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Archena 06-28-2008 09:35 AM

Potential Uses for Wood Ash
I'd like to say I'm a conscientious recycler who is trying to do her bit to save the planet but the truth is I'm cheap. If I have a lot of something that I can use for something else I'd rather do that than buy something to do the other job. Over the summer I'll be doing a lot of grilling which will result in a lot of wood ash. My garden has had its fill for the next couple years so I'm looking for additional uses.

I won't be building my oven for a few more months at least - my move got postponed (although is quite possibly the result of a blessing in a big way!) so insulation is out for now. I found an article that says wood ash shows promise as a means to control odor in compost but I'm thinking that in a small garden like mine this may not be a good plan for the long term. But it got me thinking - if it can control compost odor (the article said they'd had good results) why not give litter odor a try? I'll be experimenting with that - wood ash being free beats out baking soda assuming it works adequately.

So that's what I've got thus far. Anybody got any other ideas?

thebadger 06-28-2008 10:46 AM

Re: Potential Uses for Wood Ash
Definitely not an expert but I've noticed my wife has been "stealing" my wood ash to user in her compost bin.

Not sure of the ratio/benefits but I'm sure another FB member can help out.


Archena 06-28-2008 11:10 AM

Re: Potential Uses for Wood Ash
Cool. I'm scared I'll overdo it and raise the Ph to hideous levels. Hope someone can help out on the ratios.

jengineer 06-28-2008 08:16 PM

Re: Potential Uses for Wood Ash
Make soap .

Archena 06-28-2008 09:45 PM

Re: Potential Uses for Wood Ash
2 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by jengineer (Post 36136)
Make soap .

Good idea! Attachment 7831

Hey, wait a minute - are you trying to tell me something? Attachment 7832

brokencookie 06-28-2008 09:50 PM

Re: Potential Uses for Wood Ash

Soil amendment for bulk agricultural applications
Soil amendment for bagged horticultural applications. Compost, odor and slug control.

Mine tailing rehabilitation-alkaline wood ash neutralizes acidic mine tailings and adds fertilizer values promoting growth and rehabilitation.
Groundwater Remediation

Site remediation of contaminated soils. Wood ash is installed strategically adjacent to the contaminated area. Groundwater flows through the wood ash facilitating contaminate removal.

Wastewater Management

Treatment of pulp, food processing, and municipal wastewater.


Assists in the production of compost with biomass, manure or municipal sludge Controls odor and acts as a bulking agent.
Mineral Extraction

Mineral extraction in gold circuits (carbon in pulp, carbon in leach, heap leach).
Oil and Acid Spill Cleanup

Good absorption qualities, suitable for acidic and oil spill clean up.

Wood Ash when sold as a soil amendment is approved for use under Ontario Ministry of Environment and Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulations.

Other applications may require permitting subject to location and provincial/state regulations. Transportation is readily available via transport or rail.


Use wood ashes to:

1. De-skunk pets. A handful rubbed on Fido's coat neutralizes the lingering odor.

2. Hide stains on paving. This Old House technical editor Mark Powers absorbs wet paint spatters on cement by sprinkling ash directly on the spot; it blends in with a scuff of his boot,

3. Enrich compost. Before the organic compound get applied to soil, enhance its nutrients by sprinkling in a few ashes, says the host of radio's You Bet Your Garden, Mike McGrath. Adding too much, though, ruins the mix.

4. Block garden pests. Spread evenly around garden beds, ash repels slugs and snails.

5. Melt ice. TOH building editor Tom Baker finds it adds traction and de-ices without hurting soil or concrete underneath.

6. Control pond algae. One tablespoon per 1,000 gallons adds enough potassiumm to strengthen other aquatic plants that compete with algae, slowing its growth,

7. Pump up tomatoes. For the calcium-loving plants, McGrath places 1/4 cup right in the hole when planting,

8. Clean glass fireplace doors. A damp sponge dipped in the dust scrubs away sooty residue.

9. Make soap. Soaking ashes in water makes lye, which can be mixed with animal fat and then boiled to produce soap. Salt makes it harden as it cools.

10. Shine silver. A paste of ash and water makes a dandy nontoxic metal polisher.


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