How To Dispose Of Your Wood Ashes

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, insert or heating stove, you undoubtedly have ashes to get rid of. Cleaning and ridding your fireplace of ashes isn’t a challenging task, but there are some tips and tricks that can help you to properly care for your fireplace and put all of those ashes to good use.

Tips for clearing away fireplace ashes.

Clearing away fireplace ashes seems easy enough, but there are some things you should know before you begin shoveling and sweeping ashes. First, it’s actually best to keep a bed of ashes, about 1 inch deep, in your fireplace during the fire-burning season. The cushion of ashes will insulate your fire to help it warm and grow faster. At the end of the season, however, your firebox should be thoroughly cleared of ashes. The ashes can retain moisture and cause metal firebox components to rust.

Ashes also are highly acidic in nature, and they can degrade your firebox if they are left standing for too long. When you are ready to clear away ashes, the first step is to make sure the ash bed has cooled completely. It’s best to wait at least 24 hours after a fire has burned out, as hot embers can hide within the ashes. Use a metal shovel to scoop ashes into a metal bucket. The bucket should have a tight-fitting lid, as any smoldering ashes or embers can emit carbon dioxide, posing a hazard. After you are confident that the ashes are complete cooled and free of burning embers within the ash bucket, they are ready for disposal.

Tips for ash disposal.

Your bagged ashes can go right in with your regular garbage, but you can put those ashes to good use! Ashes are a gardener’s dream. Great for plants that love calcium, like tomatoes, and they can be turned directly into the soil during planting. Ashes also can form a barrier from slugs and snails around plants; just sprinkle your ashes in a ring around your plants, and any slimy pests can’t inch over the rough ashes.

Ashes have uses beyond the garden, as well. During the winter, ashes can be sprinkled on ice to encourage melting, or sprinkled on driveways to increase tire traction. They can be scrubbed into cement walks and driveways to hide stains, and they can deodorize a stinky pet. With their abrasive nature, ashes can be mixed with water to scrub the glass on fireplace doors or even to polish silver. If you’re an ambition do-it-yourselfer, you can even use your fireplace ashes to make your own soap!

And don’t forget your annual cleaning!

As you clear away ashes for the spring, don’t forget about your annual chimney sweeping and inspection! Spring is the perfect time to have your fireplace cleaned for the year. Call Your Chimney Sweep to schedule an appointment; we’ll sweep away all of the soot and ashes to keep your fireplace clean and safe from ash-induced damage.