11 TOP Uses For Fireplace Ash: What To Do With Ashes From The Fire

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What are the best uses for wood stove or fireplace ashes?

We have our wood-burning stove going night and day for about 6 months of the year, and it’s going in the morning and evening for another couple of months on top of that.

I always end up with plenty of wood ash that I mostly use in the garden (you can see more on that in my uses for sawdust post).

‘What should I do with wood ash?’ is a common question among all those burning wood in the homes – and there’s much more that you can do with it than you might imagine!

Best Uses For Wood Ash

best uses for fireplace ash
Ensure you have a good fireplace ash bucket for transporting ash safely

Unknown to some homeowners, fireplace ash isn’t worthless.

Whether you’re getting it from a fireplace, wood stove, outdoor fireplace, fire pit, cheminea, or even your wood-burning pizza oven, it’s all the same.

Instead of disposing of it, you can repurpose it as a valuable resource.

Here are ten uses for fireplace ash, and let’s face it, some of them you’re never going to try out (and neither am I). Nevertheless, it’s fun to know what’s possible, right?!

1. Use It in Your Garden

If you have a backyard garden, you could add this ash to your garden.

Ash infuses beneficial elements like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. It also has trace nutrients that are useful for the growth of vegetables and other crops.

You can also use fireplace ash to amend your acidic garden soil. Ash contains approximately 25% calcium carbonate, an alkaline compound. The different components mean ash can perform the same function as lime in the soil. It will help balance the soil acidity.

Ensure you test your soil’s acidity before spreading wood embers. Never use wood-ash around acid-loving crops like raspberries and blueberries.

The alkaline ash might also be problematic to potatoes. In general, ensure the fire ash doesn’t raise your soil’s pH past 7.5.


2. Add To Compost

Wood ash contains about 4% potassium.

Adding this ash to your compost is an excellent way of making it nutrient-rich. Most composts end up in gardens, meaning the potassium in the compost will be highly beneficial to your plants.

Among the uses for ash is to control compost pH. Compost tends to be acidic. So, adding the alkaline ash is an excellent way of offsetting runaway acidity. If you intend to use compost for mulching around vegetables, you should use less acidic compost.

The correct quantities of fire ash create ideal conditions for composting worms. Thriving worms will quicken the composting process. Be careful when adding ash to compost. The perfect ratio is one shovel of ash for every 6 inches of compost.


3. Eliminate Bad Odors

One of the uses for wood ash is to absorb foul odors.

Fire ash is alkaline and will attract then eliminate odor-causing germs from your home. Whether you have a messy kitchen or a stinky bathroom, wood ash can help freshen things up.

Place some ash into an open bowl, then transport it into a musty room. The ash will help deodorize the air within a short period. If you have a smelly fridge, you can use wood ash to freshen it.

However, creosote in a fireplace can make it smell – creosote is different from ash.


4. Use as a Pest Repellent

Are you struggling to control crawlers, pesky insects, and other pests in your home?

You could hire an exterminator, but most companies use harsh chemicals that might be detrimental to your family’s health.

A better alternative to eradicate pests is to use fire ash. It’s free, natural, environment-friendly, and fast-acting.

According to a study on ash as an insecticide, wood ash kills insects via desiccation. The dust may cause damage to the insect’s epicuticular lipid layer, resulting in dehydration. This reason makes ash the best line of defense against unwanted pests in your home.


5. Polish Metal and Jewelry

Fireplace ash is an abrasive and alkaline material.

The abrasive nature means you can use it to clean or polish metal surfaces. If you own pieces of jewelry, then you know that over time they lose their stunning appearance.

Restoring your jewelry to its former beauty is often a frustrating experience. You could use cleaning products, but most of them are ineffective. A simple solution is to use wood ash. Mix some ash with water to create a paste, then use the paste to polish your jewelry.

You can also use this ash paste to clean any metals made from silver. It could be old kitchenware, medals, or musical instruments.


6. Acts as a Stain Remover

For car owners, oil and grease stains are inevitable. It’s also pretty much guaranteed for chainsaw users – bar and chain oil in particular always has a habit of overflowing onto the garage floor.

Oil can spill and stick in your yard or even on your clothes. Unfortunately, such stains are hard to remove.

Instead of purchasing all sorts of detergents, why not try wood ash. Spread some fire ash on the concrete yard that has oil spills, then let the ash soak for a few minutes. Afterward, remove the ash, and you’ll notice it has absorbed all the spills.

If the stain is in your cloth, you need to dip the fabric in a wood ash and water mixture. The ideal ratio is one-part water to two parts ash. Let the material sit in this mixture for about five minutes, then wipe away the stained part with a damp rag.


7. Lye Water Laundry Detergent

You can create lye water from wood ash, which can then be used as a natural laundry detergent.

It’s fairly easy to make this product yourself at home and is what the early settlers and pioneers used to clean their clothes.

Ingredients:

  • Clean water – rainwater works best
  • Hardwood ash – oak, gum, or other hardwood
  • Essential oils – lavender, peppermint, or lime are good

You simply add about 10 cups of hardwood ash per gallon of water into a bucket and leave it sitting for 48 hours. Stir the mixture twice a day.

After that, you need to filter out the ash using cheesecloth, coffee filters and a funnel, or some other type of filter.

The filtrate is lye water, and you can use 1 or 2 cups as a laundry detergent in washing machines.


8. As a Natural Ice Melt

When driving on icy roads, you can use wood ash to create extra traction in your tires.

Spread the ash on your driveway or a dangerous road, and you won’t slip easily. Fire ash also helps to melt ice and snow. It does so by creating dark spots, which absorb more heat and cause the ice to melt.


9. Extinguish Fires

Wood ash uses are plenty, but few people know that ash can extinguish small fires.

You can carry this ash around and use it to douse your campfires. However, it isn’t a substitute for fire extinguishers.

If you need to put out a fireplace fire quickly, putting cold ash on top of it is one way to do so.


10. Algae Deterrent

Algae control is among the uses for fireplace ash. If you own a pond, pour some of this ash into the pond.

The nutrients in the ash will accelerate the growth of other aquatic plants, which will compete with the algae.


What To Do With Ashes From Fireplace

fire ash uses

So there you have it, 10 wood ash uses!

To sum up, never throw away your fireplace ash.

Instead, put it into good use in any of the above projects. Remember to wait until the ash cools off before using it. Wood ash is a fine powder, and you must take safety precautions when using it.

A final very good use for wood ash is to use it to clean your wood-burning stove glass (would also work for wood-burning fireplace insert glass). We tried and test 5 different methods for removing soot, creosote, and other minerals from the glass, and the ash/water mixture was the winner.

And if you’re asking ‘what to do with fire pit ashes?’ – it’s the same deal really. The best advice is to put them straight into the garden. And while you’re emptying the ashes, have a think about cleaning your fireplace bricks!

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