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How to Re-Use Wood Ash

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 24 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Wood Ash Salt Grit Icy Nutrient Compost

If you use a wood stove or have a fire, you may often find that you have bins full of wood ash. Rather than throwing it out, you could put it to good use.


Wood ash can be used in a similar way to salt or grit to stop pavements and drives from being too slippery. Just sprinkle it over the icy area like you would with grit and salt. Sprinkling wood ash can be a bit messy so make sure you stand away from the way the wind is blowing or you could find yourself covered in dark ash.

Using Wood Ash in the Garden

Many keen gardeners add wood ash to their soil because it contains nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and phosphorous. The ash from different types of wood produces variations in the soil nutrient amounts. It can help to raise the alkaline in your soil.

Plants which benefit from wood ash include perennials, fruit trees, vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli and bulbs. Mix wood ash through the soil.

You should avoid using wood ash near plans such as rhododendrons, conifers, junipers and azaleas.

It is recommended that you add around a shovel’s worth of wood ash per square metre of soil. Mix it in a little so that the ash doesn’t blow around too much. Wood ash can also be added to compost heaps. The wood ash adds nutrients and can also prevent the pile from smelling too much. Add the ash in thin layers so that it mixes through with the compostable materials.Don’t add any ash to your garden that has been generated from burning coal or burning wood that has been treated with any chemicals, stain or paint. The chemicals could damage your plants.

Wood ash can also be used to keep some garden pests at bay. Sprinkle the ash around the types of plants which slugs and snails are fond of. You’ll need to re-sprinkle the wood ash each time it rains.

Stain Remover

A wood ash paste can remove stains from furniture. You can make a paste by mixing the ash with water, then just rub it onto the blemished spot. Shine up using furniture polish. It’s especially good for marks on wood such as water rings. It can also be used to clean materials such as glass, brass and silver. Simply dip a damp rag into the ash, rub and then polish up.

Clean Up Spillages

If you happen to have a mishap and spill paint on a hard floor, wood ash can help you get the paint up. Pour a generous amount of wood ash onto the paint spillage and allow some time for it to soak up the paint. Sweep up the ash and most of the wet paint should come with it. The paint will probably still leave a stain which you’ll need to remove by other means.


Many people use lumps of charcoal from burning wood to dehumidify spaces in the home which are prone to having a damp atmosphere. Simply place the charcoal in a jar with holes punched in the lid and then leave it in places such as cellars and laundry rooms.

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