How To Start A Fire With Household Items: 5 Hacks

Let’s face it. You may not always have a fire readily available to you in every situation. Based on the circumstances, you may need to start your own fire with household items to get the heat that you need.

This is especially the case for those of you who like to go camping with friends and family. In fact, as long as you take the right supplies with you on these outings, you can feel safe while away.

By the same token, if anything happens that you do not expect in your own home, you may need to go on survival mode. Just don’t forget your fireplace gloves!

According to the temperature and the time of day, you may even need to start a fire to stay warm until the emergency situation is over. So, let’s get started by learning how to start a fire with household items.

On a similar note- check out how to start a fireplace fire without kindling!

How to start a fire with household items

1. Look for a tube of Chapstick

Did you know that a small tube of Chapstick can be very useful in an emergency situation? In fact, if you need to start a fire to keep warm, Chapstick can be a real lifesaver. Just like you would use a candlestick to start and preserve a flame, you can also use a tube of Chapstick to assist you with doing the same.

person holding orange and yellow plastic chapstick

This is because Chapstick is considered to be extremely flammable. Therefore, if you want to get a fire started, you can simply place a wick inside of the tube of Chapstick and it will preserve the flame.

Also, if you want to make the surface of an item more flammable, just smear the wax from the Chapstick on top of it. When you smear it on top, it makes the flame from the fire last longer, too.

2. Check your tool supply box for duct tape

You may already know that duct tape is a great resource for a wide variety of things. From patching up holes and sealing up crevices to taping different types of things together, this is a multipurpose all-around solution that people use every day.

On the other hand, did you know that duct tape can be used to start a fire, too? All you have to do is to cut off a few feet of duct tape from a roll and then crumble it up into a large ball. You can use this crumpled-up ball to start the fire or to keep the fire going. In either case, here’s what you should do.

Throw a few crumpled-up balls of duct tape into an open flame. The fire will grow and become bigger. In fact, you can throw as many balls on the fire as you want.

Or, you may want to light the crumpled-up ball of duct tape with a match.

Both of these methods can work, based on the circumstances that you are actually dealing with. If you have more time, you can even build your own firepit on a grassy lawn.

3. Clean out the dryer: reuse lint

Starting a fire in an emergency situation is not all about being away in the woods alone. Instead, if the electricity goes out in a home, the family may lose access to the warmth that they need.

So, in these situations, there are some things in the household that can be used to help get a fire started. In fact, one of the most ingenious and unique ways to start a fire is to use dryer lint.

Even though dryer lint is usually seen as a substance that simply needs to be discarded, you should be surprised to know that it can be very useful in an emergency. For instance, you can use the lint from your dryer to start a fire.

And, you can keep the fire burning by throwing on more dryer lint when the flames begin to fade away.

Dryer lint is an excellent option for starting a fire, and will keep the fire going until the fire is large enough to keep burning. Consider making your own DIY brick firepit so you’ve got a dedicated space for heat and cooking outdoors!

4. Collect all of your newspapers and cardboard boxes

Fortunately, there are a lot of things inside the household that can be used to start a fire. Therefore, if you have an emergency situation, you may also want to look around your home for a DIY hack.

For instance, some people keep magazines laying around all of the time. And, these magazines are paper products that are often made out very flammable materials. The same is true for cardboard boxes that people like to store away for moving day.

Business newspapers for fire

That said, if you are looking to start a fire, you can use as many magazines as you can find. The more magazines that you find the better, particularly if you need to start the fire and keep it burning for an extended period of time. Just like adding logs to a fire in a fireplace, these magazines can help to keep the flames burning.

5. Cotton Balls and petroleum jelly

When you buy cotton balls, you may buy petroleum jelly from the store, too. Since some people use petroleum jelly and cotton balls to remove the make-up from their face, these are items that people may find in their homes easily.

Thankfully, since this is true, you may want to keep cotton balls and petroleum in mind as an option for starting a fire in an emergency. The cotton combined with petroleum is a winning match for igniting the fire that you need. It is also important to note that the petroleum in the cotton is an excellent fire-friendly igniter, and it’s also a great way to keep the fire and flames high.


If you are in a jam or encountering an emergency situation that involves starting a fire to keep warm, you may need to consider the items that you keep inside of your home. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of household items that can be used to start a fire and to keep it going for long periods of time. Some of the most beneficial includes a tube of Chapstick, balls of duct tape, dryer lint, cardboard boxes, newspapers, cotton balls and petroleum jelly.

Eugene Duke Pic

Hi, my name’s Eugene Duke and I love sitting by my fireplace reading a book and sipping on an adult beverage. Do you have a fireplace in your house? I’ll help you figure out the best type and style of fireplace for your home.


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