How to Recycle & Dispose of Wood Ash

Kurt Erickson

There are a number of ways to recycle and dispose of wood ash. Before attempting any of these methods, make sure the ash from your fire is cold and can be safely handled.

  1. Spread ashes on suitable areas of the garden. While some flowers and shrubs are appreciative of the added acidity provided by ashes, others are not tolerant of the change in pH balance. Survey the plants in your yard before spreading ashes. Lilac bushes like ash. Ash should not be used around rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Small amounts of ash can be sprinkled around the edges of a garden to repel slugs and snails.

  2. Add fireplace ash to backyard compost piles. It will help add nutrients and keep down odors. Fireplace ash also can be used to contain odors when burying pet waste.

  3. Spread ash on a snowy or icy gravel driveway. Its dark, reflective quality can help hasten the melting of snow and ice as well as provide traction for both pedestrians and vehicles. A drawback is that you must be careful not to track the ash back into your home.

  4. Make a paste out of small amounts of ash and water. It can be used to remove blemishes from furniture. The paste can be rubbed on a water spot and then later shined using a furniture polish.

  5. In some jurisdictions, sending wood ash to the landfill is a perfectly acceptable solution.

  6. Warning

    If you burn coal, do not add ashes to your soil. If you burn wood that was treated with chemicals, painted or stained, do not apply to a garden. The chemicals could harm your plants.