Lighter fluid is a flammable substance that is used in various types of lighters, as well as straight from bottles or cans to start fires. The three kinds of lighter fluids are charcoal lighter fluid, butane, and naptha. Even though they are made with various chemicals and gases, they all have the same final goal of igniting fires for lighting or for heating purposes.
Charcoal lighter fluid is an aliphatic petroleum solvent that is available in a can or bottle, and is one of the most common flammable liquids. This type of lighter fluid aids in lighting charcoal to grill or barbecue foods. Even though the main use for this solvent is to light charcoal barbeque briquettes, it can also be used to start campfires and controlled burns.
However, charcoal lighter fluid emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) through evaporation and as the fluid-soaked charcoal burns, these VOCs contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone where they mix with other air pollutants in the presence of sunlight.
The drawbacks to this type of lighter fluid is that it costs money and it may also leave a residue of toxic chemicals on the grilled food. The best alternative to charcoal lighter fluid is a charcoal chimney starter, which is very effective, lasts for years, and emits no VOCs into the air.
Also, the benefits of charcoal chimney starters is that it saves you money (no need for buying lighter fluid) and it saves you from storing a hazardous material like flammable lighter fluid in your home.
Other alternatives can be propane/natural gas grills that don’t need lighter fluid to light the charcoal or even to complete the cooking process or even a propane torch can be used instead of lighter fluids.
If you want the best tasting barbecue then we highly recommend you stay away from the lighter fluid. Your taste buds will thank you for it.