How to make use of Charcoal Dust

Article researched and posted by Maria Nakirya upon request from a CELAC Blog Guest

Charcoal dust is a residue from charcoal. It is that soot black powdery substance normally found at the bottom of charcoal sacks, charcoal selling stores or in the charcoal making areas. It results from the chip offs from the charcoal slates.

Our great grand parents used to brush their teeth with charcoal dust. This was with the help of a coffee branch, a method still used by many in rural areas that cannot afford to buy toothpaste. However, dentists discourage this practice because of health reasons.

They also used charcoal dust to heat their rooms as well as cook food using traditional stoves. This practice continues though on a minute scale, with many homes opting to throw it away. Below are beneficial alternatives for charcoal dust.

You can make banana charcoal. Here you need half (½) bucket of freshly sliced banana peelings, a quarter (1/4) basin of charcoal dust and another quarter (1/4) bucket/basin of fine sand. Thereafter, mix the sliced banana peelings with the charcoal dust, and sand. The banana sap will help to bind them. When still fresh, separate the mixture into smaller desired pieces and then bake them in the sunshine. They are then ready for use. Excess banana charcoal must be stored in a dry place.

You can also make mud charcoal, called briquettes. This is done through combining charcoal dust with mud then compressed into small rectangular blocks. For each amount of charcoal dust, mix with one quarter of mud. Briquettes save on power costs. In Nairobi women use this charcoal for home use and also earn income from sale to others. One 20-litre tin of dust when molded into briquettes is enough for use by an average African family for at least one week.

Charcoal dust is used by a factory in Kenya named “Chardust” to make briquettes that are used in hotels and poultry farms. Their briquettes are also used for grilling, cooking and warming purposes. The dust is brought to the factory which is on the outskirts of Nairobi. Here, 70 employees grind the dust with coffee, rice husks and sawdust into a mix to form the briquettes that burn longer. They are also said to be cleaner than charcoal, are smoke, smell and spark free. This helps conserve the trees.

Charcoal dust has some antiseptic, salt and odor absorbing properties. When sprinkled on freshly cut plants divisions, it can lessen the chance of infection. Whereas some farmers also mix it with soil as a fertilizer especially for vegetable and banana growing, others prefer to mix it with chicken litter and use as a fertilizer on their farms. Charcoal dust is known for its basic carbon component which natural farmers find a good media or substrate for proliferation of beneficial micro organisms in the soil.

Charcoal dust from soft wood can be put on wounds for healing. To use it, sprinkle a thick layer to the wound then tie a linen cloth bandage around. Remove after 1 to 3 days and replace with new dust to for further drying. Its anti corruptive property enables absorption and avoids rotting. It also helps to remove the unpleasant smell of wound. The only disadvantage in use of charcoal dust to heal wounds is that it dirtens the person using it. Also, one has to be careful that the charcoal dust used is not contaminated by harmful bacteria. This therefore calls for its immediate collection after its made and safe keeping.

Also, when applied to the soil, charcoal dust repels ants. Some farmers use charcoal dust to keep the ants, and especially termites away from their mud and stick structures. This is by putting a layer of charcoal dust around the structure.

Further reading

34 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Melissa on July 6, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    great interesting reading since I have tons of charcoal dust that I don’t know what to do with. Mex-Char.


  2. Posted by kira on July 8, 2008 at 7:32 am

    i loooooooove you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  3. that was so terrific!!! i salute to those who invented it!


  4. actually i’m also making an investigatory project about recycling of charcoal dust and i believe that i can make this project successful….
    just wish me luck!!!


  5. Posted by Janelle on August 21, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Nice information. Need to know how to build a press. We are in West Africa with plenty of charcoal dust. We want to produce briquettes at the local level.


  6. Posted by khikaii on September 4, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    this had helped to our SIP =/ thnx…


  7. Posted by Nathm on December 9, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    thanks for the information , do you perhaps know what i could add to the mixture to make it self ignite? and of course to have as little smoke as possible and without smell, is this too much too ask ? looking forward to your response


  8. Posted by Collin on January 7, 2009 at 8:49 am



  9. Posted by yura on March 1, 2009 at 1:02 am

    thankz a an idea 4 my research work..


  10. Posted by aize on June 7, 2009 at 8:10 am

    thanx 4 giving this info.. . . muah muah muah


  11. Posted by aize on June 7, 2009 at 8:13 am

    got an idea 4 my research. .thank u dat much. . .hope i could make it!!!!!


  12. Posted by otieno okech on December 3, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    this is quite simplified…a great invention,can i get market at local level/xport?


  13. What a nice idea…


  14. Posted by ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; on July 12, 2010 at 5:03 am

    raymond tang


  15. What product can be made or manufatured out of the charcoal dust? Please advice


  16. What products can be made out of the charcoal dust? In other words, what is charcoal dust is goog for? Please advice.


  17. Posted by AnthonyWok on October 24, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    i m from malaysia, we produces tons of chacoaldust. interestd pls call for samples n dealings of sales. 6056921017 / 016-5531017. AnthonyWok


  18. hi am called asiimwe norman am really intrested in the briqueette manufacturing process am in kampala and need contacts of other parties my tel +25677233355 please advise


  19. Posted by JB Steven on November 14, 2011 at 6:35 am

    That good new s. I also make charcoal briquttes as a hobby. I mix it with saw dust and screw drive them through a pipe with a provision of a hole in the briquetttes fro quick drying and air supply. A average time for burning is one hour in a local stove. My problem is how can i produce then in bulk; can some body hep?


  20. Posted by JB Steven on November 14, 2011 at 6:36 am

    How can I produce briqquets in bulk locally?


  21. Posted by Glenn on February 14, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Hi I am looking for foreign buyers for charcoal dust here in the Philippines.

    If there are anyone interested, please send me an email at

    Thank you.


  22. Posted by jakkim on March 2, 2012 at 12:31 am

    This Was totally interesting fact to complete my assignment


  23. Great post. Thank you a lot. Could you also please write something on health risks of inhaling the charcoal dust common in local charcoal industry. I will be grateful.


  24. Posted by andrew on August 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    That is good news.who are the main buyers,and how much do they buy the dust?please advice .


  25. Posted by Daniel muoria on September 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    nice technology . i would like to know how to make the machine that compress the dust.


  26. Posted by denis on May 10, 2013 at 8:12 am

    thank you for the the briquettes where you use mad,which type of mad are you reffering to?


  27. I love what you guys are up too. Such clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll.


  28. Posted by joshua on January 7, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    this is pretty awesome because am planning on starting that business and need me light about the process if any my contact is +256703165434


  29. Posted by ajao Ayobami James on February 22, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    I am so like this work. due to I am Charcoal exporter.


  30. Posted by ajao Ayobami James on February 22, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    I am so like this work. due to I am Charcoal exporter.And my contact number if you like any quality of Charcoal.


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