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10 Fire Starting Materials You Probably Have At Home

You probably don’t realize just how many items you have at home that you can use as a fire starter. It’s important to know which item is effective as a fire starter so you’ll be able to carry one or two of these fire starting materials wherever you go. Check out our top picks for fire starting materials in the list below!

Fire Starting Materials | Start a Fire Using Household Items


1. Battery and Gum Wrappers

Battery and Gum Wrappers | Fire Starting Materials You Probably Have at Home

A battery can be used to start a fire with a gum wrapper as kindling. It’s quick and easy. My advice is, if you pack these 2 items in your bug out bag (or any other pack), make sure the battery and the kindling are packed separately. They may ignite if placed together!

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2. Paper Products

Newspaper, paper towels, toilet paper, and scrap paper are go-to items for starting wood stoves and fireplaces. A dry bit of paper can be a lifesaver in campfire building as well.

Bonus survival use: Crumpled balls of paper make good insulation if stuffed into your clothing.

3. Cotton Gauze

Raiding the first aid kit for tinder is a sure sign that you’re in an ugly situation. Paper-wrapped cotton gauze is there as a wound dressing but it’s also very flammable.

4. Dryer Lint

This dusty fluff is extremely flammable because it consists entirely of cotton fibers. Just keep it dry and it will light with sparks or an open flame.

5. Cotton Balls

One of my favorite things to use for tinder! Either dry cotton balls or ones soaked in petroleum jelly will make a great fire starter. The dry ones will burn for 20 seconds or so. Greased-up cotton balls will burn up to 5 minutes, making them fantastic fire starting materials!

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Check out these waterproof fire starters from our friends at DIY Projects. They are so simple to make and are very handy!

Also, check out this project, DIY pill bottle fire starter. A fun project and great to bring along to your family camping trips! Also, a great addition to your bug out bag.

6. Lighter

Lighter | Fire Starting Materials You Probably Have at Home

A lighter is a must-have item for any survivalist! As I always say, have one in the house, one in the bug out bag, one in the car, and one in your daypack or purse.

7. Magnifying Glass

You can start a fire without a spark by using a magnifying glass. Another item that should be in your home and a must-have item for your bug out bag.

8. Trick Birthday Candles

The benefit of using trick birthday candles as fire starting materials? They will not blow out in the wind! Genius!

9. Tampons

Who would have thought, tampons can also be an effective fire starter? The cotton fibers, when separated, make great tinder. Check out this video by Sensible Prepper for other great survival tampons uses when SHTF.

10. Char Cloth

char cloth

Making a char cloth is a simple process. I find that the material of a bandanna works best—lights right up! Having some pre-made to carry with you (or to have at home) is a sure way you’ll start a fire every time.

Watch the video by Alfie Aesthetics on how to make the perfect char cloth.

Check out these other great videos by Robert Hodkinson and The King of Random for two more fire starting techniques!

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Cell Phone and Steel Wool:

The Sun as a Natural Fire Starter:

If you find yourself without matches or a fire starter, fear not! There are a ton of ways to start a fire using household materials. You can add these 10 items to your best fire starter list from now on!

For awesome survival gear, you can’t make at home, check out the Survival Life Store!

If you have any fire starting tips you would like to share, let us know in the comments section below!

Up Next: 11 Weird Ways to Start Fires


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published 0n March 31, 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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