fireplace ashes

Wood ashes have many uses. Who knew?

We have cleaned out our wood-burning fireplace for years by scooping the old ashes into a grocery bag and throwing it away. Who knew there were so many wonderful uses for those ashes?!

One cord of firewood produces about 50 pounds of ash. That’s a lot of mineral-rich soot to just throw away. Please remember to make sure that all your ashes are cold and aren’t harboring any embers. Store them in a metal container for four days before you use them.

You can use wood ashes to de-skunk your dog. The ashes neutralize the odor. Rub a handful on your dog’s coat.

If you have a terrace or paved driveway, ashes will absorb and hide oil and grease stains. The ashes dry and clean oily stains from porous surfaces. Pour them on spills, rub with a cloth, then wipe off.

Because wood ashes are mineral-rich, use them to enrich your compost. Sprinkle in some ashes to your compost before you add it to your soil.

You can use the ashes to fertilize your houseplants by brewing an ‘ash’ tea. Fill a cloth bag with ashes, tie it off, and steep in a 5 gallon bucket of water for a few days. Use it weekly to water houseplants.

Ashes repel bugs in the garden. Spread evenly around your plants to keep slugs and snails away from your vegetables and flowers.

Use ashes in place of salt to melt ice and add traction to your slippery driveway. The ashes do not harm the soil beneath the ice or harm any paving.

If you have a pond, ashes will help to control pond algae. Use one tablespoon of ashes per 1,000 gallons of pond water. The ashes add potassium which help other aquatic plants compete with the algae and slow its growth.

Tomato plants love calcium which wood ashes can provide. Add ¼ cup of ashes into each hole when planting tomatoes.

Want to polish your silver and other metals? Mix a cup of ashes with a little water to make a paste and use as you would a commercial metal cleaner.

Clean your fireplace doors. Dip a damp sponge into the ashes and scrub away sooty residue from doors.

Please remember to make sure your ashes have no embers!!