed to make activated charcoal
First of all, you need to obtain a couple of ingredients.
* Activated carbon (food-grade) – Food grade activated carbon is the best option.
* Big bowl / container – It must be big enough to hold 1 liter of water at least
* Vinegar / Lemon Juice – You can use either vinegar or lemon juice, but choose which one you want.
* Rag/towel/cloth – A piece of rag/towel/cloth that will not harm your skin in any way is recommended.
Can I use another substance instead of vinegar?
You can experiment with different substances as long as they are safe to handle and bring no harm to your skin. Lemon juice or alcohol is a good alternative for vinegar, but try to avoid using substances with strong chemical odors.
What type of container should I use?
It is best if you can find a large metal or glass container for this purpose, as they do not decompose when exposed to high heat. They are also resistant to corrosion (chemical breakdown).
If you cannot find such a thing at home, any other kind of container will work just fine! Remember: the activated charcoal must be able to fully cover the bottom surface of your bowl/pot in order to work effectively.
Is it possible to produce activated carbon from fruit pits?
Yes, it is absolutely possible. In fact, there are some businesses that sell activated fruit pit carbon commercially for use in manufacturing water and air filters.
How to make activated charcoal step by step
Cut your rag/towel/cloth into a square shape. This means you will make a piece of cloth that is larger than the size of your container’s opening.
Wet it with some water and then squeeze as much as possible until no more water comes out. This makes the cloth become damp, but not soaked with too much water.
Wrap this damp cloth around a solid rod or stick (or anything else long enough). Make sure you tie it tightly so that the dampness does not seep through to the outside of the cloth.
Heat up some metal tongs or fire tongs over an open flame for a couple of minutes to burn off any dirt or grime. This makes it easier to handle the tongs as you do not have to worry about handling hot metal objects.
Boil a pot of water and place the bowl/container on top of it so that it is covered by its contents.
Insert one end of your cloth-wrapped stick into the container and allow the cloth inside to soak up some water so it becomes wet. The activated carbon must remain moist during its production, but too much moisture will inhibit its ability to adsorb gases from other substances.
You can check if it has enough liquid by pinching a small portion of the cloth with your fingers and then letting go – if it remains wrinkled, then there is still some water left on it. If it remains smooth and flat, then you can proceed to step 7.
Create a fire inside your container by either using a gas stove or an outdoor fireplace with charcoal. Do not use gasoline or other accelerants to light the fire as they leave behind dangerous fumes when burned.
Wait until the cloth begins to burn off from the end that is sticking out of the container into the flames of your fire (it will begin smoking). At this time, quickly blow out the flame at this end before pulling it back into the container with tongs while wearing protective oven mitts over your hands. You do not want to inhale any smoke produced from burning activated carbon!
Allow the activated charcoal to cool off and it is ready for use!
Activated charcoal Uses with pets
You can also use activated charcoal to treat your pet’s upset stomach. A few tablespoons of it into a bowl of water will help settle an irritated digestive tract and reduce vomiting or diarrhea that has been induced by something toxic or poisonous in the animal’s system. In most cases, this is enough to relieve pets from their unpleasant symptoms. This also works on humans as well!
What does activated carbon do?
Activated carbon is a great way to absorb bad odors from your refrigerator or freezer – just put a small container of it next to something that smells bad and leave it there overnight. In the morning, simply throw out the old activated charcoal and place a new one in its place!
Activated charcoal absorbs excess fluid from my body, detoxifies can it be used for acne?
Yes, you most certainly can use it for that purpose too. It’s best if you mix a little bit of water into some activated carbon before placing it on your skin, as this will make sure that all available surfaces are exposed to your skin when applied.
Activated carbon absorbs impurities from water, air, gas and other substances. It is often used to purify contaminated drinking water by absorbing impurities such as chlorine, benzene and even certain bacteria.
How long does Activated Charcoal last?
As long as you store your activated carbon in a cool, dry place and keep it away from moisture and humidity, it will last for several months. If you want to prolong its life-span, simply store the bag inside an airtight container or within a zip-lock bag.
Does charcoal absorb mold?
