10 Unthought Items You Can Use As Fire Starters

10 Unthought Items You Can Use As Fire Starters Lighting a fire is a fairly simple task when you have all the right supplies, but what happens when supplies are scarce and you can’t afford to use your lighter for more than a few seconds? If you are preparing for the long haul, you have to start thinking outside the norm of modern day life. When common items start to become scarce, it’s important to be able to utilize other resources that may otherwise be forgotten. Some of these items you should start saving up now. Other items for obvious reasons you may not want to store long term, but when your down to your last threads in supplies, finding these items might save you.

Starting a Fire Isn’t Difficult

This is a generally true statement. But trying to start a fire with limited supplies takes some thought and planning. Lighters and Matches don’t last forever. Being able to maximize on your supplies, you want to use as little of each item as you can. Lighting a small fire with wet supplies is almost impossible with a lighter, especially with only using one for a second. Getting an initial flame going and allowing the propellant to sustain it’s self is key. Light something on fire, that starts a bigger fire, using minimal valuable resources. Here is a list of 10 Unthought Items You Can Use As Fire Starters.

1. Dryer Lint

Dryer lint is thought to be on of the most useless household byproducts. But did you know dryer lint is absolutely amazing at starting fires? In fact, your dryer is at fire risk if you don’t empty your trap out, but I’m sure you knew that. Stop throwing your dryer link away. tack and empty dryer sheet box to the wall by your dryer, and stash your lint in there until you have a decent amount. Pack as much lint as you can into a high quality (don’t want it falling apart) sealable freezer bag. Use small amounts when needed to assist in starting fires. You can even melt wax down, and make small wax bars with dryer lint inside to create a longer burning fire starters designed for lighting wet material on fire.

2. Pencil Shavings

Another commonly disposed of item that works great for starting fires are pencil shavings. Most people throw these shavings away without giving it a second thought. But start saving them now, you might need them. Pencil shavings are great for many reason. The wood has been properly cured during the pencil manufacture process, which means there is minimal moisture in the shavings. The only trouble comes with extremely cheap pencils. Most commonly now, low quality pencils are made from more plastic than wood. Although these cheap pencil shavings can still be used, they are slightly more difficult to get burning.

3. Steel Wool

Yes, that strange pokey thing you use to scrub your dishes can start a mean fire. Often times these greasy, nasty things are thrown away, which I would recommend you do, but the next time you buy a 2 pack, throw the second one in your prepper supplies. The only downside to steel wool, is you need electricity to make it catch on fire. It takes very little energy and very little steel wool to start a good fire, but batteries don’t last forever.

4. Old Mail/Recycled Paper/Card Board

This one might be a no brainer, but it’s amazing the amount of raw paper people recycle that can be re-purposed into many different kinds of fire starters. It’s helpful to have a paper shredder, as the first step to making recycled paper products into fire starters is shredding it up to increase their surface area. Your can even soak shredded paper in water, and shape/form/compress the wet paper into rounds or bricks. Once dehydrated, these dried paper bricks light up quickly, and can even burn as an independent fuel source.

5. Used Q-tips

No one keeps used Q-tips, and I don’t blame you! I am defiantly not suggesting your hold on to these, but when dirt hits the fan, using every resource you have will be important. Even when the world we know of today has ended, you will still want to keep your ears clean to prevent ear infections. Q-tips are an important part of your preparation supplies, as they have many potential uses. When supplies in stores are gone, it will be important to utilize every resource you have. A used Q-tip actually make a decent fire starter. The cotton and plastic these are made from are both flammable materials. The ear wax, although not directly a good source of fire, can actually help the cotton burn longer increasing you time span to develop your base fire.

6. Hand Sanitizer

Most of those familiar with starting fires (All boys go through this stage right?) know about the hand sanitizer trick, but for those who don’t yet know, this ones for you! Hand sanitizer contains large amounts of medical grade alcohol, this is actually what kills the germs on your hands, and makes them feel cold until your hands are dry.  As alcohol is flammable, you can quickly squeeze some gel out, and light it on fire. The gel base will increase burn time, and allow your build your fire base.

7. Cooked Meat Fat

Another item most people dispose of is cook meat fat. If you have ever cooked a pound of meat, you are familiar with the “grease” that is produced. This raw fat is often separated into a glass container and thrown away. Although you may not want to stock pile animal fat ( Although I recommend it), when you can no longer purchase fresh meat from the store, the meat you do have left you will want to utilize fully.

8. Super Glue

I was surprised to hear this one my self. In doing our research for this article, my brother Bill discovered an interesting use for super glue. Super glue, when fresh out of the tube is actually highly flammable. Once it’s dry it no longer has the ability to catch fire, so make sure you act quickly, and don’t glue your self to the table.

9. Gauze Pads

I would hate to recommend that you break into your first aid supplies, but when times get tough sometimes we have to sacrifice. Gauze medical pads are not my first choice for a fire starter, but they work amazingly well. The only downside to Gauze pads is that they burn very rapidly. When using A Gauze pad as a fire starter, do your best to limit its burn rate. You can lightly saturate a gauze pad with grease or oil to increase it’s burn time.

10. Itch cooling spray

You heard that right, Itch cooling spray is also very flammable. Again the key propellant in this spray is alcohol. The sanitizing and cooling effect caused by alcohol are the same reason it makes a good fire starter. You have to hurry as the spray will evaporate fairly quickly, but spraying directly on a flat dry surface and immediately lighting the spray will create a quick, small fire to help you start your fire base.   It’s important to look past some of the potential downfalls of using the items in the list above, but rather focus on expanding your ideas. There is no such thing as being completely prepared for every possible scenario, but finding uses from every item can save your life. Hopefully this article brings some kind of help to you in your prepping adventure. We always like to recommend teaching your friends and family to be prepared, and don’t forget to include the kids. Making home made paper presto logs is not only a useful skill to learn, but the kids also love getting their hands (and your house) messy! Thanks for stopping by, See you soon!
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Jesse Jones is an Owner at 365preppers.com and has been writing website content for over 8 years. Over the last 3 years Jesse has become an avid survival/prepper educationalist.


Jesse Jones is an Owner at 365preppers.com and has been writing website content for over 8 years. Over the last 3 years Jesse has become an avid survival/prepper educationalist.

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