What to Do With Fireplace Ashes?

What to Do With Fireplace Ashes?

Do you know what to do with fireplace ashes? If not, don’t worry! This complete guide will teach you everything you need to know about dealing with ash from your fireplace. We’ll answer common questions like “Can I put ashes in the trash?” and “What should I use to clean up ashes?” Plus, we’ll give you some helpful tips on how to dispose of them safely and effectively. So sit back, relax, and read on for all the information you need on this topic!

What is Wood Ash Good For?

As it turns out, wood ash can be quite useful! It can be used as a natural fertilizer for your garden, or as a gentle abrasive to clean delicate surfaces like windows and china. You can even use it to make soap! If you’re looking for ways to put your fireplace ashes to good use, read on for some helpful tips. [2]

How to Safely Remove Ash

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you know that every time you enjoy a cozy fire, you’re left with a pile of ashes. While it may seem like an easy task to simply sweep them into the trash can and be done with it, there are actually a few things you should keep in mind when removing ashes from your fireplace.

Here are a few tips on how to safely remove ash from your fireplace:

  • Use a metal shovel or poker to scoop the ashes into a metal bucket. Do not use anything made of plastic or any other flammable material.
  • Be sure that the bucket is lined with a heavy-duty garbage bag before scooping the ashes inside. This will help to prevent any mess.
  • Once the bucket is full, seal the bag and dispose of it in your outdoor trash can.
  • If there are still embers burning in the fireplace, use a metal poker to carefully extinguish them before removing any ashes.
  • Never leave ashes unattended. Always dispose of them as soon as possible. [2]

How to Safely Remove Ash

Add to Compost

One of the best things you can do with fireplace ashes is add them to your compost pile! Ashes contain high levels of potassium and other nutrients that are great for plants. Just be sure to mix the ashes thoroughly with other organic matter, such as leaves and grass clippings, before adding them to your compost bin.

If you don’t have a compost pile, you can also use ashes as fertilizer for your garden. Simply sprinkle a thin layer around your plants and water it in well. Be careful not to put too much ash on your plants, as it can burn their roots. [1]

Use as Ice Melt

One option for what to do with fireplace ashes is to use them as ice melt. This can be helpful if you live in an area with cold winters and lots of snow. Just sprinkle the ashes on your sidewalk or driveway and they will help to melt the ice.

Another benefit of using ashes as ice melt is that they are environmentally friendly. Unlike some chemical ice melts, ashes are not toxic and won’t harm plants or animals.

If you decide to use fireplace ashes as ice melt, just be sure to store them in a safe place where children and pets can’t get to them. [1]

Amend Your Soil

If your fireplace is wood-burning, you can actually use the ashes to improve your garden soil! Ashes contain potassium and other minerals that can help plants grow. Just be sure to amend your soil with caution – too much ash will make it too alkaline for some plants to thrive.

To use ashes as fertilizer, simply work them into the top few inches of soil around your plants. You can also add them to your compost pile. Just be sure not to add more than 20% ash by volume, or you risk throwing off the balance of your compost. [1]

Absorb Odors

Fireplace ashes can be used to absorb odors in your home. Simply place a bowl of ashes in the affected area and let it sit for a few hours. The ashes will help to neutralize the odor.

Another option is to make a fire ash paste. Combine equal parts of fire ash and water to form a paste. Apply the paste to areas where you notice an unpleasant odor. Let the paste dry completely before vacuuming it up. [1]

Clean Up Stains on the Driveway

If you have stains on your driveway from fireplace ashes, mix together one part ash with two parts water to form a paste. Apply the paste to the stain and scrub with a brush. Rinse with water and repeat as necessary. You can also use this method to clean up any other outdoor surfaces that have been stained by ashes.

Clean Up Stains on the Driveway

Another option is to pour a layer of ash over the stain and then hose it off. This should lift the stain from the surface. If you have a power washer, you can use that for an even deeper clean. Be sure to rinse the area well after using either of these methods so that no residue is left behind. Ash can be corrosive, so it’s important to remove it completely. [1]

Control Slugs and Snails

If you have a garden, you can use fireplace ashes to keep slugs and snails away. Just sprinkle the ashes around the base of your plants. The sharp edges will deter them from crawling over. Plus, if they do happen to touch the ashes, it will dry them out.

