Charcoal’s versatility outside of the grill

close up photo of black metal charcoal grill

Charcoal is one of the most versatile substances that we use today. From grilling to art supplies, charcoal has found a variety of uses that go far beyond its original purpose. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different ways charcoal is being used today and how its usage has evolved over time. With its versatility, charcoal has become an incredibly popular material for all sorts of purposes, from cooking to drawing. We’ll look at the different uses of charcoal, from the traditional to the innovative, and explain why it has become such an important part of our lives. So get ready to explore the many wonders of charcoal!

wood fire flame charcoal
Photo by Markus Spiske on

What is Charcoal and How is it Made?

Charcoal is a carbon-rich substance created by heating wood or other organic matter in the absence of air. The process, called pyrolysis, breaks down the organic matter and releases volatile gases, leaving behind a porous and blackened material that is rich in carbon. This substance, known as charcoal, has been used for thousands of years as a fuel source for cooking, heating, and smelting. The earliest recorded use of charcoal dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was used for metallurgy. Today, charcoal is produced on an industrial scale for a variety of applications, from fuel for industrial processes to a component of cosmetics and skincare products.

Benefits of Using Charcoal Beyond Grilling

Charcoal is a summer staple for many, primarily used for grilling and cooking outdoors. However, its uses go far beyond just the barbeque. It’s important to note that when using charcoal for non-grilling purposes, such as in the home, it’s crucial to use briquettes without chemical additives. Briquette charcoal with chemical additives should not be used for non-grilling purposes.
One way to utilize charcoal beyond grilling is by giving compost the carbon it needs. Charcoal can be added to compost bins to enhance the decomposition process and provide essential carbon to the mix. This can help create nutrient-rich compost for gardening.
Charcoal is also a great odor and moisture absorber. Placing charcoal in most areas of the home, such as closets, shoes, and refrigerators, can help eliminate unpleasant smells and absorb excess moisture, keeping these spaces fresh and dry.
Additionally, charcoal can be used to keep tools rust-free. By placing charcoal briquettes in toolboxes or storage areas, it can help prevent rust and extend the lifespan of your tools.
It’s important to note that when it comes to using charcoal for non-grilling purposes, briquette charcoal is different from activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is specifically designed for medical, beauty, and filtration purposes and should never be ingested. Charcoal can also be used for its purifying properties. It has the ability to absorb toxins and impurities, making it an ideal ingredient for homemade beauty products. From face masks to teeth whitening, charcoal can help detoxify the skin and teeth, leaving them looking and feeling refreshed.
In terms of medical uses, charcoal is commonly used in emergency rooms to treat certain types of poisoning. Its porous surface helps trap harmful substances and prevent them from being absorbed by the body. However, it’s important to note that activated charcoal should only be used under the guidance of a medical professional.
If you’re interested in trying out charcoal for its various uses, there are a range of products available on the market. From charcoal soap to charcoal toothpaste, there are many options to incorporate charcoal into your daily routine. Just remember to read the labels and ensure you are using the appropriate type of charcoal for each specific purpose.

Household Uses for Charcoal

Charcoal is not just for grilling; it has a multitude of uses around the house as well. One of the most common household uses for charcoal is to increase the carbon content of a compost pile. Adding charcoal to your compost can help speed up the decomposition process and provide essential carbon to the mix, resulting in nutrient-rich compost for your garden.
Charcoal can also be used to disguise scratches on dark wood floors and furniture temporarily. Simply rub a piece of charcoal over the scratched area and gently buff it with a soft cloth. The charcoal will help darken the scratch, making it less noticeable.
Another household use for charcoal is keeping the air fresh in your fridge or drawers. Placing a small bowl or bag of charcoal in these spaces can help absorb unpleasant odors and keep them smelling fresh.
Did you know that charcoal can also help cut flowers last longer? By adding a piece of charcoal to the vase, you can help prevent the growth of bacteria and keep the water clean, which in turn helps the flowers stay fresh for a longer period of time.
If you’re looking for a natural mulch option, charcoal can come in handy. Using charcoal as mulch can help keep the soil moist and suppress weeds. Simply sprinkle a layer of crushed charcoal around your plants to enjoy the benefits.
Charcoal can even be used for some fun outdoor activities. Grab a piece of charcoal and use it to draw hopscotch squares or other game templates on the sidewalk. The charcoal will wash away with the next rain or can be easily washed off with water.
When winter comes, and you need to use deicers on your driveway, charcoal can help prevent them from clumping. Simply mix some crushed charcoal with the deicer to keep it flowing smoothly.
If you’re looking to decorate your yard, consider using charcoal as a natural and unique option. Arrange pieces of charcoal in decorative patterns or create small charcoal sculptures to add visual interest to your outdoor space.
For plant enthusiasts, charcoal can be a great tool to help potted orchids grow. Placing a piece of charcoal in the pot can help absorb excess moisture and prevent root rot.
Lastly, charcoal can be used to keep rust off your tools. Place a few charcoal briquettes in your tool storage area or toolbox to help absorb moisture and prevent rust from forming.
As you can see, charcoal has a wide range of household uses that go beyond grilling. From composting to decorating, charcoal can be a versatile and practical addition to your everyday life.

