Looking at a pile of grey ash in the center of a fire pit, it may be hard to envision that there’s actually any value in those wood remnants. It may come as a surprise that this mineral-rich substance has a variety of uses from fertilizing a garden to making soap. Before using the ashes, be sure to gather them soon after the fire goes out to prevent contamination. If the ashes sit in the fire pit for a long period of time, dirt, rocks and other materials may become mixed in. Store the ashes in a fireproof container to prevent ember flare-ups.
Oklahoma State University recommends using fire pit ashes to neutralize soil acidity. You can apply the ashes to your lawn or garden as an alternative to lime. Use 10 gallons for approximately 1,000 square feet of lawn in sandy soil and 20 gallons for non-sandy soil. Avoid placing the ash around plants like blueberries and azaleas, which require acidic soil to thrive.
Fire pit ashes have use as an odor neutralizer for pets. If your cat or dog has an unfortunate encounter with a skunk that leaves it smelling less-than-desirable, rub a handful of ashes into its coat to help eliminate the bad odor.
Save your fire pit ashes from your summer gatherings for use in the winter. Instead of salt or sand, use the fire pit ashes to de-ice a driveway or sidewalk while also providing traction. The ashes don’t harm the concrete or soil, and are simply washed away or absorbed when the weather warms.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but you can use fire pit ashes to clean the door of a fireplace. Dip a damp sponge into the ashes and use the sponge to scrub the soot residue away.
Objects made from silver add a decorative touch to a room but require maintenance in the form of polishing. Instead of strong-smelling polish, create a non-toxic version by making a paste from fire pit ashes and water. Scrub the mixture onto the surface with a soft cloth and rinse it off.
If you have a backyard pond, it may be prone to algae growth. Fire pit ashes can be used to slow the growth of this pesky aquatic plant. One tablespoon added per 1,000 gallons of water adds potassium to the water, which strengthens the growth of other types of plants that reduce algae.