The ashes left behind from a wood fire are a valuable and versatile by-product. Here are 7 great uses for your leftover ash:
1. FIRE STARTERS: Lumps of charcoal (the black chunks, not the grey/white ash) shouldn’t be removed from your fireplace. These will help kick-start your next fire and get it producing heat far faster than a fire just started with wood alone.
2. FILTER: Leftover charcoal can be pounded with a hammer and then ground into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle or blender. This can then be used as a filter medium. Note that it’s not quite the same as activated charcoal that you buy, so don’t rely on it for filtering drinking water.
3. PEST DETERRENT: Sprinkle the ash around the border of garden beds to repel snails and slugs.
4. COMPOST: Add a dusting of wood ash to each layer of your compost heap as you go.
5. FERTILISER: Ash contains potash (potassium carbonate), phosphate, iron, manganese, boron, copper and zinc and can be quite beneficial as a natural fertiliser. Wood ash increases the pH or alkalinity of soil, so use sparingly. Black charcoal is a little different in that it has a much higher ratio of carbon- so this can be used more liberally.
6. DEHUMIDIFYING: Lumps of charcoal placed in a can punched with holes can help reduce moisture in areas such as closets , basements, under sinks etc.
7. CLEANING: Dip a damp rag into ash and use to clean silverware, brass and glass. Ash added to a scourer can also give your scouring a bit more oomph.
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