13 Creative Ways to Start a Fire with Household Items

13 Creative Ways to Start a Fire with Household Items

13 Ways to Start a Fire With Household Items


Fire is one of the most essential elements for survival. It provides warmth, light, and the ability to cook food. While most of us rely on matches or lighters to start a fire, what would you do if you found yourself in a survival situation without these traditional tools? In this article, we will explore 13 creative ways to start a fire using household items that you probably already have in your home.

1. Cotton Balls and Petroleum Jelly

Cotton balls coated with petroleum jelly are highly flammable and make excellent fire starters. Simply take a cotton ball and coat it generously with petroleum jelly. The petroleum jelly acts as an accelerant, making it easier to ignite. Store these fire starters in a waterproof container for future use.

2. Dryer Lint

Did you know that dryer lint can be used as an excellent fire starter? Lint from your dryer trap is highly flammable and ignites easily. Collect the lint and wrap it in a small piece of paper, forming a makeshift tinder bundle. When it’s time to start a fire, simply light the paper, and the dryer lint will catch fire quickly.

3. Steel Wool and a Battery

If you have steel wool and a battery on hand, you can create an instant fire. Take a small piece of steel wool and rub it against the battery terminals. The electrical current will cause the steel wool to heat up and ignite. This method is highly effective and can be a lifesaver in an emergency.

4. Magnifying Glass

A magnifying glass is not just for observing small objects. It can also be used as a fire starter. To use this method, position the magnifying glass above the tinder bundle and angle it in a way that focuses the sunlight onto a specific spot. After a short while, the concentrated heat of the sunlight will cause the tinder to ignite.

5. Pencil and Paper

Believe it or not, a pencil and a piece of paper can be used to start a fire. Take a sheet of paper and draw a thick line using the pencil. Next, sharpen one end of the pencil to expose the graphite. Rub the graphite tip against the pencil line quickly, creating heat through friction. This heat is enough to ignite the paper and start a fire.

6. Aluminum Can and Chocolate

If you have an aluminum can and a piece of chocolate, you have all the ingredients needed to start a fire. First, polish the bottom of the aluminum can until it is shiny and reflective. Place a small piece of chocolate on the bottom of the can, near the center. Then, angle the can towards the sun, focusing the sunlight onto the chocolate. The heat from the concentrated sunlight will eventually ignite the chocolate, and you can transfer the ember to your tinder to start a fire.

7. Hand Sanitizer and Cotton Ball

Hand sanitizer is highly flammable and can be used as a fire starter when combined with a cotton ball. Squeeze a small amount of hand sanitizer onto the cotton ball until it is saturated. The hand sanitizer acts as an accelerant, and when lit, the cotton ball will burn for several minutes, giving you enough time to start your fire.

8. Doritos or Potato Chips

Believe it or not, Doritos or potato chips can be used as fire starters in an emergency situation. The high fat and oil content in these snacks make them highly flammable. Simply light a chip or Dorito and use it as a fire starter to ignite your tinder or kindling.

9. Tampon and Chapstick

A tampon and chapstick may seem like an unlikely combination, but they can be used to start a fire. Remove the cotton from the tampon and coat it with chapstick or any other flammable substance you have on hand. This makeshift fire starter will burn long enough to get your fire going.

10. Battery and Gum Wrapper

If you have a battery and a gum wrapper, you have the ingredients for a simple fire starter. Tear off a small piece of the gum wrapper and place it on the battery terminals. The electrical current will cause the wrapper to heat up and eventually catch fire. This method is quick and convenient, perfect for when you need to start a fire in a hurry.

11. Nail Polish Remover and Styrofoam

If you have nail polish remover and a piece of Styrofoam, you can easily start a fire. Styrofoam is highly flammable and acts as an excellent fuel source. Pour a small amount of nail polish remover onto the Styrofoam and wait for the chemical reaction to occur. The Styrofoam will dissolve and ignite, providing you with a sustainable fire.

12. Gum and Battery

In addition to a gum wrapper, a stick of chewing gum can also be used to start a fire. Take a small piece of foil from the gum wrapper and unfold it to create a flat surface. Place the stick of gum on the foil, being careful to avoid contact between the foil and battery terminals. Then, touch the foil to the battery terminals, and the gum will catch fire.

13. Ice and Clear Plastic Bag

While it may seem counterintuitive, ice can actually be used to start a fire. Find a clear plastic bag and fill it with water. Shape the bag into a lens by removing any air bubbles and sealing it tightly. Once the bag is ready, angle it towards the sun, focusing the sunlight onto a single spot. The concentrated heat will eventually melt the ice and create a small ember, which can be transferred to your tinder to start a fire.


In a survival situation, it’s important to be resourceful and think outside the box. These 13 methods of starting a fire using household items can be lifesaving when traditional tools are not available. Remember to always practice fire safety and have a designated fire pit or area to contain the flames. With a little creativity and knowledge, you can keep warm and cook food even in the most challenging circumstances.

My 2 Cents

Starting a fire is a crucial skill for any survivalist or outdoor enthusiast. While matches and lighters may be convenient, they are not always reliable in emergency situations. By learning alternative ways to start a fire using household items, you can be better prepared for unexpected challenges. Experiment with these methods in a controlled environment to become familiar with their effectiveness. Remember that fire safety should always be a priority, and never leave a fire unattended. Stay safe and stay prepared!