How to reuse sawdust

For every woodworker or DIY-er, nothing comes close to the sense of fulfillment when a project is finally completed. However, when the excitement subsides and the time to clean up your working space comes, you will most likely find yourself in the inevitable mess most DIY and woodworking projects cause. Tools, usually kept properly stashed, are left lying around in disarray, nuts and bolts all over, and all the leftovers from extra materials left unused. One of the most common byproducts of most carpentry projects proves itself quite valuable and it is sawdust. You can reuse this sawdust, which seem like a nuisance to clean up, around your house and garden, feed plants, fill gaps and more!

sawdust in hand

Here is how you can reuse sawdust in ways that you probably didn’t even imagine.

1. Fill any Hole

If you’re faced with nail holes or gashes in your wooden wall and furniture and you’re in a need of a quick and easy solution, sawdust and glue is a great and efficient fix up solution. Combine the two until consistency is thick enough and you’ll have the DIY instant filler. Sawdust will solidify glue so that you won’t have nasty streaks running down the wall and it will also match the wood color so the patch isn’t too obvious. Wait for the sawdust-glue filler to dry and and use sandpaper to even the surface.

2. Light up a Fire

Don’t leave the perfect summer outing to the whims of mother nature. If you’re not much of a fire person and you’re struggling to start or keep a fire going, especially if weather won’t cooperate, enlist the help of the DIY sawdust fire starter. Melt some candle wax and mix it with a handful of sawdust while it’s still in liquid form. Pour the mixture in molds, such as old tins and wait for it to harden. The bars you end up with are ready to be tossed into a campfire and thus light it up!

fire starters out of reused sawdust

3. Reuse Sawdust to Clean up Spills

Even professional handyman do once in awhile suffer accidents. Experience has shown that sometimes two wrongs can make a right though. The mess from a woodworking project can help you deal with the mess from a painting project or other crafting. Sawdust effectively soaks up oil and paint spills, so next time you knock over a tin of paint, just sprinkle some sawdust over the spill. Wood shavings are highly absorbent and will soak up most of it.  Look around the workshop and you will surely find a bucket of sawdust somewhere in there set and ready for that same purpose.

4. Use as an Eco-friendly Herbicide

If you take good care of your garden, you’re probably aware of the beneficial use of wood chips as mulch. But did you know that walnut sawdust is great for getting rid of pesky weeds as well? Due to the chemical juglone contained in walnut wood, it is toxic to most plants, so areas covered with shavings from this sort of wood won’t grow any unwanted greenery. Use it along the driveways or other pathways, but be careful that you don’t sprinkle too close to plants and flowers part of your landscape.

5. Lighten up Cement

Professional contractors have long used sawdust mixed into mortar when erecting cordwood walls. It lightens up the mixture and allows logs to easily bond. It is especially useful to construct lightweight vessels as well. Use this professional technique in your DIY projects involving moisture-loving planters.

bench made out of reused sawdust

6. Reuse Sawdust to Clean your Floors

Sawdust can help you clean up the floor of your workshop or garage without the nasty dust. All you have to do is sprinkle some water onto a pile of sawdust and sweep it around any concrete floor via a push broom. It effectively absorbs fine dust and grime which would otherwise go up in the air and stick to your clothes.

7. Feed your Garden

Wood chips are often used in gardening as mulch, so if you save your sawdust, combine it with manure or a nitrogen supplement in order to prevent decay and thus use the mixture to feed your plants healthy and moist.  Mushrooms in specific seem to love Alder sawdust. Another way to incorporate sawdust in your landscape is to cover a dirt pathway and tramp it well to curb erosion and make your walkway even, soft, and fragrant.

8. Use to Pack

Instead of buying packing peanuts or other synthetic materials for shipping or moving items, use wood shavings as a packaging material to fill empty spaces and prevent items from shifting around. Make sure you protect glass and screens from scratching.

9. Reuse Sawdust to Litter for Cattle

Animals are often cultivated in booths where wooden sawdust is the perfect source for litter! Compared to straw, sawing has a handful of advantages especially when it comes to dairy cows. Not only the level of absorbency is great, but compared to straw, sawdust is softer and poses no risk of causing injuries, while the presence of sharp straw pieces does.

10. Build various Products

A wonderful use of powdery leftovers of wood produced by sawing is low-density cement-bonded wood fiber composite. It is among the materials professional contractors value the most. It is lightweight with a decent carrying capacity, poriferous, great for insulation and pretty durable. Such composite does not rot nor decay or dissolve easily. This substance is nor rodent, nor termite friendly, insect proof and does not grow fungus. It is know to be environment friendly and does not contain nor emit any toxic or other hazard elements, particles or substances.

11. Reuse sawdust to snow

Mix the wooden powdery particles with white paint and glue to achieve the effect of artificial snow. Once it dries off you could put it to various applications such as improving your home exterior, interior, decorating presents or any other holiday gifts. Most of you considered sawdust as waste which only needs to be cleaned after every project but the truth is that sawdust has many useful applications. We hope that you found one of this ways to reuse sawdust interesting and that you will put your sawdust to good use!

