10 Safe and Effective Lighter Fluids Substitute  


Have you ever had to bite your tongue and curse with desperation about the negative effects that lighter fluids have left on your food, like giving it a weird taste or the discoloration of the food surface. Or are you having respiratory problems due to your constant use of lighter fluids? 

Well, I may be happy to inform you that there are actually substitutes to lighter fluids. Must we always have to use lighter fluids? Are lighter fluids indispensable? 

Oh dear, lighter fluids used to ignite charcoal briquettes are not indispensable, we will be looking at safer options, that can help us still ignite our fire that we may need for cooking, fuel or to light up our heaters.  

Lighter fluids, to start with, are liquid accelerants, especially those especially those used  to ignite charcoal briquettes for grilling food. They are those liquids which ignite fire in lighters. 

The reason why lighter fluids sometimes have negative effects on our food is because they are composed of some hydrocarbons, such as benzene, butane, etc., which can cause food poisoning. 

 To save ourselves from the effects that we have to deal with from lighter fluids, we’ll be looking at other substitutes for safer lighter fluids. 

Some Lighter Fluids Substitutes 

1. Newspapers 

Newspapers are safe and effective for starting a fire in the fact that they don’t contain harmful chemicals, which pollute the land surface when burned, thus are actually safer for use in the environment. 

 Newspapers are a renewable resource, which makes them readily available. As an added advantage, they are also easy to use. It can be used for kindling or as tinder to help start a fire. 

Newspapers can be used as an excellent option for lighting campfires, grills, and fireplaces in a pinch. They can actually do that much. 

Just a few sheets of crumbled newspaper and the addition of sticks would create fire. The newspaper will ignite and burn quickly, providing enough heat to burn the sticks that were added. 

Using newspaper as an alternative to traditional lighter fluids provides the added benefit of reducing the risk of health hazards posed by lighter fluid fumes. 

2. High-proof Alcohol 

High-proof alcohol is another good substitute for lighter fluids because it has a high percentage of alcohol which helps to create a flame.   

The high-proof alcohol is easy to find, as most liquor stores normally carry it. It is a common option as it is readily available. 

It’s important to note that the higher the proof, the larger the flame will be, so one should really be cautious when working with it.   

 High-proof alcohol can also be used to start charcoal grills. Because it has a high burning temperature, it helps the coals heat up faster and thus, create more heat. 

  Additionally, it is odorless and non-toxic, so it won’t leave behind a foul smell or fumes on our grills or have negative effects on our health. 

 Always be sure to read the product manual to see the right amount and follow safety protocols when working with high-proof alcohol, as it can easily catch fire. 

3. Cardboard Egg Crate 

This is an old method of igniting fire onto something. It works by filling an egg crate with wax and then setting it on top of kindling material or in your fire pit or fireplace.  

The cardboard will eventually catch fire and slowly burn, thus providing you with enough heat to ignite your logs and fuel. 

This ignition method has the added advantage of being safer because in this method  there is no risk of uncontrolled fire. 

However, you should be careful when using this method since the flames can still easily consume the cardboard without fuel. 

 The best materials to use are natural waxes, such as beeswax or paraffin wax, and ensure that they’re tightly packed into the egg crate so that they don’t move or fall out when it starts to heat up. 

4. Rubbing Alcohol 

This works similarly to lighter fluid in that it ignites quickly, making it an ideal choice for the impatient griller.  

Rubbing alcohol is usually much easier to find than other substitutes and is often less expensive. It is  extremely flammable so one would have to be very alert and cautious while using it. 

To use rubbing alcohol as a substitute for lighter fluid, pour some onto a cloth or cotton ball and place it directly on the coals. 

Then use a match or long-handled lighter to ignite the cloth, and the fire should quickly light up. 

5. Doritos Hot Chips 

This is another substitute for lighter fluids. One good thing about this is that it does ignite fire and give off a nice scent when being burned. 

 These chips are very flammable and when added to a barbecue or fire pit, they will easily ignite fire. 

To use Doritos Hot Chips, place a few chips around the coals or wood and light them with a match or lighter. Due to how flammable these chips are, it is advisable to use a long-handled lighter. 

The chips will light quickly and give off a steady flame that lasts several minutes. The chips should not be allowed to burn out quickly. 

When using Doritos Hot Chips as a substitute for lighter fluid, you may need to adjust the number of chips you use depending on the size of your fire pit. 

6. Cooking Oil or Animal Fat 

This is relatively easy to source and has a higher flashpoint than traditional charcoal lighter fluid.  

Cooking oil or animal fat works best when heated up in a small container, such as a skillet or pot, and then poured onto the charcoal. 

One good thing about using animal fat is that it makes heat more evenly distributed and leaves the food with a unique scent. 

 Note that the animal fat or cooking oil should not be applied directly to the charcoal. Doing so can create dangerous flare-ups and should always be avoided.  

7. Sugar 

I know you’d be surprised to see this, but sugar can actually be used to ignite fire.  

All you need to do is place a small amount of sugar in the bottom of your grill and light it with a match; it will ignite fire. 

 While using the sugar as a substitute for lighter fluids, it is necessary that a well-ventilated space, or better yet, open air, be used, as it produces a lot of smoke. 

 Additionally, the sugar can caramelize and give the food an unpleasant burnt-sugar flavor. To avoid this, it is important we use the smallest amount of sugar that is just necessary for the job( whether the fire is for grilling or for campfires, etc) 

 Although using sugar as a lighter fluid substitute is not ideal, it is better than using some potentially dangerous alternatives. Sugar also doesn’t have the risk of explosion. 

Sugar is not flammable like lighter fluid, so you don’t have to worry about the risk of an accidental fire or explosion.  

8. Electric Starters 

The electric starters do more than just ignite fire on a charcoal grill. 

The strong electric arc it generates may also light kerosene lamps, wood stoves, grills, and candles while maintaining a safe distance. 

It has been observed that the Looft Lighter is one of the simplest to use. It is an electronic lighter which doesn’t emit chemical odours when used  

To use this, put the grill grate where your electric starter is. And then place some charcoal there and all around it. 

 After that, heat the charcoal for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Next, unplug the device and take the starter out of the briquette.  

9. Chimney Starters 

It is a cylindrical metal with an open end and a grid inside. The Weber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney Starter is one of the most popular models of this type. Which can store enough briquettes to fill a kettle grill up to 22-1/2 inches in diameter. 

To use this method, at the base of your barbeque, set a bottle. Newspaper strips are then wrapped around and raised gradually.  

Then, carefully push the charcoal against the bottle as you pour the charcoal around it. 

10. Fire starter Briquettes  

The fire starter briquettes operates by lighting a fire starter on closely packed charcoal briquettes. 

In around 20 minutes, the lit charcoal briquettes will reach an appropriate temperature for grilling.  

 To ignite the briquettes in the Weber ignition chimney, use fire-starter cubes. This is how it goes: Light three fire-starter cubes by placing them on the fireplace grate. 

After that, set the metal handle of the filled ignition chimney on the edge of the grill. 

 So we have seen safer and more effective ways to start a fire, which are healthier than using lighter fluids. Perhaps the world too would be better off with regards to pollution if the use of lighter fluids were reduced. 











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