Here are some great uses for wood ash that you may have never known.
We all love a good fire, but what are you supposed to do with all the leftover ashes? We'll go ahead and say that the most obvious of these is to wet a wad of newspaper, dip it into the ashes, and then use it to scrub the soot build up off of the glass on the unit you're using.
After that, there are many good ways to use wood ash, especially for us outdoorsmen and women, that can go a long ways towards building some of our favorite outdoor activities and seeing them proliferate.
You can either build your supply by saving it over the winter, or use it as it comes after each fire. Since one cord of wood produces roughly seven or eight (five gallon) pails of ash, you could end up with 35 to 40 pails, but finding a way to use it should be a cinch for the outdoorsman in you.
1. Raise Soil pH
In areas that have acidic dirt, wood ash can help to raise the pH of the soil for better growth. Just spread it over the soil where your plants were growing.
2. Prevent Frost Damage
In the early fall when you've been burning wood fires before the cold weather really sets in, it is said that a coat of wood ash spread across plants can help to alleviate frost damage.
3. Compost Booster
This can be a doubly good thing since the ash can make compost piles more efficient and healthy. Plus, for those living in bear territory it can make a compost pile undesirable to foraging bruins.
4. Pest Repellent
Wood ash can be used to keep slugs and snails away from mushrooms, lettuce, and other leafy crops, and it's also a good tool to repel ants.
5. Ice Melter
Wood ash can melt ice in certain conditions. It can make a mess, but it usually works.
6. Odor Removal
From your car or truck to your hunting clothes, wood ash can remove odors that are undesirable. In a pinch, wood ash can help out a skunk-sprayed pet until you can get your hands on one of the better remedies.
7. Boost Aquatic Plants
Since wood ash is high in potassium, you can boost rooted aquatic plants in a pond which can make them more able to compete with algae.
Not only does ash work great to clean the glass on your wood stove, but it can be used in the same manner to clean cloudy headlights. It's even said to work on tarnished silver.
10. Preparing an Animal Hide
According to New Life on a Homestead, you can "mix together 1 part wood ash with 2 parts water in a livestock tank. When the wood ash dissolves in the water, a lye solution is created. Place the hide in the solution for about 48 hours to vastly loosen the hair."
Other Wood Ash Uses
It is said that wood ash can be used to make soap, preserve foods, make cement, and can even put out a fire by smothering it. It's a testament to human ingenuity that we are constantly trying to find ways to reuse things that we've already used and stretch them a little farther.
Either way, it always pays to have an open mind!
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