12.  Dry out your Latex Paint for Safe Disposal

Did you know that you can easily use sawdust in order to easily get your latex paints to dry.  According to Eco-dumpster® mixing sawdust into latex paint will enable it to dry out and solidify. Of course this means your latex paint will no longer be liquid and you can safely dispose of your dry latex paint with your trash. So again, to recap, take saw dust and mix in with your LATEX paint ONLY.  Do not try this with oil based paints as they are considered hazardous waste.

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30 thoughts on “How to reuse sawdust”

  1. I never knew that sawdust can be used to lighten a mixture of cement to help it easily bond. My brother needs to order more sawdust for his next project that involves making walls around planters. He should find a place where he can buy it in bulk since it’s a big project.

  2. I love your idea of melting candle wax and pouring in sawdust to make fire starters. I have never heard of this idea before but I am excited to try it out! I love to go camping but I always have to be in charge of the fire because my family doesn’t know how to maintain it. Maybe these simple sawdust fire starters can help them out while I focus on setting up our tents. Thank you for this wonderful idea, I am honestly very eager to try it out on my next camping trip!

  3. Got a friend or neighbour with chickens? Save your sawdust and shavings for them to renew the chicken coop area. Juniper is the favourite of my recipient as it makes the coop and the little barn smell nicer.

  4. Jacque Jecker

    I mix it 1/1 with topsoil to fill ruts and holes in the yard of the house I just bought. The grass takes root in it very easily and the sawdust helps retain water. Am also adding yard clippings to topsoil to fill an area where I am going to plant a flower bed. Kill 3 birds with one stone.

  5. Thanks for the useful and interesting tips. Sawdust is something that I have to deal with after finishing my woodworking session. I prefer using them for gardening as I have a big garden that needs to be taken care of. By the way, if using sawdust for other purposes, how long can we get grid of those sawdust bags and what kind of material is suitable for making the container? I am afraid that the sawdust can leak out and cause trouble. Thanks.

  6. Save all cedar sawdust and shavings they can be bagged and put in drawers chests and closets to protect your clothes and linnen

  7. Used walnut, mesquite and Russian olive sawdust pieces to add to kitty litter and reduced odor to nothing but one of the cats developed dust allergies and had to stop using. Also as a teen I worked with a horse that developed dust allergies due to pine shavings used as bedding in stalls.

  8. If you mix it with a little epoxy , it makes good wood filler. You might sift out the big pieces but it retains the color well.

  9. I never thought of using sawdust as a packing material. This is a great idea because it’s all natural, doesn’t smell, doesn’t make a big mess and easily decomposes in landfills. I’ll definitely have to remember this next time I need to ship something and need some extra packaging.

  10. These are excellent ideas on how to re-use sawdust. I had no idea sawdust could be used for cleaning floors. I’ll have to remember this the next time I’m asked to clean someone’s woodshop.

  11. Wilf Jaschinski

    Sawdust is great for absorbing blood when hanging animal carcasses after butchering. Just spread sawdust on the floor before hanging animals for an easy cleanup.

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  13. Sawdust – wonderful stuff. I use it on the floor of the chicken house and rabbit shed, then on to the compost heap and then on the garden. I also use it for stuffing quirky door stops.

  14. I have a pile of CEDAR shavings and I’ll tell the smell is awesome. It is great for reducing the odors of spilled solvents or other strong scented products.

  15. Use a piece of burlap and a hand full of wood chips to rub off and polish grouted tile film.Works like a charm!!

  16. Eunicy gomes siqueira

    gente que legal a materia eu como trabalho com reforma de moveis antigos muitos condenados ao lixo , amei a materia se alguem tiver mais dicas por favor me manda obrigada

  17. Shavings also make an excellent and absorbent “rag” for removING paint stripper. Wear gloves and save all those rags!

  18. We once laid the cheapest hardwood flooring that had tons of flaws and knot holes.
    It was cheaper than any tiles or carpeting.
    Glue and sawdust from sanding made our ‘glue wood’ sawdust filler.
    Finished floor looked just great!

  19. In my area large amounts of sawdust are hard to get. Much is taken by tobacco producers to burn to dry tobacco in tobacco barns.

  20. Take old cardboard egg cartons, drop a short wick in the center, add sawdust and then fill enough wax to cover sawdust. This makes 12 perfect fire-starters. Place your wood in the pit. Cut out one section of the egg carton and place it in the center of your stacked firewood. Light the wick and that will light the waxed sawdust and the whole section will melt waxed sawdust over your wood. A guaranteed fire-starter.

  21. Its a nice alternative to using salt on sidewalks during winter months when you get snowy or icy sidewalks. If you want a coat of ‘non-skid’ add a little water to a mix of sawdust. Quickly spread on fresh shoveled sidewalks. As the water/sawdust mix freezes it sticks to the sidewalk and greatly reduces slips and falls. In the spring your grass isn’t dead along your walks from salt burning. In fact, the grass along the walks will green up quicker because of the mulch created by the sawdust.

  22. Experienced wood turners take a handful of shavings of the project and hold them against their spinning workpiece to “burnish” the project, leaving a smooth surface & sheen

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