Can You Reuse Charcoal?


Can you reuse charcoal? Yes, you can reuse charcoal. Charcoal is an important part of the barbecue process. It adds flavor to food, but it can also leave a mess behind.

Reusing charcoal is one way to keep this natural resource out of the waste stream and save money. Charcoal can be reused for grilling, fire starters, or in your garden as compost. There are many ways to reuse charcoal so that it doesn’t go into the landfill.

There are other ways to reuse it that don’t require you to dump it out in the trash or recycling bin. We’ve compiled 9 methods below that allow you to use your charcoal again.

What is Charcoal?

Charcoal can be made from any organic material. For example, some companies make charcoal out of coconut shells and bamboo. The most common type of charcoal used for grilling meat and fish is a form of wood called Mesquite because it burns at an extremely high temperature.

When you grill food using this kind of charcoal, the high heat causes it to vaporize any leftover juices and oils on your food. This means you can grill with very little or no oil at all.

Why Use Charcoal?

One of the biggest reasons why people love using this kind of coal is because it doesn’t give off a chemical taste as the lighter fluid does. Instead, it gives off a natural flavor from the wood.

How to Reuse Charcoal Without Buying More of It?

If you want to reuse your charcoal, use a metal bowl with some foil and poke holes in it. Then place the briquettes inside and set them on fire for about 15 minutes. Put out the flames by covering them up with aluminum foil or using water.

This will cause all of the leftover juices from cooking meat to vaporize so you can reuse the charcoal a second time.

Other than grilling, there are other methods that you can reuse charcoal.

Method 1: Reuse Charcoal as a Fire Starter

Reusing it as a fire starter is the most common way to reuse charcoal, especially if you typically purchase lighter fluid with your bag of coals at the store. Simply remove some of the leftover pieces from your grill and put them in an airtight container for later use.

Method 2: Reuse Charcoal for your Grill or Smoker Box

You can reuse charcoal by crushing it up and using it to line your grill or smoker box with the next time you cook. The only downside is that this will reduce the amount of heat coming from your grilling surface. If you want a hotter flame, then try Method 1 instead.

Method 3: Make a Fire Pit with Charcoal

If you want to reuse your charcoal, then why not make it into an awesome fire pit? You can line the bottom of making a fire pit with rocks or pebbles. Then place all your leftover pieces inside and light them on fire.

The flames will turn any leftover ash into embers that still have some heat in them. You can use a rake to move them around and spread the heat evenly throughout your fire pit.

You could also put the used charcoals around your plants and/or vegetables as an organic way of protecting them from insects like slugs and snails which love moist dirt.

Method 4: Use Charcoal as a Fertilizer for Your Yard or Garden

Charcoal has a very high pH level, which means that plants don’t like growing in the soil where charcoal is present. This makes it perfect to put into your garden because you can kill off any small weeds and grasses without harming other types of plants.

You can fill a bucket or container with charcoal ash and use this mixture as fertilizer. As the soil breaks down, nutrients will be released into the ground to help plants grow strong roots and healthy leaves.

If you purchase hardwood lump charcoal instead of briquettes (a compressed form of coal), then when you’re done grilling, you can use the leftovers as compost for your plants. Just spread some of the charcoal on top of your garden and let it sit there for a few weeks.

It will break down into smaller pieces, mix with soil, and kill off any small weeds or plants around them.

Method 5: Use Charcoal to Make Homemade Cleaning Products

If you don’t want to use harmful chemicals in order to clean your kitchen or bathroom, you can use charcoal instead. Mix one part water and one part of the activated charcoal together until it forms a paste.

Then add about 20 drops of dish soap into the mix and stir again to make sure everything is mixed up evenly. Now grab an old toothbrush (or any kind of cleaning brush) and start scrubbing away.

Method 6: Use Charcooal to Make Homemade Medicines and Remedies

Activated charcoal is used in hospitals around the world as an antidote for certain types of poisons.

It works by trapping any harmful substances that are present within the body, which reduces them from entering your bloodstream so they can’t cause serious damage. You can easily use this in your own home to make some homemade medicines and remedies.

Method 7: Use Charcooal as a Filter for Your Water Supply

Did you know that charcoal is often used in water filters? If you live near the ocean or somewhere with extremely high levels of chlorine in their pipes, activated charcoal can be used to remove this chemical from tap water before drinking it.

If you’re looking for an easy way to reuse the leftover pieces of coal, simply place them inside a cloth bag or even an old pantyhose leg. Then tie the bag to a small rock and place it at the bottom of your household water sources.

The filter will trap any impurities in the water so you can drink or bathe without worrying about getting sick.

You don’t need much either. One tablespoon of activated charcoal can remove about 90% of the chlorine from a glass full of water.

Method 8: Use Charcoal for Jewelry

Re-purpose the charcoal into other things like jewelry. You could also make earrings, necklaces, and keychains from your leftover pieces of charcoal.

Method 9: Use Charcoal as a Weed Killer

If you have charcoal left over and want to reuse it, try using it instead of chemical herbicides around your garden. Charcoal is safe for use on plants because they absorb its nutrients from the soil. It’s also non-toxic so there won’t be any danger to your local wildlife.


If you’ve been wondering how to reuse charcoal, we hope this article has given you some inspiration. With nine different ways to use your charcoal again and save money in the process, there is no excuse not to try them out.

The next time you grab a bag of briquets or lump coal for grilling season, don’t forget these ideas. Which one will be your favorite?

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.