Does Charcoal Go Bad And How to Store Charcoal

Charcoal has been used for cooking for a very long time now and it is used by many people all around the world. It is one of the best methods used for cooking and also gives an amazing taste to the food cooked.

It is a fuel source that is loved by many people all around the globe for cooking purposes. It can be used for different kinds of cooking methods including grilling. While using charcoal for making food many people have come across the same question that does charcoal go bad?

There might be instances where you might have bought charcoal for cooking purposes and then came to a situation where the charcoal doesn’t light up. This is a very common thing that can happen. Why do such things happen and how to prevent it? How to store charcoal and preserve it? These are the questions one might get in such a situation.

Today we are going to learn everything about charcoal and also look at the question of does charcoal go bad? How to prevent the charcoal from going bad? And how to store charcoal? If you are concerned about such things then you must read this article.

What is Charcoal?

Charcoal is one of the most important fuel sources used by BBQ specialists and it is used for many cooking methods. It is purely formed of pure carbon known as char.

It is produced by the process of cooking the wood on low oxygen. For example, you can easily understand a clay or steel box over 1000 degrees F. This is a slow process so it can also take days for this. Less oxygen plays a crucial role in this process. This will make sure that the wood doesn’t catch fire. While the process is ongoing many unstable compounds are burned like water, tar, hydrogen, and methane.

When these compounds are burnt they all tend to leave some residual black powder and lump which can be measured around 25% of the original mixture. The process is stopped before everything turns into ash completely. You can also do it in an old-fashioned way by building the fire inside the pit and then burying it in the mud. This will help in partial wood combustion and the removal of impure things.

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As carbon is ignited in charcoal, it will mix water, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, certain other gases with oxygen, which will emit huge quantities. It generates more energy/oz potential. Might be raw wood. Char is a highly stable and heated burning compound.

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Can Charcoal go bad?

Charcoal doesn’t go bad on its own but if you did not take much care while storing it then you might get bad charcoal.

In situations where there is a long time of exposure of moisture with the charcoal, it can lead to complexities in burning up the charcoal. Such things can also destroy the quality of the charcoal you are using. There are chances that the self-ignition of charcoal can take place as they have chemicals that are used.

Many reasons prove the fact that charcoals cannot easily go bad. One of those reasons can be the chemicals that are used just to preserve them. The main thing to be kept in mind is these chemicals can work in igniting the charcoal as well. If you have a lot of charcoals piled up with you then you need to make sure you store it properly. Both lump and briquettes tend to absorb moisture. Lump charcoals are gifted with an indefinite life.

Scientists have found out such plants that were partially burned 400 million years ago that left some charcoal and that charcoal can still be burned today, isn’t this amazing? Storing the charcoal plays a very important role in preserving them therefore you should use airtight containers for long-term usage. It won’t work out by just keeping them in a shade.

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How to store charcoal?

Storing the charcoal plays a very important role when we talk about preserving them for a longer time. Charcoal won’t go bad if you take care of the storage.

There are many different ways you can try storing the charcoal and they are very affordable and won’t cost you much. The below mentioned things can be followed for storing your charcoal.

Keep it away from water

There must be no exposure to water with your charcoal. One thing to be kept in mind is that water and charcoal are not those things that can ever go together. It can spoil the quality and you need to store it at some dry place.

Use a container

You can opt for a charcoal container if you are thinking of keeping your charcoal safe and dry. It is very simple to store charcoal in a dry container as it is sealed in a bag.

Store it in an area that isn’t humid

As far we know that how bad humidity can be for charcoal it can destroy the quality and that’s why it is recommended to store it at someplace that isn’t humid.

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What happens if your charcoal gets wet?

Such things are normal and take place all the time. These are instances where you left your charcoal bag outside in the rain or during winter in the snow.

The charcoal will soak the water up just like a sponge does as it has got holes as a sponge has. The same goes for briquettes. However, not much is lost when the fuel gets wet. You could save the soggy charcoal and maybe even the briquettes.

Can you dry the wet charcoal and use it again?

Yes, it is feasible and possible to dry out the charcoal that has got wet due to some reason. You can do this by laying it in the sun.

The main thing that has to be kept in mind is that it might take some time to get dry and if they are not completely dry from inside then they might take a little longer to light up. They might also not burn very hot and there are chances that they can go out when used in slow and low cooking where there is a low oxygen level.

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One thing to be considered while using the charcoal that got wet and then dried is using a fresh fuel at the bottom of the chimney and then adding the charcoal on the top. This will help the charcoal to get dry and then burn more and evenly and this happens due to the lump that is burning under it. You can also try mixing the damp charcoal with new fuel and get high heat grilling.

Smoking low and slow does not allow moist charcoal to get hot enough and can be troublesome. New petrol for smoking makes you much better off. Another problem is briquettes. You may or may not be able to dry them out, depending on the humidity level. Forget about it if they fall apart in your hand. You can try drying the wet briquettes in the sun for a few days. You can do the same as lump charcoal and use them above new briquettes.

High-quality charcoal and briquettes can be easily dried and used again once they get wet.


Charcoal doesn’t go bad on its own and lump charcoal can be used indefinitely. If you do not take care of the storage of charcoal there are chances where it might get wet and go bad. You can still dry them out and use them again.