I hate spending more money than I need to and I rarely like to spend money on myself. It comes with the territory of being a broke, working artist. to that end I’ have spent a lot of time trying to enjoy my hookah hobby while being as frugal as is possible. I own the smallest and most efficient bowls, hate overly expensive tobacco, and refuse to use more charcoal than I really need to use for a good session. However, even I don’t think relighting charcoal is worth the effort.
There are lots of videos and guides out there claiming that you can save unspent charcoal by dousing it in water, drying it completely and relighting it but I have only faced failure and disappointment when trying to do this. The main reason is that the charcoal never has enough mass left to produce good heat. If my tobacco is spent the chances are so are my coals. At most they are half burnt and it is a waste of electricity or gas to even relight them. By the time they hit the bowl I’m looking at 1/4 of a Coconara and that’s a pathetic amount of heat.
Secondly, they never maintain their strength because burning coconut charcoal weakens the starch binder used to seal them together and dousing them in water washes away what little is left. Relighting doused charcoal is just asking for burnt hoses, singed carpet and grilled fingers as I try to gather up the burning fragments. You can find a video on our channel where I crush and split doused coals (corresponding blog article) with just two fingers. It’s not worth the risk.
I really wanted this to be true because I hate wasting materials. I even tried it with freshly lit charcoal just to see if it was possible at all and they simply crumbled in my hands. They were all oven dried shortly after being doused and it made no difference. I would be better of starting a soap business and using the charcoal dust as an exfoliant if I wanted to get some value out of this trash.
If you have better luck with this technique or know something that I don’t please comment below and let me know. At this point I can confidently say it’s not worth it. It’s a waste of time that could be better spent enjoying a hookah and not worrying about the 14 cents this won’t save you or the cost of a new carpet it might cost.