What is the history of Binchotan charcoal? The origins are not completely clear, but it is believed that a form of Binchotan charcoal (sometimes referred to as 'white charcoal') was introduced to Japan by a Japanese monk and scholar called Kukai 1,200 years ago. It was during the Edo Period (17th century) that a man called Binchuya Chozaemon made it popular.
How is it made? Sustainably sourced wood is placed in a kiln and charred at a relatively low temperature for some time, then, near the end of the process, the kiln temperature is raised to about 1000 degree Celsius to make the wood red-hot. The charcoal is then removed and quickly covered with a special powder made from earth, sand and ash, and this gives the charcoal surface a whitish hue (explaining the name 'white charcoal'). The rapid rise in temperature, followed by a rapid cooling, incinerates the bark and leaves a smooth, hard surface. If you strike it, you'll hear a clear, metallic sound.
How does it work? Binchotan charcoal has an incredibly porous surface with tiny cavities oriented in many directions. Just 1 gram has a surface area in excess of 500 m2 (about one tenth the size of a football field). It is also known as active carbon as the ions of contaminants are attracted to the surface of the carbon, where they will be held. It is also able to release minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium back into the water which enhances its taste and health benefits.
How long will it last? If you are using your Binchotan with our 'eau good' bottle and fill it up once a day, then it should last three months. You are then able to recharge it by boiling it in water for ten minutes and then leaving to dry in sunlight. You should be able to keep recharging it for a further three months.
What other uses does the binchotan have? When you have finished using your binchotan as a water filter, it still has many secondary uses. If you break it up and put it in your house plants, it will add nutrients to the soil that will help the plant to grow. Because of its porous surface, it can be used as a deodoriser to remove unwanted odors in your cat litter, laundry basket, nappy bin or shoes. Binchotan is also an effective moisture absorbent, and can help absorb humidity in the air if placed in a wardrobe.
Do I need to wash my charcoal? Your binchotan charcoal is already washed and ready to use. Please do not wash with detergent or soap.
Can I use my binchotan with flavoured water (fruit infused or tea)? Please do not use with flavoured cordials, fruit infusions or tea.
Can I wash my bottle with soap and leave the charcoal in it? Please remove the binchotan from the bottle before washing with soap.
Is it dangerous if I swallow a bit of charcoal? Occasionally you will notice tiny particles / fragments of the charcoal in the water, but do not be alarmed as it will do you no harm if you swallow them (active charcoal tablets are prescribed to treat diarrhoea, indigestion and flatulence).
How should I clean my bottle? We advise to wash this by hand with hot soapy water and a bottle brush. Although the bottle and metal clamp are dishwasher safe, the fabric tag will not withstand frequent dishwashes. The silicon seal on the cork can be removed and is dishwasher safe. The cork is not dishwasher safe.
How do I prevent mould from forming on the silicon covering the cork stopper? Make sure you do not leave water sitting in your bottle, when you are not using it (for more than one day). Remove the stopper and allow it dry out. When water is left in the bottle for long periods of time, mould spores can form. The binchotan charcoal removes the chlorine from drinking water, so you might notice it forming even quicker than normal. This is nothing to worry about, as long as you are refilling regularly, cleaning the bottle regularly and not drinking stale water that has been sitting in the bottle for more than a day.
How do I clean mould from the silicone covering the cork stopper? We recommend using neat lemon juice, followed by boiling water, to kill and wash away mould that has formed on the silicone.