How to clean & service a butane lighter

Written by ciele edwards
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Butane lighters made their mark on the world in the 1930s when a company called Ronson began producing lighters that used butane as a fuel source rather than the more common naphtha which had a strong odour. Butane lighters allow individuals to control the size of the flame and, as opposed to flint lighters, will ignite even in a windy environment. Butane lighters, however, are not meant to be disposable and must be serviced periodically by cleaning and refilling.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Matchstick
  • Compressed air
  • Butane fuel
  • Clean cloth

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  1. 1

    Adjust the flame dial of your butane lighter as far down as it will go. This will prevent unintentional injury while cleaning and filling the lighter.

  2. 2

    Purge the lighter by inserting the wooden end of a matchstick into the butane valve and pressing down lightly. The butane valve is the area on top of the lighter that releases the flame. You should hear a hissing sound indicating that any residual air and butane within the lighter is being released. Repeat the process until the lighter is completely empty.

  3. 3

    Use compressed air to clean the burner of the lighter. This is important as the compressed air should effectively remove the thick residue left behind by butane, smoke, and ash. If not cleaned, the burner can become clogged and the lighter will cease to function.

  4. 4

    Press the tip of the can of butane fuel into the butane valve and fill the lighter. Both the can of butane and the lighter should be upside down. When the lighter is full, the butane will overflow. This is normal. It takes approximately ten seconds to refill the average butane lighter.

  5. 5

    Wipe the lighter down with a clean, dry cloth. Residual butane on the lighter's surface could be a safety hazard the next time the lighter is used.

  6. 6

    Reset the flame dial to your preferred setting.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the highest quality butane fuel available to you to refill your lighter. Higher quality butane sparks more reliably and produces less build-up in the burner.
  • Spray lightly with the compressed air when cleaning the burner. Continual, deep sprays of compressed air can push grime deeper into the burner.
  • You may opt to use a small screwdriver or other object to purge the excess butane from the lighter prior to filling. If using a metal object, however, only push down lightly as metal objects can potentially damage the lighter.
  • Never purge butane from a lighter around an open flame.
  • Only use a butane lighter once every minute. The butane needs time to return to room temperature after sparking.

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