Author Options:

Can you use tumble dryer lint instead of charcloth to get a fire started? Answered

I'm making some charcloth to go with my flint and steel fire kit but was wondering, is lint a suitable alternative? Don't actually have a tumble dryer at the moment to test it out but thought it might be a good hassle free and time saving alternative to use.




Best Answer 7 years ago

Yes, you most certainly can! Dryer lint is an extreme fire hazard, which is why connecting the exhaust vent to the outside world, and not just letting it pile up between the dryer and wall, is actually important.

+10. Best shizzle ever. That stuff flames up in and instant./ lint is awesome.

If you're going to store it, I'd pull it out of the dryer just a little while after the cycle's done and store in a ziplock. don't worry about compressing, the stuff fluffs right back up, so you can store tons of it. I have a 1 qt bag stuffed with it for camping.

(odd that question came up a few weeks back)

. +1. If conditions are just right, the stuff can even explode a la grain or coal dust.

NO, you can not! I am a Boy Scout leader, when I was a Boy Scout I can remember carrying around a small bag with flint, steel, and dryer lint. It worked great! Several months ago I wanted to show the boys in my troop how to do it and it didn't work. I even took a match to the lint and it would only smolder and melt.
It doesn't work now for three reasons. One is that many of the new space age fabrics are flame resistant. The new fabrics have a very high ignition point which makes them great for clothing. The second reason is that many clothes sold today have fire resistant chemicals put into the cloth. The third reason has to do with fabric softeners. If the dryer lint has fabric softener anywhere on it it will not ignite.
I did some experiments, if you tumble dry nothing but cotton clothing like blue jeans in your dryer, you can then collect and use the lint to start fires with.
As an alternate to dryer lint find and buy 100% cotton balls, they work just as well as dryer lint.

BTW, go to your local DIY laundrymat and ask them nicely if you can have a bit. I'm sure they have garbage bags full and if asked nicely, will let you have a small amount (which will likely be enough for your purposes).