How To Use Your Fireplace Ashes To Repel Pests

Those blessed with a wood-burning fireplace or stove have more than just an incredible heat source — they also have an unlimited amount of material to use to deter pests. It's true, fireplace ashes can keep insects from entering your house and from eating your outdoor plants. 

However, before you try this at home, it's important to remember that ashes can be dangerous, so following a few precautionary measures is crucial. First, before you move any ash, it's best to wear a mask, as moving them will create dust that you don't want to breathe in. Second, you should never remove them before they've fully cooled, which will take around two days. Third, when storing your cooled ashes, always keep them in a metal container with a lid, as you don't want to accidentally start a fire. This will also help contain the dust and make sure they don't get wet — which is a key element for this insect repellant hack to work.

How fireplace ashes can repel pests

To use this hack in your garden or landscaping, simply sprinkle the ashes around the border of the area or on top of your plants. If you want to deter insects from entering your home, sprinkle them across doorways or window sills. This material works to deter soft-bodied bugs like slugs, snails, and cutworms, as the ashes will attach to their bodies and draw out moisture, which can be deadly. It can also deter some hard-bodied insects like beetles and ants. 

However, you should keep in mind that wet ashes won't be effective, as they dont draw the moisture out of the insects. Therefore, when using them in a humid environment or around your outdoor garden or landscaping, make sure you replace them often. If you remember to store your ashes every time you clean out your stove, you should always have plenty on hand. 

When ashes shouldn't be used

If you only burn natural wood, the ashes are a great tool to use in the home and garden. However, if you burn treated or painted wood, the ashes shouldn't be used, as they're not 100% natural and could harm your vegetation. Further, ashes shouldn't be sprinkled on or around certain plants in the garden. This is because the ashes produced from wood are alkaline, and certain plants require acidic soil to thrive. 

To find out if your plants can handle this material, look up the PH value of the species, and if it's above 7, you're good to go. For instance, plants such as azaleas, blueberry bushes, magnolia flowers, dogwood blooms, and gardenias are acidic plants that don't like ashes, while plants like hydrangeas, lilac, rosemary, thyme, asparagus, cabbage, and peas are all alkaline and can safely be used with your leftover material.