How to Make Fire With Potassium Permanganate

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Potassium permanganate is an inorganic substance that has various uses. This chemical is an oxidizing agent that can be utilized in water treatment facilities to remove strong odors from water. Some other common uses of potassium permanganate include industrial, biomedical and as a disinfectant. Many campers, hikers and survivalists should also include this item in their survival kits. In an emergency, they can make fire with potassium permanganate and another item that is readily available in most pharmacies.

Items you will need

  • Gloves

  • Rocks

  • Tinder (leaves or grass)

  • Twigs or wood pieces

  • Potassium permanganate in granular powder form

  • Glycerin ( also called glycerine)

  • Small spoon

  • Eyedropper

Locate an area that is away from trees and bushes and create a fire ring.Use rocks to form this ring or circle. Properly clearing a space and forming a fire ring will contain the ash of the fire.

Gather a small pile of leaves or grass and place it in the middle of the fire ring. Make sure to use dry tinder. Place small twigs (in tepee pattern) around the tinder to create a wall of fire.

Pour approximately a teaspoon of the potassium permanganate into the spoon. Wear gloves to avoid skin contact with this chemical. Some specialty survival kits may come with a small vial of this chemical. You can also buy it in some hardware stores, a pet supply store that sells fish, or online.

Place the potassium permanganate on the grass or leaves by using the spoon. Open the glycerin bottle and use the eyedropper to remove some of the liquid. You can get glycerin in most pharmacies to place in a survival kit.

Put three to four drops of glycerin on top of the potassium permanganate. The tinder should start to smoke and then ignite in a few minutes. Once you make fire with the potassium permanganate, begin to add more twigs and small wood pieces to keep the fire going. Use the proper precautions to keep the fire contained in the fire ring and be sure to extinguish it with dirt or water.


  • Do not leave the fire unattended.
  • Potassium permanganate should be handled with great care. It is a strong oxidizing substance that should not be exposed to a flame. In its pure form, potassium permanganate is toxic and can cause eye and skin irritations. It should not be inhaled or ingested.


  • An alternative way to make a chemical fire with potassium permanganate is to combine it with a ground glucose tablet or sugar.
  • In a survival kit, store the potassium permanganate and glycerin in separate compartments or away from each other to avoid an accidental combustion of these two items if these containers break and spill.
  • If you are camping and have to purify drinking water, you can also use potassium permanganate.
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