What to Use to Start a Fire Instead of Paper


Tips and opinions gleaned from the internet…

* purpose of paper is to prime the flue, or create an updraft in the chimney, which supplies oxygen to the fire

* Leave some ash in the bottom, helps fire start easier

* Dried potato skins help clean creosote from the flue.  Just dehydrate and toss on every fire. (Remember, these are tips and opinions I’ve found online. I have no idea if this is true or even safe.)

* Dried leaves and grass with dry, thin twigs in a t-pee. Thicker twigs on top of that, with larger branches and pinecones on top of that. Keep the vent open till the fire gets going, then shut the front down till almost closed. Also close the pipe vent a bit.  Each stove is different, so you have to experiment till you learn yours.

Vaseline on a cottonball

Cardboard egg cartons filled with sawdust, covered with wax melts

Charcoal / matchlight

Dryer lint and wax

Pinecones (has creosote)

Pinecones with wax (has creosote)


Paper towel used to wipe oil/grease from cast iron skillet

Twigs in an empty toilet paper roll

Used, dry teabags dipped in wax, store in canning jar

Hand sanitizer on a couple paper towels

Doritos chips

Frito chips


Fire starter sticks from Walmart, etc

Pine needles

8” slice of a stump that’s oozing pitch

Dried leaves

Auto-start, handheld torch

Paper trash, like cereal boxes and junk mail

Old bark

Butter wrapper

“fat wood”

Dried sweet gum balls

Sprinkle rubbing alcohol on some wood, let set a minute before lighting

Tree bark, particularly birch, cedar, cottonwood, and sassafras

Handful of folded straw

Steel wool

Twisted newspaper

Eucalyptus leaves (might have creosote)

DIY: round cotton pads, kerosene, dip in wax, dry and store in a canning jar

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