Are you a satisfied owner of a wood-burning or pellet fire who regularly throws away the ash that has built up? Without knowing it, you are missing out on their many benefits for your home and garden. Go straight to the ash pan of your pellet stove or the grate of your wood-burning stove or insert to gather the ingredients... Stûv has a few useful recipes for you.
Ash and water: a fantastic stain-remover (including for your wood-burning stove). There’s a good reason that the first soaps, dating back to Antiquity, contained bay, birch and beech ash. And it was no accident that our ancestors used to use wood ash to do their washing. The main reason for these surprising customs is potash, a chemical compound suitable for dissolving fat, present (2 to 6%) in plant-based ash.
So it seems only natural that wood ash should enjoy a second lease of life among your household products.
Here are a few examples of some everyday applications :
including the one on your wood-burning stove or insert: clean them with a sponge or a damp piece of paper impregnated with ash and no stain can resist ;
a handful of ash diluted in water will conquer any stubborn pan ;
si if you’re prepared to be patient (the ash needs to be sieved then diluted in boiling water, then the mixture should be left for at least 24 hours, and finally, filtered before use), ash water is a very effective household detergent ;
rub with a damp cloth coated in ash and your silver will shine like it’s never shone before ;
if you’re feeling brave, you can try the 100% natural teeth whitening solution, of damp ash, used as a toothpaste…
Here it is the mineral salts and calcium in the wood and pellet ash that is so useful. Incredibly nutritious for soil, the cold ash from your fire, scattered in dry weather, will act as a natural fertiliser for various garden plants. You should also be aware that wood or pellet ash, used sparingly, can enrich the composition of compost. Be careful though, as the quality of the ash (and so of the wood or pellets you use) needs to be flawless: don’t even think about spreading the ash of painted or treated wood in your garden, as this might pollute the soil.
Plant-based ash also gets rid of snails and slugs, who eat flowers, soft leaves and other young shoots. A line of ash sprinkled around a group of flours or seedlings is a real repellent to gastropods. Do you have a pond in your garden? Throw in a handful of ash: the potash will help aquatic plants grow, preventing the spread of green algae.
Lastly, when it comes to winter frost, forget salt, use wood or pellet ash. It’s less aggressive on the soil, but no less effective against ice.
Is your dirty washing piling up? Are your roses struggling? Can you not see anything through your windows any more? Now you know, it’s time to light a good fire in your wood-burning or pellet stove...