How To Light A Candle Without A Lighter (Do This!)

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

Having candles on hand is a good idea for a few reasons. If you like infusing a different scent into your home, a variety of candles can make it so that you have a new scent whenever you want it. Candles can also come in handy in the event of a power outage. So long as there are candles in your home, you will never be in the dark.

But what happens when you need to light a candle and don’t have a lighter or any matches sitting around? Does that mean you can’t light your candles? Heck no.

There are several methods you can use for lighting a candle without them: resistive heating elements, focused light, heated tin foil, and even flint. There are more than enough options to get those candles lit with little to no issue.

Step 1: Using a Resistive Heating Element

When you are at home and power is not an issue, you can pretty much use any appliance that gives off heat through an electrical resistance. Think toasters, stoves, heaters, and ovens. All you have to do is turn the appliance on and let the element heat up until it becomes red hot.

When the heating element is properly hot enough, touch the wick of the candle to the element. In most cases, it should ignite instantly, but it could take a few seconds. When you have one candle lit, you can use it to ignite any others that you may want to use. Just make sure that you don’t forget to turn the heating element off. Leaving a heating element on is a major potential fire hazard.

Step 2: Use Focused Light Through a Lens

It is safe to say that the vast majority of us know about the lens trick. Hold up a magnifying glass, allowing sunlight to filter through, and eventually you can start a fire. It is the main reason that survivalists carry a magnifying glass with them.

  • No magnifying glass, no problem. If you don’t have a magnifying glass hanging around, binoculars will work just fine, and you can even use a broken transparent lightbulb after you fill it with water.
  • Lighting a piece of paper. All you have to do is hold the magnifier, whatever it may be, between the sun and a piece of dry paper that has been crumpled up. Tissue paper is ideal, but whatever dry piece of paper you can find should work.
  • Move the magnifier. Keep moving the magnifier until you see a well-focused, bright prick of light show up on the paper. When properly focused, ignition doesn’t take very long; maybe a few seconds at most.
  • Light the candle. With the paper burning, you now have a source for lighting the candle. And when the candle is lit, it can be used to light others. Just don’t forget to extinguish that paper when the candle has been lit as it can be a fire hazard.

Step 3: Heating Tinfoil with a Battery

This one feels like you could see it on an episode of MacGyver, but it really is a simple way to light a candle. The aforementioned magnifying glass trick is only useful during the day. So, what do you do if you want to light a candle sans matches or a lighter when the sun has set?

  • Gather materials. All you need to light a candle is three things: scissors, tinfoil, and a battery. It is safe to say that those three things are as common a household item as you will find.
  • Cut the tinfoil. Take your tinfoil and cut it out into a ¾” strip. It should basically be about twice as long as the battery that you use (AA, AAA, C- and D-cell batteries should work fine). Fold the strip in half, shaping that folded half into a point that is less than ¼” wide.
  • Unfold the tinfoil. Next, unfold the tinfoil, holding one of the ends to the terminals of your battery. You are essentially creating a mini jump.
  • Light the candle. Connect the two pointy ends of your tinfoil in the middle around the candle’s wick. It should get instantly hot enough that the candle will light. Moreover, you will feel like a tactical genius.

Step 4: Use Flint

When we watch television shows where someone gets stranded in nature, how do they typically start a fire? They use flint and a rock. So, why wouldn’t that concept work to light household candles?

The other options may be more practical when at home, but if you’re outdoors and need a light, a small piece of flint can be invaluable. All you have to do is put some shredded toilet paper or paper towel and assemble it in a small pile.

Just rub the flint against anything that is made of iron – tent stake, ax, etc. – and you should see sparks. The sparks should eventually catch the paper on fire. When it does, you can then use that little fire to start up your candle.

Step 5: Use the Stove Burner

This one can be a little tricky since many modern stoves have glass top burners. If you have a gas stove that creates an actual flame, this one should be pretty easy. Yes, you can use the heating element on other appliances, but what better way to light a candle than with an actual flame?

All you have to do is turn the stove on, wait for the flame to kick on, and you have a huge lighter at your disposal. Whenever you light a candle, make sure to use the candle to light others. Don’t use these methods to light them all.

Step 6: Use Matches

This is the most common and obvious lighter alternative out there, by far. If you have an old school gas range in your home, chances are that you still have a large box of matches lying around. If not, then you can usually head over to a convenience store to get them. Many places, including most 7-11s and smoke shops, will offer them for free.

If you use matches, be careful when you dispose of them. Though it’s rare, blown-out matches can relight in the right conditions. This can pose a fire safety risk. To ensure you don’t light your home on fire, wet matches after they’ve been used. We suggest having matches on hand just in case you find yourself in the middle of a hurricane.

How Can I Burn a Candle without Fire?

If you are simply looking to burn a scented or aromatic candle and don’t care about the light, there is another method worth trying. All that you need is a coffee warmer or a hot plate or anything else that has a warming plate attachment.

All that you need to do is plug the device in and set the candle on top. Just be careful that the warming plate isn’t too hot as it can quickly melt the candle down. On a low heat setting, the candle should start to slowly break down, giving off the delightful aroma that you were looking for.

Best of all, you can make cleanup simple. All that needs to be done is to remove the candle, turn off or unplug the warmer, and then wipe down the warming plate.

What’s The Best Way To Avoid Searching For A Lighter?

Trying to light candles while searching for a lighter is not fun. This is especially true during times where you are dealing with a power outage due to lightning striking a line. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid making this a part of your life during a storm. The best ways to prevent it include:

  • Have a storm prep pack in one room of your house. A lighter is something you should always have in your home, simply because it’s such a useful tool in the event of an emergency.
Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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