How to Start A Fire Using 14 Household Items

Fire has been used by human beings for thousands of years. Without it, life would have been unbearable to people.

Today, starting a fire is an easy process. You can use lighters or matches. However, how do you light a fire with other household items?

Before you cook your favorite dish, you think of fire. Early people used it for signaling, scaring away wild animals at night, and keeping themselves warm. Living an off-grid life without fire is practically impossible.

Due to its importance, you should learn how to make it. In this article, we present 14 Household Items and how to start a fire with them. Keep reading for more details.

How Was Fire Discovered?

How Was Fire Discovered?

There are many theories and myths about the discovery of fire. It all depends on where you come from or what you believe in.

However, the truth is that fire was never discovered by anybody. It has been in existence for as long as oxygen and fuel are.

Early human beings witnessed fire for the first time through a natural phenomenon called lighting.

Lightning strikes could trigger fire in the forest. Forest fires made foraging for food quicker and people discovered how cooked foods were more delicious.

Since the fire occurred naturally, people had to learn how to control it. They used slow-burning sources of fuel such as cow dung to keep it as long as possible.

However, fires caused by lighting were sporadic. That forces early humans to learn how to create it.

Pre-humans learned how to create fire using sticks and flints about two million years ago. Archeologists have gathered enough evidence to prove how the fire was used.

The fire was mainly used for roasting meat and cooking vegetables. But people also discovered that fire could keep them warm in the caves and protect them from wild animal attacks.

Scientifically, fire aided the rapid evolution of man. Cooked foods were more nutritious and improved brain development, transforming the early primitive human beings into who we are today.

How Does Fire Work?

Fires are formed from the application of heat to a fuel source in the presence of oxygen.

The heat causes fuel atoms to vibrate and eventually break loose. They are released as volatile gases that react with oxygen in the air to produce fire.

The hot volatile gases produced from the vibrating atoms are less dense than air. As a result, they rise up to low-pressure regions. That explains why fires always spread upwards and flames point at the sky.

14 Household Items and How To Start a Fire With Them

Starting a fire can be a painstaking task, especially if you don’t know how to go about it. Whether you are a survivalist or just want to light your BBQ grill, you should learn different ways of painlessly doing it.

In bad weather conditions, it can take you hours to get the fire burning. But with the ideas presented here, it becomes easy and can be accomplished on time. Check them out!

Using Flint, Steel, and Dry Tinder

Using Flint, Steel, and Dry Tinder

This is one of the most common methods of starting a fire. It uses friction between two rubbing objects to create sparks, thereby igniting a fire.

To do it, you will need flints, steel, stone, and any dry tinder. Lastly, you need a source of fuel, probably firewood, to make the fire bigger.

In this method, steel is struck by a stone to produce sparks as the rock makes the hot steel peel. The sparks are directed to the dry tinder, where they accumulate and are blown into flame.

It is easy to make fire using flint, steel, and tinder. The process takes a short time, but it is not feasible in the wilderness since steel is not easy to find.

Using Duct Tape

Using Duct Tape

Duct tapes has many uses at home and lighting or starting a fire is just one of them. Many people use it as a fire starter.

But in this section, we will describe how you can actually start a fire with it. You need a dry lint, char cloth, and duct tape itself.

Cut about six inches of duct tape and roll it up with a diameter of about 1.5 inches with the sticky side on the outside.

Insert lint into the roll and cover with the char cloth. The last step is to spark the char cloth and blow on it to produce a flame.

The main advantage of this method is that the flame can be used for starting a fire. It stays lit for about seven minutes.

Using Chips/Snacks

Chips or any other oily snack can do a great job in starting a fire. They are just good fire starters, however, it does not light it. It means you will still need a lighter or match to make it happen.

If you are in the middle of nowhere and you need to start a fire, check if you have chips or other oily snacks in your backpack.

These are fire-hungry items that can burn for several minutes. Use them to build a big enough for the intended purpose. And being that you need a lighter, the rest of the steps are straightforward.

Using Chapstick

We have to start by noting that chapstick cannot light a fire on its own. You still need a lighter or match to get your fire burning.

For that, you require chapstick, a cotton ball, and a lighter. You can use any other petroleum product as an alternative to the Chapstick.

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Cotton balls form the wick and chapstick the wax. Start by removing about one-inch long chapstick from the tube.

Smear it on the cotton ball, evenly distributing the chapstick on it. Now you can ignite it to produce fire.

This method is ideal for lighting fire under unusual conditions, however, you may not have chapstick with you all the time.      

Using Paper Products

Most of us use waste paper and other paper products to light fires at home. This method, again, cannot start a fire on its own. You will need a lighter to ignite the paper.

Before proceeding, let us mention that you should not use paper products with glossy finishes. Those never burn to produce big flames. Plus, if you are worried about the environment, the glossy finishes are not as good for the environment.

In this method, you need pieces of paper, kindling, logs, and don’t forget your lighter. Starting a fire with paper requires reducing the burning rate to give the kindles enough time to catch fire.

Get full details on starting a fire with paper to save yourself next time you need to.

Using Dryer Lint

Lint is highly flammable and a good fire starter. All you need are the kindling, logs, empty toilet paper tubes, and dry lint.

