Most lighters, including Bic lighters, are sparkwheel lighters. When you spin the sparkwheel, it hits a flint or ferrocerium rod inside and produces sparks. When you hit the fuel button at the same time, the sparks will ignite the fuel and create a flame.
Getting a sparkwheel lighter wet will not destroy it. However, it will not work while wet. This is because the wetness will extinguish sparks before they can ignite the lighter fuel. As soon as the lighter dries out, it will work again.
If you can’t wait around all day for the lighter to dry, you can use these steps to fix a wet lighter quickly.
This method works with all sparkwheel lighters (including Bic lighters) but won’t work with push-button, Zippos, or other lighter types.
How to Quickly Fix a Wet Lighter
See our video below or use the written instructions that follow if you prefer.
1. Remove the Hood and Guard
Use a knife or other pointy object to pry off the metal hood around the lighter. Some lighters also have a guard over the sparkwheel. You’ll want to remove this too. This will allow you to dry out the wet lighter faster.
2. Blow into the Lighter
Blow hard into the lighter. This will get water out of the fuel hole and help dry the sparkwheel. You can also dry the lighter with something like your shirt – but be careful that you don’t get lint in it!
3. Spin the Sparkwheel Repeatedly
You will need to spin the sparkwheel multiple times. The friction created will dry out the lighter.
In theory, you can use your fingers to spin the sparkwheel, but they will probably get raw. Instead, it is better to rub the sparkwheel against something to turn it.
If you are wearing jeans, you can hold the lighter against your jeans and rub it to spin the sparkwheel. Don’t use this method if wearing synthetic clothes! Even the tiniest spark will melt a hole in synthetics. I like my water-resistant pants too much to do that to them. 🙂
Instead, I found a tree branch for spinning the sparkwheel. The branch (or whatever you use) must be clean and smooth. Otherwise, dirt and bark will get stuck inside the sparkwheel.
4. Keeping Spinning Until You See Sparks
After a minute or two, you should see sparks coming from the lighter as you spin it. Test the lighter. It should work now. If not, spin it some more until it does.