Can You Reuse Charcoal: 20 Ways to Use Unburned Charcoal

Do you have leftover unburned charcoal that’s just sitting in the garage? Can you reuse it for your next cook, or is it advised not to? Can you reuse burned charcoal too?

And what other uses are there for partially used charcoal besides cooking with it again. We’ve got answers! Read on to discover about 20 ways to use unburned and partly burnt charcoal.

In this post, I’ll teach you how to reuse charcoal and store the unburnt coal for the next time you smoke or grill, as well as some other uses!

Charcoal is a great way to cook with just the right flavor and not messy charcoal. With hardwood, you can get your grill nice and hot without having too much wasted on this step alone!

Many people like myself will buy some cheap bag at $30, thinking it will last me a while. Still, when we dump half into our grills, sometimes only two steaks come out instead of three because there isn’t enough left over after lighting up for searing or cooking something else in its place (burgers, anyone?). All those expensive briquettes end up getting thrown away.

Another colossal waste of money is that most people don’t fully use their entire bag or can because they either forget all about it, don’t have the time, or want to save it for later. Either way, having unburnt charcoal leftover doesn’t serve any purpose. Can you reuse unburned charcoal? Yes, you can!

Sift, Snuff, and Save The Charcoal

A kick ash basket is an excellent way to remove and shake out charcoal after usage, preserving it for the next cook on a charcoal grill.

If you do not have an ash basket, let the coals die to white or gray color, and then use tongs or gloves (or both) to sift through it and remove any leftover charcoal.

Then store your unburned, used-up charcoal in the appropriate storage container for future usage.

Using an ash basket is a great way to eliminate any leftover charcoal after cooking, but only some leftover. You don’t have one, here’s an easy way to do it.

First, dump the leftover charcoal into a metal container such as a trash can or bucket.

Then, grab your tongs and give it a few shakes to remove any leftover charcoal! (Tongs are perfect for this step because they keep your hands away from the heat, and you don’t risk getting burnt. Also, make sure to use gloves if you don’t have tongs.)

If your metal container has a lid, that is even better! If the charcoal dust falls through, it will keep your charcoal from dusting up.

Once you have worked through all the leftover charcoal, seal it with a lid and store it away for next time.

We recommend stainless steel buckets because they are easy to clean and won’t contaminate your charcoal.

How to Reuse Charcoal: 20 Ways to Use Unburned Charcoal

I’m going to show you eight different methods for repurposing the unburned charcoal.

1. Prepare Your Garden for the Season – Black Gold Agriculture

If you aren’t using your charcoal for cooking and having a garden, why not put it in the soil?

Charcoal is an excellent fertilizer to use in the garden. It is perfect for your plants because it releases nutrients into the soil, which helps produce healthy, robust vegetables and fruits.

A word of caution, do not use too much. One cup per square foot is all you need for a nice boost in nutrients! You can also mix it with soil before adding your seeds or seedlings.

Mixing charcoal in the garden helps make them more resistant to pests and diseases. If you want to save some money on your garden, this is the best way to do it! It will also give you healthier plants and more fruit and vegetables (which you can eat or sell for a profit!).

The best time to add charcoal is in the fall. That way, your plants will have a head start, and the charcoal particles can work their way through the soil during winter (with all those cold months) or early spring (when the ground is thawing).

It will give you a better, healthier yield in summer. Now that’s black gold agriculture!

2. Reduce RustCharcoal absorbs moisture as a result of its composition. Try keeping some in a fine-mesh bag or a doubled-up sock in your toolbox to prevent rust.

3. Use It to Shine and Polish

Yes, you can use charcoal to shine and polish a few things.

It absorbs moisture, perfect for polishing silver, brass, copper, and marble.

Just put a little bit on a soft cloth or rag, then rub the item until it shines! They will look as good as new!

Just put the leftover charcoal back in your storage container when you are done. You may want to get a small one or bag it up to keep it from dust.

You can also try charcoal on your grill to give it a nice, new shine before you cook with it.

Here are other uses for unburned charcoal that you should keep in mind:

– Make Canes or Walking Sticks

– Clean Cars

– Polish Leather Shoes

4. Emergency Intestinal Aid

Charcoal has been used for a long time as an intestinal aid.

It was one of the first things recommended back in 1813 by the American doctor Benjamin Rush.