Fill the empty toilet paper roll with the lint. Viola! Your fire starter is ready for use. There are other alternative ways of making dryer lint fire starters that you can explore.

Light the fire starter you just made with a lighter. It will burn long enough to light up the kindles and finally the logs.

The advantage is that you can make them at home and put them in your backpack. But what do you do when you don’t have a lighter?

Using Plant-Based Cloth

Plant-based clothes such as the ones made with cotton materials can start a fire. They burn considerably long enough to provide the needed fire to start up kindling.

If you are caught in the jungle and cannot access any material for starting a fire, you can use a cotton T-shirt or any other cloth.

Plant-based clothes are excellent fire starters, however, they require a lighter. Once lighted up, they sustain burning for quite some time to allow you to make fire even in unfavorable weather conditions.

Using Cotton Balls

Using Cotton Balls

We have already seen how to use chapstick and cotton balls to start a fire. How about the cotton balls on their own?

The answer is a YES, but you need a Vaseline to act as a wax. That way, the cotton ball will burn long enough to start the kindling.

Gather the materials: cotton ball, Vaseline, zipper-lock bag, and a paper towel. Follow the procedure for making cotton balls fire starter to include in your backpack for the next adventure.  

Once again, you can make the cotton balls fire starter in advance or on-site. You require a lighter to ignite it. Once ignited, it burns to produce heat and flame needed for burning kindling.

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Using a Guitar Pick

Against all odds, who knew that guitar picks are good fire starters? They are flammable, which is why they serve this other purpose quite well.

Buy a plastic guitar pick at the nearest music store. You are better off choosing a thick one because it contains more fuel and does burn for long. After all, you are not going to play music.

Follow the steps of starting a fire using guitar picks as outlined in the video. Be a survivalist. If you are a guitarist, you automatically become one.

Using a Glass Lens or a Mirror

This method is all about concentrating the sun’s rays or radiation to a focal point.

Some of us used to play with this in primary school to burn papers or tease others, however, that should not be the case here. You require a glass lens or mirror, dry tinder, and access to the sun.

The process is straightforward. Put your tinder nest on the ground and use your glass lens to direct the sun’s rays to it.

Keep it in position until the tinder begins to smoke. At that stage, you only need to blow into it to produce a flame.

This method is easy and quick but cannot be used at night or on a cloudy day. You need the sun for it to work.

Using a Battery, Light Bulb, and Some Dry Tinder

Batteries and lightbulbs are some of the items in every household. Did you know you can use them to light a fire? You need a large D-battery and an incandescent bulb, and then proceed as follows:

Break the bulb to expose the filament. Connect the bulb to the battery and use the heat generated by the tungsten filament to light kindling or dry tinder.

We can say this is one of the easiest, hassle-free methods of lighting fire, but not everyone has access to the required material. You might be forced to buy them at the electrical shop nearby.

Using Battery and Gum Wrappers

This is another method of starting a fire with batteries. You need an AA or AAA-size battery and a gum foil wrapper.

Twist the wrapper in the middle to form a bow tie-like shape and connect it to the battery terminals. The current flowing through it produces enough heat to set it on fire for lighting the kindling.

This method is clean and takes just a second to ignite a fire. However, you need kindling and logs to make the fire meaningful.

Using Wood Shavings

Just a few handfuls of dry wood shavings can help you make a fire starter for your next adventure.

You can make them using a knife or purchase them as animal bedding chips. You also need wax and an empty egg tray.

Once you have gathered all the materials, follow the steps to make fire starters with up to ten minutes of burn time each.

Using Wood: Rub Two Sticks Together

Igniting fire by rubbing two sticks is one of the oldest methods of starting a fire. It was the first discovered method used by early men to light fire instead of relying on sporadic lighting to strike forests.

As the title suggests, you need two sticks that you will rub against each other and a bundle of tinder that will burst into flames.

It might take much longer and much more significant work to get fire using this method, however, it is one of the best skills a survivalist should learn.

Household Items That Should Not Be Used to Start a Fire

Household Items That Should Not Be Used to Start a Fire

Although we can use many household items to start a fire, some are highly flammable and potentially dangerous. They can explode out of control. They include the following:

  • Cooking Oil: Not technically flammable but can explode when it becomes overheated. If you do use it to cook in a saucepan, then you surely understand the phenomenon we are talking about.
  • Nail Polish and Its Remover: Nail polish emits invisible, flammable vapor. That vapor can be potentially dangerous if it is placed next to an open flame.
  • Hand Sanitizer: This can ignite and cause burns since they are mainly alcohol-based. It should be used with care. You should never approach an open flame just after using a hand sanitizer.
  • Laundry Detergents: Detergent pods, stain cleaners, and fabric softeners are flammable. They should never be used to start a fire.
  • Flour: A mixture of flour dust with oxygen is a highly combustible fuel source and can result in an explosion. Never use it to light fire not unless you know what you are really doing.

In Conclusion

Making fire is fun but can also be a pain-taking process under some weather conditions. Learning different ways of doing it is the best approach.

We have just highlighted the best fire lighting and starting techniques that any survivalist should find helpful.

Please share the information with other survivalists you know. We appreciate your time for reading this article and don’t forget to explore other related topics at the Em Offgrid.