• As Heritage Day approaches and the Rugby World Cup captivates fans worldwide, South Africans are gearing up for a weekend of braais with friends and family. But what do you do when you realise you’re out of firelighters, the trusty companions of every braai master? Fear not! There are several ingenious alternatives to firelighters that can get your braai started without a hitch:

    Egg Boxes and Cooking Oil:

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    Cardboard egg boxes are a trusty substitute for firelighters and one of the most-used alternatives in households. Collect empty cartons, and you’ll soon have a stash of fire-starting wonders. Simply pour a bit of cooking oil in the egg box, light the box and place it beneath your logs.

    Pumice Stones:

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    Believe it or not, pumice stones aren’t just helpful to keep our feet in tip-top shape for sandal weather. It can also serve as effective firelighters. Soak them in diesel for a few minutes, then safely light them.

    Tealight Candles:

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    Loadshedding might’ve prepped us for this one! If you have a box of tealight candles at home, you’re in luck. Simply place a candle under each log you wish to burn.


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    Newspapers are a classic way to ignite a fire without firelighters. Simply crumple several sheets of newspaper and place them under or between your logs. Be cautious not to pack the newspaper too densely to allow for proper airflow.

    Dried Citrus Peels:

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    Dried citrus peels contain oils that fuel fires. Simply dry the peels on a sheet pan or rack, store them in a brown paper bag to keep them fresh, and add them to your fire-starting arsenal.


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    Collect used corks from wine bottles and place them in a container such as a paper cup. Fill the container with paraffin wax, allowing the corks to soak for a few days. When it’s time to light your fire, position a paraffin-soaked cork under your kindling or logs.

    Cotton Balls and Petroleum Jelly:

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    For this method, take cotton balls or pads and work petroleum jelly into it. Place one or more of the petroleum jelly-soaked cotton balls beneath your kindling or logs.


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    The bag of chips in your kitchen cupboard will come in handy, too. Opt for greasy varieties. Simply use the chips right out of the bag. Once your fire is started, toss a few chips into the burning area. Plus, you can enjoy a snack while your fire burns. Bonus!

    Tea Bags:

    tea bags firelighters alternatives
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    If you have a surplus of tea bags in your kitchen cupboard, they can be a convenient firelighter alternative. Place dried used tea bags in paraffin, and voila! An easy and convenient homemade firelighter.

    ALSO SEE: 12 braai recipes for game day: From potjie to pork ribs

    12 braai recipes for game day: From potjie to pork ribs

    Written by Bianca Muller.

    Feature image: Pexels