What To Do With Fire Pit Ash (21 Amazing Uses Guide After A Fire)

Firepits have become popular backyard additions, but cleaning your firepit after each use can be a drag. It's a messy job, and the fine powdery wood-ash has a way of coating everything while you are trying to maneuver it into the dustpan.  

Instead of bagging cold ash from your fire pit, there are some useful things that you can do with it that will make you look forward to harvesting ash from your firepit in the future.


Table of Contents


Natural wood ash from a fire pit can be used as fertilizer, compost booster, antibacterial treatment, household cleaner, ice melt, frost retardant, rubbing compound for glass and plastics, and more. Ash is a natural product and is therefore eco-friendly and beneficial to the environment.  

Firepit ash has a surprising number of uses in and around the home and garden. If you know what to do with the cold ash, you will quickly begin to reap additional benefits from the by-product of using your firepit. 


What Makes Firepit Ash Useful?

Firepit ash is wood ash that is left behind after using it. The variety of wood that was burned determines the quality of the ash and the nutrient content.  The ash of most common trees is well suited to recycling or re-using instead of ending up in a landfill.

Ash is made up of the following basic elements but can vary, of course, depending on the area in which the tree was grown: 

  • Micronutrients: Iron, manganese, boron, copper, calcium, and zinc.
  • Heavy Metals: Lead, cadmium, nickel, and chromium.
  • Potash: This term refers to a group of potassium-bearing minerals and chemicals, makeup about ten percent of firepit ash. 
  • Phosphate: Around one percent

The grey powder that remains after you have enjoyed your firepit is a nutrient-laden resource useful for various applications.

Want to find the best ways to start a firepit?


21 Ways That You Can Use Firepit Ash

Firepit ash, or wood ash, as it's commonly known, has many uses. Some applications require more ash than others but using it is an excellent way to recycle no matter how you use it. 

What you decide to use the ash for will be determined by the amount of available ash.

1. Fertilize Your Garden Using Firepit Ash

Firepit ash contains valuable nutrients that are commonly found in soils.  Working ash into your flower or vegetable garden soil will replenish lost nutrients that will assist the plants to grow. 

Firepit ash also naturally attracts moisture that can be absorbed by the plants, further assisting growth.

2. Firepit Ash For Use As A Compost Supplement / Enhancer

Firepit ash is an excellent supplement for your organic fertilizer. Mix the ash into the fertilizer and allow the microorganisms and earthworms to do the rest. 

The resulting nutritious compost will do wonders for your flower or vegetable patch.  We wrote an article about having fire pits on grass previously too.

3. Pond Algae Control Using Firepit Ash

Adding firepit ash to pond water at a ratio of one tablespoon ash per one thousand gallons of water slows algae growth. 

Although the ash doesn't kill the algae outright, this is a great non-toxic option, especially if animals use the pond as a water source.

4. Reduce Frost Damage On Plants Using Firepit Ash

Firepit ash can be sprinkled over the leaves of plants and vegetables in anticipation of frost. Your plants will look a bit grey from the ash for a while, but they may be spared from a sudden icy snap. 

The ash lowers the freezing point of water enough to prevent the plant's foliage from freezing. Icy spells may well cause frost damage to plants, but the ash will reduce the severity.

5. Firepit Ash Reduces Calcium Deficiency In Tomato Plants

Firepit ash is an excellent source of calcium for tomatoes.  A calcium shortage often results in tomatoes being small and malformed. 

To achieve maximum benefit from this application, the ash must be worked into the soil before the tomatoes are planted.  The plants will effectively absorb the calcium during the growth stages if the ground is thoroughly prepared using the firepit ash as a component. It will also boost the formation of tomatoes on the plant.

6. Raise Soil PH By Adding Firepit Ash To Your Soil

Firepit ash works well to increase the PH of acidic soils. Be aware, though, that some vegetables and plants require acidic soils to thrive.  Vegetables that will appreciate the addition of firepit ash to the ground to make it more alkaline include beans, kale, cauliflower, garlic, and beetroot.

