Did you know that instead of using expensive wood chips around your homestead you can get the same results from sawdust (and it’s either free or dirt cheap)? For the woodworker, sawdust is an irritant, it goes everywhere, it gets stuck in cracks and crevices, and cleaning it up can be a nightmare. Most people just want to get rid of it. We’ve all heard the saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ right? Well, sawdust can be a very resourceful treasure to homesteaders if you know what to do with it. Here are different ways you can use sawdust around your homestead:

40 Uses For Sawdust Around Your Homestead

1. Store root vegetables: You can store all root vegetables in sawdust including: parsnips, carrots, and potatoes.

2. Wood filler: Turn sawdust into wood filler when working on woodworking jobs.

3. Get rid of paint: Paint is considered hazardous because it contains chemicals that can cause damage to the environment, animals, or the people who come into contact with it. Therefore, it is illegal to dispose of it in the regular trash. However, if you’ve got any old paint you want to get rid of, pour it into sawdust and you can legally throw it in the trash.

4. Mulch: Sawdust is excellent for greenery for several reasons. It makes a very good protective layer because it absorbs moisture and then slowly releases it back into the soil. Sawdust also decomposes slowly, which means it lasts longer than commercial mulch, and you won’t need to reapply it.

Related: 50 Off the Grid Homesteading Tips and Tricks 

5. Candles: Add some wax and sawdust to a tin can and it becomes a candle.

6. Absorbs Moisture: Spread sawdust over excess moisture, and it will absorb it very quickly.

7. Burners: Sawdust burners will keep you warm during the winter months.

8. Wood filler: Mix sawdust with glue and it turns into a wood filler.

9. Firestarter: Add sawdust to cupcake liners, and melt candle wax over it to create a fire starter.

10. Fire bricks: Compress the sawdust using a cylinder, cuboid, or any other shape, and use fire bricks to fire up your fireplace or stove.

11. Insulation: You can insulate your walls with sawdust

12. Mortar: Combine sawdust and water to make bricks, or to chink a cabin.

13. Pincushion: Use sawdust to make a pincushion to keep your pins and needles in a safe place.

14. Feed plants: Sawdust provides extra food for your plants by enriching the soil.

15. Anti-slip: Using sawdust on icy walkways works better than salt.

16. Landscaping: You can use natural materials such as sawdust to mulch your landscape.

17. Oil spills: Sawdust will get rid of an oil spill within 30 minutes. It also works on other spillages around the house.

18. Animal bedding: Use sawdust from uncontaminated wood for animal bedding.

19. Cat litter: You can use sawdust instead of conventional cat litter.

20. Dust bath: Add sawdust to wood ash and dirt for your chicken’s dust bath.

21. To grow mushrooms: You can use sawdust pellets to grow mushrooms.

Related: 20 Grandma’s Depression Foods We Will Need Soon

22. Weedkiller: Sawdust from black walnut acts as a natural weed killer.

23. Deter slugs/snails: Slugs and snails don’t like sawdust because it’s uncomfortable for them to crawl over dry surfaces. They’ll keep well away from your garden if they come across any.

24. Scarecrow: If you use scarecrows to deter predators, you can use sawdust to stuff them.

25. Fix garden soil: Sawdust works well for clay-rich, compacting, and hard soils. The soil will become richer once it’s decomposed.

26. Garden pathways: If you want to make paths that wind around your flower beds, sawdust is a fantastic option because it also acts as mulch.

27. Compost: With a combination of other materials, sawdust is also used to make compost.

Related: 39 Items You Can Compost 

28. For mud: Sawdust absorbs liquid and will help prevent mud from sticking to your boots.

29. Prevent puddles: If you have any dips around, fill them with sawdust to prevent puddles.

30. Traction: Keep a bag of sawdust in the car during winter months to use as traction if you ever get stuck.

31. Chicken coop: Spread sawdust on the bottom of the chicken coop. Sawdust absorbs smells, moisture, and quickly dries their poop.

32. Make a path: If you like walking around barefooted, sawdust makes excellent outdoor paths because they are soft in texture.

33. Cement binding: Use sawdust to help cement bind into the right consistency.

34. Protect concrete: Applying a layer of sawdust mixed with water over concrete helps protect the surface.

35. Compost toilets: Sprinkle sawdust in your compost toilet to absorb smells and moisture.

36. Children’s entertainment: Kids enjoy playing with sawdust; leave a pile out for them and they can get very creative with it.

37. To accelerate white-rot growth: Sawdust helps with the natural growth process of white rot.

38. Good for acidic plants: Acidic plants thrive when the soil they are growing in is covered with sawdust. Sawdust helps maintain high acidity levels in the soil.

39. Grow tomatoes: When you grow tomatoes in sawdust, they won’t compete with the seeds and weeds that are already in the soil. Sawdust also protects the tomatoes against diseases such as tomato blight.

40. Grow potatoes: You can grow potatoes in sawdust.

Where to Find Sawdust

You will need quite a lot of sawdust to do anything significant around your homestead, and unless you work with wood often, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have a ready supply available. Therefore, you’ll need to source your sawdust from elsewhere. Since sawdust is usually disposed of, you will typically get it for free, or it will be very cheap. Here are some reliable places to find sawdust:

  • Local woodworkers
  • Local sawmill
  • Construction sites
  • Lumberyards
  • Wood carving stores
  • Furniture makers

Additionally, keep an eye out for people trimming or cutting trees because they always need somewhere to dump sawdust or wood chips. Most of them will take you up on your offer if you live close by, as it’s a lot more convenient for them than taking it back to their location or finding somewhere locally that disposes of sawdust. 

PLEASE NOTE: Make sure the sawdust is from dry or fresh wood shavings from untreated wood. Cedar, fir, ash, cherry, oak, and common fruit trees are the safest to use. 

Precautions When Using Sawdust

As you have just read, sawdust has many fantastic uses around your homestead. However, there are a few things you need to know before getting started:

  • Sawdust from black walnut trees contains a component called juglone. Juglone is very toxic to some plants and it will kill them. To other plants, it will stunt their growth. However, black walnut sawdust becomes safe to use once it has aged, this takes about six months. 
  • Don’t use sawdust from chopped-up wood pallets or particleboard, these woods have been treated with fungicide or processed. 
  • Depending on where you live, sawdust attracts insects such as termites and ants. Therefore, don’t use sawdust near your house to prevent infestation. 
  • Sawdust depletes the soil of nitrogen, but you can minimize the effect by doing things like adding a hot soil amendment, adding additional nitrogen, adding a sawdust amendment, or completely composting the sawdust before use. 
  • When it comes to using sawdust for your chickens, make sure it’s not too fine or your chickens will start suffering from respiratory infections. 
  • When you add sawdust to compost, you will also need to add nitrogen because compost is high in carbon. If there is an imbalance between the two, the compost will lose its effectiveness. 

Done and Dusted

And there you have it, 40 different ways you can use sawdust around your homestead! You might not use all of them, but some will definitely come in very handy. Remember, when you acquire sawdust from outside sources, make sure you ask whether it’s untreated, raw wood because anything else can cause major damage to your plants.

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