One of the advantages of installing a door on the fireplace is being able to better control the waste generated. Soot, ashes, and wood residues are contained inside the fireplace, either at its base or in the lower tray if available. As a general rule, these residues are collected and disposed of in the trash. But did you know that wood ash can be reused? Here are some of the uses you can give to the ash and soot from your fireplace when cleaning, both at home and in agriculture and industry.
Eco-friendly fertilizer in gardens and orchards
Wood ash contains nutrients that can fertilize the soil in gardens and orchards. The percentage of these nutrients will largely depend on the type of wood used for the fireplace, but it is an excellent fertilizer for plants, especially if the soil is acidic or clayey. If the soil is alkaline, it is not recommended to add ash as it will make it even more alkaline.
The amount of ash that can be added to the soil depends on its characteristics. To achieve a greener lawn, sprinkle a small amount over the entire surface, while for an orchard, add between one and three handfuls per square meter, carefully mixing it and using this soil for the top layer of the crop.
When it comes to natural waste, ash is an ecological fertilizer that does not contain any type of chemical compound. However, it is important that the fireplace has been fed with firewood, not treated wood or coal for barbecues. This type of fuel contains toxic residues that can poison the soil instead of nourishing it.
Repellent and pest control in plants
Instead of using pesticides in the garden, you can take advantage of ash to keep insect pests, especially snails, at bay. Ash extracts water from insects and dehydrates them, so if you sprinkle ash around your plants, you can control them. When the ash gets wet, you just need to replenish it with dry ash to maintain the effects.
Homemade soap making
Wood ash can be used in the manufacturing of homemade soap due to its potassium content, a chemical compound rich in potassium.
By mixing wood ash with water, you obtain an alkaline solution called ash lye, which is essential for the saponification process.
When combining ash lye with fats or oils and heating the mixture, a chemical reaction occurs that produces solid soap. This type of soap, besides being environmentally friendly, is useful for general cleaning and can be a sustainable alternative to commercial soaps.
Can treat wastewater
Another use of ash is that it can be used in wastewater treatment due to its adsorption capacity and alkaline properties. Ash acts as a neutralizing agent for acidity and an absorbent for contaminants, such as heavy metals and organic compounds. By adding wood ash to wastewater, precipitates are formed that trap contaminants, allowing for their subsequent separation and removal. This method is considered an economical and ecological alternative compared to other conventional chemical treatments, contributing to the reduction of the environmental impact caused by water pollution.
Eliminate odors with fireplace ash
Although it may seem incredible, the use of fireplace ash can be used as a natural odor absorber, due to its ability to neutralize acids and adsorb volatile organic compounds. This deodorizing effect is due to the presence of alkaline minerals in the ash, such as calcium carbonate and potassium oxide.
To take advantage of its properties, wood ash can be spread in areas prone to unpleasant odors, such as trash cans, pet litter boxes, or even in compost. Furthermore, it is an ecological and economical alternative to chemical deodorants, thus reducing the use of potentially harmful substances to the environment.
Clean windows and metals
Would you have imagined the number of uses that fireplace ashes can have? Well, here are more! It can be used as an effective cleaner for windows and metals, thanks to its gentle abrasive nature and alkaline properties.
Your ability to remove dirt, stains, and rust residue makes it an ecological and economical choice compared to commercial cleaning products.
To use ashes for cleaning glass and metal, you can mix them with a little water to form a paste. Then, apply the paste to the surface to be cleaned, rub it with a soft cloth, and rinse with water. This method allows you to obtain clean and shiny surfaces while minimizing the environmental impact.
Manufacturing cement and mortar
Ashes can be recycled and turned into a construction material. They can be used to fill cracks in tiles and other ceramic materials, as well as for reinforcing building mortars and cements.
It may be difficult for you to imagine that an organic waste like wood ash can be used for this, but when burned, it turns into mineral compounds that can make foundations and mortars stronger. This use is still under development and is not widely used, but the results are so positive that the utilization of ash for this purpose is gradually spreading.
Other uses of ash
There are other industrial uses to take advantage of ash. For example, experiments are being conducted to enable the reuse of oil spills once they are collected.
Using wood ash as a fertilizer or in construction means that when analyzing the pros and cons of wood-burning stoves, this waste is no longer a problem but something you can benefit from.
It is also useful as a natural deodorant, acid neutralizer in soils and compost, a mineral source for animals, improves soil in forestry, can be used as a natural dye in the textile industry, and even as an algae control in ponds and fountains.
After reading this article from HotFireDoor, you will think twice about throwing barbecue or fireplace ash in the trash.