Home DIY How to Store Charcoal for Long Term?

How to Store Charcoal for Long Term?

By Sophia W. Martin
1.9K views 2 mins read

Charcoal is a grilling essential that can make or break your BBQ experience.

But what happens when you buy in bulk or have leftover charcoal after a cookout? Storing charcoal properly for the long term is crucial to maintaining its effectiveness and ensuring you always have high-quality fuel ready to go.

That’s why, in the following discussion, we are going to talk about how to store charcoal for long term, along with the essential factors affecting its storage.

Read on to find out!

Key Takeaways
Use durable, sealed containers to keep out pests and rodents that could contaminate or damage your charcoal.
Choose the size of your storage container based on how much charcoal you use, ensuring it’s appropriate for your needs.

What Constitutes Charcoal?

Charcoal, a staple for outdoor cooking, is primarily found in the form of briquettes. These are usually created by compressing wood by-products like sawdust.

During the making process, additives are mixed in to ensure the charcoal ignites easily and burns smoothly. For its ease of use and reliability, it is an ideal choice for grilling enthusiasts seeking an efficient fuel source.

Important Factors Affecting Charcoal Storage

When it comes to storing charcoal effectively, several crucial factors ensure its longevity and readiness for use. Here’s a breakdown of the key considerations for maintaining the quality of your charcoal:

Moisture Control: Charcoal absorbs moisture easily, which can make it damp and tough to ignite. To prevent this, you can store your charcoal in a dry environment.

Pest and Rodent Deterrence: Charcoal can be an attractant for pests and rodents who might chew through containers to reach it. Protect your charcoal by using sturdy, sealed containers and storing them off the ground to prevent access.

Appropriate Storage Quantity: Consider how much charcoal you use. For occasional use, smaller containers may be adequate. Whereas, for larger commercial needs, invest in bigger bins to accommodate larger volumes.

Protection from Sunlight: Charcoal degrades under prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and ultimately loses its effectiveness. Hence, make sure it’s stored properly in a cool, shaded place away from the harmful effects of the sun to preserve its quality over time.

Overall Storage Strategy: Combining these elements into a comprehensive storage strategy is vital. By addressing moisture, sunlight, pests, and storage scale, you can ensure your charcoal remains in excellent condition.

6 Steps on Storing Charcoal for Long Term

Keeping your charcoal in peak condition for a long time is an effective storage strategy that combats moisture, sunlight, and pests.

Here are some proven solutions for long-term storage of your charcoal:

Step 1: Choosing the Best Charcoal Storage Container

First, you need to choose the best containers to keep your charcoal in top condition. Airtight charcoal containers are ideal, as they offer maximum protection against moisture and pests with their tightly sealed lids.

Choosing the Best Charcoal Storage Container
Charcoal Storage Container

For smaller quantities of charcoal, consider using thick, durable plastic bags with zip closures that keep out moisture effectively.

Metal containers, particularly those made from stainless steel or galvanized metal, are great for deterring pests and preventing rust. So, when choosing a container, make sure it’s spacious enough for your charcoal and allows for good air circulation.

Step 2: Getting Charcoal Ready for Storage

Next up, check for any clumps or damp spots, breaking up clumps to promote even airflow and letting any damp charcoal dry out to prevent mold.

Getting Charcoal Ready for Storage
Charcoal Storage

To further protect against moisture, it’s best to use charcoal dehumidifiers or silica gel packets. Separate different types of charcoal, like briquettes and lump charcoal, and store them separately. Invest a little time in preparing your charcoal for storage. Because of that, you’ll enjoy always having it in perfect condition and ready to use.

Step 3: Selecting Cool and Dry Place to Store Charcoal

Leaving charcoal completely dry is crucial for preserving its quality. Moisture reduces the quality of charcoal and makes it difficult to light.

So, to store charcoal properly, select a dry, well-ventilated area away from moisture-heavy zones at this stage. Garages or sheds are great options, as they’re free of leaks and not too humid.

For added protection, you can use moisture-absorbent inside the charcoal storage bin to soak up any excess dampness. Make sure your storage container is airtight to keep out moisture from the air.

