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Thread: Wood ash

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Wood ash

    Didn't know where to put this--it could to under frugality, environment, housing.. Anyway...

    We have a wood stove in VT--we've never owned one before. We've been using it every day for heat lately. But we noticed that the glass door had become black with tar and soot and we could no longer enjoy the actual fire. DH tried to scrape it off with a razor, but that didn't really do much.

    So I went to the internet, where I found a YouTube of an English gent demonstrating how to clean the tar off a wood stove door--with wood ash! You simply dampen a cloth, dip it in the wood ash, and wipe. It takes a little scrubbing for the really tough parts, but others, it's basically a wipe and swipe operation. I tried it and it worked amazingly. In the comment section, several people thanked him and one said that because the video make him recall basic chemistry he knew it would work on his electric stovetop. So I tried it on mine, and it works just as well, if not better, than any stove cleaner! And it's basically free! A bonus use after getting a nice fire!

    I remember reading one of Thich That Hanh's books where he talks about washing dishes in Vietnam using wood ash and corn husks. I never realized the beauty of wood ash beyond compost.

    Does anyone else have any other uses for wood ash?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    I think I can remember you can polish jewelry with it?
    You can make soap with it b y making it into lye:

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    I was going to say, you are basically making weak lye as you clean.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Price County, WI
    As Chicken lady said, water added to ashes produces lye... which is caustic. Personal protective equipment is recommended.

    Wood ashes can be added to compost. When incorporated into soil, ash tends to raise the pH of the soil (make the soil more alkaline). Other compost materials, such as coffee grounds , leaves, and pine needles tend to lower the pH.

    Some plants do well in relatively alkaline soil, such as lilacs, clematis, and crane's bill.

    Wood ashes contain up to 10% potash, 1% phosphate, and traces of minerals.

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