What Can I Use To Light My Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid


What Can I Use To Light My Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid

Don’t have lighter fluid to light up charcoal for barbecue? Are you wondering what you can use to light your charcoal without lighter fluid? Is it even possible? Of course! it is possible. 

People think that charcoal can’t be light without lighter fluid. But it’s a wrong conception because there are other ways by which one can light up charcoal efficiently. Apart from this, lighter fluid has chemical substances which can be hazardous to health. That’s why it’s a good idea to use other ways for lighting charcoal for cooking purposes.

In this article, I’m going to write down what you can use to light your charcoal without lighter fluid. So, keep reading this article at least once. 

5 Substitutes That Can Be Used To Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid

Lighter fluid helps in lighting charcoal efficiently and safely for cooking. But just in case there is no lighter fluid near, you can use these substitutes to light charcoal. I am describing below the 5 substitutes that you can use to light charcoal instead of lighter fluid, such as: 

1. Vegetable oil: 

Vegetable oil helps in spreading fire from charcoal. Just drizzle vegetable oil over hot charcoal. It will work like lighter fluid and help the charcoal to keep hot for a long time. For better working, take a paper towel and brush vegetable oil into it.

Put the oiled napkin along with some dry napkins for easy burning. In short, drizzling oil directly over hot charcoal won’t last long, but using dry paper napkins will help the flames to last long. You can also use newspaper along with vegetable oil for lighting charcoal.

2. Doritos:  

Doritos are flammable, so they can be a good substitute for lighter fluid. Doritos contain a good amount of cheese dust which is full of fat. This fat makes Doritos flammable. So using Doritos on charcoal is one of the cheap solutions for lighting charcoal. 

You can use any kind of cheese dust chips, and all will work as a substitute of lighter fluid. Even there is no need of dry paper if one uses chips like Doritos for lighting up charcoal.

3. Whiskey: 

Whiskey is one of the best options for lighting up charcoal. Whiskey acts similarly to lighter fluid. For lighting up charcoal, using whiskey follows these 4 easy steps ,such as:

  •  Take some cotton balls or tissue paper shaped into a ball; 
  • Then soak the balls into the whiskey;
  •  Put the soaked whiskey ball over the charcoal;
  • At last start the fire to light charcoal.

4. Rubbing Alcohol: 

Using rubbing alcohol is one of the cheapest replacements of lighter fluid. Its usage is similar to the usage of whiskey. Use some rubbing alcohol soaked napkin or cotton balls over the charcoal.

Cover the rubbing alcohol soaked cotton with charcoal on top. Then start the fire and wait until the fire is perfectly lit up. Don’t drizzle rubbing alcohol directly over charcoals; it can cause an accident.

5. Nail Remover:

 Nail removers are made of highly flammable acetone. You can light charcoal using a nail remover. But it’s quite dangerous because of acetone. So, if you use nail remover for lighting charcoal, make sure to use a very amount of nail remover. 

But nail removers are not consumable as they contain other chemicals too. Consequently, if you use it, make sure not to cook food directly on the charcoal. It’s recommended not to use more than one small cotton soaked nail polish remover for lighting charcoal.

Cautious Using Substitutes To Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid (4 Points) 

Remember these 4 points before using any of the aforesaid substitutes to light up charcoal, such as: 

  1. Don’t use gasoline and kerosene for lighting charcoal. Gasoline and kerosene can create an excess fire which might burn anyone. 
  1. Be careful while using any kind of alcohol. Alcohols are flammable too but using appropriate amounts will help lighting charcoal without any hassle.
  1. Don’t cook food directly on charcoal if nail remover is used as a substitute for lighter fluid.
  1. Try not to use a substitute that contains harmful chemicals. As it can be health hazardous.

3 Appliance To Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid

There are lots of substitutes for lighter fluid. But, I am describing three appliances that you can use to light charcoal without any lighter fluid or any other substitute, such as: 

1. Charcoal Chimney:

Using a charcoal chimney is the best option to light charcoal without lighter fluid. Here, dry and light weighted papers are used under the chimney which helps to create heat from the bottom. And eventually, it lights the whole charcoal without lighter fluid. For lighting charcoal using a chimney follow these steps:

  •   Take 3 to 5 newspapers and shape them in a ring. Place the ring directly at the bottom of the chimney; 
  • Then fill charcoal to the chimney according to the need for cooking;
  • After lighting charcoal smoke will generate from the chimney because of the moisture inside;
  • Charcoals will be heated properly when you can notice visible grey ash on top of coals.

2. Heat Gun: 

Heat guns aren’t made for lighting charcoal, yet it can do the work for you. However, there are looftlighter that are made for lighting charcoal but it is too expensive. 

Heat guns can generate heat up to 750 to 1800 degrees. To use the heat gun, plug it and directly use it on top of the charcoal to heat up. After visible orange glow to the grey ash on top of coals, stop heating the charcoals. Lastly, use charcoal for the barbecue.

3. Electric Charcoal Starter: 

An electric charcoal starter is also a tool for lighting charcoal. It also helps in catching fire. To use an electric charcoal starter, follow these three steps, such as: 

  •  At the base of the grill pile charcoal on the top of the coil;
  • Then plug the electric charcoal starter;
  • Take off the coil when the charcoals light up perfectly.

Time Comparison Between Three Appliances To Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid

Different appliances take different time for lighting charcoal. I am comparing the time between three appliances to light charcoal without lighter fluid, such as: 

ApplianceTime 
Charcoal ChimneyIt takes about 20 to 25 minutes to light charcoal using a charcoal chimney.
Heat GunIt takes 5 to 7 minutes maximum to light charcoal using a heat gun.
Electric CoalIt takes 20 minutes maximum to light charcoal using an electric charcoal starter.

Can You Use Olive Oil To Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid?

You can use olive oil to light charcoal without lighter fluid. Olive oil is also a cooking oil. Just drizzle olive oil over a dry paper or napkin and completely soak it up. After heating the charcoals for a bit, place the olive oil soaked paper over the coals to light it. Olive oil helps the charcoal to remain hot for a long time.

Can You Use Sugar To Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid?

You can use sugar to light charcoal without lighter fluid. Just apply a light coat of sugar dust to charcoals before lighting them. Sugar works as an alternative option of lighter fluid. However, sugar can’t maintain the heat of charcoal for a long time. As a consequence, it is not recommended to use sugar as it cannot work efficiently.

Can You Use Cheetos To Light Charcoal Without Lighter Fluid?

You can use Cheetos to light charcoal without lighter fluid. Maximum chips that have cheese dust like Cheetos can light up charcoal. Because this cheese dust is fat substances that act as oil. Therefore, even without lighter fluid Cheetos can keep the charcoal lighting. 

Final Verdict: 

In a nutshell, you can use any of these substitutes and appliances newspaper to light charcoal without lighter fluid. Don’t feel anxious if you are using these substitutes for the first time. Any of them can work very well for you. 

You may also want to read:

9 Steps To Light Charcoal With Cooking Oil

8 Steps To Use A Charcoal Chimney Without Newspaper 

Raymond Brown

This is Raymond Brown. I have created this website to share kitchen hacks and to teach easy recipes. You can use these kitchen hacks to improve your cooking skill. By profession, I am a Michelin chef from California. From my teenage years, I had a keen interest in cooking. I took a diploma in Culinary Arts to start my career as a professional chef.

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