Are you wondering what to do with your wood ash after having great fires. I noticed how much ash was left over after our last burn barrel session to clear wood and yard waste and wondered what to do with it. Turns out there are a lot of uses for wood ash.
When you’re getting ready to use the wood ash, make sure you wait a day or two for the ash to cool since the middle can stay hot for a very long time.
Then you want to have gloves and a mask on so you don’t get caustic burns from handling the ash with your hands or from breathing it in. From then on, you can choose how you want to use the wood ash.
It’s great to know that after you burn your yard waste, that you can use the ashes for several things around your house.
These great uses are assuming that you didn’t burn plastics, glossy paper, or certain kinds of cardboard, since those have toxins and won’t be good in these uses.
You can add ash to each compost layer to keep it neutral and keep it from going acidic.
The high char content also helps keep odors low. Although, if you’re doing it right, you shouldn’t be smelling much from the compost.
As a bonus, if you have an open compost in rural areas, adding ash to the pile will help keep animals like bears from going to it.
Everyone talks about being able to use wood ash as a fertilizer. The main reason is because ash is alkaline and has potassium and calcium bicarbonate, which are great for adding rich nutrients to soil.
Now, since it is an alkaline, you’ll want to be careful on how much to add to your garden or yard. You’ll only want to add about 10 pounds of ash (about 2.5 gallons) over 1,000 square feet a year.
Any more than that and it could raise the pH level to much for the plants to handle. You can also take your soil to get tested to make sure the pH level is ok.
For you acid loving plants, don’t add wood ash to them or they will not do well. Plants like blueberries and azaleas love acidic soil.
Add to Tomato Plants
Now, I know this is similar to the one above, but the tomato plants love potassium and the ash has a higher amount of potassium, so they can handle getting ash added to the topsoil.
It’s a natural insect deterrent so it’s great to add to your backyard chicken areas. Chickens love to take dirt baths to help get rid of any pests on their skin. Adding ash to their backyard area dirt will help keeps the pests at bay.
Wood Ash Soap
You can go through the full process of making soap with wood ash. It’s pretty involved, so you’ll really want to make soap for it to be worth your while.
Clean Silver and other Metals
Since the wood ash is alkaline, it’s great for cleaning things. From grimy things, to the tarnish that different metals get. The video below shows you just how well the ash cleaned this lady’s jewelry.
If you have plants that you don’t want slugs to get into, just spread some wood ash around to keep the slugs from getting to the plants. Since wood ash is high in salt, they don’t like it.
At first it sounds like wood ash is like some magic potion. But really, it’s from the chemical changes that leaves salt, and minerals behind that does all of these things naturally.
Wood ash is high in salt and minerals and are able to preserve foods. The way it handles things like eggs and cheese, you can cover them with ash and preserve them for a long time, some say even up to a year. I probably won’t be using it, myself, but you can if you want to.
Get Rid of Ants
Ants don’t like wood ash so if you see a new ant bed pop up, just add the ash and they’ll relocate. The only thing I never like about this is you never know where they’re going to relocate to. So you might just be playing whack-a-mole with them.
Same as the ants, mice don’t like the wood ash so they’ll relocate if you have it sprinkled in areas that you don’t want them to be, like anywhere around your house or car.
Melt Ice From Driveways
It’s a great way to melt the ice on the sidewalks or driveways. The salt part of the wood ash will melt the ice easily. Just spread it a little over the ice and let it do it’s thing.
Great for Ponds
Wood ash slows down algae growth, so you can add a tablespoon to 1,000 gallons of water to keep the algae in check. Your aquaponics will love it.
Degreaser on Driveway
As a bonus, the alkaline parts will help break up oily parts on the driveway or sidewalks as well.
Which ways will you use your wood ashes? We’ve already decided to use it for our composter, to spread over our yard, and to deal with some slugs and ant piles.
gary wagner says
thanks for the great information regarding uses for wood ash. greatly appreciated!