14 Ways to Recycle Firewood Ash on Your Homestead

Reader Contribution by Kerry W. Mann, Jr. and Homesteadhow

Last month we published a video with 7 ways to recycle your firewood ash. That video now has nearly 1/2 million views but more importantly over 1,200 really good comments and ideas for more ways to reuse ash. The comments included better ideas than we initially suggested! So we put together a new video with 14 ways to reuse your firewood ash. In the video, we put many of these ideas to the test and we have some laughs. The video is here and the outline is below.


1. Store some ash in a small container with a lid and put it in the trunk of you car. Great to help get tire traction when you are stuck in the snow.

2. As a homesteader we know about composting toilets. Instead of using saw dust to cover your (you know what) in your composting toilet or outhouse, use some ash. Not only will it cover up your mess it also helps to hide the odors.

3. Got greasy or oily or gasey hands after working on your homestead vehicles? Try some water and then ash to clean away the grease and cover the order.

4. Sprinkle some ash around the perimeter of your house to keep ants from coming into the house. (This one has 44 upvotes!)

5. Soak the ashes in water to extracts lye. This is what many of our grandparents used to make soap. This had over 106 upvotes. The comments also mentioned using lye to turn corn into hominy and then dried then ground to grits and also masa for tortillas and tamales.

6. Dump your ash heavily along your fence line, it will kill grass and weeds growing under the fence so you don’t have to use a weed walker.

7. You can polish silver or tarnished brass with Ash, Just try to use the fine fluffy ash not the gritty ash.

8. You know that green slime stuff used to seal tires? One commenter suggested using ash and water mix in lieu of the green slime. I haven’t tested this one yet but it does have 11 upvotes.

These are from the previous video:

9. Clean woodstove windows by mixing some ash with some water and create a paste. It becomes an abrasive cleaner to clean your window. It works surprisingly well

10. Clean oil spills. Ash can absorb oil spills just like kitty litter can. My husband does all of our car work in our garage and we sometimes get oil spills on the ground, we have been using some cheap cat litter, but why not use what we have on hand and what is for free? By sprinkling wood ash onto an oil spill, it will absorb the oil and allow for an easy cleanup with an outdoor broom and dustpan. Repairing ruts in driveway

11. Eliminate orders in fridge or freezer. I use baking soda to absorb odors in my fridge, but I just found out that putting a cup or so of ash in a bowl or even a mason jar towards the back will do the same trick as the baking soda.

12. Make a natural ice melt. Did you know you can use ash as a way to melt ice on your driveway or walkway? There are natural minerals in the wood ash that help melt ice. Just be careful if you put it close to your house when entering, it would easily come into your house from your shoes.

13. Fertilize gardens. If you create a circle of wood ash around your crops this will prevent slugs and snails from crossing into your plant beds. Or dump a bucket on your garden

14.  Ash can be a dust bath for poultry. I have so much sand here on our homestead, but I just found out that ash helps treat fleas and other insects, it’s perfect for helping poultry relieve themselves of parasites. Chickens naturally dust bath to help clean their feathers of pesky bugs but give your girls an extra boost by adding some ash to their dust area.

Kerry W. Mann, Jr. moved to a 20-acre homestead in 2015, where he and his family use modern technology, including YouTube and Instructables, to learn new skills and teach homestead projects. Connect with Kerry on his Homestead How YouTube pageInstructablesPinterest Facebookand at My Evergreen Homestead. Read all of Kerry’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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