A Guide To What You Do With Fire Pit Ashes

Spending time around a fire pit, regardless of how many people you have with you, is an underrated activity. Stories and memories are often made when sitting inside the ring of warming flames.

One of the great benefits of fire pits is how they allow people to spend time together and have fireside chats. But today, we’re not going to try and sell out those benefits. Instead, we will focus on one topic that many people have been asking about: what to do with fire pit ashes?

Getting Rid Of Fire Pit Ashes Safely

how to dispose of fire pit ashes safely

The ashes will stay hot even after the fire is put out. Keep these tips in mind before any attempts to remove the embers and ashes from your fireplace:

Wait For 24 Hours

It takes 24 hours for fire pit ashes to fully cool. Ashes at the top of the fire pit may not be as hot as those beneath, so you should wait 24 hours before disposing of your ash.

Although ashes can be cool, they may still be warm and capable of starting a fire. Wait for 24 hours after when the ash has cooled completely before disposing of it to avoid danger.

To scoop up ashes from your fire pit, you must wait for 24 hours before stirring them with a shovel. These are safety rules that you must obey.

Try To Inspect The Ash

Waiting 24 hours, inspect the ashes to make sure they are cool inside out. Please do not touch it with your hand as its inner part may still be hot.

Spread the ashes with a metal shovel or metal poker. If they still feel hot to the touch, some smoke will result when you start to stir them.

Use A Shovel

It takes 24 hours for the ash to be cool enough. Some of the ash will still feel hot after this period. Do not use your hands to collect the ash, and you need a shovel.

You Can Then Scoop It

you can then scoop it to dispose of fire pit ashes safely

As the fire pit ashes cool, scoop them into a metal bucket. Be careful not to use a plastic bucket as it will melt and catch on fire!

After scooping it into a bucket, you have three options: discard the compost with your garbage if you don’t need to use any of it; sprinkle some on topsoil and tilling as needed. If using all or most but are unsure what to do next–leave in the bucket until then choosing how best for future gardening endeavors!

Place It In A Metal Bucket

Remember that hot ash from the fire pit is combustible, so it should never be scooped into a plastic bucket. Instead, place the ashes in metal buckets to reduce the chance of another fire as you clean up.

Store Ashes Safely

store ashes safely with black metal container

Ensure your ashes are stored and disposed of safely. It is best to place them in a metal container, which should be on concrete or brick. The container needs to be three feet from combustible surfaces. Do not store it next to any material that will burn or is combustible. It is possible that embers will still be hidden inside the ashes and may easily start a fire. It doesn’t matter if you are sure there seem to be no active embers. It is important to take care when dealing with fires.

What Should You Do With Ashes From Fire Pits?

what to do with ashes from fire pit

Boosting Soil pH

Typically, ash from fire pits is alkaline. You can use it in place of limestone to raise the pH in your soil. Ashes are also more water-soluble than lime.

Make sure your garden soil to find out if it is acidic or alkaline. A pH of 7.0 or higher is for alkaline gardens, while lower than 6.0 would be acidic. Garden soil must behave ph between 6.0 to 7.0 to grow the plant.

Because of the chemistry behind soil, some plants need varying degrees of alkalinity. When it comes to tomato-bearing plants, typically, they require a high level of potassium and calcium, which is lucky because we have wood ash that can be added for just this purpose! However, if your soil is too acidic, plant roots will be unable to absorb the nutrients they need.

Wood ashes also contain minerals such as magnesium, aluminum, sodium, and phosphorus. If you plant corn, hay, or alfalfa plants nearby – they will drink up these nutrients, but if there is a shortage of these elements in the soil – you can use wood ash to restore them.

Note: Ensure to test the soil before adding ashes to it, especially when planting acid-loving plants like rhododendrons, blueberries, and azalea. Never dump the ash in one spot, and never put it directly onto stems or plant leaves (rinse if necessary). It is important to limit misapplication by applying it on calm days with protective coverings.

Home Composting

You can add a sprinkle of ash to your indoor or outdoor compost bin/pile. A small amount with every new layer helps keep the pH level in balance and adds nutrients to “compost tea” for future plant use.

