It’s official – spring is here and temperatures are finally starting to rise! For many this means spending less time indoors and more time out and about enjoying the nicer days. And if you’re fireplace owner, it also means wrapping up your burning season and giving your fireplace a rest for a few months.
Now, one piece of end-of-season maintenance we suggest is removing your fireplace ash. While leaving a 1 or 2 inch layer behind is recommended during the burning period, once you wrap things up for the year, it should all be removed. This ensures moisture isn’t drawn in (where it can damage your firebox) and that your firebox grate doesn’t break down, either.
But… what should be done with the ash once it’s safely removed and completely cooled? Well, we’ve got some great ideas to explore.
1. Use Ash in Your Garden
Ash can serve a couple of helpful purposes in your garden. First of all, its dry texture works well to repel slimy, plant-eating pests like slugs and snails. Just toss some around the perimeter of your set-up, and they’ll be sure to steer clear.
And once your garden is protected, ash can actually be used to help enrich the soil, too. It raises pH levels, when necessary, and it aids in neutralizing soil acidity, which is great for plants like roses, lavender, lettuce, tomatoes, garlic, citrus plants, and many more that struggle when acidity levels get too high.
Just be sure to do your research ahead of time, though. Some plants (think blueberries, daffodils, and azaleas) actually love acidity and thrive with more of it, so incorporating ash near them will do more harm than good. You’ll also want to make sure you’re measuring pH levels and using only enough ash to keep things appropriately balanced.
Sidenote: Have a compost bin that you use for gardening, too? Wood ash can help break down any fruit, veggies, or other leftover scraps that you toss in there. And it’s supposedly good for worms, too – and you know how important they are for breaking down compost!
2. Toss Some On Your Driveway
There are a couple different reasons you might use wood ash in your driveway (or on your sidewalks). For one thing, ash makes an excellent de-icer, so it’s a good thing to have on hand during the winter months when temperatures drop and ice build up. As you scoop it during your burn season, be sure to regularly set some aside for this purpose!
This time of year, though, we obviously don’t see much ice. That said, ash can also be used to soak up any oil spills that have seeped into your concrete and left a stain. Simply toss your wood ash over these spots and let it work its magic.
3. Create a Household Cleaner
Mixing wood ash with a bit of water can make a paste that’s useful for many household cleaning tasks. Most well known of these is using it to clean your fireplace’s glass doors! All of those soot and smoke stains can make your glass pretty foggy and dirty by the end of the season, so use this ash paste to scrub it clean (we suggest using a newspaper as a sponge).
Other sources say this paste can also be used for the following, but we’ve yet to test these out:
- Clearing up cloudy headlights
- Polishing silver
- Removing sticky labels & residue
- Clothing stain removal
4. Get Rid of Odors
Like baking soda, wood ash can be good at absorbing bad odors. Have a space that smells musty? Set a bowl of ash in there and let it get to work. You can also stick some in your fridge, too, to balance out those smellier foods.
And speaking of odors, ash has also been used to get rid of odors in pets! Many have reported using it after their curious critter had a run-in with a skunk. Some claim just rubbing the dry ash into their fur can make a difference, while others suggest using it in the bath to form a sort of shampoo/paste. For as hard as skunk smells are to remove, it’s definitely worth trying out!
5. Get Rid of Pests
Speaking of pets, ash can also be helpful for keeping pests, like fleas, out of their fur. It’s said it dries them out, suffocating them so that they die off and leave your pet scratch-free. This is also effective with chickens, too, if you have them! Just toss some ash in their pen and let them take dust baths to keep out harmful parasites.
Some even use it in their home to keep away cockroaches and moths. Try sprinkling some in the darker corners of your home or in the back of your closet for a non-toxic method for keeping those creepy-crawlies out of your space.
Call Today for Quality Chimney Care
We believe folks throughout York County deserve the best, which is why we urge you to rely on us for all things chimney. Give us a call today to book your annual inspection. We’d love to hear from you soon!