Beauty Uses for Charcoal

Activated charcoal may sound like a bizarre ingredient to put on your face, but it is actually an incredibly beneficial product for the skin and hair. This powder is composed of charred bone, peat, coconut shells, sawdust, or olive pits and has a mind-blowing amount of surface area. Because of this, activated charcoal is an excellent detoxifying agent that can be used to clear the skin, reduce pores, and limit excess oil.
Using activated charcoal as a facial mask is a great way to unclog pores and get rid of impurities that can cause acne. Simply mix a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder with water to create a paste and apply it to the face. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water. The result is a brighter, smoother complexion.
Another popular use for activated charcoal in beauty products is teeth whitening. However, it’s important to note that the charcoal should be used in toothpaste form to avoid damaging tooth enamel. Activated charcoal toothpaste can be found at most drugstores or can be made at home.
In addition to its skincare benefits, activated charcoal shampoo is an excellent way to volumize hair and reduce dandruff. It works by absorbing impurities and excess oil from the scalp, leaving hair looking fuller and healthier.
Overall, the beauty uses for activated charcoal are endless. From clearing the skin to volumizing hair, this powerful powder is an excellent addition to any beauty routine.

Medical Uses for Charcoal

Activated charcoal has been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions. In modern medicine, it is most commonly used to treat poisoning or overdose, as well as diarrhea, and to lower cholesterol.
When taken within the first hour after an overdose or poisoning, activated charcoal is most beneficial. However, newer research suggests that it may still be effective even after this initial hour. In fact, it may be beneficial if taken up to 4 hours after ingestion of delayed-release drugs and large drug doses.
To treat poisoning or overdose, multiple-dose activated charcoal (MDAC) is often used. This involves administering several doses of activated charcoal over a period of time to remove toxins from the body.
While activated charcoal has several potential health benefits, some of these benefits rely on research that is decades old. It is important to note that activated charcoal should not be self-administered as a poison or overdose treatment.
Additionally, activated charcoal may reduce an adult’s ability to absorb a drug by up to 74%, which is why it should only be used under medical supervision. On the other hand, activated charcoal may promote kidney function by reducing the number of waste products that the kidneys have to filter.
Overall, while charcoal is a versatile substance with many uses beyond grilling, it is important to use it responsibly and only under medical supervision for medical purposes.

Charcoal Products to Try at Home

If you’re intrigued by the beauty benefits of activated charcoal, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of products available that harness its detoxifying powers. Activated charcoal is a natural ingredient that works to draw impurities out of your skin and leave it feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
So, what are some of the ways you can use activated charcoal in your beauty routine? Here are just a few ideas:

  • Use it as a cleanser: Mix a small amount of activated charcoal with water or oil to create a paste, then use it to massage your face and remove makeup gently.
  • Make eyeliner: Mix activated charcoal with aloe vera gel or coconut oil to create a black paste that can be used as an eyeliner.
  • Whiten teeth: You can dip your toothbrush into activated charcoal powder and brush your teeth as normal to help remove stains and brighten your smile.
  • Exfoliate skin: Mix activated charcoal with a gentle exfoliating scrub to help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores.
  • Relieve insect bites and stings: Mix activated charcoal with a bit of water to create a paste, then apply it to insect bites and stings to help reduce swelling and itching.
  • Clear acne: Apply an activated charcoal mask to your face to help absorb excess oil and clear up acne.
  • Make detox soap: Add activated charcoal to a basic soap recipe to create a detoxifying soap that’s gentle enough for everyday use.
  • Make deodorant: Mix activated charcoal with arrowroot powder, baking soda, and coconut oil to create a natural deodorant that helps absorb sweat and fight odors.
  • Soothe upset tummies: Take activated charcoal capsules to help relieve symptoms of bloating, gas, and indigestion.
  • Make mascara: Mix activated charcoal with aloe vera gel or coconut oil to create a natural mascara that’s free of harsh chemicals.
    If you’re ready to try out some activated charcoal beauty products, here are 12 options to consider, based on an internet search:
  1. Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Honey Mask
  2. Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips
  3. Herbivore Botanicals Bamboo Charcoal Soap Bar
  4. Lush Dark Angels Face and Body Cleanser
  5. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Polish
  6. Dr. Jart+ Dermask Rubber Mask
  7. Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Mud Mask
  8. Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Body Scrub 9. GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment
  9. Schmidt’s Charcoal + Magnesium Natural Deodorant
  10. L’Oreal Paris Pure Clay Detox & Brighten Charcoal Mask
  11. Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Blackhead Out Balm
    These products are a great way to experience the benefits of activated charcoal without having to do DIY. Keep in mind that activated charcoal can be messy, so be sure to protect your clothing and surroundings when using these products. Additionally, if you have sensitive skin, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test before using a new product.
    Overall, activated charcoal is a versatile ingredient that can be used for a variety of purposes beyond grilling. From household cleaning to beauty and medical uses, activated charcoal has numerous benefits to explore. So, whether you want to whiten your teeth, soothe an upset stomach, or clear up acne, there’s an activated charcoal product out there that can help. Give it a try and see how this natural ingredient can work for you.


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