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Wood ash, the residue from burning wood, is rich in minerals and nutrients and has many uses in the home and garden.

Repurposing items that are often discarded is a key part of homesteading, giving new life to what might otherwise be waste.

Whether it comes from fireplaces, grills, or other sources where wood is burned, wood ash can be put to good use. Here are some unique and practical ways to use wood ash around your home.

1. Garden Fertilizer

The farmer gives fertilizer to young plants. A hand holds a shovel and fertilize seedlings in an organic garden.
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Rich in essential nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, wood ash is an excellent soil amendment. Sprinkling it around plants enhances soil fertility and stimulates healthier plant growth. It is a great way to reuse wood ash you have on hand and add some more nutrients to your garden soil or potted plants.

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2. Pest Control

wood ash in soil planting
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Due to its abrasive texture and drying properties, wood ash is effective at deterring garden pests. It is very effective against pests like slugs and snails. Sprinkling ash around garden beds forms a barrier these pests are more likely to try and avoid. It can also deter animal pests who don’t like the smoky smell and will avoid it, therefore avoiding your garden plots.

3. Compost Enhancer

composting food scraps and eggshells
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Thanks to its alkaline properties, integrating wood ash into your compost pile can significantly reduce odors and accelerate decomposition. This results in a richer, more balanced compost with plenty of organic matter and nutrients while keeping it light and airy, ultimately yielding a higher-quality compost.

4. Lawn Care

Close-up green grass, natural greenery texture of lawn garden. Stripes after mowing lawn court. Concept natural green background, lawn for training football pitch, Golf Courses, green lawn pattern.
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A light application of wood ash over your lawn can replace lime treatments, improving the soil’s alkalinity and promoting lush, green growth. Applying wood ash to the lawn can help provide some additional resources between the usual fertilizer applications. It is a safe and natural option that makes use of the post-fire resource you already have on hand.

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5. Cleaning Agent

Vintage silverware
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As a mild abrasive, wood ash is ideal for polishing tarnished silverware and glass. It can also effectively remove stubborn stains from hard-to-clean surfaces, making surfaces look new again. It can be combined with other things like baking soda for a powerful and natural cleaner that is safe to use without the fear of chemical residues being left behind.

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6. Deodorizer

Bucket filled with wood ash from the oven
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Wood ash has excellent odor absorption qualities as products like ash and charcoal are often used to help fight odors and the bacteria that cause them. Placing a bowl of wood ash in pantries, closets, basements, or musty rooms can help neutralize bad smells, maintaining a fresher environment. Let the ash air out some to remove the smoky smell before use.

7. Oil Spill Cleaner

Engine oil stains of car Leak under the car when the car is park on the road service photo concept for check and maintenance.
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For oil spills on driveways or garages, wood ash can be a quick, safe, and effective solution. Simply sprinkle it over the oil, let it absorb the mess, and then sweep it up for an easy cleanup. It works best on flat and hard surfaces, but it can also help remove residual oils from other materials that might be a little harder to clean with a simple rag and water.

8. Ice Melt

Spring, snow melting. Dirty, wet and slippery pedestrian walkways.
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The potash content in wood ash helps lower the freezing point of water, making it a natural option for melting ice on walkways and driveways during cold weather. It can also help provide friction on icy patches and add traction to help avoid slips and falls in winter weather too. If you have fireplace, you will have an ample supply for all your winter needs.

9. Stain Removal On Stone

cleaning grout tile
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For stone surfaces like marble or granite, a paste made from wood ash and water can effectively remove stains. Always test this mixture on a small, hidden area first to ensure it does not damage the surface. Once the cleaning is done, the mix can be washed off with clean water and then air dry as you would normally do to finish the process.

10. Animal Dust Bath

Domestic poultry at the farm.
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Chickens and other birds benefit from dust baths mixed with wood ash, which helps control parasites naturally. The ash aids in maintaining feather health and reducing bug infestations. You can also spread the ash around enclosures and pens to help keep pests and other animals from getting into the area and bothering your livestock.

11. Metal Polish

metal polish wood ash
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Mixing a small amount of wood ash with water creates a paste perfect for polishing and cleaning tarnished metals around the home. Common items in and around the home can get a quick polish and look like new with a wood ash scrub. Metals like brass, copper, and silver, among others can look almost as good as new after a quick rub down.

12. Fruit Tree Care

Apple trees in the garden.
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Sprinkling wood ash at the base of fruit trees provides them with vital nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The nutritional boost wood ash offers can promote faster and healthier growth and increased fruit production in many varieties of backyard fruit trees. You can use this as an additional fertilizer treatment to keep your trees well-fed.

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A Close up view of a white round plate with bananna peals piled into it on the green grass
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How to Use Coffee Grounds on Houseplants

coffee grounds
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If you’ve been in the habit of simply disposing of your coffee grounds each morning, you should rethink your approach. Coffee grounds offer an eco-friendly alternative for enhancing your plant’s soil quality and promoting growth. Coffee grounds have nutrients that plants like, so they can improve your soil and act as a natural fertilizer. Here’s how.

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