Another way to use fireplace ashes in the garden is to mix them with water and spray it on your plants. This creates a barrier that slugs and snails can’t cross. [1]

Make Soap

If you add ashes to lye water, you can create homemade soap. This process is called saponification and it has been used for centuries. The ashes act as a natural alkali and help to saponify the oils in the recipe. You can find numerous tutorials online for making your own soap with fireplace ashes.

Another option is to use the ashes in lieu of laundry detergent. Just add a cup or two of ash to a bucket of hot water and let it dissolve. Then, use this solution to wash your clothes as usual. The ashes will help to break down any dirt or grime on your laundry. [1]

Polish Metal

If you have a metal fireplace door or other metal accents in your fireplace, you can use the ashes to polish them. Just make sure the ashes are completely cooled before you start polishing.

To polish metal with ashes, simply rub the ash onto the metal surface in a circular motion. You can use a clean cloth or your fingers to do this. Once you’ve rubbed the entire surface with ash, use another clean cloth to buff it until it shines. [1]

Slow Algae Growth

If you have a pond in your backyard, you can actually use fireplace ashes to help control algae growth. All you need to do is sprinkle a thin layer of ashes over the surface of the water. The ashes will absorb sunlight and prevent algae from growing. Just be sure to remove the ashes before they sink to the bottom of the pond, where they could potentially harm fish or other aquatic creatures. [1]

Remove Skunk Stink

If you have a fire pit in your backyard, chances are you’ve had to deal with the occasional skunk. And if you’ve ever been the victim of a skunk spray, then you know that it can be difficult to get rid of the smell. But did you know that ashes from your fireplace can actually help remove the skunk smell? Just make sure that the ashes are completely cool before using them. [1]

Remove Skunk Stink

Clean Up Soot

The first step in knowing how to clean your fireplace is to remove the soot. Soot is a mixture of solid particles and liquids that are created when something burns. It can be very messy, and if not cleaned up properly, it can cause staining on your walls and ceiling.

There are a few different ways that you can remove soot from your fireplace:

  • Use a dry chemical sponge. This type of sponge is specifically designed to absorb soot without leaving any residue behind.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with an attachment designed for cleaning fireplaces. Be sure to empty the vacuum bag after each use.
  • Use a stiff brush to gently scrub the soot off of surfaces. Be sure to wear gloves and a dust mask to avoid breathing in the soot.

Once you have removed the soot, you can then begin cleaning the rest of your fireplace. [1]

Make Natural Bleach

You can use ashes to make a natural bleach for your laundry. Just mix two tablespoons of ashes with enough water to form a paste, then rub it into the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes before washing as usual.

If you have hard water, you can use ashes to help soften it. Just add a cup of ashes to a bucket of water and let it sit for 24 hours before using. [1]

Control Humidity

Another great way to use your fireplace ashes is to control the humidity in your home. If you live in an area with high humidity, ashes can help absorb some of that excess moisture. Just sprinkle a thin layer on top of the soil in your potted plants or garden beds. You can also put a bowl of ashes in your basement or crawl space to help keep things dry down there.

If you have a problem with too much moisture in your home, fireplace ashes can also help absorb it and improve air circulation. Put a pan of ashes near any musty-smelling areas, such as closets or storage areas, and it will help dry things out and prevent mold and mildew from growing. [1]

Deter Ants

While wood ashes can be a helpful addition to your garden, they can also attract pests like ants and termites if they’re not properly disposed of. To deter these unwanted critters, simply sprinkle some ashes around the perimeter of your home. You can also use ashes to repel slugs and snails by sprinkling them around plants that are susceptible to damage from these creatures.

Another common use for fireplace ashes is as a natural insecticide. If you have ants or other insects invading your home, sprinkle some ashes near their point of entry to discourage them from coming inside. You can also make a paste out of ashes and water to create an effective ant killer. Just be sure to keep this mixture away from pets and children. [1]

Deter Ants

Put Out Fires

If you have a fire that’s still burning, the first thing you need to do is put it out. You can use water, sand, or a fire extinguisher. Once the fire is out, you’ll need to let the ashes cool before doing anything else with them.

