Your fire has gone out and cooled. Now what?

In this article, you will learn what to do with what burning firewood leaves behind, how to dispose of wood ash.


  • Storing wood ash safely is vital for reducing the risk of fire.
  • You can sprinkle ash in your grass, but there are also many other uses for it.
  • If you have a large quantity of wood ash, ask your local waste management how to deal with it.

*I get a commission every time you purchase a product through my affiliate link below. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

wood ash and a broom

How to dispose of Wood Ash

Depending on the type of pit you use, proper disposal of wood ash is not only essential for keeping your fire pit working properly, but also for safety reasons as well as protecting our environment.

Here is what to do with wood ash after your campfire is over.

How to Store Wood Ash:

  1. Allow ash to cool completely
  2. Store it in a metal container with a metal lid
  3. Store the ash in the container somewhere where it won’t catch anything on fire.

1. Allow ash to cool completely before handling

When it comes to disposing of wood ash, safety should always be your top priority.

After using your fire pit, resist the urge to jump in and clean it. Allow it ample time to cool down completely.

ash in a fire pit

This is crucial because hot ashes can cause severe burns or even start a fire if not handled with caution. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 24 hours before touching the ashes.

BONUS TIP: When I use my fire pit, I use an infrared thermometer like this one to check for residual heat in the embers and for hot spots before I reach in to clean it.

top part of pit at 332 degrees

2. Use a metal container with a tight-fitting lid for storage

Once you’re certain that the wood ash has cooled down completely, you have the option to store it temporarily until disposal.

Use a sturdy metal container that can withstand high temperatures without melting or catching fire—galvanized steel containers are excellent choices.

a bucket of ashes

The key here is selecting something with a tight-fitting lid that seals effectively, preventing any loose particles from escaping into the environment.

A well-sealed metal container also keeps moisture out and reduces the risk of spontaneous combustion.

3. Keep the container in a safe, and well-ventilated area

Now that you have placed your cool wood ash into a suitable metal container, it’s time to find an ideal location for storing it temporarily before final disposal.

Safety should still be at the forefront of your mind when deciding on this spot within your home or property.

Look for an area away from flammable materials, such as firewood stacks, gasoline, or cleaning agents.

A dry environment is crucial to prevent moisture from seeping in and causing clumping or mold growth.

Additionally, ensure good ventilation to avoid any buildup of potentially harmful gases or odors. A well-ventilated space will also help dissipate any residual heat that could be present in the ashes.

I would not keep it in your garage or living space for a few days until you know for sure there are no hot spots left in your ash. This may seem like overkill but I know of housefires that have started this way.

Where to Dispose of Wood Ash

a trowel in a bucket of ash putting it in the garden

Your wood ash has been safely stored, but now what do you do with it?

There are several options available! Whichever you choose, be sure to use proper ventilation when handling it and wear a mask if needed so you don’t breathe it in.

Ways to Dispose of Wood Ash

  • Dump it in the grass
  • Use it in the garden
  • Put it in compost
  • Clean with it
  • Use it to deodorize

Dump Wood Ash In The Grass

dumping a bucket of ash in the grass

Getting rid of small amounts of cool wood ash can be as simple as sprinkling it on your yard.

This is an easy way to dispose of it, and it is actually beneficial for the grass as it contains nutrients your grass may appreciate!

Using Wood Ash in the Garden

a person dumping ash in the garden

Gardening enthusiasts know the valuable benefits of using wood ash as a soil amendment.

Wood ash is rich in potassium and calcium, two vital elements necessary for robust plant growth and development.

It also raises the pH of your soil, if that is something your soil needs, and it helps to keep pests away.

Simply sprinkle the wood ash around your garden. This is easy disposal that also serves a great purpose!

Composting with Wood Ash

compost pile

Composting wood ash can be a game-changer for the health of your compost pile, but it’s essential to do it right.

To effectively incorporate wood ash into your compost, start by using small amounts. Too much ash can disrupt the pH levels of the pile, inhibiting the decomposition process.

A general rule of thumb is to use about 5% wood ash by volume in your compost mixture.

To ensure even distribution throughout the pile, mix the wood ash thoroughly with other compost materials.

Cleaning With Wood Ash

When it comes to household cleaning, wood ash can be surprisingly handy.

You can create a simple and effective paste by mixing wood ash with water, which works wonders as an abrasive clean or when polishing silverware or glassware.

Additionally, if you have stubborn stains on concrete surfaces like driveways or patios, sprinkling wood ash directly on the stain and scrubbing with a stiff brush can help lift those unsightly marks away.

Deodorizing Properties

Wood ash can also absorb odors.

If your refrigerator or trash can has an unpleasant odor that refuses to budge despite your best efforts, try placing an open container of wood ash inside.

This can also work in compost bins, helping to reduce the bad smells and adding more nutrients to your compost.

Safely Disposing Large Amounts of Wood Ash

how to properly dispose of wood ashes

When dealing with large amounts of wood ash, it is crucial to reach out to your local waste management facilities for proper guidance.

They will have the necessary expertise to advise you on the best disposal methods and any specific regulations that apply in your area.

Waste management professionals can recommend appropriate disposal options based on the quantity of ash you need to get rid of and any potential environmental concerns.

In some areas, there might be restrictions on disposing wood ash in regular household trash bins due to its potential fire hazard or impact on landfill conditions.

Some regions have designated collection points or recycling programs specifically designed for wood ash disposal.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Best Firewood to Burn
Can I Put a Fire Pit on Grass?
List of Tips for Using a Fire Pit

Cat is a nature lover who wants to help you make the most of your family and friend time in the great outdoors by offering helpful tips about fire pits, backyard activities, and camping. Learn more about Cat here.