Skip to content
Need assistance? Call us at (202) 539-6797 | Or Start a Live Chat
(202) 539-6797 | Live Chat
what to do with fire pit ashe

What to Do with Fire Pit Ashes: Safe Disposal Tips

Those glowing embers and dancing flames make for magical nights around the fire pit. But once the fun ends, you're left with a pile of ashy remnants. 

Don't let those ashes go to waste! With a little know-how, you can put them to good use or dispose of them responsibly. This guide explores smart solutions for handling fire pit ashes safely and sustainably.

What to do with fire pit ashes?

Allow ashes to cool completely, then compost them, use them as a soil amendment, bury them responsibly, or dispose of small amounts in the trash using a sealed container. Avoid concentrating large volumes in one area. Wear protective gear when handling ashes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Allow fire pit ashes to cool completely for at least 48 hours before handling.
  • Wear protective gear (gloves, mask, goggles) when handling ashes to avoid irritation.
  • Ashes can be composted, used as a soil amendment, buried, or disposed of in trash with precautions.
  • Creative uses include soap making, cleaning scrubs, pest control, and arts/crafts.
  • Use ashes judiciously to avoid excessive soil alkalinity or groundwater contamination.

It doesn't matter whether you have got fire pit ashes from your fire pit bowls, fire pit kits from TheTorchGuys or fire pit tables, this post is going to help you understand what to do with it. 

Continue reading and you'll get to know everything.

Safety Precautions

Allow Ashes to Cool Completely

Whether you are done with roasting marshmallows with your fire pit or doing other thing, you must wait for some time to cool it down.

Patience is truly vital when dealing with fire pit ashes. Never rush to handle or dispose of them until they've had sufficient time, at least 48 hours, to cool down completely.

Residual heat can lead to painful burns or even ignite fires unintentionally. It's best to let the ashes sit undisturbed, allowing them to reach a safe temperature before considering any uses for the wood ash.

Once cooled properly, wood ash can surprisingly offer several benefits. It can act as a natural deterrent for certain pests and effectively absorb or stain spills.

Additionally, wood ash can be combined with salt to make lye, a versatile substance with various applications.

However, the cooled ashes should be handled carefully to avoid any mishaps or accidental exposure.

Wear Protective Gear  

Even cooled ashes can irritate your eyes, skin, and lungs. Don't take any chances - wear safety gear like goggles, gloves, and a face mask when handling ashes.

This protects you from airborne particles and potential chemical irritants.

Avoid Inhaling Ash Particles

While wearing a mask, also take care to minimize stirring up dust and ash. These fine particles can be hazardous if inhaled.

Work calmly and slowly when transferring cooled ashes to prevent creating airborne particulate matter. Consider dampening the ashes first if they seem excessively dusty.

By prioritizing safety upfront, you'll be able to handle that pile of fire pit ashes without risking injury or respiratory issues. Don't rush into it - let the ashes cool fully while you gear up with protective equipment.

For those who are looking to buy a new fire pit for their backyard, they can browse our huge collection at TheTorchGuys.

Disposal Methods

Composting Fire Pit Ashes

Composting Fire Pit Ashes

One of the best ways to put those cooled ashes to work is by adding them to your compost pile.

The ashes are a rich source of nutrients like potassium, calcium, and magnesium that help feed your compost. As an added bonus, their alkaline properties help counteract acidity. 

When incorporating ashes, aim for just a thin dusting over the compost - around 1 cup per cubic foot of compost.

Too much can throw off the balance and halt the decomposition process. Mix the light ash coating in well, moisten the pile as usual, and let the microbes do their magic.

Over time, the ashes will break down into a mineral-rich compost perfect for amending your garden soil.

Using Ashes as a Soil Amendment  

Why not skip the composting step and add those nutrient-packed ashes directly to your garden beds?

Fire pit ashes make an excellent soil amendment for vegetable patches, flower beds, and any other areas needing a nutritional boost.

Work no more than a few cups of cooled, finely spread ashes into the topsoil around your plants.

This provides an instant mineral fertilizer while helping neutralize overly acidic soils. Tomatoes, roses, azaleas, and root vegetables are just a few garden favorites that thrive with an occasional ash treatment.

However, go easy on acid-loving plants like blueberries, azaleas, and hydrangeas - too much ash can make conditions unfavorably alkaline for them.

Disposing of Ashes in the Trash

fire pit ashes trash

For small quantities of ashes with no obvious reuses for wood, disposing of them in the regular household trash is often acceptable.

But first, confirm any local regulations about proper ash disposal methods and containers.

Once you get the okay, transfer the cooled ashes into a tightly sealed non-combustible metal or plastic container.

Clearly mark the container's contents, and place it into your outdoor trash can rather than an indoor bin.

These steps prevent ashy dust from making a mess and minimize fire hazards.

