The influence of insoluble ash in diet, digesta, and fecal samples was evaluated. Ash-free values of neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) for feed, digesta, and fecal samples were compared with uncorrected values of NDF and ADF in two digestibility experiments. Six feed samples were selected at random along with four duodenal and two fecal samples; the latter two were a part of two digestion studies. The silica composition of feed samples was low with the exception of oat hay and rice straw. Ash-free values of NDF and ADF for digesta and fecal samples were lower than uncorrected values of NDF and ADF, and silica accounted for the majority of the differences. The use of ash-free values of NDF and ADF in both digestibility experiments with dairy cows resulted in more realistic digestibility estimates and reduced the amount of variability associated with the calculation of the digestibility of NDF and ADF in the rumen and total digestive tract. The source of the insoluble ash was not identified but could have come from individual feedstuffs or the consumption of sand. Sample contamination by silica and other ash components may influence NDF and ADF composition if the fiber residues are not ashed prior to calculation of NDF and ADF.