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What to Do with Charcoal Ash (And Unused Charcoal)

What to Do with Charcoal Ash (And Unused Charcoal)

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It’s always so nice to be able to get out in your backyard and do some grilling when the weather permits. Many people look forward to being able to use their charcoal grills to get that fine flavor that they dream of.

Charcoal grilling is a lot of fun but sometimes you wind up with a lot of charcoal ash and you aren’t sure what to do with it. This can be problematic since you don’t want to dispose of the ash in an irresponsible way.

Wanting to dispose of the charcoal ash in an environmentally friendly and safe fashion is very admirable. There are actually a few things that you should be doing with your charcoal ash. Read on to learn more about charcoal ash and what you can do with it.

This should be informative and you won’t ever have a problem getting rid of your charcoal ash again.

Remember to Extinguish it Properly

Ice Melting Charcoal On Grill

Of course, you’re going to need to make sure that you extinguish the used charcoal properly before you do anything else. Make sure that you close the lid on your charcoal grill and then go ahead and close any of your vents.

This will help to ensure that all of the used charcoal is truly extinguished. It is advised that you wait up to 48 hours until the charcoal ash has had time to completely cool off.

The Content of Your Charcoal Briquettes Makes a Difference

Charcoal In Hand

Depending on the content of your charcoal bricks, you’re either going to be able to use them or you’ll have to throw them out. Some types of charcoal are made out of things other than wood.

If your charcoal briquettes are made using additives, then you’re going to want to dispose of them as safely as you can. It’s unfortunate that you have to do this but it is the only thing that you can do when you have charcoal such as this.

The best way to dispose of this type of charcoal is to wrap it in aluminum foil. Once the used charcoal briquettes have been wrapped in aluminum foil, you can throw them in a garbage can that is non-combustible.

You can then have the garbage picked up for disposal via your regular waste management means.

If you would prefer to be able to recycle the charcoal ash, then be sure to avoid buying charcoal that uses additives the next time that you’re out shopping.

Making Fertilizer

Charcoal Being Used To Fertilize The Yard

If you also happen to keep a garden, then you’ll be happy to hear that charcoal ash is going to make for a great fertilizer. You can repurpose the charcoal ash and use it as a fertilizer so long as the ash is from wood charcoal that contains no additives.

This works nicely because charcoal ash contains potassium carbonate and that can provide nutrition for many of your plants. It can even be used to increase the pH levels in your soil, which can be advantageous for many reasons.

Remember that you will want to use the charcoal ash as fertilizer sparingly. This is especially true if you’re growing certain plants and need to keep the pH levels at a particular level.

You should avoid using charcoal ash as fertilizer if you’re growing plants such as hydrangeas, azaleas, and blueberries. You should also avoid using charcoal ash with seedlings and seeds.

Getting Rid of Beetles

Beetles In Backyard

Does your garden area have a bit of a beetle problem as of late? Well, you’re going to be able to solve this using a bit of charcoal ash and some other stuff mixed together.

A mixture of charcoal ash, lime, and regular water can act as a spray that will keep beetles away from your property. To make this spray properly, it’s advised to use one ounce of charcoal ash, one ounce of hydrated lime, and one gallon of typical water.

The usefulness of this spray isn’t limited to beetles either. Many farmers make use of spray such as this to get rid of lice and mites that bother chickens. You can spray this around chicken coops if you like to keep chickens on your property.

It’s definitely good to know that your charcoal ash can turn into something so useful with just a little bit of effort.

Make Lye Soap

Did you know that you can even make lye soap using charcoal ash? This is great for a number of different purposes and it’s well worth doing if you have a lot of charcoal ash.

You can use lye soap to de-skunk your pet if it gets sprayed by a skunk unexpectedly. Also, you can use this lye soap made from charcoal ash to shine any silver items that you might have around the house.

Control Algae

Pond With Vegetation

People who have ponds on their property will be able to find another practical use for charcoal ash. Algae can become a big problem in your pond if you are not careful. Using charcoal ash in your pond is a way to control algae that is very practical.

To do this, you’re going to want to use one tablespoon of charcoal ash for every 1000 gallons of water in the pond.

What About Unused Charcoal?

So you’ve gone through the grilling season and you haven’t managed to use all of your charcoal. This happens pretty often but you can actually make use of your unused charcoal too. There are several practical uses for unused charcoal that you will want to know about.

Take a look at your options below so that you can use everything completely without wasting anything.

Getting Rid of Odors

Use Charcoal To Reduce Odors And Rust

Unused charcoal can actually help you to get rid of odors very effectively. Does your refrigerator or freezer have a bit of a smell that you’d like to get rid of?

Simply place some unused charcoal in there and those odors will be a thing of the past. You can even place charcoal inside of your shoes to get rid of foot odors if you need to.

Composting Unused Charcoal


Another option to consider is simply composting some of your unused charcoal. There will be some benefits to enjoy from increasing the carbon content of your compost.

A few pieces of charcoal will be enough to increase the carbon content; you don’t want to dump half of a bag in there.

Carbon is good for your compost because it works to provide microorganisms with the energy that they need to break down organic matter.

Improving the Lasting Power of Cut Flowers

Flower With Charcoal In Living Room

Cut flowers look so pretty in your vases but it’s a shame that they don’t last for very long. You can actually use some of your unused charcoal to help turn things around.

Placing a bit of unused charcoal in a vase with your flowers will make them last for a bit longer. You’ll be able to enjoy the flowers more and it’s a good use for your unused charcoal.

Helping with Rust

Rusted Air Conditioning Unit

Rust is something that can be very problematic and you probably have many things in your house that you have to worry about in regards to rust. Thankfully, you can use your unused charcoal to help with your rust issues.

Charcoal has the ability to absorb moisture and this is useful when it comes to preventing things from rusting or at least reducing the amount of rust. Place some charcoal in your toolboxes to keep them in better shape so that you can have the best experience.

Suppressing Weeds

Add Charcoal To Garden To Fertilize It

Weeds can be a real pain when you’re trying to maintain your garden area. If you have been encountering problems with weeds in your garden, then using a bit of that unused charcoal is going to be smart.

You see, the unused charcoal can be used in a crushed form to suppress weeds and keep them from growing. This could make your gardening life that much easier if you choose to go this route.

Important Safety Tip

Remember to never put live ash or charcoal next to things that could catch on fire. This could wind up being a danger to your home.

If you’re concerned about charcoal catching on fire in a specific spot, then you should avoid using it there. You always want to err on the side of caution even when you’re trying to make good use of your unused charcoal.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have read about the various ways that you can use charcoal ash, it’s going to be easier to use it all up. You have even learned about many practical ideas for using unused charcoal.

It’s certainly a great thing to want to use the items that you purchase without being wasteful. Many of these ideas are going to make it simple to get rid of charcoal ash and charcoal in safe ways.

As long as you remember to exercise caution, it should be possible to have a great experience. You can get everything taken of and you’ll not have to worry about having charcoal ash or unused charcoal sitting around.

Remember to buy charcoal that doesn’t contain additives so that you can keep using the ash in useful ways.


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