A wood-burning fireplace not only brings about much-needed heat but also adds a classic ambiance. The biggest worry, however, is what can be done with the residual ashes that the burning woods leave behind.
There are so many useful ways that you can use fireplace ashes. Let’s delve into the most recommended ways to reuse these ashes so that they do not go to waste in the trash next time.
1. Make Compost
Fireplace ashes are rich in potassium, so by adding the ashes to compost, you will be boosting the compost’s levels of potassium. Compost is regarded as black gold because it is the source of nutrition for plants during Spring.
2. Melt Ice
Keeping a scoop of fireplace ashes in your car’s trunk is an excellent idea because the ashes can be used to melt ice in Winter. The ashes help the vehicle gain traction on a snowy road. They contain potassium salts that aid in melting ice patches so that your car can move freely.
3. Reduce Soil Acidity
In case the soil in your farm is acidic, you can solve this issue by adding fireplace ash to increase its pH. Fireplace ash is roughly 70% calcium carbonate; hence it will work the same way as lime. In fact, it will work more quickly as the sizes of its particles are smaller than that of lime.
4. Absorb Stenches
Fireplace ashes are alkaline in nature, and just like baking soda, the ashes are capable of absorbing odors and moisture from the atmosphere. Placing a tiny bowl of the ashes in your fridge or in a stuffy room will absorb the bad smells, leaving everything smelling fresh.
5. Remove Oil Stains On Your Driveway
You can use the fireplace ashes to rid your concrete or asphalt driveway of oil spills. Just sprinkle the ashes onto the oil stains and leave them for a couple of hours so that the ashes can absorb the stains, then sweep up everything using a hard broom.
6. Control Snails and Slugs
Fireplaces ashes have for a long time been used by gardeners to get rid of snails and slugs from nursery beds. Wood ashes are natural desiccants meaning they absorb moisture from their surrounding. Since snails and slugs secrete so much moisture from their bodies, fireplace ashes will absorb that moisture, consequently killing them.
Place a ring of ashes around each plant in the nursery and watch your plants flourish – without being infested.
7. Make Soap
Fireplace ashes mixed with water produce lye, a handy ingredient in traditional soap making. Add a foam of fat to the lye, boil the mixture as you repeatedly stir to end up with your home-produced soap.
8. Polish Ordinary Metals
Because of the abrasive nature of wood ash, you can use it to clean regular metals such as aluminum and steel. Mix the ashes with a little bit of water to form a paste that you can use to polish the metal at hand.
9. Slow Down the Growth of Algae
Even though wood ash cannot kill the algae you wish to get rid of, it will definitely slow down its growth. Wood ash is rich in potassium salts; hence if you sprinkle it in a pond, other plants will grow, thereby competing with algae for nutrients. This, in the long run, will control the growth of algae in the pond.
10. Remove the Smell of a Skunk on Pets
If your pet has run into a skunk at one point, you know how hard it is to do away with the bad smell. Since wood ash has the capability of absorbing odors, it can be used to make your pet smell fresh quickly. All you have to do is rub the ashes on its fur, for it to absorb the skunk smell.
11. Get Rid of Soot
In the same way, you can use wood ash to clean or polish metals, you can also use it to polish the fireplace doors. Make a paste by mixing water and wood ash, then use it to remove soot from the glass doors to make them clean and shiny.
12. Make Natural Bleach
When you mix fireplace ash and water, you will end up with lye water. Though the solution is often used to make traditional soap, it can also be used as a bleach for your daily laundry. A cupful of the bleaching agent is enough.
13. Extinguish Fires
In the case of a small fire, wood ash can be used to put it out the same way we use sand. You should, therefore, ensure that you always have a bucketful of wood ash near a fire pit if you do not have sand or a fire extinguisher around.