30 Survival Uses for Wood Ashes You Never Thought of
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.
* 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 theuse in soap making.
2. You can use charcoal to filter water before drinking. Find out how to make charcoal.
3. Charcoal in metal containers can be used to remove humidity in cellars, cupboards and under sinks.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. A paste made out of ash and water, can remove stains from furniture.
9. 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).
10. Ash is a great odour repellent, just add a bit over the area that smells. eg, kitty litter.
11. You can remove odours from a fridge, by adding a plate of charcoal ash inside. Change the charcoal over, until the smell is gone.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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).
16. 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.
17. One spoon ash per 1000l of water, strengthens underwater plants.
18. It prevents plants from frost in winter, if you add a layer of ash over them.
19. Animals hate ash. You can rid your garden of insects and various parasites, such as slugs and snails.
20. 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.
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. Lye is used to make soap (potassium hydroxide). It’s a bit of a lengthy process, but its worth it.
25. 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.
26. Sodium Carbonate, can be made out of ash. It is known to be an excellent product, used as household cleaner.
27. Ash contains salt, and can therefore melt ice.
28. The charcoal collected within the ash, can be used as a filter.
29. You can use charcoal to filter blurry wine.
30. You can put a fire out quickly by throwing ash over it.
There is a difference between lye and lye water. Under no circumstances should you eat lye.
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 IS ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.
Source: 30 Uses for wood ashes
Photo Source: Ashes