Give your garden the boost with a little ash water. Soak leftover wood ashes in water for four to five days, strain, and apply the solution directly into the soil. It doesn’t take much – just three pounds of ashes will make 30 gallons of tea for your backyard space.

Wood ash tea may benefit certain plants during their growing season. Check the soil condition before applying the tea and research the plant’s nutritional needs beforehand.

Cleaning

Wood ash is a natural cleaning agent for glass and metal. Mix with water to create a paste and paste as an abrasive cleaner on dirty glasses or buff tarnished metals. You can also remove sticky residues and adhesives using this paste.

To protect your skin, apply the paste to a cotton cloth and cover your hands with gloves.

Soap Making

One of the earliest soap-making methods was by mixing ash with water to create lye, one of the necessary components for soap. But not all ashes are created equal – it really depends on what kind you’re working with: hardwoods like beech, ash, and hickory contain enough ash to produce fairly concentrated lyes.

One option for disposal is to dispose of ashes by mixing them with lye from wood ash. The task will take more time than simply buying soap, but you can make some savings on the soap when you master the process. When making soap, put on gloves to avoid burning your hands and follow instructions from a reputable source.

Bug Repellent

The ashes of a fire pit can deter pests like slugs, snails, and ants. Spread the ashes on infested plants to keep them safe and around your home to protect them from pests. Reapply every time there is rain.

Anti-Slip and Spill-Absorbent on Walkways

Used wood ash can be used on slippery surfaces like snow-covered driveways or streets. Wood ash is essentially just excellent sand with no chemical additives that might harm the environment. It makes much sense to use it instead of actual sand due both to convenience and cost savings.

You can keep the ashes in a ziplock bag in your vehicle and use it when you need traction on an icy road or sidewalk. Be sure to take your shoes off when you return home; otherwise, ash will get tracked into the house.

I spilled something on my driveway that could stain it, like the oil from a car. I can use wood ash to absorb the spillage. The dark asphalt will mask the color of the ash so I can sweep up all of it after it absorbs what’s on my driveway.

Fire-extinguisher

And last, you may employ ash as an airtight barrier to extinguish fires. You’ll need a lot of ashes for more intense fires, but you might have enough to put out a campfire. If you have no flame extinguisher or anything such as sand readily available on the achieve, you can use ashes to combat this threat.

Other Uses For Wood Ashes

other uses for wood ashes

Hide Paint Stains On Pavements

We often see people wondering about what to do with the ashes of a fire pit. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do with it! You can sprinkle it on wet paint spots on roads and sidewalks when you find them. Scrape the ash off your boots onto these wet areas as well for maximum absorption.

Control Pond Algae

Add 1 tablespoon of ash to 1,000 gallons of water to increase the potassium levels and slow algae production. This will also effectively nourish other aquatic plants in your pond.

Absorb Odors

Wood ash has qualities similar to baking soda, which can absorb moisture. Rub some cool wood ash on your pet’s fur to remove the smell of skunk spray. You may also place a small bowl filled with ash inside your fridge to reduce odors inside.

Make Natural Bleach

Again, if you mix the ash with water, it creates a lye. You can use this as a natural bleach solution. Adding one cup of lye to the laundry in place of a bleaching agent accomplishes the same purpose for your laundry.

Dustbath For Poultry

chicken dustbath for poultry

The best way to keep your chickens healthy is by adding wood ash in their dust bath. This helps get rid of pesky fleas and other insects on the chicken’s body, which means less scratching!

Chicken Feed Supplement

Roaming chickens are naturally attracted to ash. Feeding them a small amount of ash can deliver nutrients, such as calcium and potassium, which may stimulate egg production and lessen the smell from their droppings.

Control Humidity

Ashes can be reused in different ways, including for a makeshift dehumidifier. Put the ashes into a container and place it in one corner of a damp basement or bathroom with poor/no ventilation. As the ashes absorb moisture from that room, they will prevent mold growth as well.

Prevent Plant Frost Damage

To prevent frost damage to plants, dust them with wood ash before an early light frost starts. The mineral salts contained in the ashcan decrease the freezing point of water without causing any harm to your plant.

Flea Treatment For Cats And Dogs

The ash from a wood fire is chock full of minerals that are really good for pet flea control. When mixed in with your pet’s coat, the particles help cut through the flea’s skin and dehydrate them, killing them after about 24 hours.

