Essential System #6 – Fire

On the crazy path of life you may someday find yourself needing to build a fire. When it’s wet and when kindling wood is lacking this can be a challenge. Which is why we always have fire starting implements on hand including a butane lighter and waterproof matches. Most importantly we carry something to really get the fire going – our homemade wax and dryer lint fire starters.

To make a wax and lint fire starter, save up the ends of a few candles and a bunch of lint from the dryer. Take a paper egg carton and put a big wad of dryer lint into each cup of the carton. Melt the candle wax in a double boiler. The easiest way to do this is to put the stubs in a clean tin can, and put that can in a saucepan about halfway full of water.  When the wax is melted, fill each cup of the carton up to the top with wax, soaking the lint. When the wax solidifies tear the carton apart, but keep the wax and lint in the individual paper carton sections. Light the torn edges of the cup to start the firestarter burning. The paper of the carton helps to get the wax and dryer lint burning. And burn it does! You will quickly learn why it’s a good idea to clean out the lint in the dryer vent – lint is seriously flammable.

With your dryer lint fire starters and some waterproof matches, you’ll be ready for any situation.

See this 2011 post for a picture.

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  1. Saving lint now to make these. Have to find some candles to melt! This will be a big help as we do not have a gas starter in our fireplace. Hoping I can use these to start fires without the hassle of paper and kindling.

  2. @Kerry: Great to hear! I’ve found that this project is an excellent way to get rid of all my candle stubs, candles that never burned well to start with, candles that are so old they’re dusty and dirty, candles that you got for gifts and never liked, half-burnt novelty candles, etc.

    If you’re not a candle-type-person and have none of this in your life, you could probably do this with a chunk of paraffin wax–which you could find at a craft store.

  3. I wonder if it matters what sort of fiber the lint comes from. Wool singes and smolders but often won’t really burn and synthetics just melt, ugh. Anybody know if it makes a difference?

  4. Using petroleum jelly, old shoe polish, pine sap, most old car wax, waste paraffin also works well.

    if you put the lint in a shoe polish tin first, you can fire it and make charcloth lint.It burns better than raw lint.

    you can also mix everthing in aforementioned shoe polish tin and have yourself a nice tinderbox setup.

    using shoe polish will also allow it to take a spark and go up in flame like no other.

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