If you frequently operate a wood-burning fireplace, you’re probably wondering what to do with the fireplace ashes. Many homeowners view fireplace ash as a problematic aspect of burning wood, but we’re here to tell you about our 10 fantastic uses for fireplace ash!

Whether we realize it or not, we are lucky to enjoy the benefits of living in a convenient, fast, and modern world. If we need materials such as soap, fertilizer, or baking soda, we quickly drive to the store to choose from hundreds of brand options with varying price ranges.

But for centuries, homeowners didn’t have it so easy. Due to their location or financial situation, many had no choice but to make the most out of the little they had. Fireplaces are a prime example!

Of course, their units almost always heated the entire home, but they also utilized the leftover abundance of ashes. Whether it be for cooking, cleaning, or growing food, the fireplace remnants proved to be a powerful multipurpose tool for homeowners.

In this blog, we’ll describe how your modern home will benefit from these old-fashioned fireplace ash secrets.

How to Dispose of Fireplace Ashes

Before you begin utilizing the ashes, you’ll first need to safely clean ash from the fireplace.

You MUST give your unit enough time to cool down after burning. But even if you waited an entire week, always operate under the assumption that it’s still hot. The last thing you want is for surrounding combustibles, such as your carpet, to catch fire because of hot embers accidentally falling out of the dustpan.

Be sure to use a non-combustible broom from a fire tool kit, dustpan, and large ash bucket. Complete this cleaning process slowly, and then store the ashes outside away from any combustibles.

wood stove fire ash

Household Fireplace Ash Uses

Most homeowners remove fireplace ash from their homes as quickly as possible. But that’s no surprise considering it’s often synonymous with words such as “dirty” and “messy.” But as you’ll see in the five examples below, if repurposed appropriately, it will make your home and its inside components cleaner and more comfortable.

Fireplace Glass Cleaner

Glass doors look beautiful and keep homes safe from wood-burning fire sparks; however, they will quickly become dirty after frequent use.

But what if we told you that you could clean the doors with the exact thing that made it dirty in the first place? Mind-blowing, we know.

Please wait for your unit to cool down, spread a dash of the powdery fireplace remnants on the doors, scrub it with a damp washcloth or sponge, and then voila! Your glass doors will look clear and beautiful again.

Clean Your Jewelry

Whether you’re at the store or opening a gift, there’s nothing like seeing a bright and stunning silver jewelry piece for the first time. Unfortunately, due to frequent use and exposure to elements, silver will wear down and tarnish over time.

Everyone is looking for the secret to recovering that beauty. A wide variety of cleaning brands claim to be the perfect solution; however, they can be expensive, messy, and ineffective.

Believe it or not, fireplace ash is not only a free silver-cleaner, but it’s also arguably the most effective.

We recommend these two options for cleaning silver with ash: 

Clean silver with fire ash

Make your silver bright and shiny again by cleaning it with wood ash!

    • If you’re cleaning jewelry specifically, lightly coat a clean cloth or rag with the ash, and then rub it around the silver.
    • Powdery embers work as a cleaner for ALL items made of silver. For large silver items, mix one cup of ash and one cup of water to create a cleaning paste. Smear the paste on, and then let it sit for 3-5 minutes before cleaning it off.

Repel Household Pests

Nobody, and we mean, NOBODY, wants pests such as cockroaches and rats running around their home. 

Whether it be hiring an extermination company or using dangerous chemicals, homeowners go to great lengths to keep these pests out.

Don’t spend a fortune on chemicals; use fireplace remnants instead! It’s all-natural, free, and easy to implement. All you have to do is spread it in long piles around the walls and corners of your basement, attic, etc. Even if you decide to hire a company or use chemicals, you can still utilize your dusty powder as an extra layer of defense!

Absorb Odors

Did you know that, just like baking soda, wood ash is a fantastic resource for absorbing home odors? Baking soda and wood ash both absorb moisture and odors because they are high in alkaline.

A cup or bowl of it in the back of the fridge or a small, smelly room will make things feel fresh again after a few days. So, save the baking soda for its intended purpose and switch to wood ash!

Wood Ash Soap

Say you’re really into DIY projects, on a budget, or looking to make something in bulk to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. Whatever the case may be, you can easily make soap from wood ash!