Drinking water mixed with charcoal can help prevent an upset stomach and diarrhea in some cases. It can also help with certain infections and mouth sores.

To use, make a charcoal “milkshake” by mixing some in juice or water.

If you don’t have any juice or water, try eating a few bread bites before drinking it to avoid the taste!

It is important to note that drinking charcoal can interfere with certain medications and treatments you may be on, so always ask your doctor before taking it.

5. Reduce Odors Around The House

Charcoal has a way of trapping odors.

It is excellent for removing smells from your kitchen or bathroom cabinets. It can even help absorb the odors in your refrigerator.

Place some unburned charcoal inside a container or bag, then place it wherever you want to trap the smell!

If they tend to leave odors behind, you can also use them with pet food and litter boxes.

It is important not to replace fresh air with this method, so always keep an open window or door.

Another way to use charcoal is:

– Reduce Pet Odors

– Remove Smoke and Cook Smells from the House – Remove Cigarette and Pipe Odors From Your Clothes and Room

6. Make Flowers Last Longer

Charcoal is an excellent way to keep flowers fresher for longer. Here are two ways you can do it:

– You can place some unburned charcoal in the vase with your cut flowers, then pour water over them and allow it to soak into the soil (make sure that there’s enough room for all of the stems).

– Another method is to place the stems in a bucket of water with some charcoal. Once they are done soaking, insert them into your vase and pour more water over the top!

It will keep flowers fresh for up to two weeks or longer – mainly if you use it on roses! It’s also great for cutting fruit which tends to rot and go bad quickly.

It is important to note that charcoal can reduce the water in the soil, so you’ll want to add some more when it starts getting dry again!

7. For skincare or as a face mask

Charcoal is excellent for your skin and not just as an intestinal aid.

It absorbs dirt and oil from the surface of your skin to leave it feeling cleaner and fresher.

You can use charcoal powder mixed with water or coconut oil to make a natural facial scrub that will also help reduce acne!

It is also a popular ingredient in face masks, and its water-absorbing properties help tighten pores.

You can use charcoal powder mixed with:

– Coconut Oil

– Lemon Juice (for exfoliating)

– Honey (to add moisture to your skin)

– Banana (or any other type of fruit that you like!)

8. As an antifreeze

Did you know that charcoal can also be used as an antifreeze?

It is more environmentally friendly than traditional antifreeze and is non-toxic too.

It can be used as a way to prevent ice from forming on your windshield and outdoor water faucets during the winter months.

You can mix charcoal with water or kitty litter, then pour it into a container outside your house to keep ice from forming.

You can also use it in your car’s radiator to prevent it from freezing up when the temperature starts to drop!

To do this,

  • mix one part charcoal to four parts water or antifreeze.
  • Then, pour it into your radiator and allow the engine heat to warm the solution.
  • It will help prevent it from freezing up when temperatures get low!

9. Ash for healing wounds

Using charcoal as ash to topically treat wounds is expected in the medical community.

You can use it for different wounds (burns, scrapes, etc.) and other animals.

While it has some risks, you can mix charcoal with antibacterial ointment to make an effective natural remedy!

It is essential not to use this on deep gashes or large areas because the charcoal may act as a foreign body within your body and cause infection.

It’s also not suitable for use on cats or dogs, as they may try to lick it off of their fur.

If you decide to use this treatment method, be aware that there is a chance your wound could become colonized by bacteria within the charcoal! It can lead to an increased risk for infections and a lower case of a good prognosis.

Please do not use it on deep gashes or large areas!

It is not safe for pets and may cause them to lick at the area, leading to bacterial colonization within their body. It also has an increased risk of infection as well as a decreased likelihood that your wound will heal properly.

10. To polish silverware

One of the unique uses for charcoal is to polish silverware!

Mixing it with baking soda or toothpaste makes an excellent replacement for harsher commercial polishes.

Combined, they become abrasive enough to take off tarnish and rust without scratching your silver pieces.

It’s also safe to use on gold jewelry if you need to remove some dirt and oil from its surfaces.

Remember to use a separate container, as the mixture will immediately start reacting with your silverware!

It’s also not safe for sterling or white gold jewelry because it may cause dark spots on its surface.

11. To make activated charcoal water filters.

Using activated charcoal as a water filter is environmentally friendly. You can use it with other types of filtration systems.

To make activated charcoal filters, you will need to use a series of layers.

