12 Brilliant Ways To Repurpose Wood Ash Around The Home

Ridley's Wreckage

Everyone loves a good bonfire in the summer. We have our outdoor fire pit going all summer long into the beginning of winter. Lots of s’mores, cookouts, and memories were made in that pit. It’s one of our favorite places to be, right up until the snow flies. Thanks to all our time spent outdoors and roasting marshmallows, we have an abundance of ash generated by our many fires.

Repurposing Wood Ash Around The HomePhoto byR.Gerner/ Canva

There are so many uses for "clean" ash that can be utilized around the home, garden, and chicken coop. When I say "clean," I mean the ash generated from burning "clean" wood. You don’t want to use the wood ash from anything that has been chemically or pressure-treated, painted or stained, or from commercial products like slow-burn logs.

Here are just a few of my favorite ways to repurpose or recycle wood ash: 

1. Add Some To Your Chicken’s Dust Bath: The charcoal or ash will help to suffocate external parasites such as lice, fleas, ticks, and mites.

Repurposing Wood Ash Around The HomePhoto byR.Gerner/Canva

2. Add to your feed as a supplement. It will help flush toxins from the body, may assist in expelling internal parasites, and acts like a laxative. Wood ash is abundant in nutrients such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Adding just 1-2% of wood ash to your chicken feed can improve your lay rates and even extend laying periods. Ingesting wood ash can also help blood clot thanks to the vitamin K found in the ash. It could help combat or reverse the effects of Coumadin in rat poison.

3. Great for Healing Wounds: Antibacterial qualities are found in wood ash. This can help keep a wound from becoming infected. When applied topically, it will also help stop a wound from bleeding.

4. Odor Neutralizer: Much like baking soda, wood ash is alkaline, so it makes a great odor neutralizer and reduces the humidity levels in the coop. Sprinkle your wood ash all over the floors for an odor-free zone.

Repurposing Wood Ash Around The HomePhoto byR.Gerner/Canva

5. Make the Smell of Your Chicken Poo "Not So Horrendous": When you add a 1-2% ratio of charcoal to your feed, it helps to prevent ammonia from occurring, which in turn leads to more ammonia-free output from your chicks.

6. Add a Chunk of Charcoal to Your Waterer: This will help prevent algae and bacteria from forming, filter out impurities, and add minerals to your water. Replace as needed.

7. Garden Fertilizer: Wood ash is plant-based, so it contains lots of nutrients that plants need to grow. Ash is made up of 10–25% calcium, 1-4% magnesium, 5–15% potassium, and 1-3% phosphorus (depending on the type of wood burned; hard woods like cedar, oak, and maple have five times more nutrients than softwoods like pine and balsa). This ash fertilizer makes a good supplement for flowering shrubs and vines such as clematis and lilacs, as well as flowers like peonies. Warning: Don’t just spread wood ash all over your garden. Do a soil test prior to covering; most gardens like a ph of 6.8–7.2, and adding wood ash will raise the alkalinity of the soil.

8. A Great Addition to Neutralize Acidic Soil: Wood ash has similar properties to lime. Since it’s alkaline, it will help neutralize acidic soil. It’s great to use on crops that enjoy "sweet" or non-acidic soil, such as beets, melons, lavender, rosemary, and thyme. Your acid-loving plants, such as azaleas, berries, rhododendron, cilantro, strawberries, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, garlic, parsley, and pumpkins, will not appreciate the addition of wood ash, so just keep it for those plants that enjoy the "sweet" soil.

9. Give your calcium-loving plants a boost: beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, peas, potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes will all enjoy a boost of calcium from a sprinkle of wood ash.

10. Deters Slugs and Snails: Add wood ash around the base of your plants to deter these nasty creatures from visiting.

11. A Fantastic Eco-Friendly Ice and Snow Melt: Wood ash contains potassium carbonate or potash (a type of salt), so it’s great for melting snow on walkways, steps, and driveways. It’s safe for your pets, plants, and grass and doesn’t corrode like rock salt.

12. Works to De-Skunk Pets: Using your hands, rub some ash into your pet's coat, and it will help to neutralize the skunky smell. Let it sit to absorb the stink, and then wash.

Repurposing Wood Ash Around The HomePhoto byR.Gerner/ Canva

So before you throw away that bucket of wood ash or toss it into the woods, look around your home and garden, and I’m sure you will find a multitude of uses for it. The best part is that it didn’t cost a thing!

References Adapted By:

Build a BETTER Dust Bath for your Chickens. (n.d.). Build a BETTER Dust Bath for Your Chickens - Fresh Eggs Daily® With Lisa Steele. https://www.fresheggsdaily.blog/2014/06/build-better-dust-bath-for-your-chickens.html

Using wood ash in the garden | A Fruitful Discussion. (2020, December 29). Using Wood Ash in the Garden | a Fruitful Discussion. https://site.extension.uga.edu/fannin-gilmer/2020/12/using-wood-ash-in-the-garden/

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Hello! Freelance blogger and videographer here! I love to refurbish furniture, show my creative side with cooking and crafts, and love to talk about my homestead and hobby farm. Follow me for flipping furniture inspiration and techniques, DIY craft projects, homestyle cooking with easy to follow recipes and some great gardening and animal husbandry tips!

Red Creek, NY

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