How to Use Cold Ash from Your Fire Pit in Your Garden

how to use fire pit ashes in your garden

Sprinkle Some Ash on Your Lawn

To get the most out of your fire pit, sprinkle some ashes on your lawn. You will be providing a healthy growth environment for grass and clover.

Apply It To Your Tomatoes

You can scatter any ashes around your tomato plants, but it is more beneficial to make a teabag. To make it, pour 5 pounds of ashes inside a permeable cloth like cheesecloth or muslin bag. Once done pouring in them, dip that cloth inside an empty trash can filled with water and leave it there for four days before removing it from the container. Apply this tea to any tomato plant you have nurturing to make tomatoes grow healthy.

Use It To Balance Acidic Soil

Firepit ashes are alkaline in nature. If you have acidic soil, this would be a good time to dilute the pH by adding some ash to it.

However, before you add wood ash to the soil, make sure that it is acidic. If it is not acid yet, adding ash will only make the soil more alkaline and kill your crops.

Use Fire Pit Ashes To Repel Slugs And Snails

There are a lot of benefits to ash in gardening, including that it is a desiccant. This means that anything the ashes come into contact with loses water. Snails and slugs are always liquid-filled and slimy.

Ashes can kill snails and slugs, so sprinkling ash around your garden will keep them away from your vegetables to make sure they are safe.

Fire Pit Safety Tips

fire pit safety tips

Clean Your Fire Pit Regularly

Leaving any other material apart from wood in your fire pit will ruin the quality of burning. This is why it needs to be cleaned regularly. It would be best if you cleaned off the ash and soot after every time you use it. This doesn’t have to be right away; you can wait before cleaning it off.

Before you start cleaning the fire pit and its surroundings wait at least 24 hours. This is necessary to ensure nothing starts up another fire if one flying ember lands on something dry, like a leaf.

Coat The Stones

You can extend the life of your fire pit by coating its stones with a heat-resistant sealant to protect them from high temperatures.

Never Use Plastic As Fuel

The fuel for a fire pit differs depending on the user’s preferences, but plastic is an item that is often used because it burns very quickly. Plastic only gives off heat and one type of light when it starts to burn- there is no accompanying flame or visible smoke. This means that once your pile of plastic has burned away, your fire pit will go out as well.

Secondly, it is difficult to remove the remnants of burnt plastic from the ashes. It does not turn into an ash-like form, and instead, most plastics are made up of certain chemicals that are released when burnt into the surrounding air. These may be harmful to your health as well as your family members.

For this reason, we advise you to avoid using accelerates. They will do more harm than good for you and your fire pit.

Please do not burn anything other than wood in your fire pit. Wet woods take a long time to reach the high heat point and create lots of smoke, making it difficult to control the flame.

Stop Putting Out The Fire In The Fire Pit by Pouring Water

We really don’t advise you to extinguish your fire pit with water. The sudden change in the temperature of the fire will destroy the material over time. At that same time, we understand that there may be times when you don’t have the time to let your fire pit cool on its own.

That’s why we are saying that dousing occasionally is okay – but try not to do so all the time! Here is a helpful tip: Don’t add any more wood one hour before you want to put out the fire.

In about 30 minutes, you can use your shovel to scoop some wood chunks for later use. If you reduce the amount of wood in the fire, it will weaken considerably and be more likely to end spontaneously.

Always Put Out The Fire

Once your fire is out, please don’t leave it unattended. Plan on what you’re going to do with the ashes ahead of time and make sure they are disposed of properly so there are no dangerous mishaps.

Get A Screen Or A Spark Guard

Another problem with a fire pit is the wood embers. Depending on the size of the flames, wood ashes can fly 20 feet and continue to burn wherever they land if enough combustible material is present.

The wind can even take them further, too! That’s why we recommend covering your fire pit with either screens or spark guards to reduce this risk as much as possible so that safety precautions are taken care of before anything bad happens.

In Summary

It would be best if you didn’t think of wood fire ashes as a useless by-product. Instead, they can be put to a variety of purposes to make them worthwhile. You could use these ashes in the garden or your home, for example, or even in survival situations where you seal wounds with it and heal yourself from infections. So, get into the habit of storing and using your wood fire ashes!

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