Do you like the pleasant smell and warm feeling of your stove or fireplace? And what do you do with the ashes? Do you know that they still have a lot to offer and that their path does not stop there? Of course, it all depends on the wood you are burning – because it is indeed ashes from burning wood and not pellets for example. Prefer hardwoods (beech, oak, ash, fruit trees) because they are less resinous.
If you use products such as newspaper, cardboard boxes, you will not necessarily be able to recycle your ashes. While if you use natural materials such as leaves, sawdust, fine dry branches, then nothing prevents you from using your ashes in the various following applications. These were once widespread solutions, today we need to rediscover them.
1 – Fireplace ashes recycled into laundry, dishwashing and floor products
To create a lye for hand washing, mix one quart of cold water with eight tablespoons of ash. Leave to act for several hours. After six hours, the pH of your solution will rise and should be between 8.5 and 9. Then separate the ash that has settled as sediment from the rest of the solution. The liquid you get then can be used as laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid or 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, make sure to measure the pH using a strip that you will immerse in the solution. Because if the pH is higher 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 detergent solution to get an idea of the optimal dosage and to use a safe container that you can lock for storage.
Thorough wiping or rinsing is always advised after cleaning. You can put the remaining ashes back into the container once more with fresh water. The leached and dried ashes can still be used as fertilizer.
2 – Fireplace ashes recycled into natural fertilizer
Wood ash can be used to improve and loosen rather acidic soil with 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 – Chimney ashes recycled 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 garden. There are other natural alternatives to conventional sprays that can help get rid of aphids. Ashes 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 – Fireplace ashes recycled as a scouring product
Ash is an excellent mild scouring agent with high grease dissolving power that effectively cleans all your stainless steel utensils and items, including sinks and worktops. Even ceramic hobs and sinks, bathtubs and enamel hobs can be cleaned effortlessly and grease-free. So that the ashes can 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. Rub the area to be treated as usual and rinse thoroughly with water. Caution is advised with aluminum and chrome. Plastics should also not be cleaned in this way, as their surface is very sensitive to scratches.
5 – Recycled fireplace ashes to make your silverware shine
Your technique to make your silverware shine is expensive? Try cleaning with ashes. You can rub silver jewellery, silver cutlery and other silver objects with fine ashes that you have taken care to sift very finely. Rinse thoroughly, dry well and your silver objects 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 soaked briefly in a mixture of water and ashes. This is particularly true with plants such as amaryllis, pelargonium, orchids or even aloe vera.
7 – Fireplace ashes recycled into toothpaste
Cleaning your teeth with ashes was undoubtedly part of the daily life of primitive peoples. And without going back so far, this method must have been used until the beginning of the post-war period. The very finely sifted ashes have three functions. On the one hand, they provide abrasion as a cleansing body and, on the other hand, they provide numerous minerals such as zinc, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Additionally, with their basic pH, ashes help neutralize tooth-damaging acids 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.