If you’re into woodworking or have had your house remodeled, you know how much a headache wood shavings are. Wood shavings or sawdust are by-products of wood, and they just won’t stop popping up. If you are into furniture or other wood projects, you’ve got an idea of just how many piles of wood waste you make in a day.
The easiest way to get rid of these things is to vacuum them and then do a once-over with a wet mop or cloth. You call it a day, and then the next day, it’s another pile of sawdust for you! They can be annoying as these things can seep into floor cracks or wall crevices. Even if one wears gloves and a jacket, they always manage to find their way inside. It is basically pulverized wood, but it has benefits and numerous helpful uses. It doesn’t have to be the enemy!
If you ever find yourself once again surrounded by sacks and sacks of sawdust, consider these 10 brilliant ideas to use sawdust in creative ways. The sawdust derived from natural and untreated wood is a valuable item for your home and garden.
1. Make Your Own Mulch
Gardeners unite! The more seasoned gardeners know how much money goes to spending on pricey bags of woodchips. Well, here’s good news for you: a pile of sawdust does the same thing! Spread sawdust around the base of your plants to prevent the growth of weeds. Sawdust also retains moisture, thus helping roots remain cooler.
This wood by-product is acidic, so when you top this on soil, the soil itself turns acidic. There are certain types of plants like the berries (blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries) that all adore acidic soils. Expert gardeners advise mulching them in late fall.
Caveat. Don’t forget that sawdust are super-high in carbon. This will absorb all the nitrogen in the soil, making it extra hard for any of your plants to grow. The wood shavings must decompose first before it becomes a rich mulch.
2. Sawdust For our Furry Friends
It’s a delight to look at our pet guinea pigs, and gerbils enjoy a fresh layer of clean sawdust. These wood shavings can be used as beddings on pet cages every day. They are affordable and easy to clean up as sawdust soaks up moisture.
Do you own cats? This is also an economical and environmentally better kitty litter alternative. Sawdust absorbs foul odors, so you won’t have to worry about that. It’s worth mentioning that we only refer to uncontaminated wood here because some chemicals are harmful to the animals.
3. Add It To Your Compost Pile
Composting has been a practice for many for a long time. But every so often, some new idea comes up, and it confuses us once more. What can we actually toss to the pile? What foods are not allowed? The questions keep coming! We don’t want to add to the confusion but for veteran composting people, we’ve got an idea for you!
Go ahead and toss some sawdust to the pile. Mix it with grass clipping, coffee grounds, or tea bags. And make sure these are wet enough. Don’t forget to frequently turn the pile when you can because this encourages faster composting.
4. For Pathways and Winter
We’ve mentioned that sawdust can prevent the growth of weeds, more than that, it can also reduce soil erosion. If you have an outdoor garden and you have yet to create a path for it, consider using sawdust as a natural pathway. You can scatter it strategically to avoid slipping and to eliminate muddy paths.
As we enter winter, this is a useful hack for you. Use sawdust instead of salt on icy walkways! You are helping both the environment and your wood floors when you choose to create traction with wood shavings instead of salt.
5. Vegetable Storage
Here’s a useful idea for this pandemic era. If you need to store more vegetables but no longer have the extra space on your refrigerator chiller, think of sawdust!
This especially works for longer storage of root crops. Use a wooden box (cardboard is okay if you have nothing else) and place shavings on the bottom. Carefully place your vegetables on a single layer without touching one another. Fill up the box with more sawdust. Hack unlocked!
6. ‘Shrooms on Shavings
Okay, this idea may not be for beginners and sometime hobbyists, but it’s worth mentioning on this list. You can actually grow mushrooms using sawdust! Create a DIY mushroom bed using organic compost and sawdust. Watch this video to learn more.
7. Spill Absorber
We’ve mentioned how highly absorbent sawdust is. So it’s a great way to clean up spills from hard to clean substances like oil and grease. Keep a bucket of sawdust handy in your garage and when you spill those unwanted liquids, sprinkle a generous amount of sawdust on top. Let it sit for 30 minutes or more for it to sop up the liquid. And then sweep it up!
8. Fire Starters
We do not advise you at all to burn sawdust directly on an open fire. Do not do it outdoors, and definitely don’t do it indoors. It is a fire hazard!
But mixed with wax, you can create a DIY fire starter. First, melt the candle wax. Place your leftover candle into a bowl or pot. Pour boiling water into the pot, making sure that the water doesn’t overflow into the wax. You can put this set-up on the stove on low heat. While the candle wax is melting, add sawdust to thicken the mixture.
When the mixture is ready, pour it into an empty paper egg carton. Leave it to cool. These little wax bricks are the perfect fire starter for your next outdoor activity.
Another caveat. Always have a fire extinguisher nearby for projects like this. And have a more adult-adult supervise you.
9. Weed Killers
Not all sawdust is friendly for your plants. This is why you should be mindful of the wood from where it once was from. But there’s another threat to your garden – weeds! They are unsightly on your meticulously cared for garden but they are even more an eyesore on sidewalks, driveways, and outdoor pathways.
There is one type of sawdust that will work wonders for this: black walnut. Sprinkle them only on these areas (and never on your other plants) and watch your outdoors turn weed-free!
Wood You Should Remember
Level up your home and gardening projects with sawdust. Always remember to use only raw and untreated wood. If you must purchase, go to landscape companies who can assure you that they are plant-safe. And since we’re already here, keep your mask on at all times! The wood particles can be too fine, and may cause harm to your lungs.
Featured image from IG: @jorgequezadaa