Fireplace Ashes can be used in many ways like cleaning fireplace glass doors, melting ice, garden fertilizer, polishing metal, and so much more so continue reading to see how you can put your wood ashes to work for you.
We can all agree that the heat and enjoyment your family receives from a wood-burning fireplace or wood stove is fantastic and well worth the effort of cutting splitting and stacking that wood each year, also who can forget the cozy ambiance that it creates in every home, from the firers you have ashes are always left behind.
Years ago people heated their homes with fireplaces and it was common to clean the ashes out of the firebox regularly but in modern times people have fires in a fireplace for ambiance and people who use wood-burning stoves use them for heat first and ambiance second, most people only clean out their fireplace when they need to and that’s perfectly fine but we still need to know what to do with those ashes.
What are wood ashes good for?
Burning wood is very beneficial and even the ashes left behind can be used around the house, so the question is what do you do with these ashes? How can you dispose of them? or how can you use them around the house, in this post I’ll give you 16 practical uses around the house.
1. How to clean fireplace glass doors with fireplace ashes
I am a chimney sweep so this is my favorite use for ashes because fireplace glass doors can get covered in soot and over time it will stick and becomes hard to remove, no one would ever think that wood ashes can remove that soot, it’s probably the last thing that would come to mind, so how do you remove soot with ashes from your fireplace?
First, take your doors or door depending on the type of fireplace or wood stove you have, and lay them on plastic.
Next, take a damp rag or paper towel and dip it right into the ashes so that you collect some on the rag, then just start rubbing it all over the glass and continue to dip it again and again as needed, don’t worry about it smearing on the glass because you can finish up with some paper towel and window cleaner to take off the excess soot and ashes, repeat as needed.
2. Melt snow and ice with fireplace ashes
Fireplace ashes work great to melt ice in moderate temperatures because they contain potassium salts which will device and melt snow, it costs nothing and won’t hurt the plants or lawn in your yard, also because they melt snow and add traction to slippery ice you can also use them if you get stuck in the driveway by putting some under your tires.
3. Add fireplace ashes to a compost
Adding ashes to your compost is a great way to put it to good use because it contains Potassium and lime both great for your garden and ashes can add nutrients to your compost.
Materials that are decomposing in compost can become acidic and wood ash helps control this acidity because it is more alkaline in nature, they also help control odors coming from your compost.
4. Absorb odors with wood ashes
Alkaline is in baking soda and it is also a component of wood ashes, alkaline is known for absorbing odors and that’s why people use it in their refrigerator, you can do the same thing with ashes by putting them in a bowl in your fridge or in a musty room and it will help control smells.
5. Polish metal with wood ashes
Just mix the ash with water adding enough to make a paste and rub it into any metal to polish it up naturally, because it is naturally abrasive it will help take the tarnish off old metal but you may have to use a bit of elbow grease.
6. Clean up driveway stains
If you like to change your car oil yourself this can be a problem if it absorbs into your paved driveway, so all you need to do is throw some down on any spots that might stain and it will help lift and dry them up in a natural harmless way.
7. Deter ants with wood ash
Ants really dislike ash and all you need to do is put some on their mound and around the area where they are and they will leave, some areas of the USA have fire ants and this is a good way to keep your family safe in a natural way.
8. Control humidity in your home
Wood ash is a desiccant, and in the industrial world, desiccants are used to keep products dry. they can absorb moisture from the air either by physical adsorption or by chemical reaction reducing humidity.
some people have very damp bathrooms so you can place a small tray of ash in a corner and it will help to reduce that moisture.
Another place I have personally found this to be helpful is in my camping trailer because they are closed up for long periods of time this can help to reduce moisture in the air and musty trailer smells.
9. Amend your garden soil with fireplace ashes
Wood ash can be great for the soil in a garden helping raise the pH 25-30% as much as lime so what you should do is use a little and then wait a few weeks and add some more if needed, for the gardeners out there wood ash is made up of 20% calcium, 4% potassium and 2% phosphorus, aluminum, sodium, and magnesium, so it works well as free fertilizer and prompts good root health.
10. Slow algae growth
Fireplace ashes are full of potassium and this promotes plant growth so that other plants don’t compete with the algae and that generally keeps the algae under control.
11. Put out fires
Anyone that likes to have campfires knows that if you put sand or ash on the fire it will put it out making an airtight layer over the fire and stifling it, so this can be a simple way of putting out a campfire, just take some of the wood ash from a fire that has cooled down in a metal bucket and keep it off to the side, and when you are ready to put out a campfire the ash can be just poured on top, and so it can continue to be recycled every time you have a fire.
12. Remove skunk stink
Have your pets ever had a run-in with a skunk, well if they have you know it’s very difficult to get rid of that skunky smell, well because fireplace ashes absorb odors you can rub fireplace ashes into your animal’s fur before you give them a bath to absorb some of the smell.
13. Make natural soap with fireplace ashes
Wood ashes are used to make an important component of natural soap called lye, and this is a necessary component of soap because wood ashes contain potassium important in making lye, to make it you need to mix it with animal fats and then boiled to make soap.
f you are interested in trying to make soap from ash you want to talk to look for a reputable source to do it correctly, check out Mother Earth News: How to make soap from wood ashes
14. Make a chicken coop dust bath
I personally like this one because I don’t have chickens myself but friends that do have told me that chickens like to give themselves dust baths to prevent lice, fleas, and mites from getting to their skin.
This is particularly useful in the winter because chickens can’t find a place that is dry to have a dust bath and so by putting some ashes in the coop with them they have the perfect alternative to carry out this routine.
This bath is easy to make, just mix equal parts ash with sand and your chickens will be happy.
Take precautions to make sure your fireplace ashes are completely cool and have no hot embers hiding in it, no one wants a fire.
15. Deter slugs and snails
Gardeners have used ashes forever to deter snails and slugs from their gardens, with it being so dry they avoid crossing it and prefer to stay away, put a ring of ash around your plants or the outside edge of your garden to keep them away.
16. Deter mice and moles
Now this one is simple, you can use your leftover fireplace ashes to fill in holes in your yard from mice and moles just fill them in and stomp them down you may have to return a few times and fill them in again but they won’t like the smell and this should help them to move on to greener pastures.
So, in conclusion, I hope some of these ideas are useful around your home, you can leave me a comment if you liked one in particular or share the article with a friend if you think it could be useful to someone you know.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and please take some time to look around at my other useful posts.