natural lump carchoal ash

Can I put natural lump carchoal ash in my compost bin?


It's complicated, whether you can put natural lump carchoal ash into your composting bin, so read on!

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Get the right balance of brown and green composting materials in your bin with our expert guide.

Can charcoal ash be composted?


Charcoal ash is a byproduct of burning wood, charcoal, or other organic matter. It is composed of inorganic minerals that have been released from the burning material. While some types of ash can be beneficial to compost, not all are.

Benefits of charcoal ash in compost

Charcoal ash can provide several benefits to compost, including:

  • Increased pH: Charcoal ash is alkaline, which can help to raise the pH of acidic soil. This can be beneficial for many plants, especially those that prefer alkaline conditions.
  • Reduced compaction: Charcoal ash can help to improve the drainage and aeration of compost, which can make it easier for beneficial microbes to thrive.
  • Increased nutrient content: Charcoal ash can add calcium, potassium, and other minerals to compost.

Risks of using charcoal ash in compost

While charcoal ash can offer some benefits, there are also some risks associated with using it in compost:

  • High alkalinity: If you use too much charcoal ash, it can raise the pH of your compost to a level that is too high for some plants. This can make it difficult for them to absorb nutrients.
  • Toxicity: Some types of charcoal ash may contain toxic metals, such as lead or arsenic. These metals can leach into your compost and contaminate your soil.

How to use charcoal ash in compost safely

To use charcoal ash safely in compost, follow these tips:

  • Use only small amounts: Add no more than 10% of charcoal ash to your compost pile.
  • Test the pH of your compost regularly: If the pH becomes too high, add more acidic materials, such as coffee grounds or eggshells.
  • Avoid using charcoal ash from treated wood: Treated wood can contain harmful chemicals that can leach into your compost.

What type of charcoal ash should I use?

The best type of charcoal ash to use in compost is ash from hardwood charcoal, such as oak, hickory, or maple. This type of ash is less likely to contain toxins than ash from softwood charcoal.

How do I collect charcoal ash?

To collect charcoal ash, simply allow the charcoal to burn completely and then collect the ash that remains. Be sure to let the ash cool completely before handling it.

Where can I put charcoal ash?

Charcoal ash can be used in a variety of ways, including:

  • Compost: As mentioned above, charcoal ash can be added to compost to provide benefits such as increased pH, reduced compaction, and increased nutrient content.
  • Gardening: You can use charcoal ash to amend your garden soil, especially if your soil is acidic. Simply mix a small amount of ash into the soil before planting.
  • Mulch: Charcoal ash can be used as a mulch around plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. However, be careful not to use too much ash, as it can raise the pH of the soil.
  • Fire pit: If you have a fire pit, you can use charcoal ash to extinguish the fire. Simply spread a thin layer of ash over the embers.
  • Insect repellent: You can use charcoal ash to repel insects, such as ants and roaches. Simply sprinkle a small amount of ash around the areas where you want to deter insects.


Charcoal ash can be a useful addition to your compost pile, but it is important to use it in moderation and to avoid using it if your compost is already alkaline or if you are using it in a garden that is sensitive to high pH. If you are unsure about whether or not to use charcoal ash in your compost, it is always best to err on the side of caution and avoid using it altogether.

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