Uses for Fireplace Ashes

By Ellen Brown


What is the best way to discard ashes from your fireplace? Is there another use for this ash? Any suggestions are welcome.




Wood ash has a lot of uses. Here are just a few suggestions.

  1. A fertilizer for the yard and garden. Wood ash contains 10-25% calcium, 1-4% magnesium, 5-15% potassium and 1-3% phosphorus. This makes it a good (0-2-10) fertilizer for the garden. The type of wood you burn does play a role in the amount of nutrients it contains. Hardwoods generally produce 3 times more ash that contains 5 times more nutrients than softwoods. Ash will temporarily change (increase) the pH of garden soil, so you should only use it sparingly and not at all if your soil pH is already over 7.0. Two pounds of wood ash equals about 1 pound of ground limestone. When used as a fertilizer, wood ash should be applied at least two months before high nitrogen fertilizers because it promotes the loss of nitrogen from ammonia-based fertilizers. Don't use wood ash on acidic-loving plants like rhododendron, blueberries or azaleas and don't add wood ash to the compost pile.

  2. As a glass cleaner. Wood ash is a key ingredient in lye soap. It can be mixed with a bit of water (or dabbed on a damp sponge) and used to clean dirty fireplace doors.

  3. As an pest deterrent. Sprinkle small amounts around the perimeter of your garden to deter slugs and snails.

  4. As a spot remover on wood furniture. Mix it in with a small amount of water until you create a paste. Rub over rings left by water glasses or hot beverages, and follow up with a furniture polish. Test on a small area first.

  5. As traction. In the winter, sprinkle wood ash on slippery walkways or driveways to improve traction. Wipe you feet before going inside, because the ashes will easily track indoors.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at



Uses for Fireplace Ashes

I put mine on the garden and in the chicken yard (keeps down the smell and insects) chickens will dust bathe in them too. They are better for icy walks and steps than salt, as they don't kill the grass or eat the cement like salt can. You do have to keep a rug at the door or take off your shoes at the door. Ashes and melted ice make for great tracks. Carry some in the trunk of your car in a milk jug. iI you get stuck or have to walk on ice you have your handy ashes. (09/28/2006)

By CarlaB

Uses for Fireplace Ashes

When I have wood ashes I pour them on the soil where I will be planting radishes. No worms. Epsom salts works too. (09/28/2006)

By Siris

Uses for Fireplace Ashes

I also put them on my vegetables in the garden to get rid of aphids, worked last year on collards and Swiss chard. (09/28/2006)


By Anonymous

Uses for Fireplace Ashes

They used to make soap from animal fat and wood ash. Probably a stretch for 2006, but then there are worse hobbies, too. (11/17/2006)

By Dan - Iowa

Uses for Fireplace Ashes

I have used ashes and mayo on wood - it works great when you have a lot of wax buildup, but I would not try and use to for polishing. Note: make sure the ashes are free of debris, for that will only scratch the table. I sifted mine before using it to eliminate the problem. Also, scrub very gently when first applying; you can always scrub harder later. (12/02/2006)

By mpfickling

Wood Ash

If you want to mix it with your compost pile it will delay the decay reaction, but I mix it with some 10-10-10 first in a bucket with water to make sure there are no live embers. Mixing it with the fertilizer helps make a more potent compost. (11/01/2008)


By Akshay

Ashes, insects, slugs and snails.

Ashes can also be used as leavening for bread by putting the ash in a box, mixing plenty of water in and catching it in a pan below the box. This was a colonial method, but is still done in parts of the Appalachians and elsewhere in the world. Another way is just catching the wild yeast from the air of a room with the fireplace. This method is found on the internet by searching "wild yeast roundup".

Ash from coal especially has reflective properties that will melt ice and snow super fast if the sun is out. That is more cinders than just ash I guess.

I use it mostly to make walking safer and my path easier to see when I go out to milk the cows and check the greenhouse and chicken coop. Most of the time I am doing it in the dark on the way there in the morning and in the dark on the way back at night. Really helps a lot. (01/29/2009)


By Sigh


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In This Article
Wood Burning in Fireplace
Uses for Fireplace Ashes
April 24, 2009
Logs burning in a fireplace.
Cleaning Your Fireplace
Decorative Fireplace
Making a Decorative Fireplace
Homemade Fireplace Cleaner Recipes
Fireplace Mantel
Installing a Fireplace Mantel
Halloween Ideas!
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