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Known primarily for firing up barbecues, charcoal is emerging as an absolute rockstar in the home improvement world. You might be raising an eyebrow, thinking, "Really? The same stuff I used for a cookout on Sunday?" According to TikTok's favorite grandma, @brunchwithbabs, the benefits of charcoal go far beyond cooking hot dogs and hamburgers.

Take a look at how Babs uses charcoal to draw out moisture, help flowers live longer, and make your fridge smell fresh again. 

@brunchwithbabs Did your Mother ever tell you that you can do a lot more with charcoal than just grill? Charcoal is my go-to for moisture and odor issues all over the house. Cheap, easy and you probably have it on hand - especially this time of year! 👃🏼If your fridge is not smelling so great, a little bowl filled with charcoal is just the answer. The charcoal’s surface area is filled with millions of micro pockets and pores which just suck that odor right in and trap it. ☔️Is it a little damp in the bathroom or underneath the sink? Fill a disposal container with charcoal, puncture some holes in the top and place in those moist areas. Those millions of little pores are soaking all that moisture right in. 🧦If your home is full of pets or children, consider putting the charcoal in a sock and hang it in a closet or basement that needs some moisture or odor elimination. 💐Want your flowers to last for days on end? Just drop a couple small chunks of charcoal into your vase. The charcoal acts as a filter to keep the water clear of contaminants like chlorine, which speeds up wilting. #charcoal #grilling #hometips ♬ original sound - everyone’s grandmother

Benefits of Charcoal 

Beyond its traditional role in igniting barbecues and starting a campfire, charcoal is known for its potent absorbing qualities that can be used in water filtration systems to absorb impurities, tackle humidity, and neutralize odors. Activated charcoal (a type of fine black powder made from materials such as charred bones, coal, petroleum, and coconut shells) is also commonly used in skincare and health products, such as creams and toothpastes, thanks to its detoxifying and whitening properties. 

Removes Odors

Babs, who proclaims herself "everyone's grandmother," starts off her viral video by tackling a common issue that plagues many households: funky smells that take over the fridge. There's nothing more off-putting than opening the fridge and getting hit with a mix of forgotten takeout and those Trader Joe's cheeses you bought a month ago.

To remove unpleasant odors, Babs suggests placing a few charcoal briquettes (you can buy a 20-pound bag from Home Depot for about $20) in a bowl and putting them in the fridge. Since the charcoal is porous, it will suck up nasty smells and leave your fridge (or any other place where you want to remove odors, such as the car or attic) smelling fresh again. It "works better than baking soda," says Babs.  

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Draws Out Moisture

A lesser-known attribute of charcoal is its ability to act as an efficient moisture sucker, Babs points out. Place a few charcoal briquettes in an old jar, poke a few holes on the lid, and place it anywhere you'd like to draw out moisture, such as the kitchen or bathroom. If you don't have jars, put the charcoal inside an old sock and hang it up, says Babs. 

Since homes with a lot of humidity can become a breeding ground for mold, it's important to stay ahead of it to avoid bigger, more expensive issues. Companies charge an average of $2,347 for mold removal, so take a note from Babs and hang up those charcoal-filled socks in the basement to stave off mold. 

Helps Flowers Live Longer

You can also use charcoal to help cut flowers last longer. If you're anything like me, having fresh flowers around helps make a home more vibrant, smell delightful, and just puts me in a better mood. But as much as I love them, it's always a bummer when they start wilting after a few days. Here's where our trusty charcoal comes into play.

Babs says placing a piece of charcoal in the vase will absorb any contaminants and toxins to help the water stay fresher for longer and help your flowers (or plants) live twice as long. I can't wait to try this one out! 

Coal and the hands of a miner, Concept, the rising price of coal, Hard mining and industrial workPhoto credit: Andrzej Rostek/istockphoto

The Bottom Line

Using charcoal inside your home can help you enjoy a fresher fridge, longer-lasting flowers, and a less humid home without having to spend a fortune on fancy gadgets and appliances. Who knew charcoal had so much more to offer beyond grilling? 

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