How to start charcoal without a lighter fluid?

How to start charcoal without a lighter fluid

In the stone age, people used conventional ways to ignite charcoal for various purposes, for instance, cooking, getting heat, melting iron, and other helpful objectives. With the evolution of science and technology, tremendous modifications have been observed. One such is having different ways to light up the charcoal, from the traditional stone rubbing techniques to contemporary objects like lighter. 

Starting charcoal with lighter fluid is one of the most simple techniques. However, it can be troublesome if the smell of lighter fluid finds its way to the food you are cooking on charcoal. It will create a nasty taste and an unpleasant odor. It was ultimately contaminating the food with the more delicate fluid smell. You might run out of fluid anytime, and lightening a grill without fluid could be a hassle. However, there are specific ways that one can adopt to initiate charcoal burning without using lighter fluid. 

Five quick ways to start charcoal

What if your entire food gets ruined by the intentional addition of lighter fluid? It will be sheer negligence that could devastate your entire grill party. Furthermore, there are many occasions when one has no access to a lighter.  In that situation, there are alternatives that one could opt to ignite the charcoal.

A chimney starter

A chimney starter is a metal cylinder with a ventilation passage to allow the burning of lumps of charcoal present in it. One can use newspaper or other junk to light up the fire inside it. Once the fire is started, it will keep on burning the charcoal. This setup eliminates the use of any chemicals or lighter fluid to initiate the fire. Once the charcoal is burnt and turns grey, then you can use it to warm the place or cook the food on it. 

Using a newspaper

Newspaper is an old method of setting charcoal on fire. Dated back, people used it to start a fire. However, people can still use it if they have no other means of starting a fire. For this purpose, place crushed newspaper at the center of the charcoal. 

Ensure proper ventilation and space between pieces of newspaper to allow the charcoal to burn. Before starting the fire, place a few charcoal pieces at the newspaper’s top. Now take a matchstick to start a fire. 

Using whiskey

One can start a fire by pouring a few milliliters of whiskey from the glass. It is a mixture of sugar and alcohol that help to start a fire. Sugar decomposes readily in fire and produces by-products that are highly flammable and helps in charcoal ignition.

Furthermore, it will not impart any bad taste to the food if you tend to cook something on charcoal. Take paper towels and immerse them in whiskey. Place these paper towels among the charcoal. Next, drop the lighted match stick among the paper towels. The fire will start and help to burn the charcoal. 

Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax is a highly flammable substance. It is an ideal way of igniting charcoal. However, the results are multiplied if one uses paraffin wax to light a fire in the chimney starter. If used together, both can work effectively. 

Paraffin wax is available in various shapes and forms. It is non-toxic and eco-friendly. It can burn quickly, even if it is wet. Place a paraffin wax under the lumps of charcoal and start the fire. It will begin burning the charcoal while producing odor or toxic pollution. 

Using a heat gun

A heat gun is also known as a loft lighter. It is another alternative for lighter fluid. The heat gun has a long handle or cylinder that injects scorching air to start the charcoal. It is an electrical device that operates merely by pressing the button. Direct the heat under the charcoal to initiate the burning process. Keep sending super-hot air until charcoal starts to glow. 


All these methods require special care to avoid any incident. A slight mistake could be life-threatening. Therefore, before using these methods, ensure to consider every precaution. Avoid children from getting around the fire as it could be dangerous. Take precautions when using a whiskey as it is highly flammable and can result in uncontrolled fire. These methods are beneficial if one wants to start charcoal without using lighter fluid. Hence, one can use any form but ensure your and your surrounding safety first.

James Wilson

Grilling expert with a passion for cooking and the outdoors, who has mastered the craft of grilling through experimentation and perfecting techniques. Provides comprehensive reviews on different types of grills and shares grilling tips to help others improve their skills. Believes in innovating while respecting the fundamentals of grilling, inspiring others to try their hand at it.