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Fire pit ashes; the byproduct of a relaxing evening by the fire on a summer evening, can be quite the nuisance if not cleaned up properly. That being said, they do have some surprising uses that can turn a dusty mess into a useful material!
What to do With Fire Pit Ashes: 10 Surprising Uses
Fire pit ashes take the saying, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, to a whole new level. Turn this dusty pile of ash into something useful with our tips below!
How to Collect Fire Pit Ash
In all honesty, this is probably the most difficult part of the entire cleanup process whether you’re planning on reusing the ash, or trying to dispose of it. Above all else, do everything you can to ensure that the fire and embers have stopped burning.
Once ashes are properly extinguished and sufficiently cooled, begin to brush them into a metal container. An old coffee can, or even foil bag can work great here! Leave these overnight, open and outside to make certain that they are completely cooled.
How to Dispose of Fire Pit Ashes
First of all, you’ve got to make sure you’re doing so safely! Make sure the ashes have cooled as much as possible, preferably several hours after the fire was extinguished. If you suspect they may have any embers at all, scoop them into a metal container to allow them to fully cool to prevent a fire.
Otherwise, place them in a combustible container such as a cardboard box or lawn trimming bag and put it out on your regularly scheduled garbage collection day. If you want to find out how you can put them to good use instead, find some helpful tips for what to do with fire pit ashes below!
What are Fire Pit Ashes Good For?
Believe it or not, you can turn most ash into something that’s really useful to have around! From your garden to your home, there’s a variety of different ways to reduce the amount of waste from your fire pit while making your life a little easier! Check out these 10 surprising uses for fire pit ashes.
Use Ash in Your Compost Bin
Add some ash to your compost bin in layers to boost the quality of your soil! The best way to do this is to sprinkle a small amount of ash in a layer in your compost every so often. After adding a few more layers of compost material, sprinkle some more! In some cases you can even add fire pit ash directly to the soil itself.
You’ll want to be careful not to add too much since fire pit ash is high in alkalinity. However, wood ash is chock full of calcium and potassium, which will help your plants thrive. Make sure whatever you’re growing in your soil can tolerate it, and watch it work wonders in your garden!
Is Wood Ash Good for Soil?
Would you believe that wood ashes are incredibly nutrient dense as far as soil ingredients are concerned? Everything from aluminium, magnesium and sodium to phosphorus and potassium make wood ash a great amendment to crop and plant soil of any kind!
Use it sparingly, and make sure that whatever you’re growing can benefit from ashes mixed into the soil before you decide to add it! Wood ash is very alkaline, which might mess with the composition of soil for certain types of plants. These plants love wood ash in the soil, for instance.
Provide Traction on Slippery Surfaces
Looking for a zero waste alternative to ice melt? Did you know wood ash does a good job at making slick, icy surfaces less slippery? Bag it up and throw it in the back of your vehicle in the wintertime, or keep some in the garage to sprinkle on slippery outdoor walkways!
Use Wood Ash to Repel Ants
Did you know that ants can’t stand wood ash? Not only is it harmful to them, but it can also keep them out of certain spaces. If you’ve got some persistent and annoying ant hills on your property, pour a bunch of wood ash down it to cause them to relocate, since it makes it uninhabitable for them.
Wood Ash as Natural Odour Eliminator
You can use wood ash to bring down the odour around the house, and even inside the fridge! You might not have expected it, but wood ash is like a DIY lover’s dream come true, since it’s basically a more sustainable form of baking soda. Who knew you were making a natural odour eliminator every time you had a fire outdoors?
You create some every time you enjoy a bonfire outdoors, so why not put it to use once you’re done? The alkaline nature of the wood ash makes it ideal for removing musty and damp smells from fridges, freezers and pantries alike!
Wood Ash can Get Rid of Skunk Smell
The very properties that make it an effective odour eliminator also make wood ash perfect for getting the scent of a skunk out of your pet’s fur. Wood ash can effectively deodorise skunk smell from small animals once it’s applied to their fur.
Do this by sprinkling a small amount of wood ash on their fur before rubbing it in. Be sure to avoid their eyes and other sensitive areas, and then promptly wash it off thoroughly with soap and water.
Use Wood Ash as a Gentle Metal Polish
While the last thing you might think of doing with your silverware or pans is coating them in fire pit ashes, you’d be on to something if you did! The mild abrasive nature of wood ash makes it an ideal choice for polishing metal objects.
Whether it’s a piece of silver, your burnt pots or some rust, a wood ash paste is a great way to take care of your household polishing. Simply mix some wood ash with a small amount of water to create a paste that can polish up all sorts of metals!
As a Natural Way to Keep Snails and Slugs Away
Fire pit wood ash is surprisingly effective at deterring common garden pests like snails and slugs. It’s a natural desiccant, meaning it easily removes moisture from surfaces. Needless to say this is one thing that pests like that will surely avoid. Apply a perimeter of wood ash all the way around your most precious plants to keep them from climbing up the stems and branches.
Clean Up Messy Spills With Fire Pit Ash
If your driveway or garage sees a lot of oil, gas or other messy spills the answer may be right in your fire pit! Wood ash is really good for absorbing spills like these. It’s especially effective at soaking up oil, and preventing it from penetrating too far into your concrete and asphalt surfaces. Once it’s absorbed, simply sweep up the used ash for easy and safe disposal.
Reduce Humidity in a Space With Wood Ash
Tired of humidity causing that musky odour in closets and storage spaces? Believe it or not, wood ash is perfect for removing the relative humidity in an area thanks to its properties as a desiccant. By leaving it in a room, on a tray or in a bowl, you can soak up some of the moisture in the air. (Just make sure it’s somewhere your pets or kids won’t get into it!)
Put out a Fire With Wood Ash
If you’ve ever extinguished a fire by sifting the ash around to cover the embers, then you’re probably already somewhat familiar with how this works! Ash is effective at creating an airtight blanket over a small fire, and is especially good at putting out burning embers. That being said, you should only resort to using ash in an emergency when water, fire extinguishers and fire blankets are not present.
What to do With Fire Pit Ashes: Recommendations Welcome!
We’d love to find more ways to get the most out of this sorely forgotten resource! Let us know what you’ve used wood ash for, and help us find some more practical ways to put it to use around the home and garden by commenting below with your tips!
Remember that when you’re handling firewood ash, it can be prone to dusting up quite a bit. This stuff is incredibly granular, so if you’ve got even a bit of a breeze or some air coming in, be sure that you’re aware of the potential for it to cause an even greater mess than the one you’re trying to clean up.