From Fire to Charcoal


I cleaned our fireplace today, and emptied the ash catchment underneath the fireplace and put it in a bucket.  (Pic top left: clean fireplace.)  One thing I believe in is not to waste anything!  We had some old window screens lying around, and so I took one of them, dumped the entire bucket onto the screen and sifted all the fine ash onto my compost pile in the backyard. (Pic bottom left: ash on top of the compost pile.). Left on top of the screen, was pure charcoal!  I then placed the pure charcoal into a bucket.  It didn’t make much, but that charcoal is pure gold! (Pic on right: charcoal in the bucket.). There’s plenty of room left in the bucket to continue adding to it each time I clean our fireplace.

Charcoal, especially all natural wood charcoal from wood-burning fireplaces or campfires, has so many incredible uses!  Below, I’ve included a list and some links for you to learn more about charcoal uses (NOT for the store-bought stuff!).  Waste not, want not!

  1.  A list of ash and charcoal properties and uses
  2. Great YouTube video on the uses of wood ash and charcoal:

3.  Important advantages of natural wood charcoal

4. How to Improve Garden Soil with Charcoal

5.  Chemical Properties of Charcoal

6.  How to Make Your Own Activated Charcoal (for digestive and health benefits)

There are many ways to repurpose your wood ash as well.

  • You can make your own lye for homemade soap.
  • Add it to sand and DE (diatomaceous earth) for chicken dust baths.
  • As a fertilizer, sprinkle ash on your garden or over the compost pile like I did.
  • In a pinch, while camping, you can add ash to water to wash your clothes (in a bag), and they’ll come out clean!
  • After you’ve “done your business” in an outhouse or toilet bucket while camping, sprinkle ash on top immediately afterward to cover and deodorize!  Because of its chemical properties, ash also helps dry and decompose waste much faster than simple sawdust.
  • …and the list goes on.  Perhaps do some research to discover more uses for wood ash!

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