Also, regularly inspect the charcoal for signs of moisture, and if you spot any clumps or damp pieces, dry them out before placing them back in storage.

Step 4: Ensuring Dryness Inside Storage Containers

To let you know again, moisture buildup can compromise charcoal storage, especially in high humidity, by making the charcoal damp and hard to ignite.

So, in the fourth step, use a moisture-resistant metal, glass, or plastic container that blocks moisture to keep your charcoal dry and effective.

Inside these containers, place moisture-absorbing materials. Interestingly, even a small bowl of uncooked rice captures excess moisture. So, ensuring the charcoal is completely dry before storage and preventing mold or mildew shouldn’t be a headache anymore.

Always keep containers tightly sealed to block air and moisture. Additionally, avoid placing charcoal storage near water sources to prevent accidental moisture entry.

Step 5: Storing Charcoal Away from Sunlight

Direct sunlight can seriously harm the quality and performance of charcoal. It may cause it to lose its ignition and heat consistency. So, to shield your charcoal from sunlight’s damaging effects, you can apply some strategies.

First, you need to store your charcoal in a shaded location away from direct sunlight, like a cool, dark corner of your garage, a shed, or under a covered patio. The best is to select storage containers that prevent sunlight from penetrating, such as plastic bins with dark lids, metal containers, or dark canvas bags.

If using open containers or bags, cover them with a light-proof material like a thick cloth or tarp for extra protection. Additionally, when grilling, avoid leaving charcoal exposed to the sun for a couple of months. Use a grill cover or store it in a shaded area until needed.

Step 6: Preventing Pest and Rodent Damage

You can first start by choosing a good-quality storage container made from durable materials like plastic or metal. Next, elevate these containers off the ground by placing them on shelves or pallets. While doing this, ensure that lids fit securely without gaps by using latches or clips to seal them tightly.

Then, check the storage area for any cracks or holes. Sealing them with caulk or steel wool to block entry if you find any. Maintain cleanliness by regularly clearing any food debris or spills to make the area less appealing to pests. Additionally, consider placing natural repellents like herb sachets or essential oils near the storage.

Precautionary Measures to Consider

Maintaining your charcoal’s quality and safety for long-term storage requires careful consideration of various protective strategies. Here are those measures to maintain your charcoal’s effectiveness:

  • To use fresh charcoal and ensure it lights easily, roll the top of the bag, tightly seal it, and store it in a well-ventilated and dry place away from heat.
  • Avoid putting hot coals in a plastic trash can or one filled with garbage, especially near your house.
  • Equip your kitchen and grilling spot with a fire extinguisher, as unattended cooking is the leading cause of house fires.
  • If your charcoal gets wet, don’t worry—it can be salvaged. Dry solid, wet lump charcoal by spreading it out in a single layer under the sun. Flip the pieces over after a day to ensure even drying.

Concluding Words

And that sums it up! You now have a toolkit full of ideas on how to store charcoal for long term.

So, the right storage container, a little prep before storing, and the perfect environment are crucial to maintaining its pristine condition. Also, don’t forget to incorporate moisture-absorbing materials and ensure your containers are sealed tightly to keep their effectiveness intact.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do bags of charcoal go bad?

Yes, charcoal can go bad as it absorbs moisture from the air, which is the main reason it deteriorates. However, regular grillers might not face this issue since their bag of charcoal briquettes doesn’t sit unused for long.

How long do charcoal briquettes last?

Well, it depends on the type of charcoal you use. Suppose, EZ-light briquettes that are doused in lighter fluid, typically last less than a year.

Is it okay to store charcoal outside?

No, because excess moisture from the air can reduce charcoal’s effectiveness and burn efficiency. So, always store in a moisture-proof container. Storing your charcoal indoors and keeping it dry is crucial, as wet charcoal is hard to light and doesn’t burn efficiently.

Where is the best place to store charcoal?

A dry and cool place is best to store charcoal to ensure it remains ignitable. If not, you may find that your charcoal supply won’t light up when needed.

How to keep charcoal burning?

To keep your charcoal burning for a longer period, add unlit briquettes to the side fire box’s left side. This placement helps ignited charcoal gradually light the unlit ones, resulting in a longer-lasting burn.

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