December 2, 2016

Do Homemade Waterproof Matches Work?

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I’ve seen instructions in various survival sites regarding waterproofing matches.  Recently, I saw a link on Survival Blog on the same topic with Jim Rawles saying if you’re going to do this, you must cover the entire match with nail polish.

Being a type personality I still had some questions in my mind:

– Does it have to be wooden matches, or can you use paper matches that you get for free in restaurants?

-Since you are using nail polish, which is a fire starter in itself, would the entire match burst into flames as you light it?

I wondered if the homemade waterproof matches would really work in an emergency if they get soaked.  I decided to try this for myself.

Here is what I did:

Materials

Waterproof Matches project1Box of wooden matches

Packet of free paper matches from a restaurant

nail polish (it doesn’t matter what color)

I covered both sets of matches, top to bottom, with nail polish, then let them dry overnight.

Waterproof Matches project2

The next day, I placed some matches in a plastic baggie and poured water into the bag, soaking both sets of matches.

Waterproof Matches project3After draining the water, I wiped the matches with a cloth to get rid of any excess moisture.

Now for the test.

1.  First, I lit one set of matches that were never covered with polish to make sure both matches work well.  They do.

2.  Next, I tested a set of matches that were covered with polish, but were not drenched in water.

Result:  The wooden match with nail polish lit immediately upon striking.  No, it did not burst into flames, only the tip burned just as a normal match would.

However, the paper match that was painted with polish DID NOT work.

3.  Finally,  I tested the wet matches.

Waterproof Matches project5

Same result as #2:  The wooden match covered with nail polish also lit immediately, no problem, but predictably, the paper match did not work.

Conclusion:

Nail polish does work to make matches waterproof, but only if you are using wooden matches.  Covering a pack of wooden matches with nail polish to make them waterproof actually works, and is a worthwhile prepper project.

 

4 Comments on Do Homemade Waterproof Matches Work?

  1. Why not just melt some candle wax in a pan and drop the whole box of wooden matches in? I have done this and find them to be completely waterproof and strike every time. Seems like a LOT of work to paint the matches one at a time vs. dumping them in a pan.

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