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If you have a wood- or pellet-burning appliance in your home, the cleanup and disposal of wood ash is a fact of life. Sure, you could continue to bag up your ashes and throw them out with your regular garbage, but if you’re if looking for more environmentally friendly ways to use up your wood ashes — or if you enjoy DIY fixes around your home and garden — there are plenty of creative ways to put your fireplace ashes to good use.

Creative Ash Uses for Your Garden

If you keep a garden, whether a casual flower bed, green lawn or elaborate vegetable patch, ashes can be a valuable resource. They can keep away pests, add provide plants with valuable nutrients and condition your soil. Here are some ways to use ash in your garden:

  • Keep away pests. The texture and weight of wood ashes keep plenty of pests at bay. Sprinkle around plants to keep away snails and slugs, or sprinkle it on top of an ant hill to force ants to relocate.
  • Neutralize your soil. If your soil is overly acidic, or if you have alkaline-loving plants, ash can help to raise your soil’s pH. Using ash to neutralize soil has a benefit over other methods of doing so; it acts immediately to affect the pH levels of your soil.
  • Add calcium to your soil. Calcium-loving plants such as tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage will benefit when calcium-rich ashes are added to their soil.
  • Compost it. Ashes make a wonderful, nutrient-rich addition to your compost pile. Just beware of adding too many ashes to the compost pile, as that might make your compost overly alkaline.

Creative Ash Uses Around Your Home

Ash also can come in handy around the house, helping with your regular cleaning or home-maintenance projects. Here are some valuable home uses for your fireplace ashes:

  • Deodorize stinky places. Like baking soda, ash can help get rid of foul odors around your home. Keep an open container of ashes in your refrigerator or a musty closet can help get rid of smells. Just periodically turn over the ashes, and dispose when they no longer seem to be doing their job.
  • Clean up spills on the pavement. Throwing ashes on paint or oil that’s been spilled on pavement can help absorb the liquid and mask the stain.
  • Scrub fireplace doors. The soot that sticks to glass fireplace doors can be a challenge to get rid of. The abrasive nature of ashes makes it perfect for scrubbing away soot! Just add enough water to make a paste and scrub away!
  • Polish silver. A paste of ash and water makes for a gentle, natural silver polish that’s free of harsh, stinky chemicals. Apply the paste to silver, let it sit for a minute, then buff it away.

Make Ash Useful

There’s no need to let ashes become a wasteful fireplace byproduct; ashes can make a useful tool around the home and garden. Just make sure you’re exercising caution when dealing with ashes. Remove them from the fireplace no less than 24 hours after a fire has stopped burning, and store them in a closed metal bucket until you’re ready to put them to use!