Do you heat your home with woodfire? Chances are you have an abundance of wood ash.
Well, before you toss it, I want to share with you many interesting ways wood ash can be used on a regular basis.
Even if you don’t heat with wood, it’s still a good idea to know how to use wood ash in an emergency or survival situation.
Wood ash is a pretty fantastic by-product. Therefore, knowing how to use it could save you money now and be a lifesaver later.
Here’s how you can use your wood ash:
Has your pet ever crossed paths with a skunk? Well, don’t panic. Instead, reach for the wood ash. By sprinkling some on your pet, it gives the skunk smell the boot.
2. Removes Stains from Concrete
It’s typical for concrete to become stained after a car leaks oil on it, but it doesn’t have to stay this way. Instead, wet the concrete, and sprinkle wood ash on it. The wood ash will cover the stain.
3. Add to Compost
If you make compost, wood ash is a great ingredient to add to it. Keep in mind, it should be added in small doses, or it could throw the whole balance off.
4. Snail and Slug Repellent
Are snails and slugs a problem in your garden? Sprinkle wood ash in the garden and watch the snails and slugs disappear.
5. Ice Melter
Wood ash has salt in it. Therefore, it makes for a natural way to deice your walkways and driveways. The next time it snows, sprinkle wood ash where there’s ice.
6. Algae Regulator
If you have a pond, use aquaponics, or any other water set-up where algae take over, consider adding wood ash to the water. You only need one tablespoon per 1,000 gallons. It will put off potassium which slows algae growth and gives other plant life a chance to grow.
7. Add to Tomatoes
Tomato plants love potassium. They need it in to grow and produce properly. Therefore, sprinkle ¼ cup in the hole when planting a tomato. It should help the plant to prosper.
8. Woodstove Door Cleaner
If you have a wood stove with a glass door, you know how soot can cause it to stain. Dip a wet sponge or cloth in wood ash and rub against the door. It pulls the residue right off.
9. Make Lye
This is one of my favorite things to do with wood ash. You can mix it with water (allow it to soak) and make lye. When you combine this with animal fat, you have a natural soap.
10. Polishes Metal
Are you looking for a way to polish something metal in your home, but you’d prefer a natural method? Then wood ash is the key. Make a paste with wood ash and water. Apply to the metal, allow it to set for a few minutes, and wipe clean.
11. Add to Soil
If you amend the soil with wood ash, it’ll be a natural way to boost potassium and calcium. You can use it in the place of lime as it works much faster. Be sure to check your soil’s pH before adding wood ash.
12. Alternative to Compost Tea
Compost tea is an excellent by-product of compost. It’s also a wonderful way to fertilize your garden naturally. You can make a similar tea with wood ash and use it to boost potassium throughout your garden.
13. Dust Bath for Poultry
Chickens love to dust in a dust bath. It helps them to remain bug-free as well. You can deter pests from your chickens by adding wood ash to their dust bath.
14. Lawn Fertilizer
Would you like your lawn to be lush and green? Consider adding a light dusting of wood ash to the grass. Be sure to water thoroughly to give the wood ash a chance to soak in.
15. Use in Place of Baking Soda
Does your refrigerator stink? Instead of using baking soda, put wood ash into a bowl, and place it in your fridge. Its ability to absorb scents should remove any foul odors.
16. DIY Toothpaste
Some woods produce ash which can help whiten your teeth. Therefore, you can use wood ash in some DIY toothpaste.
17. Preserves Eggs
In some areas, where they don’t have refrigeration, they use wood ash to help preserve the eggs. They use wood ash, lime, cooked rice, clay, and salt. The eggs are dipped into the mixture until they have a thick coating, and it helps prolong their life.
18. Wound Care
It’s thought that wood ash is anti-bacterial. Therefore, if you mix lye water and liquid soap it helps with proper wound care in an emergency.
19. Livestock Pest Protectant
If you have livestock, chances are they struggle with battling ticks, fleas, and lice. To deter the pests, sprinkle wood ash on your livestock.
20. Ant Deterrent
Do you have ants in your home or around your property? Sprinkle wood ash where they travel and on their mound. Ants can’t carry wood ash. Therefore, wood ash makes them move away from where it is.
21. Stain Remover
Do you have an impossible stain which you’re struggling to remove? Well, make a paste of wood ash and water. Allow the paste to sit on the stain for a few moments and wipe clean.
22. Preserves Seeds
If you have seeds you’d like to preserve, place them in a terra cotta pot. Once they’re in the pot, fill the pot fully with wood ash. It will help keep them.
23. Preserves Produce
The same way wood ash can help preserve seeds; it can help preserve produce too. Place produce in a clay pot and fill with wood ash to where none of the produce touches each other.
24. Cleans Hair
Did you know wood ash can clean your hair too? Wash your hair in lye water and rinse with apple cider vinegar.
25. Stops Frost Damage
If you’ve planted your garden and a late frost spell suddenly appears, don’t panic. Instead, sprinkle wood ash on the plants to help protect them against frost.
26. Natural Dehumidifier
Humidity in a room can be challenging to live with. Therefore, place wood ash in a metal bucket and watch as it absorbs the moisture in a room.
27. Fire Extinguisher
Oh no! A fire has broken out. What should you do? If you have wood ash on hand, you should toss handfuls of it onto the fire. It’ll smother the flames.
28. Moth Ball Replacement
If you store clothing in boxes under the bed, you may use mothballs to keep pests away. Instead, you can sprinkle wood ash inside the boxes. The wood ash won’t stain and can be shaken loose when you’re ready to use the items in the box again.
29. Lye Water for Baking
Lye water is different from lye you make soap with. Be sure to understand the differences and how to make lye water for baking. When using lye water to bake, it can make your bread fluffier.
30. Gives Mice the Boot
If you have a root cellar, you probably have an issue with mice. Instead of letting mice or roaches take over your home or basement, sprinkle wood ash. They hate it and will quickly move on to get away from it.
31. Cleans Dishes
If you don’t have the option to use soap and water to wash dishes, sprinkle wood ash. Gently rub the ash on the plates to remove stuck-on food and grease.
32. Cleans You
The same way wood wash can clean dishes, it can also clean and exfoliate your skin. Rub some wood ash on your skin and rinse thoroughly when done.
33. Feed for Chickens
Do you give your chickens oyster shell for an added boost of calcium? Wood ash is high in calcium and potassium. Therefore, it can be used as a supplement for chickens. Be sure to wash out any bowls with water and wood ash to avoid making lye.
I need to take time to point out, above lye water is mentioned. Lye water isn’t the same as lye. Lye is concentrated wood ash with water. The lye water mentioned above is what many uses to wash hair and clothes.
Please be mindful of the differences and do research before using either to make sure you understand the difference and how to make lye or lye water for the purpose desired.
Hopefully these tips will help you put your wood ash to good use around your home. Even if you don’t have wood ash, these are great points to remember for survival situations too.
As you can see, wood ash is a wonderful item to have on hand because of its versatility. Perhaps a good reason to consider building a wood stove, or even an outdoor fireplace and pull those camping recipes closer.