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Old Smokey's Fireplace & Chimney's Blog

The Many Uses of Fireplace Ash

Do you clean out your fireplace periodically? If you do, you’ve probably noticed that you have a lot of wood ash that you need to dispose of. However, before you decide to just throw your ash out with the garbage, did you know that there are many useful ways you can use your fireplace ash around the home and garden? At Old Smokey’s, we love to be resourceful and we want to share with you some of the neat things that we like to do with our fireplace ash.


Ash can be messy, so you would never think that ash could be used for cleaning, right? However, if used in the correct way, wood ash has a variety of household cleaning uses. In fact, some of the first soaps made about 5000 years ago were made from ash! You can make your own soap by extracting lye from wood ash and mixing it with animal or vegetable fats and letting it dry. You can learn how to make your own soap here.

Wood ash is also a mild abrasive used to polish silver, metal, or glass. Just add a little water to some ash to form a thick paste and let it set a few minutes. You will then have a polish you can use to clean your silverware, windows, and other metal items.

A few other cleaning uses of ash include using it as a deodorizer or as a driveway stain remover. To deodorize your refrigerator or a smelly room, just set out a small bowl of wood ash and it will absorb odors. If you have oil stains on you cement, just sprinkle some wood ash on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes and sweep up.

Lawn and Garden

Another popular use of fireplace ash is for lawn and garden applications. Firewood ash contains large amounts of calcium carbonate, meaning that it has a high pH. Working firewood ash into garden beds neutralizes acidic soil. Ash should be spread at about 25 pounds per 1,000 square feet of soil. You can also use it on your lawn by sprinkling it on your grass right before watering. While this is great for most plants, some plants like blueberries, peppers, and azaleas prefer acidic soil, so don’t use it where you are growing these types of plants.

You can also use wood ash as a calcium and phosphorus amendment to the soil surrounding plants that are deficient in these nutrients. You can either sprinkle small amounts of ash around your plants, or you can fill a 50-gallon barrel with water and put five pounds of ash wrapped in a pillowcase (or something similar) in the barrel. Let this steep for several days and you will have a wonderful nutrient-rich tea for your plants. Just pour a cup around the base of the plant once a week.

We love being resourceful at Old Smokey’s and think it’s wonderful when we can reduce waste. Remember that you should only use wood ash from untreated firewood. Although all types of wood ash are beneficial, in general, hardwoods offer more nutrients for garden use. If you want to know more about fireplace ash, or are in need of a spring cleaning, call Old Smokey’s at 260-424-0009, or schedule an appointment online.

Beautify the Facing of Your Fireplace with Paine ‘N’ Peel

We all like a facelift now and then. Some Hollywood celebrities spend big bucks for theirs. Some of us are more modest about it, concentrating on skin care or conditioning.  What about your beautify-your-fireplace-with-paint-n-peel-img-fort-wayne-mi-old-smokeys-fireplace-and-chimney-w800-h597fireplace? Your fireplace is an integral part of your home’s décor, and perhaps a facelift for your fireplace is in order.

What could a fireplace facelift possibly consist of?

Old Smokey’s Fireplace & Chimney recommends a dose of Paint ‘N’ Peel Fireplace Cleaner. Paint ‘N’ Peel is a water-based cleaning material for your fireplace. It is effective at removing unsightly smoke, soot, creosote and dirt stains from masonry fireplace fronts and hearths.

Try it. You’ll like it.

Paint ‘N’ Peel requires no additional water for application or removal. It is simple to use.

Old Smokey’s is happy to do it for you, provide guidance, monitor the results, coach you, advise you, assist you or consult with you in any manner, shape or form.

Here are some tips off the top of our Old Smokey’s heads.

Brush Paint ‘N’ Peel onto your fireplace surface. Let it dry. Then peel it off. Presto! Cleano!

Perhaps you would be most comfortable to have Old Smokey’s Fireplace & Chimney take an honest and professional look at the condition of your fireplace before you undertake any Paint ‘N’ Peel operations. We are always glad to do that. We will tell you where you stand in terms of the condition of your fireplace — and recommend any repairs, renovation or maintenance, including cleaning.

Paint ‘N’ Peel can be used to clean nearly all masonry surfaces, whether indoors or outdoors, textured or smooth brick, stone, marble, granite, slate, tile, concrete, mortar or limestone. (Whew! That’s a lot of fireplace variety!) When applied at 1/8″ – 3/16″ thickness, Paint ‘N’ Peel can cover approximately 40 to 80 square feet per gallon, depending on the texture and density of the surface. At 1/8″ – 3/16″ thickness, Paint ‘N’ Peel takes about 4 to 12 hours to dry completely, depending on environmental conditions.

It’s an investment in time and money that is worth it. Think of it as a beautification project or home enhancement or decorative improvement. A little effort pays big dividends.

As we said, we encourage you to call. If you do not want to get your hands dirty, call on Old Smokey’s. Our phones are handy. Call Old Smokey’s at 260-424-0009 or 800-876-6539 to chat about fireplace cleaning or click here to schedule an appointment.

And of course either in the heat of summer or the coolness of fall, it makes solid sense to do your maintenance now before your fireplace and chimney are in full operational mode in the middle of winter.

Engage Old Smokey’s professionals. We are proud of the trained craftsmen who make up our team. For 20-plus years, Old Smokey’s has delivered excellence to homeowners in northern Indiana, northern Ohio and mid-Michigan. Folks from Elkhart in the west to Ypsilanti in the east, from Lansing in the north to Defiance and Fort Wayne in the south know Old Smokey’s. We’d like to know you.

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