Surprising Uses for Your Fireplace Ashes
Many folks in Arlington, VA, and throughout the DC Capital Region unwind to the soothing sounds of a warm wood-burning fireplace. Burning wood for home heating has many benefits. It's a sustainable natural resource that doesn't increase your carbon footprint and significantly reduces energy costs.
However, you may not realize that firewood also contains a rich source of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. So, what about those ashes that are piling up in the fireplace? They contain the same nutrient-rich properties, offering many surprising uses.
Sweeping the Ashes
Chimney sweep professionals recommend removing ashes when they pile up near the top of the grate. That's because the moisture in the ashes will dampen your fireplace's heating efficiency.
However, you MUST allow the fireplace to cool for at least 12 to 24 hours before attempting to sweep the ashes from the fireplace. Smoldering ashes can cause burns and even start a fire.
What Can You Do With Fireplace Ashes?
After discovering these seven surprising uses, you may never look at ash the same way again.
However, remember to wear a face mask, eye protection, and gloves. Ash has many uses, but it can also irritate your skin, eyes, and lungs, so be careful when using it around the house.
Clean your glass fireplace doors
Why buy glass cleaner when your fireplace is already producing a natural cleaner? Sprinkle ash on the glass and wipe the doors with a damp sponge. Voila! You have an instant glass cleaner right in your ash can.
Best of all, it’s free and contains no harmful contaminants. Plus, ash absorbs odors too.
Melt ice on slippery walkways
We know how slippery walkways and driveways can get when freezing rain turns to ice overnight. To avoid a slip and fall, sprinkle fireplace ash on the surface. The natural salts in the ash will melt the ice and provide traction for shoes and tires.
If you keep the ash can nearby, you will always be ready to extinguish a fire. So, if the flames get uncontrollable or you are getting ready to leave the house or retire for the evening, toss some ash to douse the fire. Just remember to wait until the fire is entirely out. Smoldering ash can reignite.
Add nutrients to your garden
Ash from the firewood has much of the same nutrients in plant food and soil sold at retailers. So, save yourself a trip to the store and recycle the cooled ash in your soil, not on the plants directly. The enriched soil will give your plants, flowers, and trees the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy.
The alkalinity in the fireplace ashes will neutralize the acidity that occurs when organic matter decomposes in the compost pile.
Repel ants & bugs
I bet you never knew you could use wood ash as a natural bug repellent. But, surprisingly, it's true. Sprinkle some of the powdery remnants in the corners of walls, doors, baseboards, or anywhere you want to eliminate ants, bugs, and other pests in your home.
You may be surprised to learn that polishing silverware is more effective than most commercial products. It's easy to do too. Dip a lint-free cloth in lemon juice, then into the white ash powder. After your silverware is polished, you must rinse it with water and dry it.
Want more valuable tips on getting the most out of your fireplace? Bethesda Chimney’s certified chimney professionals serve the entire Greater Washington DC area. Call 301-969- 4444 or 703-935-4444 to speak with a fireplace expert today! You can also contact us online.