There are some things you just need to get rid of when you’re done using them. When you open a can of vegetables or fruit, go ahead and throw the can in the recyclables. There are no good uses for used automobile oil; you just need to dispose of it. When you clean the lint tray in your dryer, you probably just throw it away even though there are some pretty creative ideas of what you can do with dryer lint. Once you eat a banana, you should just throw away the peel. You may think that another item to throw away is fireplace ash, but you might want to think again about that decision. There are several things that you can do with those ashes that are useful to you or even to the environment!
Using Your Ashes in the Garden
If you’re a gardener, ashes can serve several purposes. Ashes contain several minerals that can help with plant health. Some of these are calcium, potassium, and other trace minerals. It can also replace limestone as a way to raise the pH of acidic soil. Because they are water soluble, ashes make the change in the pH balance occur more quickly. However, it is important to test your soil before adding ashes. If you are planting acid-friendly plants, you won’t want to add ashes to the soil. Another thing that ashes can do is repel slugs. Since slugs’ bodies are slimy, they are irritated by wood ash, helping keep them away from your garden.
There are also several ways that ashes can be used around the house. You can use ash to polish silver or other precious metals by mixing four tablespoons of baking soda with two cups of powdery wood ash and a little water. Just dip a sponge into this mixture and rub it in until the silver is clean and shiny.
Ashes can also be used as bleaching agent for your clothes when you use it on its own. When it’s mixed with water, it makes a type of lye water. When this is mixed with fats, it will create a soap-like substance that you can use as laundry soap. Just make sure that you use only the finest powdery white or gray ash when you use it as bleach. Put the ashes in a bucket, then pour very hot rain water over the ashes – about one part ashes to four parts water. Stir it up and then let the ashes settle. Once the ash has settled to the bottom, you can use the resulting clear liquid as a bleaching agent in a hot wash cycle.
Call for an Inspection and Cleaning
It’s great to reuse ashes after you clean out your fireplace for the summer, but don’t forget: call Firesafe Chimney Services when it’s time for your annual fireplace inspection and cleaning.