Charcoal Disposal and Uses of Wood Charcoal Ash

Grilling with a charcoal grill takes longer than grilling with a gas grill, and you generally have to spend more time preparing charcoal. But, charcoal grills are usually less expensive than gas grills, and many people prefer the flavor of meat cooked on charcoal grills over gas.

Regardless of your preference- charcoal or gas- both grills result in tasty foods. But, if you prefer grilling with a charcoal grill, it’s important to know how to dispose of the ash.

Before you dispose of the ash, wait at least 48 hours until the ash has completely cooled. Once you’re ready for disposal, you have a few options.

If you just want to throw it out, you can wrap the ash in aluminum and throw the packet in a non-combustible garbage bin for garbage pickup. But, if you’re wondering what else you can do with the used charcoal grill ash, you may be surprised.

Natural Wood Charcoal

As long as you use an additive-free, wood charcoal, you can use it as fertilizer. The ash contains potash (potassium carbonate), which is nutritious for many plants. Potash can also increase the pH levels in your soil, but depending on what you’re growing, you want to use it sparingly. Don’t use charcoal ash with acid-loving plants (like blueberries, azaleas and hydrangeas) nor newly planted seedlings and seeds.

Some grillers claim that you can spray an ash/lime/water mix around your vegetable garden to deter beetles. Mix about one ounce of ash and one ounce of hydrated lime to a gallon of water, and spray around the plants and the perimeter of your garden.

The ash from wood charcoal can be used to make lye for soap, de-skunk your pet and shine silver. You can use wood charcoal ash in your pond to help control algae; add about one tablespoon per 1,000 gallons to strengthen other plants and slow algae growth.

Some people have had success using wood charcoal ash as a deterrent to lice and mites to chickens and other outdoor birds.

Other Types of Charcoal Briquettes

If you are using a charcoal briquette that is not made of wood, you should not use it around your home. The best way to dispose of the ash is by throwing it away in an aluminum packet.

Uses for Unused Wood Charcoal

If you have a few pieces of charcoal left at the bottom of the bag, don’t throw them out. You can use them around your home.

  • Place a few pieces of charcoal in a perforated bag, and place the bag in the refrigerator or freezer to help reduce odors.
  • You can use charcoal in your shoes to reduce the smell of stinky feet.
  • You can put a few pieces in the compost pile to increase the carbon content. Carbon is important to provide energy to the microorganisms while they break down the organic matter in the compost.
  • Place one piece of charcoal in a flower vase of cut flowers to make the flowers last a little longer.
  • Charcoal will absorb moisture, so it can be used in a toolbox to reduce rust on your tools. You can even place a few lumps of charcoal in a bag of salt to reduce clumping, so you’re ready when you need to de-ice your driveway in the winter.
  • Many believe that crushed charcoal can help suppress weeds in your garden.
  • If you raise orchids, you can add crushed charcoal to the soil. Many flower enthusiasts believe that charcoal will absorb toxins and increase the alkalinity of the soil.
  • You can also use crushed wood charcoal in an aquarium filter. This is not as good as using activated charcoal to clean your aquarium, but it can be a temporary solution when you’re out of activated charcoal.