20 Amazing and Unusual Uses for Fireplace Ash

Now that the weather is cold and my fireplace has been working overtime to heat up the house, we've been clearing away a gallon of ash from the firebox every morning. Instead of tossing all that great material into the garbage bin however, I've been using the wood ash around my home and gardens.

Back in the old days, wood ash had many practical uses around the farm. It was spread over fields as fertilizer, used in the making of soap, and help repel pests from vegetable gardens and fruit trees. These old fashioned uses for wood ash still make sense today and can help frugal families like ours save money. Here's just a few of the amazing household uses I've found for fireplace ash. Because wood ash can be harmful to the skin, always wear gloves when tackling one of these DIY projects.

Gardening. Tossing ash in the vegetable garden is one of the more common uses for wood ash. Since large quantities of ash can increase alkali levels in your garden beds, it's recommended to test the soil pH levels before dumping buckets of ash in your yard.

Some of the ways I've used ash in my yard:
--1/4 cup of ash planted with each tomato plant to boost production
--Spread around the vegetable beds to repel slugs and other pests
--Sprinkled around my fruit trees to keep bore worms at bay
--To control algae growth in ponds (1 tablespoon ash per 1000 gallons of water)
--Sprinkled in the chicken nesting boxes to prevent mites

Winter traction. Instead of buying commercial salts or sand to throw on icy sidewalks, try ash instead. Wood ash can also be thrown in front of and behind the tires in the winter to increase traction.

Removes baked-on food and grease. When mixed with water to form a paste, wood ash has a gritty texture that works like scouring powder. This gritty compound works great for removing baked on grease, burned on food, and tough stains.
--Removes brown, baked on grease from casserole dishes and glass bakeware
--Cleans the blackened undersides of pots and pans
--Breaks through the grease on the outside of a Weber grill
--Can be used to remove soot buildup from fireplace doors
--Cleans grease splatters found on the glass door of your oven
--Gently removes baked-on grease from a glass cook top stove
--Brings back the shine to stainless pots and pans
--Removes burned food from the inside of kettles
--Cuts through the grease found between the slots of a toaster.

Cleans up sticky label residual. Instead of reaching for mineral spirits or rubber cement thinner to remove glue from glass, try some wood ash instead. The grit quickly removes gummy residual from bottles, window glass, and old parking stickers from the windshields of the car.

White rings on furniture disappear. Most of us have heard the old trick of using toothpaste to remove white heat or water rings from furniture. What you might not know is that wood ash works just as well.

Removes lime scale. In areas with hard water, lime scale builds up quickly on exterior windows. Instead of using a lime solvent to remove the scale, reach for the wood ash instead. Wood ash applied with a damp rag cuts through the scale and will bring back the shine to your windows.