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Did you know that when you have finished burning wood in your fireplace, you can save the ash? There are uses for wood ash you probably didn’t know about and we’re going to take some time to go over them today.
Even if it’s not something you would use today in a regular situation, it may be something you use in a survival situation and won’t you be glad you knew about it?
You can use wood ash from burning wood in your fireplace, your wood stove, or even your campfire.
But you might be surprised to know that there are so many other great things you can do with your wood ash.
We’re going to talk about some great uses for wood ash that you may not already know about. It’s also important to know how to dispose of wood ash, and that you never try to collect ash that is still hot. Be safe, and you can really reap the benefits.
The value of your wood ash depends on some additional factors, too, such as what type of wood you are burning.
There are some general guidelines to help you, but in a survival situation, you won’t be able to be picky about the type of wood you use.
Hardwoods like oak weigh more and will yield more ash than lighter woods. Hardwood ash also has a higher amount of nutrients than ash from softer woods like pine or Douglas fir.
In this article, we’re going to talk about some common uses for wood ash that you may not know about. We’re also going to talk about how to use it and about safety concerns.
While it’s always good to know these tips and tricks, it’s just as important that you know how to do it safely.
30 Uses for Wood Ash You Probably Didn’t Know About
For many generations, wood ash has been seen as valuable.
In ancient Rome, scientists and scholars studied and documented the value of returning ash to the land. You may have even experienced your elders’ talk of its importance, especially if you have survivalists or preppers in your family before you.
You can use wood ash around the home in a variety of ways:
1. Make Lye Water from Wood Ash
One thing you can do is make lye water. You will just boil about 2 or 3 spoonfuls of clean white or grey fluffy ash along with water, then sift it through a coffee filter. Lye water is great for cleaning and other uses.
2. Remove Stains from Clothes
Another of the many uses of wood ash is as a clothing stain remover. It works best if you do it when the stain is fresh.
3. Clean Furniture
It’s not just good for cleaning stains out of clothing. You can also use wood ash to clean your furniture stains. Make a paste from the ash and water. It’s that simple!
4. Keep Odors Away
Wood ash can also be a great odor treatment. It tends to absorb the odors and minimize them. This is one of my favorite uses for wood ash.
5. Keep the Fridge Fresh
Another tip is to use wood ash to keep the refrigerator smelling fresh. It’s done the same way people use a box of baking soda. Just put a plate of ash in there instead.
6. DIY Toothpaste
Yeah, you can actually brush your teeth with wood ash. How’s that for making good use of everything? If you’re not sure how to do it, you can find recipes online.
7. Protect Plants
Use it to protect your plants from frost in the winter months. You’re going to use the fire and make that ash anyway, so put it to good use. You can also make a wood ash fertilizer.
8. Strengthen Calcium Loving Plants
Another way to use wood ash in the garden is to help strengthen plants that love calcium. These include beans, spinach, tomatoes, peas, garlic, avocado, and more.
9. Deter Slugs
Want another great use for wood ash? You can also use wood ash to deter slugs and snails in the garden with wood ash fertilizer. That will help keep those pests away.
10. Filter Drinking Water
You can use charcoal from wood ash to help filter drinking water. How’s that for interesting uses for wood ash?
11. Strengthen Underwater Plants
If you put a spoon of wood ash per 1000L of water, you can strengthen plants that live underwater.
12. Make Roses Stronger
Use wood ash in the soil before planting roses and they will grow bigger and stronger, with beautiful colors.
13. Break Down an Ant Colony
An easy way to get rid of ants without pesticides or poison is to place wood ash on the colony. They can’t move it, so they will instead move themselves to a new location.
14. Repel Parasites on Pets
If you want to keep lice, ticks, and fleas off your pets, consider using wood ash. You can make a paste out of ash and vinegar and rub it all over the fur for your pet. It will be messy – but works well.
15. Keep Pests Out of the Home
You can keep mice, rats, cockroaches, and other critters and pests out of your home, basement, or bug out location by putting ash in the corners and dark spots of the property.
16. Use it to Melt Ice
In a survival or emergency situation, this could help out in a pinch. The wood ash has a high salt content so it can be a good way to melt ice quickly.
17. Repel Moths from Clothing
Avoid the nasty smell of mothballs but still protect your clothing. You can add ash to your stored clothing instead.
18. Remove Humidity with Wood Ash
If you have high humidity areas like basements or stage areas, the wood ash can help absorb that. You can put the ash in metal tins. It’s even good for under sinks.
19. Preserve Fruits and Veggies
Keep them good in the ground for days if you dig a hole and put some ash in it, along with the veggies and fruits. This is a great tip for a survival situation.
20. Extinguish a Fire
Sometimes you need to put a fire out in a hurry. You can just dump some wood ash right on top of the flame.
21. Make Cleaner with It
You can use it for lye soap, as we mentioned above. You can also use it to make sodium carbonate, a popular cleaning product for the home.
22. Get Skunk Smell off Your Pets
You can de-skunk your pets with wood ash. Nearly nothing takes out the odor from a skunk so this is a really helpful tip.
23. Control Pond Algae
While this may not be your greatest concern during a survival situation, you can also use it to control pond algae. One tablespoon works over 1,000 gallons of water, so it doesn’t take a lot. If you’re near a pond, go ahead and treat the water to keep the algae under control.
24. Enrich Your Compost
Composting is great at any time, but especially during a survival situation. Just a small amount of wood ash can help give the compost pile a boost.
25. Protect Bee Hives
You know that bees serve an important purpose in the ecosystem but ants can get in there and cause a lot of trouble. The wood ash helps the bees but doesn’t harm anything else.
26. Clear Poultry of Parasites
If you have poultry, it can be very useful in a survival situation, but not if the parasites get to them. You can use a light dusting of wood ash as a “dust bath” to help keep them clean and healthy.
27. Clean Foggy Headlights
Your headlights are needed for many reasons but in a survival situation, they can also be spotlights. You want to have them clean and clear, and using wood ash to make a paste is a good way to achieve this.
28. Treat Wounds
This is very useful in a survival situation. You can use it as an antiseptic and to help wounds heal faster.
29. Hide Tanning
You can use it as a pre-soak before tanning animal hides. This method has been used for generations with Native American people.
30. Uses in Cooking
Wood ash can serve various purposes in cooking, such as to help with cucumber pickling or curing olives.
Be Safe with Using Wood Ash
If you’re using wood ash for these various things, you need to be safe with it. Only work with ash that has been completely cooled. Always store in a metal container with a lid that can be tightly closed.
Remember the importance of knowing how to dispose of wood ash safely. Never dispose of wood ash in paper, plastic or cardboard containers. Additionally, do not put hot ash in these containers. Finally, never push wood ash in a dumpster.
Bonus: How to Make Pemmican, the Original Survival Food
Invented by the natives of North America pemmican was used by Indian scouts as well as early western explorers.
Native Americans spent a great deal of time on the go and depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time without refrigeration.
Pemmican is a portable, long-lasting, high-energy food. It's made of lean, dried meat that's crushed into powder and mixed with hot, rendered fat. This makes it one of the ultimate foods to have stockpiled for when SHTF or disaster strikes.
People really should avert their gaze from the modern survival thinking for just a bit and also look at how folks 150 years ago did it.
These guys were the last generation to practice basic things, for a living, that we call "survival skills" now.