Another option is to use an ash vacuum. This will suck up the ashes and deposit them into a sealed container. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before using one of these vacuums, as they can be dangerous if used improperly. [1]

Keep Harmful Bugs Away

A good way to keep harmful bugs at bay is to sprinkle some ashes around your plants. This will create a barrier that pests will not cross. You can also use ashes to deter animals from digging in your garden by sprinkling it around the perimeter.

Another common use for fireplace ashes is to de-ice your driveway or sidewalk. Simply sprinkle the ashes over the ice and they will help to melt it. This is a great environmentally friendly alternative to using salt, which can damage vegetation. [2]

Add Traction to Slippery Walkways

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you know how dangerous it can be to walk on icy sidewalks and driveways. You can add traction to these areas by sprinkling fireplace ashes on them. Just be sure to do this before the next big storm hits! [2]

Soak Up Driveway Spills

If you have a spill in your driveway, sprinkle some ashes on it and let them sit for a few minutes. Then sweep them up with a broom. The ashes will absorb the oil and make cleanup much easier.

Another great use for fireplace ashes is to soak up spills around the house. Just sprinkle them on the spill, let them sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it up with a cloth or paper towel.

Fireplace ashes can also be used to clean windows. Just make a paste of ash and water and apply it to the window with a sponge or cloth. Wipe it off with a damp cloth or paper towel and your windows will be streak-free in no time! [2]

Comparison of Disposal Methods for Fireplace Ashes

Fireplace ashes are a byproduct of enjoying your fireplace, and it’s important to dispose of them properly. Below is a comparison of various methods for dealing with fireplace ashes.

Method Instructions
Landfill Disposal Bag the cool ashes in a non-combustible container. Take the container to your local landfill or transfer station. Follow their guidelines for disposal.
Compost If the ashes are purely wood-based, you can mix them with compost. They contain nutrients that can benefit your garden or plants. Use them sparingly.
Recycle If your local recycling program allows, ashes can be mixed with recyclables like glass, aluminum, and plastic for disposal. Check with your recycling center for guidelines.
Use as a Deicer Ashes can be spread on icy sidewalks or driveways as a deicer. Be cautious with this method to prevent staining and damage to surfaces.
Trash Disposal If you have no other options, bag the ashes and place them in your regular trash. Make sure the ashes are completely cool and the bag is tightly sealed.
Avoid Sewer or Septic Never dispose of ashes in your septic system or down the drain. They can clog pipes and create plumbing issues.

Explanation of the table:

  • The table provides a comparison of different methods for disposing of fireplace ashes.
  • Each method is accompanied by clear instructions on how to properly handle and dispose of ashes.
  • It is important to choose the appropriate disposal method based on local regulations and environmental considerations.


Is fireplace ash good for anything?

Fireplace ash can actually be quite useful! It can be used as fertilizer, to make soap, or even to clean your fireplace.

Is fireplace ash good for anything?

Where is the best place to dump fireplace ashes?

The best place to dump fireplace ashes is in your garden. You can use them as compost or mulch for your plants. If you have a wood-burning stove, you can also use the ashes to line the bottom of the stove.

Another option is to mix the ashes with water and make “slurry.” This can be used as a natural pesticide or herbicide. It is also effective at repelling slugs and snails. Just be sure not to pour it directly on your plants, as it can burn them.

Should I empty ashes from the fireplace?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors. For example, how often do you use your fireplace? If you only light a fire a few times per year, then it’s probably not necessary to empty the ashes after each use. However, if you’re using your fireplace on a daily basis, it’s important to remove the ashes on a regular basis.

Another factor to consider is the type of wood you’re burning. Hardwoods like oak and maple tend to produce more ash than softwoods like pine and cedar. So, if you’re burning hardwoods in your fireplace, you may need to empty the ashes more frequently.

Finally, it’s also important to think about where you’re storing the ashes. If you’re just leaving them in the fireplace, they can eventually build up and become a fire hazard. It’s best to store ashes in a metal container with a lid, away from any combustible materials.

Can you throw ashes in the garbage?

