The wood ash can be successfully used in a survival situation due to its various use cases.

If so far you threw the wood ash away, then you might not have known that it is rich in a multitude of minerals, such as:

  • Sodium, Calcium,Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Sulphuros, Phosphorus, Cobalt, Manganese, Zinc, Copper

So how can you use these properties towards your advantage?

1. Soil fertilizer


Depending on the pH of the soil, wood ash can be used as a natural fertilizer not for alkaline soils, but for acidic soils only, which lack minerals such as potassium, magnesium or calcium, as these are swapped with ions of hydrogen as a result of rainfall, constant use of nitrogen fertilizers (which can lead to soil acidification) or arid conditions. An acid soil has a pH of 4.5-6, whereas a neutral soil has a pH of 7. Vegetables such as onions, tomatoes and peas, in particular, respond very well to ash and thrive.

2. Natural bug repellent

Use ash to protect your plants against aphids (which attack potatoes, for instance), cabbage worms and any other bugs that harm and destroy your crops. The same goes for protecting your animals, especially during the summertime, when animals, especially livestock might catch ticks or lice. You can also protect your chicks, by mixing the wood ash with sand; while ash kills the bugs, the heavier sand is used to ensure that the lightweight ash does not get blown away by wind or any other forces. You can also get rid of ants, by tossing a bit of ash over the spot they are gathered.

3. Creating a sunburn protective barrier

If you ever end up in a place that doesn’t offer any kind of protection from the sun, wood ash may come very in handy. Gently rub the wood ash against the skin to do the trick.

4. Cleaning the dishes

Wood ash is especially helpful when it comes down to cleaning the frying pans nice and easy. Combined with water it will turn into lye (caustic soda) and eliminate the grease. Be careful. Make sure to use protective gloves to avoid skin burns when manipulating the lye.

5. Making soap

Making soap is not as difficult as it sounds. On the contrary. All you have to do is follow three steps, precisely. The first is making the lye water, by blending the water and the wood ash and let it sit through the night, then mix it with the animal rendered fat and any other essential oils or herbs of your choice.

6 Odor neutralizer for pets/fridge

If your pets stink, then “wash” them with ash and the bad odor will fade away. Alternatively, you can store a few grams in a fridge, placed on a plate. Change the ash from time to time.

7. Glue

If you need glue, you can create your own, by combining a bit of ash with pine tree resin.

8. Preserving food

This is fairly ingenious. All you have to do is dig a hole close to where you are camped and fill it up with wood ash and start placing your food items. Make sure you cover the hole with a piece of timber.

9. Tooth paste

Did you know that you can use it as a tooth paste? Aside from the fact that it will cleanse you teeth thoroughly, it also whitens your teeth, without demineralising them.

10. Extinguishing fires

Fires can be put out with ash in a matter of seconds, provided the fire is small. The bigger the fire, the more ash you will need.

To what end have you used wood ash? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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  1. This a great post. I would have never thought of it’s many uses.

  2. Very good information. I was brought up in the country and a boy Scout but never heard of most of these. Just proves it’s never too late to learn.


  4. Throw it on your mulch pile. Booyah!

  5. Clean the inside of fireplace/stove glass doors

  6. The ash in the fire can be used to “bank” coals for the next day. Since the ash does not burn, you can burry the coals, insulating them and removing the oxygen. The coals will remain hot enough to start the next fire for up to 24 hrs. This makes living and cooking over an open fire a breeze. Just unbury, add wood, and blow.

  7. Thanks! Just in time for the garden.

  8. We’ve always used wood ash to sprinkle on an icy or very snowy driveway. It gives traction and darkens the snow so it melts quite a bit faster.

  9. I’d like to print this out … but see no “print” available…..?

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