What Can Wood Ash Be Used For? 15 Wood Ash Uses for Homesteading

What can wood ash be used for?  Don't dump your ashes after a fire because there are several uses for wood ash.  You can reuse wood ash for your garden and even for cleaning your home.  Here are several wood stove ash uses for your homestead.


One about 1 to 2 percent of American households use wood as a primary heat source, but that amounts to over 2 million households.


Even if you don't use wood for your primary heat source, many families supplement with wood or burn in their backyards.





After burning, you'll be left with a pile of ashes.  What can wood ash be used for?  It turns out there are many uses for wood ash.


If you're a homesteader, wood fire ash uses can be for your garden and several other uses.  Keep reading to learn what is wood ash good for.


What Can Wood Ash Be Used For?


When we moved from the suburbs to the farm, we were excited to have fires.  We have a fireplace and a fire ring outside.


At first, we just dumped the ashes in the pine trees beside the house.  Then we realized that we were throwing away a resource and there are uses for wood ash.  


Now we save it and use it around the farm.


Is Ash and Water Toxic? 


Mixing together wood and ash creates lye, an important ingredient is soap making. Lye can be harmful for your skin when used alone, so it is not recommended to mix water and wood ash without careful precautions.


Although there are some home remedies that involve using wood ash on your skin, I can not recommend it since combining ash and water is caustic.   


If you do make lye with your wood ashes, you can use it in this basic bastille soap recipe or this watermelon soap recipe.


Is It Bad To Breathe In Ash? 


In large amounts or over long periods of time breathing in ash can be harmful to your body. For this reason, it is a good idea to wear a face mask if you plan on being around lots of wood ash or use these uses for wood ash.  


Make sure to take frequent breaks, especially if you notice any difficulty breathing or light headedness or other such symptoms. 


Can I Dump Ashes In My Garden? 


Wood ash uses for the garden are great after the growing season.  Dumping ashes in your garden is a great way to lower the acid levels and raise the pH of your soil. If you want to raise the pH then dumping ashes is a good idea. 


However, be sure to not dump ashes over acid requiring plants as doing so could cause nutritional deficiencies for them, causing the plants to stunt or wilt. 


We dump our ashes on the garden after the garden is done for the year.


Can Wood Ash Kill Weeds? 


Wood ash is an incredibly effective way to kill several types of weeds by raising the pH levels of the soil. Weeds that can easily be killed with wood ashes include thistle, kudzu, and Japanese Knotweed. 


However, in doing so you also pose a risk to plants that you have planted.  I recommend using wood ashes to clear soil or other landscaping areas that do not have important plants growing there.  





What Can You Do With Leftover Ashes?


Wood ashes are readily abundant in many homes, especially during the season of campfires and cookouts. Following is a list of uses for wood ash for around your property. 


1.  Storing Tomatoes 


Storing fresh tomatoes in a bucket of wood ashes can help keep them fresher for a longer period of time. This is especially helpful if you want to process all of your tomatoes at once.  


Storing tomatoes in buckets of wood ash lets you keep them fresh while the others wait to be picked or ripen, and is a great way to manage your time preparing and processing tomatoes.


Once you're ready to process your tomatoes, learn how to make tomato juice for canning


2.  Protect Wood Products From Insects 


Carefully sprinkled wood ash can help keep wood products safe from insects. For instance, when pounding wood posts sprinkle some wood ash around the post in the ground.  





3.  DIY Wood Glue & Sealant 


Melting pine sap over low heat and mixing in wood ash is a great way to make glue. Once you have added wood ashes to your melted pine sap, stir over the heat until it is a batter-like consistency. Just be sure to use the wood glue while it is still hot. 


4.  Eliminating Ant Hills 


Sprinkling wood ash over ant hills is a great and easy way to stop ants right at the source. Simply track down the hill and cover with wood ashes to stop the ants right in their tracks. 


5.  Filling Vermin Holes 


Wood ashes are a cheap and easy way to clog up vermin holes such as mouse holes. Simply fill the hole and pack it in with wood ashes. Repeat as necessary but it should only take a few days to take effect. 


6.  Ice Melter


Wood ash makes a fantastic ice melter in the wintertime. Use it to melt ice on walkways and in your driveway. The coal chunks will give you and your vehicle traction while the dark coloring of the ash helps attract sunlight to melt the ice quicker. 


Be warned however that wood ash in tandem with melting ice will create a muddy mess that is better off being left outside of the home. 





7.  As A Compost Booster 


Mixing in wood ashes with your compost will actually help your compost out quite a bit! Wood ash uses for compost helps keep your compost together in the rain, and provides a boost to the microbes within the compost itself. 


Wood fire ash uses also works to deter bears if you live near them, which is a great bonus! 


8.  Skunk Deodorizer


Nothing is more frustrating than trying to clean a pet after they were sprayed by a skunk. However, sprinkling wood ash over them can rapidly eliminate the skunk smell. Often it can take a lot of scrubbing and a mix of products to remove the pungent smell of skunk.


 With wood ash, however, it is easy to eliminate skunk odors from your pets quickly.


If you don't have wood ash, then use Dawn dish soap, baking soda, and peroxide.  I know this from experience!  Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Eliminator also works well. 


9.  Use In Your Pet's Bath


Wood ash doesn’t just deodorize the smell of skunk, it can deodorize many other obnoxious odors and keep your pet smelling and feeling clean. Simply sprinkle some wood ash on your pet and gently rub it in before bathing for an efficient way to eliminate pet smells. 


10.  Deodorize Litterboxes and Pet-Traffic Heavy Areas 


Before commercial cat litter, there was wood ashes. You can sprinkle wood ashes around your cats litter box to deodorize it without having to pay for commercial pet products at the store. 


Wood ash is such a great deodorizer, you can even sprinkle it around kennels and bird coops for easy removal of pungent odors. 


11. Slug and Snail Repellent 


Sprinkling wood ash around your garden is a quick and easy way to repel slugs and snails from your plants. 


12. Use Wood Ash As a Blanket For Plants 


During the wintertime, frost is a real threat to plants and vegetables. However, sprinkling some wood ash over your plants can keep them from frosting over. Just remember to be careful when it comes to soil pH levels.

Overdoing it on wood ash when it comes to the garden can be a quick way to harm your plants.  Wood stove ash uses for the garden can be beneficial, but there is too much of a good thing.





13. Polishing Metal


Combine wood ash with water into a paste and use it to polish metal for an easy and natural shine. Just be sure to use cleaning gloves as wood ash and water can be potentially rough on the skin. 


14. Algae Preventative 


Sprinkle a chunk of wood ash into your rabbits or birds water bowl for a simple way to prevent algae from growing in the bowl.


15. Stain Remover 


Using paste of wood ash and water, let the paste sit on the stain for about an hour before rinsing it off and washing it out.


With so many wood ash uses, you'll want to save your ashes after a fire or after heating your home.  Did you know about these wood stove ash uses?


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