What to do With Charcoal After Grilling?

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If you are an avid griller, and you’re one of the smart ones who know that nothing beats the flavor you get from a charcoal grill, then you probably have a steady supply of half-burnt charcoal and charcoal ashes.

You might be wondering what to do with charcoal after grilling; can you throw it out, or can you use it for other purposes?

The answer is both. If you want, you can just dispose of the ash, or you can also use it for a variety of purposes, including plant fertilization, pest control, and more.

What to do With Charcoal After Grilling

Throwing Charcoal Ash Away

If you just want to get rid of the charcoal ash and don’t have any use for it, this is perfectly fine, but you want to dispose of it in the right way. To dispose of old charcoal and charcoal ash, first let it cool down.

Although it should generally be cool enough to touch after 24 hours, you never know if there are still little bits that are hot and may catch something on fire.

So, before you try and dispose of any half-burnt charcoal or ash, open the vents in the grill for at least two days or 48 hours, and let it cool down totally.

Once the ash is cooled off, disposing of it is fast and easy. Just get a few large sheets of heavy-duty tinfoil or something like an old coffee tin, or if you are in a bind, two layers of heavy-duty garbage bags will work as well.

Just scoop it all out, wrap it up, and throw it in the garbage. Ensure that it’s not garbage that could melt or catch on fire, just in case there are hot coals left.

What Else Can I do With Charcoal Ash?

You don’t have to throw the old charcoal and ash away after grilling with it. Here are six things that you can do with it.

1. Use Ash for Plant Fertilizer

One of the best uses for charcoal ashes is as plant fertilizer. Charcoal ash contains plenty of potassium carbonate, otherwise known as potash. This is a very nutritious substance that plants require to survive and thrive.

Potash is also useful in gardens because it helps regulate the soil’s pH or acidity, so plants don’t grow in soil either too acidic or too alkaline.

However, make sure that you don’t use charcoal ash for plants that love very acidic soil, as potash is alkaline by nature.

2. Use Ash as a Pest Deterrent

You can use charcoal ash as a pest deterrent. You can make a mixture of ash, lime, and water and then spray it around your vegetable and herb gardens.

This will repel beetles that are known to eat veggies and other plants. This mixture will also repel a variety of other pests.

Charcoal ash also works well as a pest deterrent in gardens and around chicken coops and bird cages. Spread some charcoal ash around your chicken coop to deter mites and lice from getting to your chickens.

3. Use Ash as an Algae Control Method

Charcoal ash will also control and stop the spread of algae. If you have a large outdoor pond and either want to prevent an algal bloom or manage a current bloom, about a tablespoon of ash per 1,000 gallons should do the trick.

what should you do with charcoal after grilling

4. Make Lye Soap

If you like being resourceful and don’t want to waste a single thing, you can use charcoal ash to make lye soap. It’s quite a process, but lye soap is an excellent cleaner.

5. Polishing Silver

Yet another thing that you can do with charcoal ash is to polish silver. Ash will help remove grease and grime from silver, plus it will help restore that brand new shine.

6. Dealing With a Skunk-Sprayed Pet

You could use charcoal ash to get rid of skunk odors on your pets. Now, ash won’t remove the horrible skunk stink, but it will help control and reduce it.

Make a fairly thick paste with water and ash, mix it up, and spread it over your pet’s fur.

With the mixture applied, massage it into the coat and apply warm water with the other hand to get the mixture onto all of the affected fur and skin underneath. Rinse it off thoroughly afterward.


You can throw your charcoal ash away after cooking, but you can also choose to use it for any of the purposes listed above. Who would have thought that something as simple as burnt charcoal and ash would have so many benefits?

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