Homemade Fire Starters: Cotton Ball & Vaseline Starters

Fire starters

Today’s post is on homemade fire starters.  They are easy and cheap to make.  The one I have used for years and always works is cotton balls and Vaseline.  Simply impregnate the cotton balls with Vaseline.  This can be done easy by rolling the cotton ball in warm Vaseline.   By warm I mean set it out in the sun warm, I do not recommend liquefying the Vaseline on a stove.

For years I have carried these in my seventy-two hour kit by stuffing them in a 35mm film can.  You can squeeze quite a few in one.  But with the advent of digital cameras, film cans are no longer easy to obtain.  Pill bottles work quite well, but I was talking to a friend who has been wrapping his in aluminum foil. To use them he cuts an x in the foil package and pulls a small amount of cotton out and lights it.

Both method work quite well, a cotton ball if properly impregnated with Vaseline with burn for approximately 10 minutes, with a good hot flame.  The foil wrapped cotton ball will burn for a longer period.  Both can be ignited with a match or a fire starter (spark producing device).

Using damp wood from my yard it was easy to start a fire using either device.


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3 thoughts on “Homemade Fire Starters: Cotton Ball & Vaseline Starters”

  1. Piney Woods Prepper

    In areas where pine cones are plentiful, I have found that an opened pinecone soaked in paraffin candle wax makes a most excellent firestarter. They burn for a good, long time, since the paraffin moderates the actual burning of the underlying pine-oil rich pinecone, and as it melts and runs onto the other wood, it spreads the flame well.

    They are also very easy to transport in a ziplock bag or even in a box or basket. They also look nice as a decoration on the hearth near the fireplace or stove till needed. The only drawback is they are buky for go-bag use. However, they are superior for use in a static location with the room to store them. No smelly petroleum smells or oily goo to worry about either! I use them exclusively to start my potbelly stove in my workshop, and have a nice decorative basket full of them in the house near the other fireplace accessories.

  2. I like to save my toilet paper rolls and using masking tape, tape off one end with 4 strips. Then I fill it with the chips and sawdust I collect when chainsawing logs. Tape the other end off with masking tape and it works perfectly as a fire starter, using two sheets of wadded newspaper and 4 rolls. When backpacking, 4 rolls will give you about 30 minutes of cooking flame.

    I do like the idea of vaseline soaked cotten balls, and intend to experiment with them in place of the newspaper.

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