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How To Dispose Charcoal – 3 Things You Didnt Know

Whether it’s having an exciting BBQ party on a summer night is always enjoyable for all of us. Enjoying the smoky-flavoured perfectly grilled chicken with friends over for drinks or if it’s fire to remove trash and other organic waste.

This is when disposing of charcoal may be something that has come to mind on how your can dispose Charcoal after your fire has been safely extinguished.

Don’t worry about it, we are here to help you with the tips and tricks to get rid of used charcoal.

Extinguish & Keep The Ash For Cooling

Cutting Oxygen to the Fire

The very first thing you need to do before disposing of charcoal is to extinguish the fire of charcoal. To do that shut the lid of the charcoal grill, and then close all the vents, the lack of oxygen will eventually extinguish the fire.

Pro tip: Its recommended that you let the charcoal sit for 48 hours to cool it down properly because handling it too early can result in a bad burn so be sure there is no heat coming from the coals.

Use Water

If you are in a rush and need the fire out, then water will speed up the process of cooling. It’s recommended to make sure that you don’t pour too much water at a time on the burning charcoal as it will create hot steam which should be avoided.

It’s common that hot steam pouring water on hot coals may irritate your eyes and skin. Rather you should slowly spray water on burning charcoal to extinguish and cool down it.

Sand can also be used to extinguish the fire of charcoal. Don’t touch the ashes until it is fully cooled.

How to Dispose of Burned Charcoal

When the ashes are cooled down completely you can simply dispose of the ashes in just two steps.

  • Step 1: First, wrap all the ashes with an aluminum foil as this will help ensure that if there is an ember then it won’t burn through the foil and come into contact with anything flammable.
  • Step 2: Now, all you need to do is to throw the wrapped ashes into the bin, check your local disposal methods on which bin accepts charcoal waste.

Charcoal Ash Repurposing

Did you you know there are 3 ways you can reuse your charcoal waste? you may be surprised by what it’s good for.

Charcoal in the Compost

One of the most useful ways to repurpose your charcoal ashes is to use them as compost is recommended for some fertilizers. But only the wood charcoal that is chemical additive free can be used as fertilizer.

How is charcoal fertilizer as it contains potash and is known to improve the pH levels of the soil and it provides good nutrition to the growing plants.

You will be surprised to know that fragmented briquettes improve the nutrition of your soil by increasing the alkalinity. But, if you have plants like azaleas, blueberries, or hydrangeas then you should avoid using charcoal ashes as fertilizer.

Preventing Pests

if you are having a difficult time with pests in your garden or yard then stay tuned.

Did you know you can use your old burned out briquettes from your grill that can prevent pests. Simply take the charcoal ashes and mix it up with water and hydrated lime. Use this mix in your garden and it will keep away pests.

Making Soap

Another fun way to reuse charcoal is by making lye soap. This type of soap can be made from wood charcoal only. Lye soap can be used for many purposes – for instance, you can use it to shine up any kind of silver metals.

You can also search on Google to know more about lye soap usage.

What to do with Unused Charcoal

At the end of your adventurous BBQ party, you might have some leftover charcoal that hasn’t been used. Rather throwing it away and wasting it, you can use them for when you have another BBQ.

Use Charcoal To Remove Bad Smell

You can put a few pieces of charcoal in a porous bag and then put the bag in the freezer or refrigerator. It will eliminate any fridge order from your refrigerator.

Unused charcoal can also be used to reduce the odor from your cupboards and shoes.

Making Compost from Charcoal

Recycle your unused charcoal by making compost. Charcoal increases the carbon in the compost which will create a great fertilizer and all you need to do is to use a few pieces of your unused charcoal and put it into your compost bin.

Reducing Rust

If you have any metal tools that have rust on them, simply put some charcoal inside a mesh bag or sock and leave it in your tool box to reduce rust. Because charcoal is a natural moisture absorber.


What is the right thing to do with used charcoal ashes?

Recycling is the best thing to do with your used charcoal ashes as it will be beneficial for you as well as for the environment. Moreover, you don’t have to spend money on a few things like buying fertilizer for your garden, calling pest control and etc.

Always use non-additive wood charcoal to grill because this type of charcoal ashes for many great things as outlined in this article.

How much time does it take to cool down the charcoal ashes?

To dispose of the charcoal ashes safely you may have to wait for at least 48 hours. Use water to speed up the process if its a must.

Can you fertilize or compost using old briquettes?

The answer is no – because briquettes have chemicals which can harmful for the plants and soil. You can only use additive-free wood charcoal for making compost or fertilizer.


Hope this article will help you to dispose of charcoal safely and reuse the charcoal ashes. Always try to repurpose and recycle both used and unused charcoal as it will keep the environment healthy and it will also save some money of yours.


  • Jen Wheeler

    Jen Wheeler, co-founder of Recycling-Revolution.com, holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford. A renowned environmentalist, she's championed sustainable practices at global events and leads EcoBright Solutions, focusing on recycling education and eco-friendly products.

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