The Top 4 Best Homemade Fire Starters

What Is the Best Homemade Fire Starter?

There are times when a match or a lighter isn’t available, but you need to start a fire. You may want a homemade fire starter for a barbecue in the campground or wilderness survival.

You have to make do with whatever materials are on hand, or you may have prepared DIY fire starters beforehand.

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What then is the best homemade fire starter? We have to say that it’s made of dryer lint, egg cartons and wax! But if these aren’t present, you will also find viable alternatives from available materials.

Let’s take a look at the steps in preparing these DIY fire starters. You may only find that most, if not all, of these materials, are already in your home. 

Dryer Lint, Egg Carton And Wax

The combination of dryer lint, egg carton and wax is the best DIY fire starter because of these work in synergy.

Each one has a unique property that contributes to the whole being an excellent fire starter. Dryer lint and egg carton are dry, flammable materials while the wax seals in their dryness.

It’s easy to make, too!

  • Get an empty egg carton, preferably with the bottom of each cup still intact.

  • Fill each cup with dry lint so that it’s about ¾ full. Avoid packing the dry lint too tightly as fire needs oxygen to develop well.

  • Melt an old candle or crayon wax. You can melt either on an old coffee can or by using the double boiler method. Keep in mind that cleaning up the mess afterwards can be quite a chore.

  • Pour melted wax over the dry lint-filled cups until every piece of lint is completely covered. You may prod the dry lint a little with a fork or knife so the melted wax can saturate it.

  • Leave the wax-covered dry lint to harden for a few hours completely.

  • Cut the individual cups and voila! You have your DIY fire starters. 

You can store these cups near your barbecue area for easy access in the future.

Egg Carton And Charcoal

If you are not keen on getting dry lint from your laundry machine, you can use charcoal bits instead.

  • Place a small chunk of charcoal on each cup of the egg carton.
  • Spray bug repellant or hand sanitizer, whichever is available, just before lighting up the egg carton.

Charcoal makes sense, too, since there’s no need for melting anything and it’s usually present in a barbecue setup.

Cotton And Other Materials

The beauty of cotton balls, cotton pads and cotton wool is that these are widely available.

Every household likely has these products in stock while camping enthusiasts typically bring them on their trips.

These things also don’t pack in a lot of weight and don’t take up too much space, yet are useful.

  • There are several ways of using cotton as a fire starter. First, it can be combined with wax.
  • Take lengths of cotton thread, cotton pads, or cotton balls.
  • Dip them into melted wax made from either old candles or crayons.
  • Place them on a piece of newspaper or an old baking tray to dry. There’s no need to place them under sunlight.
  • Cut the strings into shorter lengths of about two inches.
  • Place them inside Ziploc bags for storage and to keep them dry for future use. 

Second, it can be combined with petroleum jelly. Vaseline is the most popular brand, but any brand of petroleum jelly will suffice.

Both of these materials are easy to pack into your backpack or survival pack, too.

Plus, these have several other uses, too, particularly for medical emergencies.

  • Take a few cotton pads or cotton balls. Flatten them a little.
  • Rub petroleum jelly into the cotton until it’s almost soaked to the middle.
  • Store in a Ziploc bag or use immediately.

You can also use other cotton materials, such as from old shirts or pants. Just be sure that these are completely dry before dipping them into melted wax or saturating it with petroleum jelly.

Pine Cones

If your about is has pines and pine cones around, then you are in luck! Pine cones are great natural fire starters, not to mention that these smell great.

But don’t use wet pine cones since you won’t be able to start fires with them.

You can dry out pine cones first and then combine them with other materials for DIY fire starters.

  • Soak dry pine cones in used cooking oil and let them dry for a while. Afterward, utilize them as fire starters for your barbecue or campfire.
  • Tie a string on the end of each pine cone. Dip each one into the melted wax and leave to dry before using.

Of course, you can use dry pine cones as is to start a fire! But dipping them in used cooking oil or melted wax will make them light up faster. 

Sawdust Cupcakes

Don’t throw the sawdust after you’ve finished your woodworking project! You can use it as a DIY fire starter instead of letting it go to waste. 

  • Place a spoonful of sawdust into each cup of an egg carton.
  • Pour melted wax over the sawdust.
  • Leave it to sit for a while, say, 30 minutes before using it. Store individual cups in a Ziploc, too, if you want.

Don’t have any sawdust or wood chips? You can use shredded paper or newspaper instead! Again, pour melted wax over the paper-filled individual cups and let it sit.

You may also use other types of household waste in place of sawdust, wood chips and shredded paper.

We suggest these materials for their flammable properties, either on their own or with egg cartons.

  • Dried orange peels ignite easily while also emitting a sweet-smelling fragrance. 
  • Wooden coffee stirrers can also be used as fire starters since these act like dry kindling.
  • Corn chips, such as Fritos Corn Chips, Doritos Spicy Nachos, and Pringles Hot and Spicy also ignite easily. It is because corn can explode under certain conditions, and we’re not joking!


Firestarters are easy to find if and when you know where to look! Just be careful about making and using them since you don’t want your house or campsite to burn down.

You have to remember that fire can be both friend and foe, and respecting its power is a must.