What to Do With Fireplace Ashes

When the fire dies out, you’re left with nothing but a pile of ash.

Most people will just throw the ash away, and that disappoints us at CosyWarmer because there are so many amazing things you can do with the ash!

Let’s look at some of the most common (but slightly unusual) things you can do with leftover ashes.

What to do with Fireplace Ashes

First things first, if you just want to get rid of your ash, that’s fine. We recommend you don’t, but there may be situations where it’s unavoidable. Such as if you have nowhere to store it.

How to Safely Dispose of Ashes

Firstly, wait for your fire to cool down. We would recommend waiting for at least 12-24 hours. You never know if extra embers are waiting, hiding within the ash pile and it’s important to be confident that it’s completely cool.

Next, use a metal shovel to put the cold ash into a metal bucket (the metal is to avoid any melting plastic!). This allows you to look out for large chunks or red embers. Large pieces may be cool to touch but could still be hot inside. So, if you see any, break them up, or add some sand or water to bring the temperature down.

Once you’ve filled your bucket with ash, your next step depends on the available options.

If you have an allocated “ash bin”, dispose of them there. 

If that’s not available, you can also put your ash into a plastic bag and throw it away with your regular trash.

Just remember, if you dispose of your ash in a plastic bag, you need to be 100% sure that it’s cold. If hot ash burns the plastic bag, it creates fumes dangerous to breathe and an inevitable mess.

Uses for Ash

1. Add to compost

For plants to grow, they need nutrients from the soil. Most farmers will either add fertilizer or compost.

If you use compost, add a bit of ash into the mixture. Ash is essentially dead wood, and in nature, dead wood is the most common fertilizer- trees bleed their nutrients into the soil when they die and decompose.

Ash is high in potassium and provides excellent nutrition for your plants.

2. Melt ice with ashes

In the winter, especially when it snows, the remaining ice is hazardous. People can slip up on it, and cars take much longer to break.

One great solution to this problem is to sprinkle some ash over the ice you want to melt. It acts just like sand or grit would.

The high potassium levels in the salt helps melt snow quicker.

3. Add to soil 

This one relates to our first possible use but, you don’t need to use compost to use ash on your plants, you can also add it directly to the soil in your garden.

Most plants can’t grow and thrive within soil that’s too acidic. The acidity hampers their ability to absorb all the nutrients they need. If you find that your plants are wilting, add some ash to the soil.

Ash is 70% calcium carbonate, which means it’s a strong alkaline substance. Perfect for acidic soil.

4. Remove odors from your fridge

We’ve all gone on vacation and come back to a fridge that smells awful. But, because ash is alkaline, it is surprisingly efficient at absorbing all of those nasty odors – most of which will be strongly acidic.

It also absorbs a lot of water, so the dampness caused by all the rotten food will also disappear.

Just put a cup of ash on the bottom of your fridge, and wait for approximately 5 hours.

5. Clean up oil spills

Whether you’re a keen mechanic, or just happen to have a rust bucket on wheels, chances are you’ll eventually find or create an oil stain on your drive or outside your home.

We all know that oil can be difficult to clean up at the best of times, but did you know that the best solution is to sprinkle some ash on the stain? Simply sprinkle your leftover ash, wait several hours, and sweep it away.

The oil will latch onto the ash and become easier to remove. Repeat as many times as necessary.

6. Kill slugs and snails

Much like slugs, ash is a natural desiccant – that means dehydrator. The inside of slugs has more water than the outside, and their skin is incredibly porous.

If you find that the slugs and snails treat your garden like a buffet, sprinkle a ring of ash around your plants.

This will act as a natural deterrent and unlike salt, ash is perfectly safe to have around your plants.

7. Make soap like a caveman

Although using ash to make soap seems like a novel idea, you’ll actually be making soap much like our caveman ancestors.

All soap is made up of fat and alkaline. In the past, soap was made from animal fat and ash.

Not the most common use of ash, but if you’re feeling creative you could bring back this old tradition by mixing ash with the fat of your choice.

8. Polish Metal

If you have metal items in or around your house that have grown dull over the years, ash can give it a shine again.

Just mix the ash with a small amount of water and get to work. It’s a mild abrasive, so it will help in generating a beautiful shine.

9 Iradicate algae 

Do you have an outdoor water feature or pond?

The high potassium content in the ash will encourage other plants to grow. The algae will now have to compete for resources such as oxygen or nutrients with other plants.

When it loses the competition, it will die and disappear.

As you can see, there’s plenty you can do with ash other than just throw it away.

We hope this helps, and for everything else home heating stick with CosyWarmer.com