How to Light a Candle without a Lighter

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You have a favorite candle that you’d like to light, but you can’t find your lighter or it’s out of fuel. Never fear, all is not lost. There are several different ways that you can light a candle without a lighter. Here are five different ways to light a candle without a lighter, from easiest to hardest:

lighting candle with match

Source: Andrey Zhar /


If you don’t have an electronic lighter, matches are the most traditional and easiest alternative to them. While not as convenient as an electronic lighter, they are still pretty easy to use and light candles quickly, especially new candles where the wick hasn’t burned down too far. Matches are also very widely available and can be picked up at almost every grocery store whenever you’re out running errands. If the candle has burned down very far, it can be a bit tricky to light with a match, especially if you can’t fit your hand into the container. If your candle has burned down too far to use a match, or you don’t have matches on hand, you can try one of the other alternatives on this list.

Heating Elements

If you don’t have matches, the next best thing is to use the heating elements in your house. The most convenient thing will be to use a stove burner, but you could also use your oven, toaster or space heater. Turn on the burner and wait until it gets red. Then touch a long, skinny candle to it–a taper is best. The wick should catch fire immediately, and then you can use the long, skinny candle to light all the other candles in your house. If you don’t have a taper candle that you can use, you can use a piece of dry spaghetti, but you must be very careful as it will catch fire easily, creating a makeshift match. You can also use a cotton swab, but the extra length of the spaghetti strand will give you more time to light other candles before the flame gets too close to your hand.

hand holding alkaline batteries

Source: Syda Productions /

Battery and Foil

If neither matches nor heating elements are an option—for example, you have a power outage and therefore none of your appliances work—there is another option: a battery and aluminum foil. Be sure to use caution with this method, as you can actually start a fire if you’re not careful. For the battery, you can use an AAA, AA, C or D battery, depending on what you have at the house. Cut a ¾-inch strip of aluminum foil about twice as long as the battery and then fold it in half and pinch the middle. Match up one end of the strip to one end of the battery. The current will travel through the aluminum strip, instantly heating it up. Take the middle of the strip (the part that you pinched) and touch it to the candle wick. It should be hot enough to light the wick very quickly. Remove the foil and battery as soon as the wick lights.

Magnifying Lens

This method is a little tricky, but it can work if you’re outside or have a lot of natural light. You can use a magnifying glass to focus the light on a curl of paper until it catches fire. If you’re having trouble, adjust the angle of the lens until you see a bright spot of light on the paper. It may take a while to get the right angle, and you may have to hold the light on the paper for a moment until it heats up enough to catch fire. Make sure to extinguish the paper after you light the candle to avoid accidentally starting a fire.

striking match

Source: knyazevfoto /


Another method that you can use to light a candle while you’re outside involves flint. If you strike the flint against something metal that contains iron, it will create a spark. If you put some paper in a fireproof cup, you can light the paper and then use that to light the candle. Again, make sure you put out the fire once you’re done lighting the candle so that you don’t accidentally start a larger fire.

Follow these five strategies (with caution) if you’re looking to light a candle without a lighter. If all else fails, you can make your home smell great without having to light a candle. You can plug in an electric aroma diffuser, or if you don’t want to use power, set up a reed diffuser that will passively spread fragrance 24/7.