  • First, place the water filter with the cloth or paper underneath it.
  • Then, cover the entire filter with a layer of activated charcoal and add more layers until they are about three inches thick.
  • After, cut a hole in the filter to fit around your faucet.
  • You will also need two pieces of PVC pipe that are each about six inches long.
  • Place the PVC pipes on the outside of your filter, one on either side of it, and secure them with rubber bands.
  • Finally, attach the filter to your faucet by inserting it into one of the PVC pipes and wrapping a piece of cloth tightly around the other end.

12. For baking

You can also use activated charcoal to make homemade “black” bread in place of regular flour.

It also has a few other recipes that include it.

You can add charcoal to your bread dough or pancake batter for an exciting twist on your regular recipes.

If you are making bread, mix it with water and blackstrap molasses to create an almost gray and extremely dark dough! Pour the mixture into a loaf pan after kneading, just like regular bread dough.

You can also use activated charcoal to make vegan “chicken” broth, dark chocolate truffle cookies, black bean brownies, and more!

13. For teeth whitening

Activated charcoal can be used as a natural replacement for toothpaste to help brighten your smile. It works by acting like an exfoliant that helps remove stains from the surface of your teeth without damaging enamel or causing irritation.

To use it, you can dip your toothbrush in powder and brush as usual with the mixture. You should also be sure to rinse thoroughly after brushing!

14. For medicinal purposes

Activated charcoal is a popular treatment for poisoning because of several reasons:

  • Its high absorbency rate.
  • Its ability to remove toxins from the body.
  • The fact that it doesn’t absorb vitamins.

You can also use it to treat other conditions such as indigestion, food allergies, side effects of medication, and heartburn. The process is simple: you take activated charcoal with a glass of water or juice about an hour before your meal. Remember not to drink any liquids 30 minutes after taking them to have time to bind!

15. For a hangover remedy

Activated charcoal has been shown to reduce headache pain caused by drinking too much alcohol the night before. In studies on rats exposed to large amounts of ethanol (alcohol), those who ingested activated carbon were less likely than their counterparts without treatment from dozing off.

You can try making a drink with activated charcoal to help soothe your hangover symptoms the next day! Mix two tablespoons of fresh lime juice and coconut water in a cocktail shaker or mason jar. Then add one tablespoon of honey, shake it up, and pour it into a glass over ice cubes.

16. For aquariums

Instead of using activated carbon for fish tanks, you can use pure charcoal in place of it to absorb impurities from your tank’s water without the risk that comes with an additional chemical treatment. It will also help remove any odors coming from your tank!

Just be sure to make a few small holes in the bag to allow for some water flow before placing it in your tank. Charcoal can be found at most pet stores and is pretty affordable!

17. To clean up oil spills

If you’ve ever had an oil spill on your driveway or garage floor, you know how hard they are to remove without using harsh chemicals that may damage your concrete. To help remove oil quickly, you should try sprinkling activated charcoal over the spill and allow it to sit for about an hour.

After that time has passed, scrub the area with a stiff brush or broom until all residues are gone! 

18. To aid in composting.

You can use charcoal to help speed up your compost pile by absorbing excess moisture. If you have a large batch of compost that hasn’t started breaking down yet, add some charcoal and mix it in well with the other materials!

19. To remove odors from clothing or bedding.

Activated charcoal has been used for years as an odor absorbent. You can use it in the wash to remove stains and help eliminate any odors that remain after washing; be sure to add a little extra downy for scent!

20. For the grill

You can use activated charcoal in your barbecue to help keep food from sticking or burning. Just sprinkle some of the powder over hot coals before you start cooking, and it will act as an insulator without affecting flavor!

So, there are ten alternative uses for only partially used charcoal that may interest you next time around!

Wrap Up on Can You Reuse Charcoal

There’s no sense in wasting charcoal if you don’t need it. Don’t you leave your gas or electric range on while you eat and then turn it off after you’re done?

You can do the same thing with your grill or barbecue!

If you only use part of what you bought, don’t throw it out yet. You can reuse it for cooking, grilling, or other purposes.

If you consider the charcoal’s reusability, you will save money on grilling and improve your environment.

Z Hashan

Z Hashan

Hi, my name is Z Hashan, and I’m passionate about smoking the best BBQ. There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking a delicious piece of BBQ and seeing the joy on people’s faces while they have a bite of it.

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