Can Charcoal Go Bad? The Dangers of Using Expired Charcoal

If you’ve ever owned a charcoal grill, you know it’s important to keep charcoal on hand. But what happens if you accidentally let some of that go bad?

In this article, we’ll discuss can charcoal go bad, how to store it for best results, and how to tell if it’s gone wrong. We’ll also provide tips for using it safely and efficiently. Finally, we’ll discuss some alternatives.

What is charcoal?

Can Charcoal Go Bad

Charcoal is a fuel made from carbon-rich materials, such as wood or coal. It’s used for grilling, barbecuing, and smoking food. When heated, it produces carbon monoxide and other harmful gases. 

It is used in many things, such as filtration, wood-burning stoves, barbeque grills, cosmetics, medicine, water purification, and more!

How long does charcoal last?

Charcoal exposed to air will gradually lose its potency and eventually go bad. If Properly stored, it can last for years. But, once it’s been used, it should be discarded. Keeping It dry and away from direct sunlight is always best to prevent it from deteriorating. Suppose you need to keep it for extended periods. Store it in the container or cover it in plastic pouches. You can also buy special aluminum containers made especially for storing.

Can charcoal go bad?

Yes, charcoal can go bad. It can become hard and brittle if it’s not stored correctly. It may also develop a rancid smell. 

The materials used to make charcoal go bad over time. Manufacturers make from trees and plants like cedar chips, pine sawdust, and even chopped-up pieces of wood. These materials are mixed with other chemicals to create different types of briquettes. When these materials go bad, they leave behind debris filled with chemicals that can deteriorate the quality of your barbecue food. The most reasonable method to avoid this problem is buying briquettes from wood waste.

What are some tips for using charcoal safely and efficiently?

  • Build a fire in a well-ventilated area to ensure that harmful gases are not trapped.
  • Start with a little amount and add more as necessary.
  • Soak it in water for 30 minutes before use to prevent it from producing too much smoke.

How can you tell if charcoal is bad?

An excellent way to check the quality is to look at the bottom. If it looks more black than grayish, that’s a sign that it’s probably gone bad! If it has turned into a powdery black substance and the bucket smells like burnt plastic, you should throw it out!

However, there are signs that it may be going bad:

  • Bulging canister or a swollen lid (may be signs of moisture building up inside)
  • Powdery black substance on the bottom of the canister
  • Ammonia smell coming from the canister or bucket.

What are the dangers of using expired charcoal?

Expired charcoal can be dangerous because it produces carbon monoxide and other harmful gases. Using it safely and efficiently is important to avoid exposure to these hazardous gases.

What are some alternative forms of charcoal briquettes?

Wood pellets:- Wood pellets are created from compressed wood chips and sawdust. These pellets produce less smoke than traditional briquettes while providing the same lighting and heating properties.

Natural wood charcoal is a more environmentally-friendly option than traditional briquettes, as it produces less carbon monoxide and other harmful gases. 

Gas grills:- Gas use propane or natural gas instead of charcoal. Grilling with gas is safer than briquettes because gas grills produce less smoke.

Electric grills:- Electric grills are safe, environmentally-friendly alternatives. Cleaning and upkeep are simple with electric grills, whether indoors or outdoors.


Although charcoal is an excellent fuel for grilling, it does not go bad. Instead, it gradually loses potency as it ages. Once it has gone bad, it can’t be used safely and should be discarded. This article provides important information about can charcoal go bad. It also discusses some alternative forms of briquettes that you can use to replace traditional briquettes. 

Can Charcoal Go Bad


What are the dangers of using expired charcoal?

Expired charcoal can be dangerous because it produces carbon monoxide and other harmful gases. Using it safely and efficiently is important to avoid exposure to these dangerous gases. If you’re unsure if your briquettes are still good, it’s better to get new briquettes. 

Not only is expired dangerous, but it’s also less effective. These gases help to cook food. Eventually, it loses the ability to produce these gases. Cooking your food will take longer because of this. And the food might not be as flavorful.

Is it Possible to Reuse Activated Charcoal?

Yes, it is possible to reuse activated charcoal. Activated briquettes can be reused by rinsing them with water and letting them dry.

How Long Does Activated Charcoal Last?

While there is no specific shelf life but keeping it in a dry, cool place, out of direct sunlight, is best. The container should be airtight and dark to prevent it from deteriorating. If any changes in smell or appearance are noticed, it is time to replace the product.

Has Activated Charcoal Gone Bad?

Yes, Activated can charcoal go bad. It has a short shelf life and gradually loses its efficacy. Additionally, if it has come into contact with any moisture, it may be contaminated and should not be used.

Does charcoal go bad if left out?

Yes, briquettes do go bad over time if left out. You might see a difference in color or aroma. If the product is spoiled. 

It is important to replace old briquettes with fresh ones to maintain the highest quality.

To prevent spoilage, store away from direct sunlight in a dry, dark place. Also, avoid storing in plastic bags, as this can trap moisture and spoilage. To prevent leaks, store in a sealed, weighted container.

Can charcoal be toxic?

Yes, pure charcoal can be very toxic. The main health concern is that it can absorb toxins from the body, which may then be passed out in your urine and stools. This can be dangerous if the toxins are harmful to your health. 

But activated is not toxic. They say it’s very beneficial, and one major benefit is that it can help cleanse your blood. 

What if charcoal gets wet

It’s not unusual for charcoal to get wet, but it can cause some problems—especially in a campfire situation. Water will lower the temperature, and it can also absorb odors from cooking. If your briquettes get soaked, let them dry first before using them again.

Does charcoal grow mold?

Yes, it can grow mold. While the porous nature of briquettes makes them effective at absorbing odors, it also allows them to become a breeding ground for mold and fungus. To avoid mold, keep the area dry and free of moisture.

Does charcoal go bad if it gets wet?

It is not true that charcoal goes bad if it gets wet. However, storing it in a dry place is important to prevent it from absorbing moisture from the air. If it does absorb moisture, it will become harder to light and may produce less heat.