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Recycle those junky candles into a survival firestarter

150 150 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

Everybody has some clunky, junk candles they will never use. Here’s how to convert them into an effective firestarter, using materials you probably already have.

By Leon Pantenburg

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Most people would throw these candles away. But they can be recycled into an effective firestarter.

Most people would throw these candles away. But they can be recycled into an effective firestarter.

All you need is wax (old candles, leftover paraffin etc) cotton balls and/or quilted cotton pads.

Here’s how to make the firestarter.

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  • Collect those candles/wax you don’t need and would probably throw away. Get some cotton balls and/or quilted cotton pads.
  • Melt the wax (being very careful!) Overheated wax can produce smoke and fumes that self ignite. The safest method is to use a double boiler outside. Once the wax is liquified, SHUT OFF THE HEAT!
  • Using tongs, dip the cotton ball/cotton pad about halfway into the liquid wax. Do this quickly – the cotton is very absorbent, and you want to leave some of the material untreated for easy lighting.
  • Place the cotton on aluminum foil, on a cookie sheet to cool and harden.
  • Test the firestarter.
  • Store the finished product in a plastic bag.

That’s all there is to it. Be sure to check out the firestarter, since candles vary greatly. Some of the dripless variety don’t work all that well for firestarter.

All of us have budget constraints (well, except for Congress!) and saving money on some survival/preparedness items is just common sense. Research and find out what things you can make yourself, and you’ll save funds for items/tools you can’t compromise on (knife, boots, sleeping bag or proper clothing.)


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