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.