If you've ever wondered what to do with ashes left over from grilling a meal or sitting around the fireplace, there's good news. You can use your ashes from the fireplace or wood-burning stove in a number of ways, both indoors and outdoors. Even if you don't use a sustainable solar-powered grill, you can use wood and charcoal a bit more sustainably than you used to.
Although you may need to get rid of some of the leftover ashes, you can also reuse them in a number of practical ways. From benefits to your garden to cleaning assistance to helping people avoid slipping on icy walkways during winter months, wood ash has a lot of unique applications.
Fireplace ashes are useful in cleaning and absorbing odors.
Wood ash from your fireplace or fire pit can be gathered after it's cooled, and then used to absorb smells from the air. As Full Service Chimney explains, wood ash is like baking soda in that they both are high in alkaline. Therefore, you can place a small container of wood ash in the refrigerator or a stinky room to absorb any unpleasant odors.
You can also rub a bit of wood ash into your pet's coat or your skin to help neutralize skunk odor, should you have the misfortunate being sprayed by a skunk.
According to This Old House, you can mix a bit of wood ash with water to form a cleaning paste. This can be very effective in cleaning glass, buffing tarnished metals, and even scrubbing stains from wooden furniture. Wood ash from your wood stove, fire pit, or fireplace would all qualify. Wear gloves and use a cotton cloth to apply and scrub the paste in as needed.
You can use ashes from fire pits, wood stoves, and fireplaces to repel insects and other pests.
A sustainable way to keep unwanted critters out of your home is to use wood ash from the fireplace. Spread the wood ash around corners of basements and attics where insects or rodents are most likely to congregate.
Enhance your garden and find other outdoor uses for your wood ashes.
When it comes to what to do with ashes, there's no shortage of outdoor uses.
You can add ashes to your compost pile to boost potassium levels, raise the pH of acidic soil with wood ash, keep slugs and snails away with a ring of wood ash around plants, and help control or slow algae growth by sprinkling it on ponds, as per Bob Vila.
In addition, wood ash has potential as a fertilizer in the garden. Do your research on which plants benefit from wood ash, and be sure to remove large chunks before using it. According to Stove Fan Reviews, root crops (but not potatoes), bulbs like garlic and onions, and many annuals and perennials do well with wood ash. Tomatoes in particular respond well to ash. Sprinkle a little bit of wood ash around your garden beds to improve growth.
Fireplace ashes can also help improve traction when you use it as a natural ice melting tool. Sprinkle wood ash over icy sidewalks and stairs to help melt ice away.
Another use for ash: you can place it over spilled oil to let it soak up the liquid before sweeping the mess away.
Practice safety when handling wood ash.
Before you consider using the wood ash from your fireplace or fire pit, be sure to allow it to cool. Even when it appears the ashes have cooled, there could still be live embers hidden, so use protective gloves when handling ashes. You'll also want to store them in a metal container with a tight lid.