Do you like the pleasant smell and the feeling of warmth from your stove or fireplace? And what do you do with the ashes? Did you know that they still have a lot to offer and that their path does not end there? Obviously, it all depends on the wood you burn – because it is indeed ash from the combustion of wood and not pellets for example. Prefer hardwoods (beech, oak, ash, fruit trees) because they are less resinous.
If you use products like newsprint, cardboard boxes, you may not be able to recycle your ashes. Whereas if you use natural materials like leaves, sawdust, dry fine branches, then nothing prevents you from using your ashes in the following various applications. These were solutions that were once widespread, and today we need to rediscover them.
1 – Fireplace ash recycled in laundry, washing-up liquid and for the floor
To create a lye for hand washing, mix a quart of cold water with eight tablespoons of ash. Leave on for several hours. After six hours, the pH of your solution increases and should be between 8.5 and 9. Then separate the ash that has settled in sediment from the rest of the solution. The liquid you get can be used as laundry detergent, dish soap or a mild detergent. To obtain a powerful detergent with a pH close to 11 or 12, let it act much longer. Do not exceed twenty hours or if you do, be sure to measure the pH using a dipstick that you immerse in the solution. Because if the pH is greater than 12, you risk burns. For your own safety and for the best washing results, it is therefore advisable to check the pH value with test strips. If the pH value is too high, you can lower it by diluting with plenty of water.
It is best to prepare small amounts of the detergent solution to get a feel for the optimal dosage and to use a container that is safe and can be locked for storage.
Thorough wiping or rinsing is always recommended after cleaning. You can put the remaining ash back into the container once more with fresh water. Leached and dried ashes can still be used as fertilizer.
2 – Chimney ash recycled into natural fertilizer
Wood ash can be used to improve and soften a rather acidic soil thanks to its ingredients such as potassium and lime. With deeper and wider root growth, plants have better access to nutrients, which leads to healthy growth.
3 – Recycled chimney ash as a repellent against vegetable garden pests
Ash is suitable for controlling pests in your garden. Scattering a thin layer of wood ash around the plant helps control pests in your vegetable patch. There are other natural alternatives to conventional sprays that can help you get rid of aphids. Ash can help you get rid of weeds. If dandelions, thistles, nettles get out of hand, instead of using harsher herbicides, from an ecological point of view, it is better to use ash.
4 – Recycled chimney ash as a scouring product
Ash is an excellent, gentle scouring agent with high grease dissolving power that effectively cleans all of your stainless steel utensils and items including sinks and countertops. Even ceramic hobs and sinks, baths and enamel hobs can thus be cleaned effortlessly and without grease. In order for the ashes to have an abrasive effect, you must first sift them with a fine sieve like a tea strainer. Cleaning is done with a damp cloth soaked in ashes. Scrub the area to be treated as usual and rinse thoroughly with water. Caution is advised with aluminum and chrome. Plastics should not be cleaned in this way either, as their surface is very sensitive to scratches.
5 – Recycled fireplace ashes to make your silverware shine
Is your technique for making your silverware shine expensive? Try cleaning with ash. You can rub silver jewelry, silver cutlery and other silver objects with fine ash that you have taken care to sift very finely. Rinse thoroughly, dry well and your silver items will be like new.
6 – Recycled fireplace ashes to make your cut flowers last longer
Freshly cut plants in your bouquets or arrangements last longer when they have been briefly soaked in a mixture of water and ash. This is particularly true with plants such as amaryllis, pelargonium, orchids or even aloe vera.
7 – Recycled fireplace ashes into toothpaste
Cleaning one’s teeth with ashes was undoubtedly part of the daily life of primitive peoples. And without going so far back, this method was to be used until the beginning of the postwar period. The very finely sieved ashes have three functions. On the one hand, they provide abrasion as a cleansing body and, on the other hand, they provide many minerals such as zinc, potassium, magnesium and calcium. In addition, thanks to their basic pH, ash helps neutralize acids harmful to teeth in the mouth. Dip your slightly damp toothbrush in ashes and brush your teeth as usual. A complete rinse is of course necessary to be sure not to damage your mouth with the remaining particles.