Yes, activated charcoal can be used to absorb mold spores from surfaces. It is recommended that you first mix the powder with water before applying it on surfaces so as to optimize absorption of humidity and moisture too.
How much activated charcoal do I need for a liter of water?
You will need a liter of activated charcoal with a medium grain size or about 5-7 grams for one liter. You will need less if your activated charcoal is very fine.
Activated carbons that are smaller than 20-60 mesh are considered coarse, while those that are smaller than 60 mesh are mostly used as active carbon in horticulture and agriculture.
How does it work?
When you mix water with activated carbon, the pores inside the grains of coal open up to approximately 500 times their original volume! These pores attract certain compounds within whatever substance they come into contact with – most often impurities, chemicals and even poisons found in drinking water.
Activated carbon for Air Filtration
Activated carbon is a very important part of some air purifiers. It will remove chemicals and contaminants from the air that passes through it by causing them to stick to its surface.
Does activated charcoal really clean air?
Yes! Activated charcoal does really clean air and removes smells but you need to have the air drawn through the charcoal for it to properly work and be most effective.
Activated carbon for Chickens
You can use activated carbon to treat chickens that have been exposed to some form of poison, such as snail bait. Just add some activated charcoal into their drinking water and they will be fine within a few hours!
Activated carbon for the garden
You can use activated charcoal to boost the overall productivity of your garden simply by adding it to the soil. This will act as a natural buffer for your plants and help to purify the soil around them, protecting them from harsh chemical residues that may be left behind by nearby industrial businesses or commercial construction sites.
In addition to providing a place where soil microbes can reproduce and colonize, it also allows them to make more nutrients and minerals available for plant absorption.
Activated carbon for Composting
Activated carbon will reduce the obnoxious odor that is produced by kitchen scraps, manure or compost that are fermenting. Just place a small container filled with activated charcoal inside next to your compost pile and leave it there overnight. This should be enough to help you get rid of the smell – if not, try adding some eggshells into the mixture to help absorb excess moisture.
This will also help make your compost pile more decomposable and act as a housing unit for the millions of beneficial microbes that will try to colonize its surface.
Activated carbon for Starting a fire
A great way to start a fire is by using something called char cloth, which can be made from pieces of activated charcoal. To make it, simply take a piece of cotton or linen and coat one side with some Vaseline or petroleum jelly. Wrap this coated side in layers of pieces of activated carbon (or even wood ash will work).
These char clothes are a great way to help you get a fire going, especially if it is raining or extremely cold outside.
What is the difference between Activated and Regular Charcoal?
Activated charcoal is made from a variety of materials, such as coconut shells and willow. It has been heated at very high temperatures – often to around 400 degrees Celsius – making it very reactive and porous.
Regular charcoal is made from hardwood, peat, coal or petroleum and is produced by burning the organic matter at very high temperatures.
Activated charcoal is generally considered superior to regular charcoal because:
It’s more alkaline: It has a higher pH level of 8-10 due to its highly porous structure that allows it to absorb contaminants more easily.
Activated carbon has a negative ionic charge: This means that it acts like magnets to positively charged ions and atoms and absorbs them into its porous structure. Unlike regular carbon, it lasts longer because it absorbs and holds on tightly to the chemicals you want it to.
While regular carbon filters around one micron in size, activated charcoal can filter particles down to .4 microns in size – meaning it’s much more effective at filtration than its non-activated counterpart!
Where can I buy activated charcoal?
You can buy activated charcoal on amazon and find it in its raw form, supplements, air filters and water filters.
I found this Anthony’s Activated charcoal on amazon that has great reviews, lists their ingredients and is food grade ultra fine powder.
What Should I Look For When Buying Activated Charcoal?
Make sure that the charcoal you are looking at is actually “activated” by checking whether or not there are an ingredients list or manufacturer’s specifications printed on the package. If it doesn’t say whether it has been activated, assume that it hasn’t and avoid buying the product.
Also when shopping around for activated charcoal, look for a product that is clearly labeled “food grade,” which means it has been designed for human consumption and will be free from pesticides, chemicals, or other harmful residues.