Can I reactivate my charcoal? The simple answer is yes, activated charcoal can be regenerated and of course people are interested in knowing how. First, let’s start at the beginning as to how charcoal is activated.
How is Charcoal Activated ?
There are two basic methods of activation – steam or chemical activation.
Steam Activated Charcoal
Steam-activation is primarily used for coconut charcoal and coal based medias. In the production of steam-activated charcoal, first the coconut shell or coal is heated to create a char. This char is then “activated” in a furnace at high temperatures of 1,700° to 1,800°F with steam, in the absence of oxygen. This controlled environment allows the char to heat and thus any impurities left on it are vaporized and removed, leaving nothing but pure carbon, also known as, charcoal.
The carbon is then treated with steam. The reaction results in producing hydrogen gas and carbon monoxide (C+H2O=H2 +CO). As the carbon monoxide gases off, it takes carbon atoms with it. All that remains at this point is your Activated Charcoal.
Chemical-activation produces the same end result – a much increased internal surface area – but uses a chemical solution to “chew” away the internal structure. Typically wood-based activated charcoals are commercially made using heat (450–900 °C) and phosphoric acid.
How to Reactivate Charcoal
Unfortunately, like most good things, activated charcoal’s lifespan eventually comes to an end. This is due to the charcoal’s surface area becoming full. All the impurities that it has adsorbed are adhered to it. When that happens, you can notice that your air no longer smells clean and your water starts tasting strange again. If you could reactivate charcoal, this is the time to do it.
As we mentioned before, it is possible to reactivate the spent charcoal; however, doing so requires either heating the charcoal back up to the 1,700° to 1,800°F or chemically, to force the charcoal to let go of the impurities, however, it most likely will not let go of all. At Charcoal House, we only sell ‘virgin’ activated charcoal. Virgin activated charcoal simply means that it has never be reactivated.
During the reactivation process, the chemicals and impurities are toxic and can become even more toxic at higher temperatures. As a result, reactivation takes place in an inert gas chamber to avoid the release of toxic compounds back in the general atmosphere.
Can I Reactivate Charcoal in the Sun, Oven or Dryer?
Unfortunately the kitchen oven is not able to reach the temperatures necessary to burn off the impurities and reactivate the charcoal. Obviously, if your oven cannot reach the extreme temperatures to reactivate charcoal, then the clothes dryer, hairdryer, nor setting the charcoal in the sun will do the trick either. So the answer to the question, ‘can a person reactivate or regenerate their odor bags?’ is, “no, you cannot”.
Thankfully, charcoal is one of the most plentiful resources in the world and using virgin charcoal, is always your best option. Truly, Activated charcoal is an inexpensive and Super Natural Remedy to help Purify Your World, today.
If you’re interested in learning more check out: What is Activated Charcoal?
Learn here how to make your own charcoal: Video.