Home / Blog /How to Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid?

How to Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid?



You’re cold and hungry, and you’ve just put up a fast shelter. You need to create a fire to dry yourself and remain warm for the night, so you take your trusty lighter from your pack. You’ve used it for years and it’s never failed you—until now. With a disappointing click, you realize it’s out of fluid, and you’re about to discover if you truly know how to ignite a fire without a lighter.

Like you, I’ve had my fair share of playing with fire, both literally and metaphorically. However, I’ve never had to use crucial survival skills with my life on the line. So, I called in a favor to obtain professional guidance on the best fire-starting method when your ass is on the line and you need to convert a spark into a flame without matches or a lighter.


How to Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid?

  1. Chimney Starter

It is one of the most often used alternatives to lighter fluid.

If you’ve never heard of it, it’s simply a metal tube with a grate and a holder. Fill it with charcoal or charcoal briquettes, then add paper or lighter cubes underneath. As the paper or lighter cubes burn, they ignite the charcoal at the bottom of the tube, causing the heat to build up and ignite the remaining charcoal. Sometime later, you grab the chimney by the handle and throw the burning charcoal onto the grill. The last step is the most difficult since the chimney starter is quite hot at this point. Aside from that, it’s a simple and effective method for starting a charcoal grill.

  1. Lighter Wood or Firewood

It is usually resin-saturated and ignites quickly.

Alternatively, you can start a fire with dry logs or wood chips, as well as paper or lighter cubes. A 2 kg bag of firewood should yield a 2 kg bag of charcoal briquettes. As our experience reveals, one pack of charcoal briquettes plus firewood is plenty for a 5-hour grilling session. With My BBQ Table Sets, we pour the briquettes first, then cover them with firewood. Start the fire from many locations at the same time.

In around 30 minutes, your grill is ready to cook.

  1. Fire Starters (And Paper or Dry Sticks)

It’s a popular charcoal lighter fluid replacement.

There are a variety of fire starters.

Lighter cubes are the most popular and simplest.  For the best and quickest results, you’ll also need paper and/or wood. In terms of paper, newspapers and cardboard egg cartons work well. Instead of wood, use wood chips or tiny, dry sticks. The trick is to start a fire that will burn long enough to ignite at least portion of the charcoal. The same is true for most other techniques of igniting charcoal without lighter fluid.

Crumple a few pieces of paper and arrange them with lighter cubes. Cover with dry cardboard egg boxes, if you have some. Next, add wood chips or sticks and a few pieces of charcoal to ignite the remainder. Start and keep the fire burning. When the charcoal starts to smoke, add additional charcoal.

Keep continuing until the charcoal is mostly coated in white ash.

The entire process might take around an hour.

  1. Paper and Vegetable Oil / Cooking Oil

It is not a fast process, but it works: use cooking oil to light a charcoal barbecue. First, build a bed of paper balls and add some charcoal to it. Then, drizzle the charcoal with vegetable oil and light the fire. Keep the fire running until the charcoal begins to smoke; the longer the better. If required, increase the amount of paper.

Once the first batch of charcoal has started to smoke, add more.  Keep continuing until all of the charcoal is covered in white ashes.

  1. Electric Charcoal Grill Fire Starter

Unlike the others, this does not always require longer time than lighter fluid. Depending on the type of the fire starter, it can be an effective, fast, and simpler way to ignite a charcoal grill because it only takes one item. These gadgets function by using superheated air to ignite the charcoal. You hold it extremely near to the coal, pointing at a certain place, and wait.

Looft Lighter requires only about a minute of waiting.

What Household Items Can You Use to Start a Fire?

You don’t have to go far to discover effective instruments for lighting a fire without a lighter or matches. There are usually a variety of resources near your home. Cotton balls, petroleum jelly, washcloths, metal containers, batteries, lightbulbs, and chewing gum (particularly the wrapper) are among the greatest options.

Cotton Balls

Cotton balls are one of the most effective (and cheap) home tinder’s. The tiny fibers do an excellent job of capturing sparks and converting them to flame. Packing a few cotton balls full of Vaseline (which is petroleum jelly – note the petroleum part) can result in long-lasting tinder that is extremely simple to light, even in rainy conditions.

Make and Carry Char Cloth

Char cloth, made from cotton fabric, is a useful and reliable tinder. To do this, begin with a tiny metal container, such as an Altoids tin, and poke a small hole in the lid for ventilation. Cut small strips of fabric and stuff them inside the tin, then place them on the fire.

By confining airflow through the little hole, you may let the fabric char without burning. After it cools, you’ll have a steady supply of easily flammable material that can hold an ember long enough to transfer it to dry grass or another type of fuel.

Batteries and Steel Wool

It is surprisingly simple to ignite a fire using a nine-volt battery and steel wool. Simply nestling the battery terminals into a pad of steel wool completes the circuit and heats the steel strands until they burn. This approach produces little heat, but it is sufficient to ignite longer-burning tinder. Steel wool combusts when it becomes overheated due to the quantity of energy running through it. You can perform the same procedure with a nine-volt battery and an incandescent light bulb. This is tricky because it requires breaking the glass bulb without damaging the filament. When the base of the lightbulb makes contact with both terminals of the battery, the filament will heat up just like a single strand of steel wool to give you a brief opportunity to light your tinder.

Set your categories menu in Header builder -> Mobile -> Mobile menu element -> Show/Hide -> Choose menu
Create your first navigation menu here
Shopping cart
Start typing to see posts you are looking for.
Deer Maple Logo
Sign up to get the latest quote