The answer to this question is a resounding NO! You should never throw fireplace ashes in the garbage. Ashes can contain embers that can stay lit for days, even weeks. If these embers get into a pile of garbage, they could easily start a fire.

Is it OK to vacuum fireplace ashes?

You might be tempted to just grab the vacuum cleaner and suck up all the ashes, but that’s actually not a good idea. The fine particles of ash can clog up your vacuum cleaner and ruin it. Not to mention, it’s just a big mess. A much better option is to use a dustpan and brush to sweep up the ashes into a garbage can.

Another option is to dampen a rag or paper towel with water and use that to pick up the ashes. This will help prevent them from flying around as you’re trying to clean them up. Just be sure to wring out the rag or paper towel before using it so that it’s not dripping wet.

How often should you empty ashes from a wood stove?

Ideally, you should empty the ashes from your wood stove every few days. If you let them build up too much, they can start to smolder and cause a fire. Plus, it’s just gross. No one wants to sit around in a room full of ashes.

If you have a lot of ash buildup, you may need to vacuum it out with a special ash vacuum cleaner. These are designed to suck up ashes without clogging the vacuum like regular vacuums would.

Can I use fireplace ashes as a natural fertilizer in my garden?

Yes, you can use fireplace ashes as a natural fertilizer in your garden. They contain valuable nutrients like potassium and calcium and can help raise soil pH. However, use them sparingly, as excessive ash can harm some plants. Mix them into the soil or compost pile for best results.

What is the best way to store and handle fireplace ashes safely?

To store and handle fireplace ashes safely, allow them to cool completely in the fireplace before removal. Use a metal container with a tight-fitting lid to store the ashes, and keep it away from flammable materials. Store the container in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture buildup.

Can fireplace ashes be used to melt ice on walkways and driveways during winter?

Yes, fireplace ashes can be used to melt ice on walkways and driveways. Sprinkle a thin layer of ashes over icy areas to provide traction and help melt the ice. However, be cautious about using too much, as it can leave a residue on surfaces.

Is it safe to dispose of fireplace ashes in a compost pile with other organic waste?

It is generally safe to dispose of fireplace ashes in a compost pile with other organic waste. Ashes can be beneficial when added in small amounts. Be cautious not to overwhelm the compost pile with too many ashes, as they are alkaline and can affect the compost’s pH balance.

Can fireplace ashes be recycled or repurposed in any other way besides gardening?

Yes, besides gardening, fireplace ashes can be used for various purposes. They can be mixed with water to create a paste for cleaning glass, metal, or silver. They can also be used in making soap, as a deodorizer, or as an ingredient in DIY cleaning products.

Is it advisable to spread fireplace ashes in the yard or garden during dry, windy conditions?

It is not advisable to spread fireplace ashes in the yard or garden during dry, windy conditions. The wind can carry ashes away, potentially causing a mess and a fire hazard. Wait for a calm day to evenly distribute the ashes in your desired areas.

Can fireplace ashes be safely used in vegetable gardens, or are there restrictions?

Fireplace ashes can be used in vegetable gardens but with some restrictions. They can raise the soil’s pH, which is beneficial for some vegetables. However, certain plants, like blueberries and potatoes, prefer acidic soil, so avoid using ashes for them. Always test your soil’s pH before adding ashes to ensure it’s appropriate for your vegetables.

Are there any safety considerations when storing fireplace ashes for disposal or repurposing?

When storing fireplace ashes for disposal or repurposing, it’s crucial to let them cool completely before handling or storing them. Use a metal container with a tight-fitting lid to prevent any residual heat or embers from escaping. Store the container away from combustible materials and moisture.

Useful Video: 10 Things You Can Do With Firewood Ash


We hope this article has helped you figure out what to do with all those ashes from your fireplace. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer them. And if you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends!

Thanks for reading! We hope this article was helpful. If you have any other questions about what to do with fireplace ashes, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer them. And if you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends! Have a great day!


  1. https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/15-surprising-things-you-can-do-with-ashes-from-your-fireplace-52476
  2. https://www.thisoldhouse.com/fireplaces/21173249/8-uses-for-wood-ash-at-home-and-in-the-garden