Few people still heat with wood, but it’s still a very economical way to warm a building, especially with highly efficient fireplace inserts or new clean-burning technologies such as the rocket stove.
The most popular way to deal with excess of fireplace ash is in a nice sturdy metal ash bucket next have next to your fire area. Just make sure you never confuse your cremation urns with your ash buckets!
This is one bucket that really should not be plastic. You could accidentally put a smoldering ember or two into the bucket which could ruin the plastic – and perhaps the flooring beneath! Add onto that the increased fire hazard and you’re really much better off with something metal.
This is a great little ash bucket that comes with a carrying handle, lid to block oxygen from getting in and smoke from getting out, and its own scoop with holder. Find more about this ash bucket on its Amazon listing, or read on to learn about clearing up ash with more power!
Clear Ash with the Strength of 2 Horses!
Ash Vacuums like this one from Cleva are designed to deal with the extremely small particle size of ash. Normal household vacuums may work on ash for a while, but if you use them for ash too often, you’ll get a cloud of dust exploding from your vacuum every time you turn it on.
For more on this overpowered ash vacuum, including reviews and pricing information, check Amazon.com.
Don’t Waste Perfectly Good Ash!
Used correctly, ash is an amazing material! It supercharges the productivity of america’s favorite plant – tomatoes. In fact, one study found that with a steady diet of fireplace ash and human urine, tomato plants grew four times as many tomatoes compared with a crop that received no special additives. If you’re in the mood for a nice dry read, here’s a link to the full academic publication on using wood ash and urine to grow more tomatoes.
Making Lye from Ashes and Bucket
Ashes have traditionally been a crucial ingredient in soap. For many home soap and candle makers, they still are.
To make soap, you need water, fat and lye – and lye comes from wood ashes.
And wouldn’t you know it, the best way to make lye from ashes uses a 5 gallon bucket. Once again the bucket circle is complete.
Careful with that stuff though, lye is very dangerous! It can give you a serious chemical burn, you’ve seen Fight Club, right?
Here’s a great 5 minute video on how to make lye from wood ashes.
Hazards of Ash
Lye isn’t the only danger to human health presented by ash. For starters, keep ash out of your lungs and eyes. You’ll want to be careful about how you apply it to your plants, too – you can’t just dump a big pile in the middle of your tomato patch without it negatively affecting your soil. For a great intro on using ash safely, check out the Oregon State University’s article on the topic.