How To Put Out Charcoal Grill

Charcoal grills are extremely popular for barbecues, and it is no wonder!

It is one of the most authentic and traditional ways to barbecue food, getting the smokey and authentic flavors that people crave at a barbecue and grill.

However, charcoal grills come with an added effort of maintenance and clean-up after every use. This is especially important because they could cause a dangerous accident if not used properly!

It is also very important that charcoal grills are put out as soon as they’re no longer in use, not only to save fuel for future barbecues but because they could pose a serious risk if left unattended.

They could flare up and burn nearby things, making them a fire hazard, which is why they should always be carefully put out after use. 

how to put out charcoal grill

So, how do you put out a charcoal grill?

Unfortunately, it is not as easy as pouring water over it. In fact, pouring water over the charcoal grill to put it out can be rather dangerous and is not recommended at all.

Charcoal grills come with lids and vents that can be closed, and that is how you safely put them out. The oxygen is cut off and the fire goes out, and then the coals simply need to be left to cool down.

However, the job doesn’t finish there, as it is recommended to then clean up the charcoal grill and leave it ready for future use.

How to put out a charcoal grill:

Putting out a charcoal grill isn’t too complicated.

However, it should be done by someone slightly experienced or familiar with the procedure, to ensure that it is done in a safe way. 

It should also be done with children and pets out of the way, for their safety, and to avoid any accidents or distractions. 

To help break the procedure of putting out a charcoal grill down, we’ve written up a step by step guide:

Step 1:

The first step is to get prepared for putting out the charcoal grill. It is very important that you wear oven mitts or something heatproof on your hands to prevent you from getting hurt with the high temperatures of the grill.

You should also make sure that anybody else takes a few steps back, for safety reasons, and that there are no children or pets running around that might distract you or cause an accident. Although putting out a charcoal grill is relatively simple, it should be done with great care.

Step 2:

To put out the charcoal grill, remove the rack from the grill. Then slowly close the lid.

If your charcoal grill has vents, you should also close them. The aim is to completely cut off the oxygen supply. 

Step 3:

Before you continue with the cleaning, you need to allow for the coals to cool down, so that they are safe to handle.

This step might take up to 48 hours, as coals can take a long time to fully cool off. It is better to be safe and wait extra time if needed.

Step 4:

Once the coals have cooled down you can proceed to clean. You should remove all of the briquettes and ashes using a removal bucket.

Before throwing them into a trash can, it is highly recommended that you wrap up the ashes in aluminum foil. 

It is also recommended to use a metal trash can rather than a plastic one, to further avoid any flare-ups that might cause a fire. 

Step 5:

To clean the grill out, you can use a metallic grill spatula and a towel, to ensure there is no leftover residue.

You should also clean any leftover ashes from the vents so that there is no obstruction of the oxygen during the next use of the grill. You can use warm water and soap to deep clean the grill and leave it as new.

It is then recommended to use anti-rust protection, to increase the lifespan of your charcoal grill.

Step 6:

Once the grill is clean, you can return the briquettes and place them back in, for use during the next barbecue.


It is highly important that you do not use water to put out the charcoal grill. 

Throwing water over burning coal will cause a burst of hot steam that will spread the burning ashes around.

This could cause serious injuries and burns to those nearby, and should therefore be avoided completely. 

Do I need to put out my charcoal grill?

Some people might question whether it is even necessary to put out a charcoal grill and whether it might just be better to leave it burning quietly, until the next barbecue use. 

However, it is very important that charcoal grills are put out after every use. 

There are many reasons for this:

  1. The charcoal grill will remain burning hot to the touch for as long as it is still on. Even if left for several hours, unless it is put out it will be a burn risk for anyone nearby that might accidentally touch it. 
  2. Similarly to the first reason, if left unattended, the grill could be knocked over, by people or pets, or even by a strong wind. The burning hot coals could then easily start a fire.
  3. While the charcoal grill is burning, carbon monoxide is being released into the air. One charcoal grill won’t affect contamination massively, but in the same way that you wouldn’t leave your car running unnecessarily, you shouldn’t leave your charcoal grill on. 
  4. While the charcoal grill is on, the briquettes and coal keep burning. If you don’t put it out, these will keep burning until extinguished, meaning they won’t be able to be reused for the next barbecue. Essentially, you’re wasting barbecue fuel! 


Putting out a charcoal grill isn’t too complicated, but it poses a fire and burn risk, therefore it needs to be done with great care.

It is always best if the most experienced or knowledgeable person takes charge when putting out a charcoal grill, and it is important to be familiarized with the procedure so that everything is done right and safely.

You should never throw water over the charcoal grill to put it out, as this will just cause a burst in burning hot steam that will spread the ashes and possibly cause severe burns to those nearby.

Instead, the lid and vents need to be closed, shutting off the oxygen supply so that the coals are extinguished. They should then be left to cool down for around 48 hours, before proceeding with cleaning the grill.

It is also important to put out the charcoal grill after every single use, not only to save fuel but to avoid the risks of a fire or burn injuries. 

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