30 uses for wood ashes, you never thought of

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1. Make lye water out of ash. You can boil 2-3 spoons of ash (clean white/grey fluffy ash) with water and then filter it with a coffee filter. Lye water is a great cleaning agent and sanitizer for clothes, floors, windows, silverware, plates, and even rust in marble. You can also make lye by adding the fluffy white ash in a cheesecloth

*This is more or less the idea of the process but it’s best you practice safety and obtain more information on the subject before you carry out the actual lye making process. It’s dangerous and lye is caustic. I will not be held accountable for any injuries caused.

* In a bucket with holes on its base, you add the cheesecloth and ash, and hang it somewhere high. Add the water. Underneath, place another clean bucket to collect the lye. The lye has a brownish colour, so you remove the bucket when clean water starts to sip through. Test the lye by adding a fresh egg in the liquid. If the egg floats, the lye is good to go, if not, repeat the process.-For use in soap making.

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2. A paste made out of ash and water, can remove stains from furniture.

3. If we want to remove a stain from clothes the moment they happen, we add a bit of ash and after about five minutes, we rub it with the crumb of a bread (not the crust, the soft white bit).

4. Ash is a great odour repellent, just add a bit over the area that smells. eg, kitty litter.

5. You can remove odours from a fridge, by adding a plate of charcoal ash inside. Change the charcoal over, until the smell is gone.

6. You can use it to brush your teeth. (recipe here) *Not all woods are suitable. Conifer trees produce ash that is softer on the enamel. Some woods contain harsh minerals that may damage your teeth.

7. You can wash your hair with lye soap  and rinse with vinegar. This is especially good for oily hair.*lye soap must be cured for at least 6 weeks first.

8. Lye water is used in many foods and sweets. Like grape must pudding (moustalevria),  honey cookies (melomakarona), and in bread. It makes bread fluffy and prevents it from crumbling. Lye water is also good for the cleansing of the intestines.

*Lye water differs to the lye you use to make soap. Please DON’T EVER use lye on your foods or skin. Adding lye water to foods is a completely different method all together.

9. Ash was used for many years in farming. It recycles the natural nutrients back into the earth. It can be used as compost but does not include Nitrogen. It aids in the increase of the earths PH level which in return, aids in the growth of the plants. (But because of the ongoing increase of the PH level, not all veg and fruit thrive from it. eg potatoes).

10. It strengthens plants that love calcium, such as tomatoes, vineyards, beans, spinach, peas, avocados, garlic etc. Even rose bushes. You can add 1/4 cup ash before planting.

11. One spoon ash per 1000l of water, strengthens underwater plants.

12.It prevents plants from frost in winter, if you add a layer of ash over them.

13. Animals hate ash. You can rid your garden of insects and various parasites, such as slugs and snails.

14. You can rid yourself of ants. If you throw some ash in their colony, they will be forced to relocate, as they can’t move the ash.

15. Spread some ash in the corners of the house, or dark spots of your cellar etc. For as long as there is ash, no mice/rats, cockroaches or insects approach.

16. It repels lice, ticks and fleas off animals. You make a thick paste of ash and vinegar and spread over the fur. It’s messy, but it works.

17.  It repels clothes moths. You can add some ash on your stored clothes, and simply shake it off when you need to use them. You can leave them for years this way, and nothing will happen to them.

18.  Lye is used to make soap (potassium hydroxide). It’s a bit of a lengthy process, but its worth it.

19. Ash is used for “immortal eggs”. In a recipe used in the Middle East, they preserve eggs in a mix of clay, ash, salt, lime and rice rind for many months.

20. Sodium Carbonate, can be made out of ash. It is known to be an excellent product, used as household cleaner.

21. Ash contains salt, and can therefore melt ice.

22. The charcoal collected within the ash, can be used as a filter.

23. You can use charcoal to filter blurry wine.

24. You can use charcoal to filter water before drinking.

25. Charcoal in metal containers can be used to remove humidity in cellars, cupboards and under sinks.

26. You can put a fire out quickly by throwing ash over it.

27. In the older days, they used to preserve seeds in large clay containers, by adding a thick layer of ash over them. This prevented insects from destroying their produce.

28. It can be used in wounds, to kill bacteria and aid in faster healing. Melting hand made soap in lye water and rinsing a wound with it without rinsing over it with clean water.

29. No fridge? No worries! You can preserve your fruits and vegetables for many days, even years, by digging a hole in the ground and filling it with ash. Add your veg and fruit, ensuring enough space between them, so that they do not touch each other, or the muddy ground. Seal the hole with a piece of wood, and you let it be.

30. In the olden days, to preserve the fresh rennet, they added it in a bone animal horn, filled it with ash, sealed it with mud and hanged it from a tree. This ensured the rennet lasted for many many years.

MORE USES FROM OUR READERS:

Susanne says: In Norway they use lye to preserve cod which is called “lutefisk”. The dried lutefisk has to be soaked and drained before cooking. Another use of lye in food is in “hominy”, here in the US. Hominy is dried corn that has been soaked in lye. In NM, hominy is used in a dish called “posole”.

Spegg says: Ash is also good to clean the window from an oven. dip wet newspaper in ash and scrub the soot off.

Donna says: I have used ash directly on plants such as cabbage to keep cabbage worms away. Works great! Also helps keeps aphids at bay.

Carmen says: If you get stuck in the snow or on ice throw down ashes, your car will walk right out
works better than sand, salt or kitty litter.

Vonnie says:
Wood stove ashes make a great lawn fertilizer. I also use them in my henhouse in a dust bo (cardboard box with ashes and a little sand-they use it for dry baths). It controls the roost mites and adds nutrients to the cleanings that I spread on the garden in the spring. It also works well when spread under my apple trees to help with bug infestations and as fertilizer.

DISCLAIMER:(because I hate repeating myself)

First and foremost, I feel the need to thank everyone who has shared this article in the tens of thousands over the last year, you guys rock!

Secondly, I feel the need to point out a few things, and if you know me, you will already know that the following few lines will not be diplomatic.

Maybe it’s because I share a shameless faith, that humanity generally uses their common sense, but since I am obviously mistaken:

1. Pay careful attention to the article. It states uses for ASHES. If you are an idiot enough to go and eat lye, then you will feel the slow and unmistakably excruciating death, as your insides turn to dust. NOWHERE on this article, does it state to consume LYE.

There is a difference between lye and lye water, and it’s best you educate yourself on the matter before you start dipping your food and bodily parts in it.

ANY MENTIONS OF LYE WATER ON FOOD OR SKIN REQUIRE YOU DISCRETION. THERE IS A VARIETY OF METHODS USED. MAKING LYE FOR SOAP AND ADDING LYE WATER TO FOOD ISENTIRELY DIFFERENT.

I will NOT be held accountable for mere stupidity and lack of initiative to source information on the subjects on your own. This is a LIST on the use of ASHES, ideas, facts etc and NOT on the actual process of attaining some of these uses.

2.Lye is CAUSTIC. There are SEVERAL mentions of this on the comments section. Please, for the love of anything you love and cherish, use your own discretion, read through the comments and then feel free to share your  intellect on the subject with me.

3. I don’t pull information magically out of my behind. If you want to judge some of these mentions on the use of ashes, please go ahead, if you want to state that my article is dangerous, please go ahead.

Chances are, if I am wrong about something, I will apologize, admit it and fix it, and chances are, if you failed to provide adequate information on your argument, I will provide it for you. I have now added short caution notes next to some of the points.

4. I appreciate your feedback, additions and concerns, and I WILL ALWAYS, try to answer you to the best of my abilities. Live long and prosper, blogerverse!