The Steel Wool & 9 Volt Battery Firestarter

Did you know you can use a piece Steel Wool and a 9 volt Battery to start a fire? Simply rub the battery terminals on the steel wool and then use it to light your tinder.

Steel Wool and a 9-Volt Battery

Check out this video to see how it’s done.

A word of caution!!! If you want to be prepared, stock up on lighters. They’re the most reliable way to start a fire in almost any survival situation. I do not recommend carrying steel wool and a 9 volt battery in your survival kit. I would only use this method if I had these items at home already and I wanted to conserve lighter fluid.


  1. hermitjim
    September 10, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Hey, this is pretty cool! Thanks for sharing this information…

  2. Andy
    October 18, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I’d imagine it’d be pretty important to keep the two separated if packed in the same bag.

    I can see someone’s day getting ruined pretty quick if the two were to touch.

  3. LibertyEagle
    November 11, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Yeah – you want to carry a trifecta in separate thin plastic sandwich bags.
    1. Fine steel wool
    2. 9v battery or other power source above 6v
    3. Dryer lint – lots of it.

    The dryer lint can be stashed in a medicine bottle and compressed in a major way. This will insure you have something dry and flammable to sit atop the steel wool for it to light your kindling.

  4. LionofJudah
    November 13, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Pencil shavings. Excellent and free. fire starter, to use with the lint. the wood can last a bit longer. mix the 2 is good. Seal individual packets in cellophane. You can even reuse cigarette cellophanes just use more than one. The wood shaving make it wok a lot better.

  5. hilljohnny
    January 21, 2010 at 10:00 am

    an easy to make tinder is cotton balls smeared with vaseline. work the jelly into the cotton balls and store in a baggie. carry several cheap, flint type, butane disposable lighters. don’t throw away an empty though. if you remove the metal shield from an empty lighter the spark from the flint will easily light a fluffed up cotton ball with petroleum jelly on it. the cotton ball and jelly combo will usually burn for several minutes.

  6. ancient dragon
    April 3, 2010 at 6:34 am

    The 9-volt battery is not required. A flint and steel will suffice, as long as the steel wool is a finer grade.

  7. Bob
    September 30, 2010 at 8:16 am

    That is really awesome!

  8. Joe Ballard
    January 8, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I usually take as much lighting supply items with me as is feasable. I have various items I take depending on where I’m going, how long I will be gone and the conditions I expect to encounter. Standard for me is petroleum jelly infused cotton balls, packed in an used med bottle (which is easily made water proof), a magnesium stick, disposable lighter and matches (with a wax coating). Dryer lint is only a good stater if it is cotton, as man made fibers tend to melt rather than burn.

    • Anthony
      January 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      How do you waterproof the used medicine bottle? Thanks

      • Richie Rich
        March 9, 2012 at 9:19 am

        Electrical tape around the lid, I would imagine. (Water resistant, not water proof.) Or seal it with sealing wax, but that would get messy.

  9. Don
    February 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Great peice of information and nice demo video to go with it. Thanks for Sharing. I just added Steel Whool to my survival kit.

  10. jill
    February 16, 2012 at 6:17 am

    will this work with other kinds of batteries? how about AA batteries?

  11. Don
    November 17, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I have found that just simple alcohol wipes are small, packs easy and burns great for fire starting.

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