Fire pits can be super fun with family and friends! Sitting around the fire puts you in a nostalgic mood. You feel like opening up and sharing secrets. But what do you do when it comes to cleaning up?
For some reason, nobody really knows what to do with fire pit ash. Wood ash is very versatile and can be used in a variety of situations. Usually, you’d just throw it away, right? Then you’ll be surprised to find out how many uses it actually has!
How to Remove Ashes Safely
If you want to remove the ashes from the fire pit safely, you should start by removing the cover screen from the pit. Give the ashes enough time to cool off. It’s best to wait up to several days after the fire has been put out to make sure there are no hot embers left.
Put the ashes in a metal container with a lid. You can use a small trash can, for example. Always wait at least 24 hours after the fire to move the ashes. They will have enough time to cool and you won’t accidentally burn yourself or start a fire.
You’re not going to use all the ash you have at once, so store it in a metal container. Don’t keep it near anything combustible in your house. There could still be live embers in the ashes for a few weeks after the fire was put out.
Add Your Wood Ashes to Compost
Ashes are nutritious for the soil, so they can add more nutrients to compost. You only need less than 5% of the volume of the compost, so the concentration is not too strong.
Kill two birds with one stone: recycle your wood ash and boost the potassium level of your compost. Gardeners even call compost “black gold” because it can provide so much nutrition to plants.
Alternatively, you can brew your own wood ash tea. To do that you need to soak your wood ashes in water for 4 to 5 days. Apply this mixture to the soil and help your plants grow bigger! Don’t overwater though. Research your plants’ alkalinity requirements before you apply the wood ash tea.
Help Your Plants Grow
Wood ashes are a cheap and effective way to balance out the soil and feed the plants some nutrients. Raise the pH level of the soil in your garden and make it less acidic. Wood ashes also provide potassium, calcium, and other minerals.
Hardwood ash contains calcium carbonate, which is a great natural substitute for garden lime. Use twice as much as you would of garden lime, and there you have it! Put some in areas inhabited by snails and slugs to keep them away from your plants.
If you’re a plant parent, you must know that different plants thrive at different soil pH levels. Tomatoes, for example, need a lot of calcium and potassium to grow. Wood ash can deliver both quite quickly, as it’s naturally rich in them.
Clean With Wood Ash
We bet you didn’t know that wood ash is an effective cleaning tool too! Use wood ash in the kitchen for any cleaning that requires scouring. Wood ash helps because of its texture. It also dissolves grease and grime, gummy residue from labels, and tarnish on silverware and glass.
Wood ash is a common ingredient used in soap. Mix it with water or dab some on a wet sponge and use it to clean glass or fireplace doors.
Spots on wooden furniture can also be helped with a bit of ash. Mix it with water and clean your furniture!
Finally, use wood ashes to remove paint drops from concrete surfaces. At the very least, they can help mask the tint left from paint.
Make Home-Made Soap
What to do with fire pit ash? Soap, of course.
Soap was originally made from combining wood ash with water. That mixture makes lye, which is an ingredient commonly used in soap. Ashes from hardwoods contain a lot of potassium, so they’re often used to make lye.
Making soap at home takes a little bit of effort. It’s harder than buying a bar of soap in the store. If you’re keen on making your own soap, always follow instructions from a reliable source. Don’t forget to wear protective gear to avoid getting burned.
It’s best to use rainwater when making soap because it’s softer than tap water. It’s also better to use ashes from hardwoods, such as beech, hickory, buckeye, and sugar maple, instead of softwoods, like pine and fir.
Lye water can also be used as a bleaching agent. Add a cup of lye water to the wash to bleach your whites.
Use Ash as Ice Melt
Wood ash can be used on slippery roads the way gravel is used for snow. Keep some in your car in a closed container in case you can’t get out of a slippery spot. Be careful when returning home, and try not to bring any ash back on your shoes by accident.
Wood ashes are not as good as salt and they can get quite messy. However, they’re free! They also won’t damage animal paws or concrete surfaces.
Keep a container of recycled wood ashes in your trunk in winter. It can save you from getting stuck or sliding on an icy road. Potassium salts in the ashes will help melt the snow even in cold conditions.
What Else to Do With Fire Pit Ash?
Keep snails out of the garden
Snails can do a lot of damage to your plants. Spring wood ash around the garden to keep it snail-free.
Clean up spills
Wood ash can be used to soak up spills on the street. For example, if you spilled car oil or anything else that might leave a stain, you can sprinkle wood ash over it.
Dust bath for chickens
Chickens enjoy rolling around in dust. Adding some wood ash to the dust will keep the chickens from getting attacked by mites and other pests.
Control litter box smells
Litter boxes can have a strong smell. Luckily, charcoal absorbs odors. Wood ash is the original kitty litter!
Eliminate skunk smell
Mix wood ash with vinegar to eliminate skunk smell. Smear the paste you’ve created into the pet’s fur and forget about the smell!
Put an end to pond algae
Feed your aquatic plants wood ash that is also rich in potassium. Your plants will thrive, and the algae won’t have enough nutrients to survive.
Food supplements for chickens
Farmers use eggshells and oyster shells as sources of calcium for chickens. If you don’t have access to those, wood ash will do just as well. Remember to empty your food dishes and dry them before adding wood ash. Otherwise, it might accidentally turn into lye.
Clean your silver jewelry
Put some wood ash on a cloth and clean your silver jewelry with it.
Keep pests out of the house
Place some wood ash in the basement to keep mice and pests out, they hate it!
Clean your grill
We’ve come full circle with this one! Depending on your grill, you might use wood to heat it. You can also use its byproduct, wood ash, to clean the grill!
Put out fires
Wood ashes can be used to create an air-tight barrier that will put out a fire. You’ll need a lot of ash for a big fire, so it might not work. However, you can easily put out a small campfire. This is a great alternative to sand or a fire extinguisher if you don’t have those at home.
Ending thoughts on what to do with fire pit ash without just throwing it away
Chatting around a fire pit and enjoying its warmth is a fun and relaxing activity. Cleaning out the fire pit, on the other hand, is not. You’ll understand the pain if you’ve ever cleaned a fireplace by yourself.
We probably can’t make this activity any more fun, but we can offer some good uses for the wood ashes you’ll collect. The guide has some cool ideas! Hopefully, you’ve learned how to put your wood ashes to good use.
Wood ash is not a toy, so you should not treat it as such. Be very careful with it! Don’t inhale the wood ash. It can be harmful to your health.
If you follow the ideas in this guide and use your wood ash right, it can help you in many areas of your life. It can also burn your house down and harm your health if you’re not careful with it!
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