How to Dispose of Fireplace Ashes

Anyone who likes to build a roaring fire every once in a while will end up with an abundance of wood ash. Rather than just tossing the ash in the garbage can, help the environment and recycle the ash in one of the following ways.

Apply the ashes to your garden or around shrubs that like to be raised in alkaline soil. Do research to make sure the ash is not applied to plants that thrive in acid soil, such as rhododendrons, blueberries or azaleas.

Make soap. Mix water with the ash to create potash. Boil the potash until it turns to lye on an outdoor stove. Take accumulated grease left over from cooking and mix with the lye. Pour into molds and let the soap cure for a few weeks.

Mix ash with water to make a paste. Rub on water rings or other wood blemishes. Buff with furniture polish to make the wood look like new.

Spread ash around the perimeter of the vegetable and flower gardens to repel snails and slugs.

Clean fireplace glass with ash. Sprinkle ash on a damp sponge. Scrub glass in a circular pattern to remove soot deposits.

Sprinkle ash on walkways and driveways during the winter to prevent slipping. Since ash sticks to the bottom of shoes, remember to clean shoes before walking on indoor floors.


Store ash in a metal can with an air tight seal. After adding ash to the bucket, pour water in the bucket to extinguish any hot coals. Place lid on pail tightly. Store ash bucket in a safe location away from flammable materials, just in case stray cinders escape.

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