Alternatively, wood ash can help deter pests, so you could sprinkle a small amount around your garden or shovel it into your compost pile as uses for wood ash.

Burying Ashes  

Have a larger volume of ashes to get rid of? An easy solution is simply burying them in your yard, at least several feet away from your home's foundation.

Dig a hole around 12 inches deep, deposit the ashes, and cover them back over with soil.

Avoid burying ashes near edible plants, waterways, or anywhere the nutrients could potentially leach into groundwater supplies down the line.

With this method, concentrate the ashes to just one or two dedicated burial pits rather than many small holes.

So don't just discard those nutrient-rich ashes! Put them to work enriching your soil, or safely dispose of using one of these responsible methods.

Creative Uses for Fire Pit Ashes

Making Soap

Fire Pit Ashes soap

Believe it or not, those ashy remains can work wonders in homemade soap recipes.

The ashes contain lye, a key ingredient that helps transform oils into soap through saponification. Simply mix wood ash with water to create an ashy lye solution. 

Combine this lye with oils or fats of your choice like olive, coconut, or tallow. With some mixing and molding, you'll soon have rustic, all-natural ash-derived bars.

The added lye boosts soap's cleaning power while the ash imparts a unique, grayish marbling.

Cleaning and Abrasive Properties  

Speaking of cleaning power, ash makes a fantastic gentle abrasive for scrubbing tough messes.

Sprinkle some ash onto grimy pots, pans, or outdoor furniture and add a little elbow grease for an eco-friendly polish.

You can also mix ash into homemade soft scrub cleansers or add it to laundry loads for brighter whites. The mild abrasive texture helps lift ground-in grime.

Pest Control

From the garden to the kitchen, ash has several handy pest-deterring uses. Scatter a light ash barrier around garden beds to keep slugs and snails away from tender plants.

Ashes will also help dry out damp areas where pests breed.  

In the home, deploy ash as a non-toxic ant repellent by sprinkling it across known insect highways. The abrasive ash helps disrupt their trails.

Artistic Applications

With their subtle gray tones, ashes can even spark crafty creativity. Incorporate them into homemade rustic-style pottery, candles, soap dishes, and more for an organic, earthy aesthetic.

Potters can use a wood ash glaze for lovely matte finishes on ceramics.

So don't just toss those ashes aside! Unlock their diverse potential with these clever uses that reduce waste while making the most of their unique properties.

Environmental Considerations

Potential Impact on Soil and Water

While wood ash can benefit the soil in moderation, too much of a good thing poses risks.

Excess ash can make soil overly alkaline, inhibiting plant growth. It can also potentially contaminate groundwater if ashes leach into streams, ponds, or wells.  

When using ashes in the garden or burying them, avoid concentrating large volumes in any one area.

Disperse ashes widely and steer clear of direct application near waterways.

Responsible Disposal Methods

The most environmentally friendly approach is to find productive reuse options, like composting or soil amendment. This reduces waste while repurposing the ashes' nutrients.

If disposal is unavoidable, opt for contained landfill burial over indiscriminate dumping or burning. Uncontrolled burning can release potentially toxic substances into the air we breathe.

Balancing Benefits and Risks

Like many natural byproducts, wood ash has pros and cons from an environmental perspective.

Use it judiciously based on your needs, monitor for any negative effects, and prioritize safety. With some mindful precautions, you can reap the benefits while minimizing ecological harm.

By weighing the unique environmental considerations, you can decide the most responsible way to handle your own fire pit's ashy residues.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can I just throw fire pit ashes in the trash?

Check local regulations first, but small amounts usually can go in the trash if contained properly. Larger volumes are better repurposed or buried.

2. Are ashes good for vegetable gardens?  

Yes, wood ash provides nutrients like potassium and calcium. But use sparingly as too much can impact soil pH.

3. How do I store ashes before using them?

Allow ashes to fully cool, then transfer to a sealed metal container labeled for contents. Store in a cool, dry place until ready to use.

4. Can breathing in ash dust be harmful?

A: Yes, inhaling ash particles can irritate the lungs. When handling ashes, wear a mask and work carefully to avoid creating airborne dust.


Those piles of ash leftover from your backyard bonfires don't have to go to waste. With a little creativity and care, you can put them to work enriching your garden or find clever new uses around the home.

From mineral-rich soil amendments to all-natural cleaning scrubs, ashes are surprisingly versatile. Just be mindful of safety precautions and environmental considerations. Handle them properly, and you'll transform those burned remnants into a valuable resource.

So don't just discard the ashes - explore eco-friendly reuse options that align with your needs. Your fire pit's ashy aftermath can have an amazing second life!

Previous article Can You Roast Marshmallows on a Gas Fire Pit? Do It Right
Next article Vented vs Non Vented Gas Logs: Which is the Best Choice?