Here’s how to make fire starter tinder with cotton balls and Vaseline or petroleum jelly… Simply add a little Vaseline or petroleum jelly to a couple of cotton balls and watch this cotton ball fire starter burst in to flames (yes, vaseline is flammable).
All it takes to start a fire with cotton balls smeared with Vaseline or petroleum jelly is a single spark from the Everstryke Match, no lighter fluid required (it’s a permanent match!)
Tip: Use a magnesium fire starter to add some magnesium shavings to your cotton ball fire starters and they’ll burn even hotter.
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Cotton Ball Fire Starter Video
Watch this Everstryke Match Review video to learn how to make fire with a ferro rod and cotton balls…
And just so you know, the Everstryke Match and Everstryke Pro are free but I am an affiliate for Survival Life so if you ever decide to order something from them I may earn a commission. If I’m lucky I may earn enough to buy myself some lighter fluid for my everstryke matches… I own several of them, and I love them!
How To Make A Cotton Ball Fire Starter
Step 1: Gather your materials including cotton balls (you’ll need one per cotton ball fire starter), a jar of Vaseline or petroleum jelly, a knife or spoon to smear the Vaseline on the cotton ball, and a small plastic baggie, tin or plastic container.
Step 2: Smear a generous amount of Vaseline or petroleum jelly on the cotton ball using your finger, a knife or a spoon.
Step 3: Store your finished cotton ball fire starters in a small plastic baggie, a small tin (e.g. a sucrets or altoids tin), or a small waterproof plastic container to help keep them from getting wet.
Step 4: Toss your small containers of Vaseline soaked cotton balls into your bug out bag, go bag, get home bag or survival kit and you’ve got yourself a great waterproof fire starter for any emergency survival situation.
Just make sure you also have matches, a lighter or a Ferro Rod in your survival kit to provide the necessary spark or flame to ignite the cotton ball fire starters. Plus, be sure to include some additional dry cotton balls or cotton fibers, kindling, dryer lint, wood chips, twigs, etc. in your fire starting kit to help stoke the flames into a roaring fire.
Benefits Of Using Vaseline Cotton Balls As A Survival Fire Starter
One of the benefits of using a cotton ball fire starter covered in Vaseline or petroleum jelly for tinder is that they are pretty much waterproof (don’t even think about trying to start fire a with wet dryer lint, sawdust, dry cotton balls or wood shavings after they’ve been water soaked in the rain or dropped in the river on a camping trip).
Which means that you should be able to use your survival skills to start an emergency fire even during a severe rainstorm or in unusually wet conditions.
Cotton ball fire starters also happen to be extremely lightweight so they add an insignificant amount of weight if you’re backpacking in the woods, camping, or toss a container of them into your everyday carry bag, go-bag or emergency kit. Tip: a great way to store your vaseline cotton balls is in a plastic baggie or a small plastic plastic or metal tin (e.g. a sucrets or altoids tin make for a great pocket survival kit).
Plus, the little amount of space that a few petroleum jelly soaked cotton ball fire starter take up in your bug out bags means you’ll have more room for the rest of your wilderness survival gear.
But the biggest benefit of learning how to build a fire with a cotton ball and a little vaseline or petroleum jelly is that it’s just so darn cool that you can’t help but smile when you watch them burn.
Cotton Ball Fire Starter FAQ
Yes, cotton balls are good fire starters, especially when they are smeared with Vaseline or petroleum jelly because the Vaseline helps cotton balls burn much longer.
Step 1: Gather your materials. You’ll need one cotton ball per fire starter, a jar of Vaseline or petroleum jelly and a plastic bag or container to store your finished cotton ball fire starters in.
Step 2: Smear a generous amount of Vaseline or petroleum jelly on the cotton ball by using your finger, a knife or a spoon.
Step 3: Store your finished cotton ball fire starters in a plastic bag, metal tin, or a small plastic container.
A typical cotton ball fire starter will last between 3 and 5 minutes. The bigger the cotton ball and the more Vaseline you use, the longer they will burn.
The best way I’ve found to store Vaseline cotton balls is in a small plastic bag, a small tin, or a small plastic container. This makes them lightweight, extremely portable, and helps keep them from getting wet.
Yes, Vaseline is flammable, and so is petroleum jelly. That’s why we use Vaseline or petroleum jelly to make cotton ball fire starters!
You can light a cotton ball fire starter with a lighter or matches. Or, you can watch this video to see how I’m able to light a cotton ball fire starter with a single spark from a Ferro Rod.