7. Repel Slugs And Snails Using Firepit Ash

Sprinkle ash onto the ground between plants or use it as a barrier around a garden patch. It is an excellent, non-toxic way to deter slugs and snails from destroying your plants. 

Slugs and snails avoid crossing areas that have been treated with firepit ash. It is, therefore, an excellent natural garden pesticide.

8. Firepit Ash As A Non-Toxic Ant Repellent

Like slugs and snails, ants also avoid contact with wood ash.  It can therefore be used to repel ants from moving into your garden. 

To repel ants from your property, firepit ash can be sprinkled evenly over the ground.  Alternatively, a barrier line can be created with the ash around the area you want to protect.  This is an excellent way of encouraging ants to move out of your garden or flower patch

8. Protect Bee Hives From Ants Using Firepit Ash

Beehives are popular stopovers for many types of crawling and flying insects. Bees are very good at evicting unwanted visitors but can always do with some help.

Pouring a line of ash onto the beehive entrance will deter pesky ants from raiding honey reserves. Replace the ash occasionally and especially after it has rained as it might get washed away. The ash is harmless to bees.

9. Firepit Ash Used As A Dust Bath For Poultry

Firepit ash is excellent to use as a dust bath medium for chickens and turkeys.  It works similarly to Diatomaceous earth for this application. The ash causes scratches on the surface of the fleas and mites, which then create tiny wounds on these pests.  The resulting infection causes lice and mites that often affect poultry to die. 

Sprinkle ash liberally onto their favorite dust bath area, and they will do the rest.

10. Firepit Ash Is Great For Use As A Chicken Feed Supplement 

Firepit ash contains many minerals that are beneficial to the health of chickens. As such, ash can be mixed into fowl food but should never exceed one percent by volume. 

Ash is harmless to chickens at this low rate and has similar benefits as diatomaceous earth powder.  The firepit ash is beneficial to intestinal health as the ash gets rid of many internal parasites.

11. Melt Ice Naturally Using Firepit Ash

Amazingly firepit ash has great ice melting qualities. In cold climates, ash can be liberally sprinkled over ice that has formed on walkways. 

Ash is, however, very messy so take care not to use the ash in areas where it get carried into your house! Ash contains no harmful chemicals of so it is an environmentally friendly method to melt ice.

12. Firepit Ash Used As A Stove Glass Cleaner

Firepit ash makes a great surface cleaner. Sieve the ash to remove any larger coal pieces. Then add water and mix it into a thick paste. The ash paste is excellent for cleaning cooking residue off an oven's glass door. 

Because it is slightly abrasive, the ash makes a great alternative to traditional detergents. When applied to a sponge or soft cloth, the ash is course enough to act as a scourer without causing damage to the glass.

13. Cleaning Cloudy Headlights Using Firepit Ash

If your car has plastic headlight covers that have become cloudy over time, you can clean them using firepit ash.  A water and ash mixture works as a rubbing compound that will restore the sparkle to your headlights. 

To clean headlights, firepit ash must first be sieved before mixing it with the water. This is to remove any big ash lumps that may scratch the surface. The abrasive nature of ash, when in paste form, does the same job as very fine sandpaper.14.

14. Firepit Ash Used As A Silver Polish

Finely sieved firepit ash, mixed with water to form a paste, works wonders to brighten up silverware. Use it in the same manner as traditional silver polish by applying it to a soft cloth and rubbing the mixture onto the silverware. It will brighten up the surfaces due to the slightly abrasive quality of the ash paste.

15. Reducing Stain Marks On Paving By Using Firepit Ash

Stain marks on paving surfaces caused by oil can be reduced and even disguised by sprinkling ash onto the stain. Allow the ash to lie on the spot for a couple of hours and let it do its magic. 

Ash is absorbent by nature and will therefore absorb the oil from the paving.  

If you have grey paving, the ash can be rubbed onto the stain.  Doing this will assist in disguising the mark, and it will be soaking up any residue at the same time.

