How to Dispose of Charcoal From Grill

charcoal grill and charcoal tong

Have a barbecue but no idea how to safely dispose of the ash from your charcoal grill? While most people wrap it in foil and throw it away, there is a multitude of uses for that charcoal ash. Join us as we look at the various ways in which you can use your ash around your home and garden.

Conventional Grill Clean-up Methods

One of the easiest ways to dispose of charcoal ash after a barbecue is by following these easy steps.

Step #1: Let the ash cool completely. Speed up this cooling process by pouring cold water on the ash to ensure that all the embers have died out and the ash is not hot.

Step #2: Gather the ash into a pile and transfer it into a large piece of foil fashioned into a bowl shape. Foil is excellent for containing the heat of any embers that might still be burning after you have completed step 1.

Step #3: Wrap foil tightly around the ash and dispose of it in a garbage bin.

Why Re-use Charcoal Ash?

With landfills overfilled, and much of our garbage ending up in oceans, rivers, and streams, it is up to us to look at alternative ways of disposing of our garbage safely or possibly re-using it in one way or another. Charcoal ash is a natural product, which means it breaks down on its own.

There are so many different ways that we can use charcoal and its ash in the home and garden, reducing the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfills and inevitably stopping it from poisoning our water sources.

One of the most popular common uses for charcoal is in the garden.

Charcoal and Charcoal Ash for the Garden

Those with green fingers might already know the benefits of coal and charcoal for the garden, but for those who don’t, let’s explore the different uses for charcoal and its ash in your garden.

#1: Fertilizer

The ash from a charcoal fire is rich in Potash, or Potassium Carbonate. This is great for using in your plant beds to increase the pH levels of the soil. Before you do this, though, it might be worth doing some research on which plants flourish in an acidic soil environment and which will ultimately die. You can search online or chat with someone at your local plant nursery for tips on which plants to use it. Note that you should not use potash on new plants and seeds.

#2: Compost

Add your cooled charcoal ash to your compost heap to produce carbon-rich soil that can be used on flower beds. Roses grow exceptionally well in soil that contains carbon compost.

#3: Pest deterrents

Sprinkle some charcoal ash on your bushes, shrubs, and flowers to deter those sneaky snails and slugs from making a delicious dinner of your plants. Charcoal is fantastic for suppressing the growth of weeds, keeping your flowerbeds weed-free and looking great.

#4: Maintain soil moisture

Charcoal ash can be used in soil to maintain moisture and acts as a great filtration device.

Burning charcoal

Other Uses for Charcoal and Charcoal Ash

Now that we have covered using charcoal and charcoal ash in the garden, let’s take a look at how we can use it in our home.


Charcoal makes for a fantastic natural cleaning agent. Use it to clean silverware, kill odors in the fridge, and make your own natural cleaning spray that will leave your home sparkling clean and pest free. To make your spray, mix 1 ounce of charcoal ash with 1 ounce of lime to a gallon of water. Spray this on your surfaces, walls, and even on your floors to effectively deter lice, mites, and other bugs.

You can pop a few pieces of charcoal in a perforated bag to kill any nasty odors that may be lurking in your fridge.

To keep your silverware looking clean and streak-free, dust the item with charcoal ash, then rub and polish with a soft cloth.

For those with ponds in their gardens, you can add one tablespoon of charcoal ash to your pond to control the algae from building up. It is safe to use and will not cause any illnesses or death to your fish.

Indoor Plants

You can make your indoor plants grow like never before by adding some charcoal or charcoal ash to your pots and vases. Crushed charcoal will bring new life to your orchids, as well as any cut flowers that you may have in and around your home.

Fun uses

Before you throw out any old pieces of charcoal, consider these fun alternative uses:

  • Pavement or driveway chalk to keep little ones busy for a while.
  • Use for your snowman’s eyes and smile in winter.
  • Pop charcoal in your toolbox to prevent the oxidation of your tools by absorbing any moisture.
  • Create a hopscotch game on your driveway or in your courtyard and get yourself and your family moving.
  • Use charcoal to temporarily mask any scratches on wooden furniture and floors.
  • Sprinkle charcoal ash on your dog or cat if they have been sprayed by a skunk. The ash will reduce the odor and your precious fur-child will be sparkling clean.

Recover Unused Charcoal

Another way to help is to reduce the amount of charcoal you use. Shutting down the air supply to your burning charcoal will smother it.

The next day your smothered charcoal should be completely cool so you can sift it from the ashes and add it to your next cook. Use the charcoal burning grate by placing one scoop of the charcoal ash mixture on the grate and giving it a light shake.

The ashes and small pieces of charcoal will fall through, leaving you with useable pieces of charcoal.

Charcoal: The Wonder Fuel

There are many fantastic ways to use charcoal and charcoal ash that simply throwing them away seems like a waste. Hopefully, the tips we have provided you with will help you think of other ways to use your charcoal ash and ultimately do your part in saving the planet.

Every little effort counts. Share these useful and innovative tips with your friends and family, and see how many ways there are to use charcoal in and around the home and garden rather than disposing of it.


Charcoal can be used for many things in your home and garden. Follow our tips above to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills by re-using your charcoal and charcoal ash in many different ways.