How can I reuse or recycle soot?

bag-of-sootA bit of a weird one but we’ve opened up an old, long closed chimney recently and now have bags and bags of old soot. At the moment, it’s earmarked as filler where we’re levelling up a drastically sloped bit of the garden – all the rubble and stuff we’re generating at the moment will go in there as misc filler – but I wonder if there is anything else that can be done with it instead of just being bulk.

Ash from fires can be put on compost heaps or beds as a fertiliser (albeit a rather alkaline one) and soot apparently can be used in a similar way but is best if left to “weather” for about a year. As well as being a fertiliser, it’s apparently a deterrent for slugs. (Ours has, presumably, been weathering in the chimney for 30+ years so I’ll keep some of it aside for that.)

Any other garden or household reuses for it? Any better alternatives to being misc filler?

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7 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle soot?”

  1. Alice says:

    Anything used as fertiliser you’re unlikely to have too much of. See how far it goes once you start spreading it on your soil – you’ll probably get through more of it than you think!

    If it needs to “weather” before veg can use it, try just putting it on top of the soil without digging it in – should help stop slugs better, and will break down properly before it reaches the plant roots.

  2. Laura says:

    Soot can also be made (at home) into an alkaline based product for breaking down cellulose fibers–for home papermaking!

  3. Melinda says:

    Soot is an ingredient in making ink; check online for recipes. I haven’t made any myself.

  4. kittykat says:

    I have made ink from soot (aka “lamp black”) many times. This is what they used ’bout a hundred years ago to fill the inkwells that went with old quill pens. For thousands of years before that, this type of ink was favored by Asian artisans for calligraphy works. Here is my best suggestion for a modern use: teach kids how to make homemade
    paper, then use “homemade Chinese black ink” to draw the outlines for their own custom coloring books.

  5. we have a open fire that is used every day in winter using coal, we clean the chimney every 6 months and end up with a large amount of soot what can we use it for and if not can we recycle it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    OMGoodness no recycling soot, it has toxic byproducts in it. I was poisoned from breathing in soot. If its wood .. well that can be recycled. You’re best bet is to put it in one of those plastic grocery bags and sneak it into your trash somehow or go to your city/town website to see where to dispose of it

  7. Pat says:

    Hi, thanks for the tips on re using soot I have a wood burner, I have slightly raised beds about 8″ high, three of them runs along a stone wall so last year I spread the soot between the wall and the raised bed, the only reason was to get rid of it, surprise, surprise, this year I had no slugs in in the raised beds, wondered why, now I know why, just had my chimney sweep so will be spreading soot all round the boundary,thanks

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