Zippo Lighter Fluid Applications in Survivalism


When you look at a can of Zippo lighter fluid, do you ever expect it to help you fish, hunt, cook, and clean?

Thanks to its chemical properties, lighter fluid is very versatile. It can be used as a pesticide, degreaser, paint thinner, stove fuel, and more.

In household applications, lighter fluid can be surprisingly efficient and in survival mode it’s reliable. Overall, it’s a must-have for any survival kit.



Zippo Lighter Fluid Properties

Zippo Lighter Fluid 12 oz. (2 Pack)
7,045 Reviews
Zippo Lighter Fluid 12 oz. (2 Pack)
  • Country of Origin:United States
  • Package length:3.0"
  • Package width:6.75"

Lighter fluid is an isoparaffinic hydrocarbon fuel, but we won’t bore you with the chemistry of it all. To keep it simple it’s the same ‘white gas’ used for portable stoves. It’s also called naphtha.

The main difference between butane and zippo lighter fluid is the physical state. Butane refers to the gaseous fuel while lighter fluid is… well, fluid.

So what’s it about lighter fluid that makes it this versatile? Knowing Zippo lighter fluid properties can help you come up with applications for it.

Here are the top Zippo lighter fluid properties to consider:

Let’s see how you can apply these properties to real-life situations.

Unusual Uses for Zippo Lighter Fluid in Survival Kits

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Traditionally, survivalists keep lighter fluid in their bug-out bags as a spare refill for their lighters. At most, they spray it on a nest of twigs and leaves to light a campfire.

There’s more to lighter fluid than that. Here are seven out-of-the-box ways to use your cans of Zippo lighter fluid:


1.   Using Lighter fluid for Portable Stoves

Primus Omni Fuel Stove
56 Reviews
Primus Omni Fuel Stove
  • Works with all fuels, comes with .6L fuel bottle, super pouch and windscreen
  • Extremely reliable
  • Super simmering

This might be a bit obvious, but the one reason to keep lighter fluid in your survival is cooking. Since Zippo lighter fluid is basically naphtha, you can use it for portable stoves.

Any survivalist kit will have at least one type of mini-stove sets. As long as your stove runs on liquid fuel, lighter fluid will save you in a pinch.

The Primus OmniFuel stove is a good place to start with if you’re looking for a compatible stove. It also comes with a fuel bottle for easy refills.

Since Zippo’s fluid can be a bit messy, you can pre-fill the stove’s original fuel bottle with the lighter fluid.


2.   Using Lighter Fluid for Gun Maintenance


Proper gun safety demands strict gun maintenance. Remember that a clean trigger is a safe trigger! If your survival kit has a weapon, you should be prepared to clean it routinely.

Depending on your gun, you might need to disassemble it every once in a while for a thorough clean. Thankfully, a bottle of lighter fluid gets the job done. What’s even better is that it leaves a very light residue that acts as a lubricant as well.

In most cases, a few drops are more than enough. Leave the parts to dry in the air, wipe away the excess. then you’re ready to go.


3.   Using Lighter Fluid for Household Chores


Zippo lighter fluid cleans more than just guns and rifles. A lot more. Whenever a cleaning product goes into shortage, people panic about finding alternatives.

While we wouldn’t recommend using lighter fluid as dish soap or daily laundry it’s still good for a lot of resilient stains.

Here’s a list of ways that you can use lighter fluid as a cleaning product:

  • Removes rust from metallic surfaces
  • Cleans out scuff marks
  • Dissolves oil stains from fabrics

Zippo lighter fluid is highly volatile. That’s usually a bad thing if you’re looking for lighter refills, but not so much for cleaning. For cleaning with flammable (and pungent) solvents, you want something that evaporates quickly.

It’s a good idea to rinse out the surface after the lighter fluid evaporates, just to be safe.


4.   Using Lighter Fluid for Fishing Equipment Maintenance

RIKIMARU Fishing Swivels Duo-Rings Ball Bearing Stainless Barrel High Strength Fishing Lure Swivels High Speed Rotating (Silvery, 7#-200LB-30pcs)
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RIKIMARU Fishing Swivels Duo-Rings Ball Bearing Stainless Barrel High Strength Fishing Lure Swivels High Speed Rotating (Silvery, 7#-200LB-30pcs)
  • High practicability swivel: Stainless steel swivel ensures a strong, durable connection. Integral casting to prevent fracture during use.
  • Corrosion resistance: high quality metal swivels, integral nickel plating, corrosion resistance, wear and rust resistance, it can also be used normally in saltwater.
  • Solid welding rings: Solid welding rings are more durable and less prone to deformation than open ones.

To clean fishing bearings, put them in a glass jar and douse them with Zippo lighter fluid. Stir in a circular motion for a while. Fish out (pun intended) the bearings from the jar and let them dry completely.

