Section 11: Non cooking uses for a clay pot

Steam inhalation, water & food storage, sprouting, fermentation…

Storage of water in clay

Why use clay for water storage?

Two clay pots for storing drinking water.
Clay pot for drinking water is the Thai way of life, lanna style

Clay pots are alkaline in nature. This acts on the acidity of water and provides the needed pH balance. Water stored in a clay pot helps in reducing acidity in the body and provides relief from gastric trouble.

Clay pots are porous. Water evaporates through the clay – this cools the water. You’ll start to notice the change in temperature of the water in a clay pot after about two hours. This temperature change also signifies that other processes are starting to happen – alkalizing and purification. With clay, it is the evaporation process that is said to purify the water.

Clay sweetens the water, which you can taste. In the Indian tradition, clay adds prana and the earth element. Cool water from a clay pot tastes especially good during the hot summer months.

How to use clay for water storage

  • You need a pot which is dedicated solely to water storage.
  • It’s best for the pot to be raised up off the counter so that it can have air on all sides. You can be creative – a small stand, wire trivet, 3 stones, etc.

If you use an unseasoned pot from Miriam, water will slowly leak out the bottom. It needs to be seasoned once with rice (or other flour which will not impart a taste) – see How to Season Miriam’s Earthen Cookware.

Slight precipitation is normal when the pot is new and it stops when you keep using it. If you can elevate the pot slightly so the bottom is not in contact with a surface, it greatly help to reduce precipitation. In other words, if you can put a small stand or 3 even stones or blocks of wood under the pot, you will see little to no water coming out.


My pot leaked a little after the first seasoning, even after it was raised up. I seasoned it a second time, and then the leaking completely stopped.

I purchased a $10 unglazed clay pot from an Asian store, just to see how it would be different from Miriam’s pots. When I filled it with water before seasoning, the water did not leak out. While initially this might seem good, Miriam says it is because of the impurities in their pot.

Since the MEC pot is used for purifying water, is it okay to use tap water?

It is fine to use tap water, however, it is always “best” to start with the purest, living water possible. I read “Dancing with Water – The New Science of Water, A Guide to Naturally Treating, Structuring, Enhancing, and Revitalizing Your Water” by MJ Pangman and Melanie Evans. She talks about the benefits of clay, and starting with the best quality of water available. Her preference is for fresh spring water, but that is not always practical.

When possible my husband and I drive about 1/2 hour from our house to a spring, and fill quite a few buckets and containers with spring water. We store in clay before using.

If we don’t have spring water, it’s a choice whether to use tap water or filtered water.

Even if it takes longer, tap water might still be better than filtered water as chemical filtering strips the water of several trace minerals. Tap water is usually whole and then might have some salts added to either soften or purify.


We have Berkey water filter. I do not believe it is chemically filtering the water of trace minerals, so we tend to put the water through the Berkey before letting it sit in the clay.

If you use tap water, or water that has chemicals or salts, you might see some white residue set on the outside of your clay pot over time – it’s easy to clean off.

What is minimum amount of time it will take for clay to purify the water?

Depending on the salts and metal oxides in the water it takes anywhere from 2 hours to 8 hours to purify. When water in the pot feels cooler than when you put it in, you can know that it is purified. This difference will be clear and vivid.


Make sure to leave the last bit of water in the clay pot as small dust particles may settle to the bottom as part of the purification process.

Cleaning a water storage pot

Rinse and wipe dry once a week.

It’s a good idea to dry the pot on the stove on low heat if you don’t intend to use it for storing water for some time.

Can I dedicate a clay cooking pot to water storage?

Yes, but it will not be as effective as a true water pot with the correct shape. Historically water pots have rounded bottoms and are egg shaped – this makes them even more effective.

Storage of fruits, vegetables, eggs, etc.

Just as water is enhanced by clay, food is also enhanced. Food stays noticeably fresher when stored in clay. The pot can be used to store food in the refrigerator or on the counter. If you have a cracked pot, this is an excellent use for it.

Why a clay pot is beneficial for storage:

  • Prevents depletion of nutrients caused by EMF (Electric and Magnetic Fields).
  • Other reasons as well?

Fermentation vessel

When using clay, bacteria thrive better and fermentation happens faster.


  • Sauerkraut, kimchee
  • Natto, tempeh
  • Dosa batter (Indian fermented rice and beans)
  • Yogurt, kefir

See Section 8: Tips on preparing specific foods

Steam inhalation

Steam inhalation has been used in many cultures around the world for respiratory issues such as colds and flu. In India it’s called Dhuri. In Zimbabwe, many healers use it.

Why steam inhalation using a clay pot is even better than steam inhalation using a metal pot:

  • Far infrared heat – more gentle than near infrared heat, thus delicate oils are preserved better.
  • Fragrance is much stronger which means more potent.
  • Holds heat longer which allows for a longer inhalation time. The pot will steam for ~30 minutes.

Clay instructions:

  1. Steam clean pot before using. When the lid of the pot is off, and contents are hot, food residues travel into the food.
  2. Fill medium pot 1/2 full of water.
  3. Bring the water to a boil.
  4. Add 10-12 drops of essential oil. Eucalyptus essential oil works great for respiratory issues.
  5. Place hot pot on table using some type of trivet. Do not use solid metal because the heat from the pot would not be able to dissipate properly and could result in a cracked pot.
  6. Cover front and back of head and upper body with blanket, sheet, etc. When breathing the steam, you can put face closer to the clay pot than a metal pot without getting burnt.
  7. Take deep breaths. The steam can be every hot at first – either use a lid to cover the pot some, or make your first session very brief.
  8. Repeat sessions.
  9. After awhile, the steam tends to settle down. You can stir the water in the pot to release more steam.


  • It’s best to do steam inhalation at the very onset of an illness – don’t wait 24 hours.
  • Base the frequency on symptoms. Steam can be done 2-4 times per day.

Other tips for cold and flu recovery:

  • Consume warm drinks and foods from your clay pot.
  • Gargle with warm salt water.
  • Massage sinus marma points.
Ayurvedic facial massage for sinus relief

Seed sprouting

See Sprouting Seeds Using Unglazed Clay

A natural refrigerator

You can use a clay pot for cooling, similar to a refrigerator.


  1. Wet the pot under running water for 2 minutes.
  2. Drip dry pot.
  3. Place the foods you need to refrigerate in the pot.
  4. Dip lid in water & close pot.


  • The pot & lid will let the water evaporate very slowly, keeping the food inside cool and safe.
  • Cooling duration depends on outside temperature and location.

A far Infrared heating pad

They can also be used as warmers with the coming of the cold weather, or for any joint pains. Warm one up on the stove, wrap in towel and keep it on the body where it hurts or even just under your feet to stimulate nerve endings, or in your palm for warmth. Far-infrared heat is very healing to the skin and body. –works even if the pot has broken into many pieces

Drainage material at the bottom of a potted plant (if the pot has broken into pieces)

I would love to hear from you.
Scroll down to share your experiences & Wisdom.

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6 months ago

Which pot do you use for water storage?

6 months ago

Could the pot be put in the freezer for longer term food storage or if traveling could it be put in a cooler surrounded by ice or just simply be put on ice to keep contents very cold? Would ice cause the pot to crack?