10 Ways to Use Activated Charcoal in the Home

Activated charcoal (or carbon) has been used for centuries to remove toxins and odors. From air purification to skincare and beyond, its uses are almost endless. For internal use, please consider consulting with a doctor first.

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Photo By: IPPINKA, ippinka.com

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: IPPINKA, ippinka.com

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Upgrade the Linens in Your Home

Towels, dishcloths, and bathmats are just a few items in your home that are notorious for breeding bacteria, but products made with fibers infused with activated charcoal possess natural microbial and anti-odor properties. Learn more about binchotan (charcoal from a Japanese oak) and see a variety of products from IPPINKA.

Treat Yourself to a Homemade Salt Scrub

Combine 1/2 cup sea salt, 1/4 cup coconut oil, and one teaspoon activated charcoal to form a luxurious, dense scrub that’s perfect for an at-home spa night. The charcoal additive cleanses pores and extracts impurities and dirt. Be forewarned, but not alarmed — the charcoal will stain your skin, so rinse it off with clean soap and water within a few minutes of applying it. It will wash off easily.

Absorb Refrigerator Smells

Studies testing both activated charcoal and baking soda prove that charcoal is more efficient and effective at eliminating odors (and it’ll get rid of more types of odors, too). Choose pellets over fine-ground granules. You can buy in bulk online or in the aquarium section of your local pet store (aquarium water can benefit from carbon, so it’s always in stock).

Capture Smells in Your Closet

A whole piece of activated charcoal will serve your drawers or closet well. Seal in a mesh or breathable cotton to form a sachet. The charcoal will help combat musty odors. You can also use charcoal pellets.

Upgrade Your Respirator

A paint odor respirator lined with an activated charcoal layer covers your nose and mouth while painting and staining. If you’re already planning on wearing a respirator to protect your airways, this safety mask is a level up above the rest. This one is by 3M, R95-approved, and isn't suffocating like other respirators.

Capture Harmful VOCs

Put a canister of activated charcoal powder in the room you’re painting or staining, and allow it to filter volatile chemicals from the air. It’ll help keep smells at bay and makes it a safer working environment.

Purify Your Drinking Water

Drop a stick of charcoal into your water to filter and remove impurities as reliably as any store-bought water-filter pitcher. You won’t be able to use just any stick from your fire pit though. "Kishu white binchotan charcoal is characterized as the highest grade charcoal," according to specialty retailer, IPPINKA. "It absorbs impurity from water, resulting in pure, great tasting water, and can be reactivated every two weeks by boiling for 10 minutes and letting dry."

Replace Your Refrigerator Water Filter

In addition to using a piece of activated charcoal in your water pitcher, upgrade the water filters in your refrigerator or in your whole-house filtration system. Granulated carbon (activated charcoal) is used predominantly in these systems, but remembering to change the filter in your fridge is something most homeowners forget to do routinely. Depending on your system and product, you may be required to change the filters every six months.

Treat Bee Stings and Mosquito Bites

Create a paste using ground-activated charcoal mixed with a little coconut oil, and apply it directly to the skin where you’ve been bitten. Remember how Mom used to treat your stings with meat tenderizer? The charcoal will work similarly, though pathologists and experts have claimed it’s more effective at extracting enzymes from the bite and reducing inflammation to put you at ease.

Naturally Whiten Your Teeth

Charcoal toothpaste is growing in popularity, with many brands available even at major retailers. The biggest benefit to using charcoal-infused toothpaste is that it has the ability to whiten teeth (without those expensive strips). You can also opt to brush with your ordinary toothpaste and do whitening treatments separately using an activated charcoal powder. Just wet your brush, dust a small amount onto the bristles, and brush for two minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

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