what to do with ash from a fire pit
Tips & Tricks

What to Do with Fire Pit Ashes

Did you know that you can use ash to make lye to produce soap and biodiesel? Aside from this, there are many other uses for ash left after a wood fire. These include repellant, cleaning abrasive, and de-icing.

Keep reading to learn what to do with fire pit ash instead of disposing of it. Here are eight things you can do with the ash left after burning wood in a fire pit;

1. Use It in Your Garden

If you have a backyard garden, you could add this ash to your garden. Ash infuses your soil with beneficial elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. It also has trace nutrients that are useful for growing vegetables and other crops.

You can also use fireplace ash to amend your acidic garden soil. Ash contains approximately 25% calcium carbonate, an alkaline compound. The different components mean ash can perform the same function as lime in the soil. It will help balance the soil acidity.

Ensure you test your soil’s acidity before spreading wood embers. Never use wood-ash around acid-loving crops like raspberries and blueberries. The alkaline ash might also be problematic to potatoes. In general, ensure the fire ash doesn’t raise your soil’s pH past 7.5.

2. Add to Compost

Compost is naturally acidic, so wood ash is a great addition and adds calcium. Lightly sprinkle a layer of ash as you build up green and brown layers. In addition, wood ash contains about 4% potassium, which is beneficial to plants.

Adding this ash to your compost is an excellent way of making it nutrient-rich. In addition, most composts end up in gardens, meaning the potassium in the compost will be highly beneficial to your plants.

Among the uses for ash is to control compost pH. Compost tends to be acidic. So, adding the alkaline ash is an excellent way of offsetting runaway acidity. If you intend to use compost for mulching around vegetables, you should use less acidic compost.

The correct quantities of fire ash create ideal conditions for composting worms. Thriving worms will quicken the composting process. Be careful when adding ash to compost. The perfect ratio is one shovel of ash for every 6 inches of compost.

3. Eliminate Bad Odors

One of the uses for wood ash is to absorb foul odors. Wood ash is alkaline, just like baking soda, which will absorb moisture and odors from the air. So put a small bowl of it in your fridge or a musty room, and it will absorb the odors, making things fresh again.

Place some ash into an open bowl, then transport it into a musty room. The ash will help deodorize the air within a short period. If you have a smelly fridge, you can use wood ash to freshen it.

However, creosote in a fireplace can make it smell – creosote is different from ash.

4. Use as a Pest Repellent

This is one of the most popular reuse of fire pit ashes. It’s free, natural, environment-friendly, and fast-acting. According to a study on ash as an insecticide, wood ash kills insects via desiccation. The dust may cause damage to the insect’s epicuticle lipid layer, resulting in dehydration. This reason makes ash the best line of defense against unwanted pests in your home.

Check this too: How to Get Rid of Crickets in the Garage

5. Polish Metal and Jewelry

Fireplace ash is an abrasive and alkaline material. That can be used to clean or polish metal surfaces. If you own pieces of jewelry, you know that they lose their stunning appearance over time.

Restoring your jewelry to its former beauty is often a frustrating experience. You could use cleaning products, but most of them are ineffective. A simple solution is to use wood ash. Mix some ash with water to create a paste, then use the paste to polish your jewelry.

You can also use this ash paste to clean any metals made from silver. It could be old kitchenware, medals, or musical instruments.

6. Acts as a Stain Remover

For car owners, oil and grease stains are inevitable. But, unfortunately, it’s also pretty much guaranteed for chainsaw users – bar and chain oil, in particular, always has a habit of overflowing onto the garage floor.

Oil can spill and stick in your yard or even on your clothes. Unfortunately, such stains are hard to remove.

Instead of purchasing all sorts of detergents, why not try wood ash. First, spread some fire ash on the concrete yard that has oil spills, then let the ash soak for a few minutes. Afterward, remove the ash, and you’ll notice it has absorbed all the spills.

If the stain is in your cloth, you must dip the fabric in a wood ash and water mixture. The ideal ratio is one-part water to two parts ash. Let the material sit in this mixture for about five minutes, then wipe away the stained part with a damp rag.

7. Make Lye and a DIY Laundry Detergent

You can create lye water from wood ash, which can be used as a natural laundry detergent. White ash produced by burning hardwood is best for this purpose. Wood ash was traditionally used to make lye, then mixed with animal fat and boiled to make soap.

It’s fairly easy to make this product yourself at home and is what the early settlers and pioneers used to clean their clothes.

Ingredients:

  • Clean water – rainwater works best
  • Hardwood ash – oak, gum, or other hardwood
  • Essential oils – lavender, peppermint, or lime are good

You add about 10 cups of hardwood ash per gallon of water into a bucket and leave it sitting for 48 hours. Then, stir the mixture twice a day. After that, you need to filter out the ash using cheesecloth, coffee filters, a funnel, or some other type of filter.

The filtrate is lye water, and you can use 1 or 2 cups as a laundry detergent in washing machines.

8. Melt the Ice

Wood ash contains potassium, which can de-ice pathways in cold weather, although watch the run-off. When driving on icy roads, you can use wood ash to create extra traction in your tires.

Spread the ash on your driveway or a dangerous road, and you won’t slip easily. Fire ash also helps to melt ice and snow. It does so by creating dark spots, which absorb more heat and cause the ice to melt.

Other things you can do instead of disposing of fire pit ashes;

Extinguish Fires

If you need to quickly put out a fireplace fire, putting cold ash on top of it will get the job done. However, fine wood ash can smother a small fire, just like sand. Keep a bucket of ash close to the fire pit or fireplace in case you need to extinguish any wayward embers. However, it isn’t a substitute for fire extinguishers.

Algae Deterrent

Algae control is among the uses for fireplace ash. If you own a pond, pour some of this ash into the pond. Use one tablespoon of wood ash for every 4000 liters of water in a pond full of algae. Additionally, the nutrients in the ash will accelerate the growth of other aquatic plants, which will compete with the algae.

Feed your tomatoes

Tomatoes love calcium. Use a quarter of a cup in the hole before planting a tomato plant.

Glass cleaner

Dip a damp cloth into the ashes, then wipe the glass to get off stubborn soot on your wood stove’s glass front or any other glass with stains.

Remove Skunk Stink

If your pet has ever had a run-in with a skunk, you know how hard it is to get rid of the stench! But, because fireplace ashes absorb odors, you can use them to get your pet smelling better, faster. Just rub ashes into your pet’s fur to absorb the smell.

Clean Up Soot

In the same way that a wood-ash paste can remove tarnish, it can be used to remove soot from your fireplace doors. First, mix ashes and a little water into a paste, then use it as a mild abrasive to get that glass shiny and clean again.

Make Natural Bleach

When wood ash is mixed with water, the resulting substance is called lye water. Lye water is often used in soap, but it can also be used by itself as a bleaching agent. A cupful added to a load of wash should do the trick.

Control Humidity

Wood ash is a desiccant that you can use in humid spaces, like a damp basement or a poorly ventilated bathroom. A small tray of wood ash in the corner can help draw the humidity out of a room.

Deter Ants

Sprinkle a layer of wood ash over those ant hills to force them to relocate.

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