Countless times each winter we hear about homes catching fire due to improper disposal ashes into cardboard boxes or paper grocery bags. Coals stay hot for days when insulated by ash, and all it takes is a breeze, uncovered ashes and a hot coal or two that destroys wooden decks and the homes they're attached to. A metal ash container and tight fitting lid is the safe way to store ashes until final disposal in your garden. 

One cord of wood will create about 50 pounds of ash. Here are some uses for wood ash so you can recycle and use them around your home and garden. 


  • Wood ash contains lye, which is used to make lye soap. 
  • Make a paste from ash & water, and use it to clean glass fireplace doors. 
  • Wood ash can be rubbed over metal to polish it. 
  • It can also remove moisture rings from most wood surfaces. 
  • When your dog has been sprayed by a skunk, a little ash rubbed into its coat will help neutralize the smell 


  • Since wood ash contains calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous, it makes a very good (0-2-10) fertilizer. 
  • When applied near the roots of calcium-loving tomatoes, wood ash also helps plump up the fruit. Add 1/4 cup right into the hole when planting the tomato plant. 
  • Roses, lilacs and clematis enjoy a dose of ash in the soil, too 
  • Sprinkled around the perimeter of your garden, wood ash will deter snails and slugs because ash sticks to their bodies as they crawl through it, and dries them up. 
  • Sprinkle a light dusting of ashes when layering compost materials 
  • Wood ash sprinkled on ice and snow will cause them to melt. 
  • When sprinkled under your tires, wood ash provides traction. It can also be used in place of salt as a more environmentally friendly way to clear your sidewalk 
  • Add 1 tablespoon of ash per 1000 gallons of pond water to help reduce algae 
  • We purposely make ash all summer in our firepit and fill large containers to create dusbathing areas for our chickens; wood ash fends off parasites and keeps their skin and feathers healthy