With spring approaching soon, it’s the end of the burning season for many! Have you got your fireplace all cleared out and cleaned up for the warmer months? If so, we’re guessing you have some leftover ash on your hands that you aren’t sure what to do with.
The good news is that once ash is safely removed from your fireplace and has had time to adequately cool down, it can actually be put to use in a lot of creative ways! Check out some of our suggestions below.
Note: Still using your fireplace? Then, leaving behind a small layer of ash is just fine – even recommended! It can help fuel future fires, and it’s also useful for putting fires out, so having some on hand in your firebox is usually beneficial. Just don’t let the pile get too high, as this can cause your fireplace grate to deteriorate. And once you’re done for the year, clear it all out so it doesn’t draw in moisture (your chimney’s biggest enemy).
1. Improve Garden Health
There are actually lots of ways fireplace ash can be used in the garden. For one thing, it’s known for keeping out pests, like slugs and snails, who don’t appreciate how its dry, ashy texture contrasts with their slimy nature.
Ash can also be a good source of nutrients for your soil by raising pH levels and making it less acidic. Just be sure you’re using it in plants that benefit from these qualities! For instance, blueberries, azaleas, camellias, and daffodils (among others) all love acid in the soil, so adding ash would cause more harm than good.
We suggest adding wood ash to the following plants:
Long story short – do your research! When it comes to gardening, wood ash can help in a lot of ways, but you have to use it right.
2. Keep Your Household Cleaner
As with your garden, there are lots of ways ash can help out in your household, too. First things first, keep things going with your fireplace by using your ash to clean the glass doors. Simply dampen a newspaper, dip it in the ash, then scrub the glass to get rid of any soot build-up or smudges that have accumulated over the burning season.
Got any silver that could use some polishing? Use ash and water to create a paste, then scrub it down, too! This paste also works on cloudy car headlights.
Some even use wood ash to absorb bad odors (similar to how baking soda is used) or to keep pests, like cockroaches and moths, away. Just sprinkle it in those dark corners of the house to get the job done!
3. Soak Up Oil Spills
It’s not uncommon to experience an oil spill in your garage or driveway. Unfortunately, the oil tends to get soaked up quickly in the absorbent concrete, which can then result in an unsightly stain. Sprinkle ash on the spill to soak up the oil and avoid an eyesore (and minimize the risk of anyone slipping and falling).
4. Toss It In Your Compost Bin
Wood ash is good for the worms in your compost (worms help immensely in breaking everything down), and it can be beneficial in helping fruits, veggies, and any other leftovers break down, too. It’s even been noted that ash can repel bigger critters, like bears, from coming in and snatching anything you toss in.
5. Clean Your Pets
Have a flea problem with one of your furbabies? Rubbing ash into their coat is known to help dry out and suffocate the pests, so that they die off. And as an added bonus, ash’s ability to absorb odors will help eliminate any nasty smells they’re carrying, too. (Keep this tidbit in mind next time they get sprayed by a skunk!)
Ash is also good for chickens if you have any running around! Sprinkle some in their pen, so that they can take dust baths which help keep out pests and parasites.
6. Use Some for Baking & Cooking
This may sound a bit weird, but bear with us… Pretzels and bagels both need to be boiled in baking soda and water before baking, but did you know you could sub out the baking soda for ash and get the same effect? It’s called lye water, and it’s used in various other recipes, as well.
Ash is also used in certain cheeses (to reduce acidity), as well as in noodle dishes, breads, cookies, and cakes – and it’s known to keep pickles crisp, too. There are even a few fish dishes that use lye water and wood ash! You’d be surprised at all you can do with it in the kitchen.
Give Us a Call for Springtime Maintenance
With spring comes the need for sweepings, repairs, inspections, and all types of other chimney and fireplace maintenance. Get these jobs scheduled now to avoid hassle and stress come fall – we’d love to help you out soon!
Simply call us at 704-850-6761 or reach out online. Thanks for choosing the team at Owen’s for it all!