16. Firepit Ash Used As A Flea Treatment On Pets 

Firepit ash not only kills mites and fleas associated with poultry but also works well as a repellent on dogs and cats. Sieve the raw ash and collect the fine particles that fall through the sieve to use as a powder. 

The fine ash dust can then be liberally rubbed into the fur of the dogs and cats. Most of the ash will fall out of the pet's coat a day or so after application. A good brushing of the fur with a suitable pet brush will help your dog or cat look in tip-top condition again, without being worried by mites and fleas.

17. Use Firepit Ash As An Odor Absorber

Firepit ash has the helpful quality of absorbing smells. Try placing a cup of ash into your refrigerator or closed cupboards.

18. Firepit Ash Used As A Desiccant

Firepit ash is excellent to use as a moisture absorbent in damp areas like cupboards, a basement, or most areas where moisture build-up causing damp is a problem. 

Place the dry ash into an open container in the affected area. Once the ash is no longer dry to the touch, it should be replaced with fresh ash.

19. Treating Wounds With Firepit Ash

In case of emergency, when no disinfectant is available, open wounds can be packed with a layer of ash to prevent infection. Wood ash possesses great antibacterial qualities and also stops bleeding quickly.

20. Firepit As A Cockroach Repellent

Sprinkling a bit of firepit ash into the corners of your cupboards and under appliances such as your refrigerator will deter cockroaches from making these areas their home.  Be careful that you only put ash where it won't get spread around because it can quickly make the house look grubby.

21. Use Firepit Ash To Smother A Fire

Firepit ash can be used as an alternative to sand or water to smother small fires. This is a handy application while camping when water may be scarce. 

Dumping a bucket of cold ash onto the open fire will effectively smother or cut off the fire's oxygen supply, killing the fire. 


Could Treated Wood Be Used To Make Wood Ash?

Chemically treated wood is usually only found in lumber destined for house building. Before January 2004, lumber was treated with chromate copper arsenate, which contained arsenic, amongst other chemicals. Arsenic is, of course, highly toxic. 

Burning treated wood either to cook on or purely to make wood ash is not a good idea. The chemicals used to treat wood can stay active for up to 20 years and don't always get destroyed by fire.

Using treated wood ash will transfer unwanted chemicals into your garden or home when using the ash, which is not a good idea. Instead, burn untreated, natural wood when using your firepit.


Using Coal Ash In Your Garden

Coal ash is very low in nutrients when compared to firepit or wood ash.  Practically, coal ash only serves as a medium that can loosen up the soil to improve drainage, which it does very well. 

Coal ash contains very high levels of heavy metals, so it's best not to introduce these to the soil.  The likelihood of these ending up in the groundwater is high.

Conclusion

Firepit ash, or wood ash is commonly known, is a wonderful by-product created when burning wood. Ash has a significant number of handy uses in a variety of settings. Ash is great for use as fertilizer in the garden, is a great household cleaner, has health benefits for people and animals, and can even melt ice.

Want to find out more about our best camping fire pits?

OUR TOP PICK

La Hacienda 58106 Camping Firebowl with Grill, Folding Legs and Carry Bag - Black

If you are in the market for a camping fire pit that looks as incredible as it performs, then this could be a viable option for you. It is finished in a heat proof black paint that will compliment any outdoor camping area. What’s more, it comes with a BBQ grill, making this an extremely versatile piece of equipment. 

The camping fire pit is lightweight and compact and comes with a handy carrying bag. To make it even more portable, the fire pit features folding legs. It is made from steel which gives it it’s lightweight design but this material is also extremely durable so you can feel confident that this is a fire pit that will see you through many adventures. What’s more, it is incredibly sturdy and stable.

Pros

Cons

Mesh lid

Grill could fit more snugly

Durable and lightweight steel construction

Beautifully finished in a black heat proof paint

Comes with a carrying bag

BBQ grill included

Sign up our mailing list to claim your FREE Ultimate Camping Checklist PDF