How To Make Activated Charcoal

January 12, 2017

Bandaids, Medical Kit

how to make activated charcoal

How to Make Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has so many applications. It often used by emergency personnel to treat acute poisoning, and is great for absorbing toxins. I’ve used to to treat everything from the stomach flu to a brown recluse spider bite. I’ve even read that it can stop an anaphylactic reaction from stings or severe food allergies (studies have shown activated charcoal will absorb peanut proteins and stop anaphylaxis). I actually carry a bottle of activated charcoal in my purse at all times. It’s definitely a must-have for your first aid kits. And wouldn’t it be great if you knew how to make activated charcoal yourself?

Making activated charcoal at home is a little labor intensive, but I think it’s a skill worth having at least basic knowledge of just in case you can’t buy it. You will need to have calcium chloride in order to turn regular homemade charcoal into activated carbon.

Here’s how to make activated charcoal:

how to make activated charcoal

Step 1: Grind homemade charcoal into a fine powder using a pestle and mortar.

If you don’t already know how to make homemade charcoal, google is your friend.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 2: Make a calcium chloride solution.

In a glass jar, combine 100g calcium chloride with 300 ml of water, or use a 1:3 ratio.

how to make activated charcoal

Screw a tight lid onto the jar and swirl to combine. Use caution, the solution will get very hot. You will probably need to open the lid to release some of the gases, and then tighten it back down and swirl more until well combined.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 3: Combine the powdered charcoal with the calcium chloride solution.

Slowly pour the calcium chloride solution into a bowl of powdered charcoal (approx. 2-3 cups). Use a glass or stainless steel bowl. Aluminum might possibly react to the chemicals being combined.

how to make activated charcoal

Mix until a paste forms.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 4: Cover the mixture and allow to sit for 24 hours.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 5: Dump the paste onto a blanket to dry.

Baby blankets, t-shirts, and bed sheets work well for this. You want to use something that is 100% cotton and has a tight weave so the paste doesn’t seep through. Don’t use anything that smells like laundry detergent or bleach because these compounds will react with the activated charcoal and will make it less effective.

how to make activated charcoal

Allow the paste to air dry overnight.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 6: Rinse the charcoal mixture.

Place the blanket over a bowl and pour clean water (approx. 6 cups) over the charcoal mixture to rinse. It’s important that purified water is used so as not to add anything to the charcoal which would cause it to react. Reverse osmosis filtered water works great. If using municipal water you’ll need to run it through a carbon filter to remove any chlorine, such as a Berkey filter.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 7: Recover lost carbon.

During the straining process, some of the carbon (activated charcoal) will escape through the blanket and will end up in the water in the bowl. To recover this lost carbon, pour the liquid through a coffee filter.

how to make activated charcoal

Step 8: Dry in oven.

Place the coffee filter with the captured carbon, as well as the carbon from the blanket onto a baking tray and bake at 250*F for 30 minutes.

how to make activated charcoal

The finished product should be a light powder, and completely dry.

Store in an airtight container. Activated charcoal lasts pretty much indefinitely as long as it doesn’t come into contact with anything that will cause it to react.

You can watch the whole process on how to make activated charcoal step by step in the video tutorial below.

Check out this article on herbal medicines you’ll need when doctors disappear for more great information on how to be ready if SHTF.

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Want To Know Learn How To Be Medically Prepared For A SHTF Scenario?

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About Kendra Lynne

I'm a homeschooling, homesteading mama of four, doing everything I can to help my family live more self-sufficiently on our one country acre here in the Bible Belt South. Although my husband and I grew up as city kids, in 2008 we started feeling the urge to begin pulling ourselves out of the "system" and learning how to provide for our most basic needs. Boy, were we in for a learning curve!! It's been a journey, but we've come a long way. I've been sharing about it all on my website, New Life on a Homestead, and am excited to bring the preparedness aspect of this lifestyle to all of you here as well! Be sure to check out my *NEW* Canning DVD: At Home Canning For Beginners and Beyond

View all posts by Kendra Lynne

7 Responses to “How To Make Activated Charcoal”

  1. Thomas Cordell Says:

    Thanks. Today’s youth are missing out on doing things like building useful items and gaining life skills, that establish their self worth.

    Reply

  2. AppyHorsey Says:

    If you are going to tell how to make it, it would be nice if you’d also give a Paragraph or 2, on HOW to USE it.

    This is an easy to follow tutorial. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Jennifer Johnson Says:

      Ive used it several times on wounds. Our cat had an abcess in his tail from another animal’s bite. The vet wanted to knock him out, clean the wound and put in a drain. We’d already done this dance once so I asked if I could pack it with colloidal silver soaked activated charcoal and bandage it. He said it was a great idea and to keep it moist to heal from the inside out. It took 4 days and our kitty was good as new. I changed the application daily…a bit tough because AC is hard to wash out. But it didn’t matter if I got it clean of the black. Kept it from getting infected and helped it heal. Also, I had a nasty infection from a lumpectomy within the wound site where the tumor was removed. After IV antibiotics, a wound vac, a hospital stay and 3 re-openings of the wound I’d had it. So I packed the hole with activated charcoal paste and colloidal silver and took about 5000 units of liposomal C (liv-on labs) daily. 1-2 weeks later I was healed and infection free. My Dr was relieved because he said he was out of options and didn’t know how to help me overcome it. If you consume it, I would recommend taking it in a capsule form (buy it and keep it on hand). It’s hard to get down in powder form and it gets everything black (teeth, lips, mouth, hands etc)

      Reply

  3. Linda Says:

    I know that you can put activated charcoal in water and drink it to absorb the nasties in your stomach and intestines and allow them to pass through without hurting you. You can use it to scrub your teeth. You can filter your water with it. There are many other uses – again Google is your friend.

    Reply

  4. Jasper Says:

    What is the purpose of step 6 adding water after you have dried the paste? What is being ‘rinsed’ out? It looked like a lot of charcoal was lost in the process – blanket, coffee filter, strainer, pot, bowl. The water was still part of the charcoal and thus nothing was really removed.
    If Step 6 can be skipped, can step 5 be skipped too? Just go straight to the oven? Alternatively, skip the oven and just air dry the paste.

    Reply

  5. Jim Says:

    Activated charcoal is a home miracle worker! My wife uses it for many reasons,
    including poultices that are effective on injuries and infection. I used
    charcoal poultice to reduce a nasty tick bite. No doubt it can be a life-saver
    for food poisoning. Yes-thank you there is much to pay attention to here. I
    have much to learn here. You do great service people.

    Reply

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