You may not realize it, but fireplace ash can be one of your best multi-use resources you never knew you had! With benefits like being a great yard treatment, compost production, and natural repellent, your old fireplace wood can be used long after it’s been burned for a multitude of purposes. Read on for some great ways wood ash can benefit you around your home and yard.
A Great Compost Additive
If you have a compost pile held in a tub or compost machine, adding just a bit of fireplace ashes to the mix can be beneficial. Do not add a lot, as a small amount is all that is needed to create a nutrient-rich compost mix. That’s right! Adding ashes to compost actually boosts the value of your compost, making it much more nutritious and beneficial for your compost’s many uses.
Use Ashes as a Lawn Treatment
Wood ash is water soluble and it works faster than limestone to raise the pH of your yard quickly. A quick reference guide here is above 7 is alkaline and below 6 is acidic. You can get that sweet spot you desire by adding some ashes from your fireplace to the mix. Getting your soil tested by a professional is the best way to see if it is good for planting what you would like to see in your yard but as a general lawn treatment, it can be helpful if needed.
Individual Plant and Flower Treatment
Many plants and vegetables in your garden require different pH requirements when it comes to growing the best produce. If you have tomato plants for example, they need more potassium and calcium than other plants to thrive. Amending your soil to a level that is suitable for them can really help them grow and flourish. An easy solution can be found in your wood ash. Similarly with lawn treatment, fireplace wood ash helps balance out the soil for plants and flowers that are not as effective at absorbing nutrients in too acidic soil.
Fireplace Ash for Cleaning
If you are looking for a great high-quality cleaner for your home then look no further than your fireplace itself! This old-time remedy has been used for centuries to polish metal and glass. Take some ashes from your fireplace and mix with some water. This will form a mildly abrasive paste. When Windex won’t get the job done on a sticky area of window or you need to remove bug residue, wood ashes can be your answer. It can even be effective in removing old tape and other adhesives. Remember to always wear gloves when cleaning with ashes from your fireplace. Start with a rag or towel and test a small area first to determine the pressure needed to achieve the results you want.
Making Homemade Soaps
For the craftier individuals, making homemade soaps is possible using your wood fire ash. Soap is made using a product called lye. When you combine fireplace ash and water, this mixture can create lye depending upon the fireplace wood you are burning. Hardwoods contain the most potassium, which is needed to make lye. If you have been burning beech, ash, or hickory wood, you have a great start to making fantastic smelling soaps. There are countless recipes online to make soap and all will recommend lye for the end production. Save your hardwood ashes to stockpile enough to make soap for yourself and all your family and friends.
Effective Insect Repellent
Slimy snails and slugs crawling around can be a nuisance in your garden and pesky ants show up everywhere. Surprisingly, fireplace ash can help keep them away, working as a natural repellent. Throw on some gloves and sprinkle some around your plants and flowers to keep them growing undisturbed by these common pests.
It’s Great for Icy Driveways!
A little-known secret for wintertime traction can be found right inside your home! Fireplace ash can be used to prevent slippery driveways when the cold weather hits. Driveway salt can be expensive (and sometimes toxic) and the better known alternative is using cat litter for the slick surfaces outside. Give your fireplace ashes a try! Sprinkle your old ashes in your driveway and save money with this old time trick! As an extra safety precaution, you can even carry a closed container of it with you to get you out of some situations that would otherwise require a tow.