Of course, this soap won’t feel or smell like your typical name brand at a department store. Nevertheless, it will effectively complete any cleaning job.

If you want to try this fun and rewarding DIY soap adventure for yourself, check out this detailed page by Farming My Backyard. They concisely walk you through each stage of the process. Good luck!

 

Homemade wood ash soap

Fun Fact: Humans have used ashes to make soap since 556 BC. Source: University of Chicago

Outdoor Fireplace Ash Uses

Now that you realize how effective fireplace ashes are inside your lovely modern home, it’s time to learn the outdoor benefits!

Tick Repellent

If you have a passion for the outdoors, then you’re well aware of how annoying, uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous tick bites are.

In case you aren’t familiar, ticks are tiny parasites (typically 3 to 5mm) that live in fields and wooded areas and need blood for survival. Most tick bites are harmless, but some carry Lymes disease and rocky mountain spotted fever.

So, if you’re spending frequent time outside, you need to take preventive measures to avoid tick bites.

As you likely guessed, the dusty fireplace powder is a natural tick repellent!

Use Ash as a Tick Repellent

Ticks are a hiker’s worst enemy!

Spread it all over your bare skin before you start an outdoor adventure. Yes, it’s a bit messy, and you’ll resemble a coal miner, but it’s better than spending money and time on a smelly name-brand spray at the store.

Use Ashes in Your Garden

If you’ve made it this far, you’re likely wondering, “is fireplace ash good for the garden?” The answer to that is a resounding yes. If done correctly, it will do various wonders for your garden!

But before you go throw an entire bucket in it, there are a few imperative things you should know.

The two main benefits of using firewood remnants in a garden are: boosting compost and amending soil.

Wood embers contain valuable nutrients such as calcium and potassium. If lightly sprinkled on top of each layer, the fireplace ashes in the compost bin will eventually help supercharge the vegetables and plants.

fire ashes in compost

Don’t settle for an average garden. Put ashes in your compost to help plants reach their full potential.

Be sure you’re only mixing in ash from hardwoods such as oak and maple. Softwoods aren’t as effective because they contain fewer nutrients.

The natural potassium and calcium in the ash will help raise the soil’s pH balance. The pH balance is important because it strongly affects overall plant growth. Spread it around the ground before planting anything new.

Plant and garden specialists suggest that you need to get a soil pH test before adding any to the soil!

Clean Up Oil

Ask anyone who frequently works on cars; they’ll tell you that oil and other fluid spills are inevitable.

The dark color and texture of the spills stick out on concrete like a sore thumb. To make matters worse, they can stain the concrete if left untreated over time. Instead of worrying about buying the right product to clean it with, soak it with fireplace ash. Sweep it up after a few minutes, and it will look like it never happened.

Natural Ice Melt

Homeowners living in cold-weather states know that Winter means bitter temperatures, snow, and worst of all, ice, is in the forecast.

Slipping on ice is dangerous in a car, inside the home, and especially when walking on pavement or cement. Keep yourself and your family safe by spreading firewood ashes along your stairs and walkways. Not only will it melt it off, but it’s also free and doesn’t contain any pet harming chemicals as other ice-melting products do.

Put out a Campfire

There are few things better than sitting around a campfire with your loved ones.

But it doesn’t matter if you’re enjoying a few adult beverages or simply roasting marshmallows; you always need to be prepared to put out the fire at a moment’s notice. That’s why you should keep a bucket of ash around.

Submerging the hot flames and embers with it will help quickly put a fire out.

When dealing with fires, you never know what could happen, so better safe than sorry!

How to put out a campfire

Keep a bucket of ash close by in case of emergencies!

Summary

Hopefully, this detailed list answered the frequently asked question of how to dispose of fireplace ashes.

For centuries, people used wood-burning systems and their ashes as valuable resources for day-to-day survival. While the reliance has drastically dropped today due to modern advances, many crafty homeowners know that ashes are among the best-kept secrets for indoor and outdoor living.

It’s a free multipurpose tool that will help you maintain the health and safety of your home, family, and YOU. Now that you know the benefits, you’ll welcome the opportunity to clean those fireplace ashes!

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