DIY Fire Starters from Household Waste

DIY Fire Starters from Household Waste

We’ve all been told to clean out the lint trays in our dryers to avoid a house fire. And for good reason- dryer lint burns like crazy! Which means it’s the perfect ingredient for DIY Fire Starters. And those things come in SUPER HANDY when you need to get a fire going, either in your fireplace or a fire pit outside.

There are literally dozens of ways to make some homemade fire starters. But mine uses items you would either toss in the trash or recycle in the bin, like these cardboard tubes from toilet paper. 

Cardboard tubes from toilet paper for making the DIY fire starters

And since I’m doing some emergency prepping with items around my house, I’m going to make some DIY hand sanitizer, too.

Because, you know what? It’s SO easy to make and you may already have the ingredients on hand.

Ingredients for DIY hand sanitizer with aloe vera gel and rubbing alcohol

So, let’s get right to it and make some dryer lint fire starters and bulk hand sanitizer!

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Originally published on February 11, 2014, this post has been recently updated with additional details.

DIY Fire Starters and Bulk Hand Sanitizer

First, I started with the lint fire starter. I collected the dryer lint after doing many loads of laundry. Once I had plenty of it gathered, I began to stuff it into the cardboard tubes.

Uses for dryer lint as homemade firelighters

Then, I unrolled a sheet of wax paper that was about 4-5 inches wider than my tube. I wrapped the tube in the wax paper tightly and twisted the ends like a wrapped candy.

I found that wrapping it with wax paper serves two purposes. First, the twisted ends act like a wick, giving me something easy to light. And second, the wax paper keeps the lint from flaking out or making a mess.

Wrapping a lint fire starter with wax paper for emergency prepping

And yes, if you’d rather not use wax paper or find that to be wasteful, you could certainly use newspaper, as well.

But that was it. I continued to wrap up each homemade firelighter in the wax paper until I was done.

Homemade fire starters with dryer lint and toilet paper rolls

Let’s not forget the DIY hand sanitizer that I mentioned. I used the recipe in this CBS News article to make my own bulk hand sanitizer. 

DIY hand sanitizer or Thieves Hand Sanitizer with aloe vera

I mixed 2/3 cup of alcohol (mine was 70%, but the minimum should be 60%) with 1/3 cup of aloe vera gel. A few drops of essential oil for fragrance is optional.

And that was it!

Emergency Prepping with DIY Fire Starters and DIY Hand Sanitizer

Let’s face it: you always have dryer lint and cardboard tubes from toilet paper on hand. They’re a part of life! But now you can reuse them in a very handy way.

DIY fire starter or homemade firelighters with dryer lint

And chances are you, you probably have the ingredients for DIY hand sanitizer on hand, too. I’m certainly no doomsday person, but a little emergency prepping can go a very long way should life take a turn.

If you enjoyed these ideas for DIY fire starters and bulk hand sanitizer for emergency prepping, then you’ll love this upcycling idea for a power outage emergency kit!

AND, exciting news! My first book is now available. If you enjoy upcycling clothing, particularly flannel shirts, then you will LOVE my book!

Crafting with Flannel by Sarah Ramberg

Craft on!


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PIN ME!Uses for dryer lint and cardboard tubes as a DIY fire starter or lint fire starter

Handmade hand sanitizer for emergency prepping with COVID 19

Emergency prepping with DIY hand sanitizer that uses rubbing alcohol

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. We have done this also…. but the waxed paper is a great new addition for us. Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

  2. My family has been using these for years and they work GREAT! I just wish I had a fire place myself to try them out.

  3. Great idea to use that dryer lint! Makes me wish we could use our wood burning fireplace :/ There’s just something so cozy about sitting in front of a warm fire when there’s a winter storm raging outside. Thank you for sharing with us at Merry Monday!

  4. OOoh, we usually just use noodles and oodles of newspaper, but this seems like a great idea. I like being able to use the toilet paper rolls for something. Thanks for posting.

  5. I was just doing laundry yesterday, and trying to remember how to use the lint for these. What perfect timing to find you on Merry Monday!

  6. Is there any danger in burning the lint from clothing with synthetic fibers?

  7. Sarah, i think this is great idea as it seems i tend to have an abundance of toilet paper rolls and lint. As for the wax paper, i think i have you beat sister. Just finished a roll i had for about 20 years, The box was falling apart. lol

  8. Awesome! Even though I live in Florida-during our few months of cooler weather I enjoy lighting up my outdoor fire. Wax paper is inexpensive–I agree-I don’t use it very often. Now I have a reason. THX

  9. IF you use dryer sheets.. use those instead of wax paper,, or in addition to… i use wax paper when camping.. dryer sheets at home.

  10. Thank you I will try some I live in Idaho –Pollock snow day today

  11. These are really great! I like to recommend them to my clients that have installed firepits or fireplaces in a patio. They don’t create as much mess as adding sticks.

  12. If you melt paraffin wax and mix it with the lint it makes a waterproof fire starter that burns for quite a while. I use a large can to melt/mix and pour into old ice trays that I spray with Pam. You’ll be surprised with the results.

  13. Just wondering if there are any pollution issues with burning synthetics/wax…

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      The jury is still out on that- some people say yes, others say no. I say…it’s less dangerous than store-bought starters that have lighter fluid or some similar chemical in them!

  14. Great idea! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party!

  15. Virginia says

    What a great idea!! Pinning!

  16. You know i love a good repurposed project and this is a great one! Congrats, you’re featured this week at the #ThisIsHowWeRoll Link Party.

  17. marianne wood says

    Sounds like a great idea. one question, tho. My dryer lint contains lots of cat hair & a little less dog hair as well as my own hair! Any negative issues when burning with such?

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      I wouldn’t think so, Marianne, but I can’t guarantee that. Our dryer lint has a TON of cat hair in it (we have two cats, one is a long-haired kitty) and really never worried…but we do use these more often outside in our fire pit, so there are even fewer concerns. We also don’t chemically treat our cats for fleas or anything (they’re indoor only) so that would be my main concern about the dog hair.

      • marianne wood says

        Thanks for the quick reply. I guess my concern would be any smell associated with hair itself being burned as part of the lint mix.

  18. I use old dryer sheets to wrap them up

  19. Interesting!!!! Will check it out and get back to you!!!! (after it cools down enough for a fire!!)

  20. Margo Dingmann says

    I make something similar to these as well, the only thing I do different is instead of using wax paper on the outside I use wax to seal the ends from my scentsy pots .On one end I seal it completely on the other end I add a 1-2 inch candle wick then seal it with wax. (ordered the candle wick from amazon) have found these to store easier and burn better. And the best part is I am recycling paper tubes, dryer lint and wax .

  21. Judy D. Black says

    On the video it said “DON”T” recycle you TP tubes. Isn’t that what you’re doing Or am I missing something ?(wouldn’t be a first) LOL

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Hahaha, ohhhh I understand your confusion! The program I use to make videos limits how much text I can use…but what I meant by that was “Don’t toss your TP tubes in your recycling bin!”. But yeah, I see exactly where you’re coming from!!

  22. What a great idea!

  23. Thanks!! I will try it outdoors, thinking of adding dry lavender sprigs to fight off mosquitoes!!!

  24. Laura Lee Ogan says

    You could make these into colorful gifts by writing words or drawing pictures or designs on the tubes before wrapping with the waxed paper.


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