What to Do with Fire Pit Charcoal
Tips & Tricks

What to Do with Fire Pit Charcoal

Did you know you can reuse fire pit charcoal? Now that spring is here; you will likely start using your fire pit to keep warm on chilly nights while hanging out outdoors. The worst part of this is the cleanup of the pit afterward. Chances are you always dump all the contents of your fire pit before lighting it up again.

Keep reading to learn what to do with fire pit charcoal.

Here are eight things you can do with the charcoal left after burning wood in a fire pit

Fertilize Your Garden

For soils with a high acid content, the potassium in wood ash and charcoal raises the pH balance of the soil and neutralizes the acid. Don’t add too much ash because the potassium will make it too toxic for plants if you raise the balance too much.

Fun fact, tribes in the Amazon basin used crushed charcoal to improve poor or depleted soil almost 1,500 years ago. Research shows that charcoal adds nutrients to the soil, even more than compost or manure.

Break down the wood charcoal into chunks and spread it around the garden, allowing whatever soaks into the soil to do the trick if the balance is just a little off.

Charcoal and ash will also absorb any fertilizer you put into the garden and hold it over a long time, allowing the plants a slow, steady supply. Unfortunately, hardwood holds more nutrients than softwood. Both hold nutrients, though, so if your preference for burning is a soft wood, no worries.

Note: Don’t use charcoal or ash in the soil of plants like blueberries, azaleas, rhododendron, or gardenia, which thrive off of the acidic soils.

Charcoal absorbs moisture

Charcoal naturally absorbs moisture. Try placing some in a fine-mesh bag or doubled-up sock and leave it in your toolbox to help prevent rust. Lumps of charcoal placed in a can punched with holes can help reduce moisture in closets, basements, under sinks, etc.

Alternatively, you can punch holes in the sides of the coffee can, as well as in the lid, with a small screwdriver or ice pick. Next, place charcoal in the can and put the lid on. Finally, place the charcoal in the areas of your house that get the most humidity, such as bathrooms, basements, closets, attics, or sunrooms.

You can put chunks of charcoal in a toolbox or another place where you have rust-prone stuff. The charcoal will absorb the moisture.

pH balance your compost

You can add charcoal to the compost. Mixing charcoal or ash with your compost will help disperse nutrients and balance any acids added to the mix. But do not add the ashes. Too much ash will kill the natural process by making the soil too alkaline.

If you mix the charcoal and ash in the compost and use it in your soil, it will act as a portion of great, balanced food for your plants. If you use food waste from your house as compost, put charcoal in the waste to help with the breakdown and eliminate odors.

When building your compost, put some ash or charcoal down with every layer of material you put in. Mixing charcoal and ash in the compost helps break down the material and helps the nutrients get dispersed. If you are putting acidic stuff in your compost, such as lemon peels, you can add charcoal to balance the acids and help break down the food waste.

Pest control

Charcoal and ash, both absorbent and carrying potassium, are deathly for soft shell invertebrates like slugs or snails. So if the slug or snail gets anywhere near ash or charcoal, you might as well dump salt on them.

Charcoal and ash help get rid of pests like slugs and snails. Just add a little ash around the targeted plant, and you have a protective barrier from crawling insects. If your garden is not high in acid or you have the balance where you want it, but you want to get rid of these pests, sprinkle a little around the base of the plant in danger of being eaten.

You can also break up the charcoal into chunks and spread it around the garden as a kind of insect death labyrinth. Also, as it rains, you will probably have to add more ash around the base of the plants in case the rain dilutes the salts in the ash.

Reduce Odors Around the House

Charcoal is extremely effective in removing bad odors in the house. The fire pit charcoal can remove unpleasant smells, including burnt foods, strong spices, tobacco, pet scents, or even new paint smells.

Use a fine-mesh bag, and put some of the smaller pieces inside. The charcoal absorbs moisture and odors in the refrigerator and stinky shoes. Charcoal is porous, and it can soak up any nutrients, smells, and chemicals in the near vicinity. The more porous charcoal is, the better smell is absorbed.

While activated charcoal is one of the most effective odor absorbers, other types of charcoal can also remove bad and musty stale smells at every corner of your house. This is because charcoal has micro pockets and pores that catch smells and lock them in like a vacuum cleaner catches dust.

Fire helper

Lumps of Charcoal left after a wood fire can be used to start a fire in the future. You have to leave them in the fire pit after use and remove the ash. The charcoal will help make your next fire easier to start. It will also help get decent heat far faster than if a fire is just started with wood alone.

You could also save it and use it for summer barbecues, rather than using some commercial products that sometimes have added toxic chemicals. To create a strong burning charcoal fire, start by forming a pyramid of charcoal briquettes in the center of your grill and squirt some lighter fluid into the middle of it.

Then, let the charcoal soak for a few minutes, add a little lighter fluid, and ignite the fire.

Filter you water

Leftover charcoal can be pounded with a hammer and then ground into a fine powder with a pestle and mortar or a blender. This can then be used as a filter medium.

When filtering water, charcoal carbon filters are most effective at removing chlorine, particles such as sediment, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), taste, and odor. They are not effective at removing minerals, salts, and dissolved inorganic substances.

Charcoal is the ideal water filter because it removes toxins from the water without stripping the water of salts and important minerals. Because impurities are held in the charcoal, replace the filter charcoal after a single-use.

Note: fire pit charcoal will not be as effective as activated charcoal. So please do not rely on it for filtering drinking water.

Emergency Intestinal Aid

Charcoal carbon is an ancient remedy for upset stomachs and diarrhea. If all you have are some pieces of charcoal, and you are miles from anywhere, chewing a small piece of firepit charcoal can help absorb toxins and reduce symptoms.

The tablets that you find in drug stores come from “Activated” charcoal. It’s wood charcoal that has undergone an industrial high-temperature process to increase the pores and surface area of the carbon.

Once swallowed, charcoal binds to the drug or toxin in the stomach so the body can’t absorb it. This ability to bind to unwanted substances makes it perfect for relieving gas/bloating, lowering cholesterol, and preventing hangovers.

The charcoal will bind to urea and other toxins, helping your body eliminate them. Urea and other waste products can pass from the bloodstream into your gut through a process known as diffusion. In your gut, they bind to activated charcoal and get excreted in the stool

Other things you can do instead of disposing of fire pit charcoal

Check this too: How to Install a Pellet Stove in a Garage

Make Flowers Last Longer

Place one piece of charcoal or briquette in a flower vase under the cut stems to preserve flowers longer. Weigh it down with glass marbles or seashells if it floats, and change the water after 4 to 5 days.

Use It to Shine and Polish

You can brush your teeth with charcoal to whiten them. Charcoal has been used as a dentifrice for centuries. Additionally, you can use the carbon to polish silverware or take rust off tools. It’s somewhat abrasive so test it out first.