Uses for Wood Fuel Ash You Probably Hadn’t Thought Of

Date: 4 March 2023

When your wood-burning fire goes out and you need to clear it of ash, what do you tend to do?

Ensure it is cooled down and throw it in the bin? You wouldn’t be alone. Many people do. There are, however, some great uses for your ash that could make jobs around the home a little easier, a little more cost-effective, and a little more environmentally friendly.

So, in this edition of our blog, we look at how else you could make your ash benefit you before it goes in the bin!

Benefits of using wood ash in the garden

Wood ash has many uses and when your wood burning stove has used up the last remnants of heat that your fuel source provides, you’ll do better than to throw the ash away. The garden in particular stands to benefit from its distribution, but how?

Add wood ash to your compost

Sprinkling a small amount of your wood ash into your outdoor compost pile will help add vital nutrients to what is known as the end soil. Add a little ash to each layer of compost to allow the full magic to happen and you’ll have a compost heap rich in nutritional goodness for your garden.

A further way to enhance the use of your ash is to soak it in water for 4 days. This will provide your plants and flowers with a valuable food source during the growing season. Just ensure you apply it to your greenery in moderation as too much can be damaging. You may also want to check that the plants and flowers you have will benefit from this application before applying.

Boost the pH level of your soil

The wood ash you collect can make a great difference to your soil which in turn benefits the things you have planted. To see if this benefit is needed for your garden, test your garden soil’s pH level. You should be looking for a level between 6 and 7. Anything higher and it is considered alkaline, anything lower and it is considered an acid.

Use your ash to increase your soil pH level to something that can help sustain your plants. If you find that it is already at a level between 6 and 7 then you will not need to do anything.

Some plants will require high levels of potassium for example, and adding ash can help achieve this quickly due to the ash itself containing plenty of it.

There are even some plants that take away nutrients from the soil and therefore hinder the growth and development of others, by applying some wood ash you can make up for this loss and help the rest of your garden continue to grow. Just remember to be conservative with the amounts you apply and check the requirements of each plant type. Some benefit from a more acidic soil so will struggle if you bring it closer to alkaline.

Stop garden pests

Wood ash can help stop certain garden pests from feeling too welcome in your outdoor space. A small sprinkling around plants or the perimeter will deter slugs, snails and other bugs from wanting to munch through your garden delights. If it rains, simply reapply!

Benefits of wood ash around the home

It isn’t just outside that your wood ash can be of benefit. Using it indoors can also see your home reaps some of the reward wood ash offers.

Use wood ash for cleaning

You may have seen our previous blog where we told you about the best ways to clean stove glass on a wood burner. Within that blog, we referred to the great way ash can help make things look like new again.

Simply mix wood ash with water to form a paste-like material. This can then help restore and clean metals, glass and adhesives. Just get a suitable cloth to apply the paste with and you’ll soon have items looking shiny and new. It would be advised to try on a small area first to ensure you do not cause any damage to the item you are cleaning.

Make soap with wood ash

Yes, that’s right! You can make soap! Ash from hardwood such as beech, hickory or ash contains enough potassium to produce lye, a key component in soap making. If the correct procedures are followed, you can recycle your ash and make it into soap, it can be a little complicated but as long as instructions are followed and the correct protective equipment is worn, you could soon be harnessing a new skill and maybe turning it into a money maker!

Prevent slips and trips

Now, this is technically outside but as it may not apply to your garden, we have slid (no play on words intended!) this into our around-the-home section. Ash can work much like gravel might when applied to slippery surfaces. It provides additional traction and may result in you successfully navigating the route from car to front door much easier when it’s icy on the driveway.

Soaks up spills

If you are doing some work on the car perhaps in the driveway or the garage there is every chance of an oil spill or similar. Well, let that leftover ash help you out! Its absorbent properties mean that anything will be soaked up and then you can simply sweep it away when done!

If you have a wood fire, consider these great tips to help make better use of your ash! You’d be surprised how far a little can go. Perhaps these tips are making you consider a wood-burning fire rather than an electric stove. If so, visit our team. Our fireplace showrooms located in Cranleigh and Holmwood provide you with a fantastic variety of stunning wood burners suitable for homes looking for a classic or contemporary style. With delivery and installation as well as servicing and Surrey chimney sweeping available, contact us today!