Do the burnt logs in your fireplace frustrate you? Is clearing them a hassle? Why not knock on wood, and burn it? There are more uses for wood ash than you may think.

Combusted wood has its place in both the home and the garden. We’ll show you how to turn this disintegrated object into something useful.

What Is Wood Ash?

Wood ash is the residue from combusting wood. It is what’s left behind when we burn wood in fireplaces. Industrial power plants produce it too.

It is excess material and may seem insignificant or even useless. But you can put it to work if you cannot find a way to dispose of it.

7 Amazing Uses for Wood Ash in Your Garden

The uses of wood ash are many, and its beneficial characteristics make it much more than fireplace residue. Here’s how you can use it to optimize plant growth in your garden.

1. Fertilizer

The components in wood ash make it an excellent natural fertilizer. It’s high in potassium carbonate, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium carbonate.

You will also find:

  • Molybdenum
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Sodium
  • Boron
  • Iron
  • And Zinc.

According to this study, wood ash positively affects soil bacteria, making it nourishing for all kinds of plants. Did you know that this substance does wonders for tomatoes? Just place five pounds off it into a burlap bag and half-fill it with water. Drizzle the mixture on your vegetables. All crops, especially tomatoes, can use added potassium.

Avoid using wood ash on acid-loving plants like azalea or blueberries.

2. Neutralize soil

Any gardener worth their weight in salt will know that acidic soil doesn’t help plants. Soil with a pH lower than six is too acidic for most of them to grow.

Wood ash can help, and one of its many uses is for neutralizing soil. Conduct a soil acidity test and if it is too low, add potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus. These chemicals are present in it.

If you have a compost pile, mix a little wood ash into it. It increases potassium and will help your plants to flower. Wood ash also nourishes your vegetables because of its high calcium content.



3. Give back to a tree

They say ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Why not return wood ash to its place of origin – an old oak tree? You’d probably have a few near your home, so sprinkle a bit of it onto the soil. You’ll nourish a tree for at least a part of its lifetime.

4. Use it in place of lime

Experienced gardeners use lime to fertilize soil lacking in calcium carbonate. Wood ash makes an excellent lime replacement because it has this chemical too.

Wood ash may work better for your plants than lime because it’s biodegradable. Use about 25 pounds of it per 1000 square feet of soil.

5. Deter pests

Snails, slugs, caterpillars and centipedes are a nuisance. One of wood ash’s many uses is for keeping them at bay.

Do by applying a layer of it on the soil’s surface. You may make a barrier around the specific plants that you want to protect or sprinkle it around your lawn. Remember to replace it frequently.

6. Melt snow and ice

Ice and snow on the lawn are bothersome and gets in the way of plant growth. Wood ash melts them and offers you traction. However, it is a little messy if you don’t clean it off your shoes before stepping into the home. One advantage of it is that it will not affect animal paws.



7. Use it to clean

It may look dirty, but don’t discount it. Wood ash, surprisingly, is a cleaning agent. Use it to remove oil stains on the asphalt on your driveway, or to clean glass. Oddly enough, it comes in handy in the kitchen. Count on it to get rid of the grease on your stovetops.

7 Ways to Use Wood Ash in the Home

8. A birdbath

Chickens and ducks enjoy the occasional dust bath to repel pests. Sand and wood ash combined will keep them away.

9. Make lye soap

Make lye soap by mixing potassium hydroxide and animal fat. Wood ash helps because of its potassium component.

10. Use it on your steps

One of wood ash’s unexpected uses is on stairs. Again, it provides traction and will not damage your kitty’s or doggy’s paws. It’s also environmentally friendly.

11. Give your utensils a polish

Does your cutlery fail to shine? Wood ash will give your bronze platters and glass some zing. Use it to get rid of the water spots on the wooden table. Let it settle for several minutes, then use a loincloth to remove it.

12. Remove bad smells

If you’ve forgotten the baking soda for getting rid of fridge odours, use wood ash instead. You can use it anywhere in the home where you notice foul smells.

13.Removes grease and paint

Your car will leak oil occasionally. Apply some wood afresh to the grease stains in your garage. Wood ash gets rid of paint too. Allow the ash to soak in it. Then, clean it with a solvent.

14. Eases cleaning

Did someone fall ill and throw up all over the kitchen floor? Fret not. Cover the vomit with ash. It will loosen the stain. Remember to let it soak.

Points to Note

You can see that wood ash has many uses, some of which are pleasantly surprising. Remember that wise use makes it efficient. Here are a few pointers.

Don’t use ashes from wood with chemicals, namely stained, painted or treated timber. Furthermore, ashes from hardwoods like oak and maple yield more nutrients.

Buried embers can remain hot for long periods, although the wood feels cold. Store ash safely in a container with a lid and put it far away from anything flammable.

The uses of wood ash are many, so make it work for you instead of throwing it away. It’s both economical and beneficial.

Michelle Liew, B.A.

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