Does Activated Charcoal Remove Viruses From Water? - Mayu Water Answers

Does Activated Charcoal Remove Viruses From Water?

Activated carbon filters are effective at removing many potentially harmful contaminants from drinking water. However, this doesn't include viruses.

Cameron-Leigh Henning

 on September 13, 2022. 
Reviewed by 

Michelle Meyer

Activated charcoal, or a carbon filter, is very effective at reducing various substances in your tap water.An activated charcoal filter is charcoal that's processed with oxygen to open up millions of tiny pores between the carbon atoms. These pores significantly increase the surface area of the carbon filter, therefore increasing its ability to attract and hold contaminants. Activated charcoal removes organic compounds that affect the taste and odor of the water, as well as potentially harmful chemicals and some metals.

However, activated charcoaldoesn't remove microbial contaminants like bacteria and viruses.Boiling water is a recommended way to remove microbes—however, it doesn't remove dirt, metals, or chemicals (which is where activated charcoal comes in handy).

How Activated Charcoal Removes Contaminants From Water

Whileactivated charcoal doesn't dissolve in water, anactivated charcoal filter removes contaminants from the water through a process calledadsorption. Adsorption means thatforeign particles adhere to the surface of the adsorbing agent, and don’t seep into it like with absorption. Therefore, when chemical or organic compounds come into contact with the charcoal's surface, the carbon atoms grab onto it and cause these impurities to stick to it.

Which Contaminants Do Activated Charcoal Remove From Water?

Activated charcoal filters are great toremove chlorine and chlorine by-products, pesticides, herbicides, volatile organic compounds, radon, PFOs, pharmaceutical waste, microplastics, and certain heavy metals like lead.


A combination of an activated charcoal filter and boiling your water is an effective way to remove potentially harmful compounds, ensuring clean and safe drinking water.

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