Some people use Zippo lighter fluid as both a cleaner and lubricant for their fishing reels. While the fluid can leave a residue, it’s often not strong enough to lubricate fishing equipment.

We’d recommend oiling down the bearing after cleaning them. This gives you the best results in terms of protection against corrosion.


5.   Using Lighter fluid as Paint Thinner

Pintyplus Aqua Spray Paint - Art Set of 8 Water Based 4.2oz Mini Spray Paint Cans. Ultra Matte Finish. Perfect For Arts & Crafts. Spray Paint Set Works on Plastic, Metal, Wood, Cardboard
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Pintyplus Aqua Spray Paint - Art Set of 8 Water Based 4.2oz Mini Spray Paint Cans. Ultra Matte Finish. Perfect For Arts & Crafts. Spray Paint Set Works on Plastic, Metal, Wood, Cardboard
  • ARTS AND CRAFTS SPRAY PAINT! Looking for an ultra matte water-based spray paint set that is perfect for arts and crafts? Then try our Aqua Mini Spray Paint Set! Our miniature 4.2oz cans are a...
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When we were younger, we were always told that lighter fluid can clean crayons from the walls. Did you know that it could also dilute paint?

Spray paint is one of those things that often get neglected when preparing a bug-out bag. It’s great for marking roads, chopping up logs, or even camouflage!

If you’re going to be spraying paint and making your own DIY-style, mess is bound to happen. A bottle of Zippo lighter fluid can keep it all under control. You might need it to “thin” out the paint’s consistency too.


6.   Using Lighter fluid as Glue Solvent


If you had long hair as a child, you probably know that two things can remove gum from hair: ice and lighter fluid. The reason why Zippo fluid can remove gums so easily is that it’s a great organic solvent. It breaks down the bonds and separates organic molecules.

Similarly, It can be used as a glue solvent. Do you know how some kits or radios are sealed shut with the strongest glue you’ve ever seen? Well, lighter fluid can help you with that.

The fluid dissolves the glue and makes ripping the seam open really easy. Pop it open and get going with your repairs.


7.   Using Lighter fluid as Pesticide


If you’ve run out of bug spray, a bottle of Zippo lighter fluid can come in handy. Naphtha isn’t just toxic by ingestion, just inhaling it can be extremely toxic.

A small amount of lighter fluid can suffocate most insects. This can be particularly useful in any survival gear as a guard against bees and wasps.

The naphtha (and other petroleum distillates) in Zippo lighter fluid can help in severe cases of bed-bug infestation. Lighter fluid can also be used to keep pests away from houseplants.


Zippo Lighter Fluid Alternatives


Zippo makes great brand-name lighter fluid. It’s available, high-quality, and convenient. However, being a survivalist means always being on the look for alternatives.

Here are some zippo lighter fluid alternatives to keep in mind:


Paint Thinner

16 Oz 100% Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine
1,092 Reviews
16 Oz 100% Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine
  • 100% Pure and All-Natural
  • Made in the USA
  • Hand Bottled and Packaged

Zippo lighter fluid can be used as a paint thinner and vice versa. Turpentine (the most common component of paint thinners) has many cleaning applications. That’s because it’s a great solvent and diluent as well.


Ronsonol Lighter Fluid

Ronson 8 oz Ronsonol Lighter Fuel (4 Pack)
171 Reviews
Ronson 8 oz Ronsonol Lighter Fuel (4 Pack)
  • Four 8 fluid oz. bottle of lighter fluid
  • For use with all wick Lighters
  • Contains light petroleum distillate

Chemically, Zippo and Ronsonol are very similar products. You can easily use them interchangeably.

Some survivalists prefer Zippo over other brands. It might be a “fragrance” thing, a personal presence, or just that they trust Zippo’s quality a bit more.

In an emergency, feel free to replace Zippo fluid with any naphtha-based lighter fluid.


Coleman Fuel

Coleman Propane Fuel Case of 6
3,824 Reviews
Coleman Propane Fuel Case of 6
  • Lightweight design for portability
  • Durable steel construction with reliable valves that are safe and easy to use
  • Perfect for on-the-go cooking, grilling, heating and lighting

Coleman fuel is a propane-based flammable mixture used for lighting up portable stoves. There’s a difference in the distillation ratios between Zippo fluid and Coleman fuel. However, in most cases, you can replace Zippo lighter fluid with a tank of Coleman Fuel.


Zippo Lighter Fluid – Wrap Up


Zippo lighter fluid is one of the most versatile household items. It’s a cleaning product, a paint thinner, an insecticide, a fuel, and so much more.

Can you think of any other Zippo lighter fluid applications in survivalism? Pack your cans up and start planning!