Does your fireplace collect ashes that become a nuisance? They can be messy, may cause you to constantly sneeze, and may take away from the beauty of your wood burning unit. But, you can choose to see the downside of the mess, or look at it with a more positive view.
The popularity of using ashes for various remedies began as early as the 18th century when the many benefits of potassium carbonate, potash from ashes, began to catch the attention of scientists. In an article posted by the Oregon State University Extension Service, it is mentioned that ash from North American trees was exported to Great Britain and in the late 1700s the first fertilizer from wood ash was patented.
Ashes, or wood residue, from the fireplace may be unpleasant at times, but they can also bring a variety of benefits. If you aren’t sure what to do with the pile of wood residue your fireplace produces, the following ideas might give you a different perspective and may prove helpful.
- Spruce up Your Lawn – Certain lawns and soils can greatly benefit from a little wood residue. Small amounts of ash added to a little water can liven the grass and even promote its growth. Keep in mind, however, that adding too much can be toxic rather than beneficial.
- Help Your Trees and Plants – Trees can also benefit from the white mess your fireplace produces. Hardwood ash produced in your fireplace can be spread at the tree’s base to help improve the nutrition of the tree and the surrounding soil. The potassium within helps plants to bloom and flower. If you plant tomatoes in your garden you may want to add a little of the white powder inside the hole with the seed to improve growth.
- Remove Stains – Have you ever spilled paint on concrete? Perhaps you have stubborn water spots or stains on your favorite pieces of furniture? Just scoop a little of that lovely white mess out of your fireplace and add a little water to make the problems disappear. For paint spills, simply put it on top of the spill. For marks on furniture, add a little of the white powder and water to a soft rag and gently scrub the surface before wiping it off with a clean, non-abrasive rag.
- Avoid Insects and Rodents – You aren’t the only one who doesn’t like the product that builds up in your fireplace. Insects and rodents don’t care for it either, which makes it a great repellent. Spreading an even layer in your garden and flower beds will help to keep snails and other pests from ruining your harvest.
- Make Things Pretty – Did you ever think that something so dirty and messy could actually make things beautiful? A little ash can help clean silver and even the glass on your fireplace doors.
- Melt Ice – It has been said that a little sprinkle of ash from your wood burning unit can help melt icy pathways. It may track indoors if used in high traffic areas, but to help unfreeze gardens and other areas, a light layer can help to defrost icy places.
- Remove Skunk Odor from Your Pets – Curious pets can come home quite smelly. Fortunately a small scoop of the snow-like dust from your wood fireplace can help deodorize animal fur.