Ash is the term used to describe the remains once a fire has consumed an object and died out. Ash refers to non-gaseous and all non-aqueous residue, which is what you find once putting out a fire. The ash is created as the fire burns through the material of an object, layer by layer until it is no longer a recognizable object, but a pile of charged remains, or ashes.
Within analytical chemistry, ash refers to the non-liquid and non-gaseous residue which remains after the metal and mineral content of chemical samples are analyzed. Therefore, leaving the ash as a result of complete combustion.
What’s in Ash?
The majority of what makes up ash is a mineral created by incomplete combustion. At this stage, the ash can contain residue that is oxidizable and certain amounts of combustible residue. Wood ash is among the most popular type of ash, which is well-known from a young age. Wood ash is created after wood has been burned. Examples of this would be fireplaces, campfires, forest fires, or backyard fire pits.
You can tell the amount of charcoal that remains in the ash content based on color. The darker ash is in color, the higher the charcoal content will be, which is caused form incomplete combustion. Lighter colored ash has less charcoal remaining, meaning it is less combustible and went further through the combustion process.
Did you know that ash, like soap, is also a disinfecting agent? The reason for this is caused by the high amount of alkaline contained within ash minerals. Furthermore, when soap is not available for washing your hands, it is recommended by the World Health Organization that ash is used for washing as it disinfects the area. Additionally, if ash is not easily available, sand can be used for disinfecting too. For example, if you were stranded on an island with a sandy beach, and could not start a fire.
Types of Ash
How to use ash as a disinfectant soap
The process is rather simple really, grab some wood and start you a small fire. Depending on how much ash you want, the fire can be bigger, but the larger the wood pile the longer it will take to burn and cool down.
First, build the fire and allow it to burn. Once it has burned thoroughly through your wood, you are left with wood ash. You will want to allow it time to cool down, after all you don’t want to burn your hands. Once cooled down, you can collect the wood ash into a container if you’ve made enough to use multiple times. This allows the firepit to be cleaned and ready for the next fire.
Take the newly made wood ash, put a little in your hands and like soap, spread it around. From here, you should rinse thoroughly. Wood ash also leaves behind a unique, burnt wood fragrance.