Warning – the views expressed in this blog post are for illustrative purposes only. Use these techniques at your own risk and always consult an expert and head local laws before starting a fire. Now that we have the disclaimer out of the way on to the content! You don’t need to be an expert survivalist to start a fire in a survival situation. Many household items and simple techniques can be used to create a fire. Here are some surefire ways to lighting a fire with everyday household objects.
One of quickest and simplest ways to start a fire is found in your laundry room. Surprisingly, dryer lint is a great form of tinder to light a fire. What I do is take spent toliet paper rolls – you know the cardboard tube that’s left – and stuff that with dryer lint. You have a grade a fire starter – just light with a match, lighter, or even a ferro rod. This is so cheap to do it’s almost free.
If you want a tinder that will burn a little longer to get your fire started in wet conditions, I recommend a staple from your medicine cabinet or bathroom. Cotton smothered in Vaseline is another great way to start a fire. The Vaseline sort of acts like a fuel for the fire and will allow the cotton ball to stay lit for a few minutes. This works similarly to a candle – and by the way a candle is another great fire starter. The flame from a candle will burn long enough for you to light up small pieces of kindling to get your fire started. Everyone should have some candles hanging around their home – birthday candles work great too!
Another flammable everyday item that many people overlook, but use on a daily basis, is hand sanitizer. Alcohol based hand sanitizers will burn quite well when paired with some dry leaves or even dry newspaper. the alcohol in the hand sanitizer will act as another great fuel for your fire. Again, just light the hand sanitizer with a match and typically light blue flames will appear. Try not to burn your hands in the process by leaving hand sanitizer on them. In the same vein you can actually use rubbing alcohol the same way. It will burn a bit quicker, but if you put it in a vessel like a aluminum can cut in half – you’ll have quite a fire starter.
Surprisingly Heet (Antifreeze) also works well. Many of bushcrafters, hikers, and survivalists use Heet to fire up their alcohol stoves. Heet burns pretty cleanly and efficiently. So if you’re in a bind, antifreeze may help you not freeze (get it… I know it’s pretty lame haha).
Things to Avoid
When I was younger and dumber I made what I call a critical error when trying to start a fire. I was frustrated that my normal methods of starting a fire – which included igniting paper with a lighter – were not working. So I decided to go out to the garage and grab the 5 gallon jug of gasoline, normally used for the lawn mower. Well I doused my fire pit with the gasoline out anger and stupidity and well, the next thing I knew I had completed removed all of the hairs from my arms. Gasoline will light so fast and hard, I’ve heard stories of people loosing their eyebrows and worse! Don’t light a fire with gasoline if it’s avoidable.
Anything that has questionable chemicals that will release harmful toxins is not recommended. Such as certain bug spray, painted or treated lumber, Styrofoam, and cardboard. These things release nasties when you burn them. Also please DON’T use any of the above examples to start fires in an indoor fireplace.
Remember use common sense and precaution when lighting fires. It can and is dangerous so treat fire lighting with respect!
Thanks for reading,