Zippo 101: Zippo for Dummies

Got a Zippo as a personalised gift? Why that’s great!

But before that, let me tell you that your Zippo is not your ordinary lighter. It comes with a history of excellent workmanship that dates back to the early 1930’s. Hence, you can be assured that it is made to be with you for a very long time.

Here’s some valuable tips to make sure your Zippo is well-maintained and in tip top shape at all times.

Zippo Basics:

  • A Zippo lighter is not a toy – keep it away from children
  • It is a windproof lighter so you can’t extinguish the flame by blowing it out – close it!
  • Keep it away from any source of fire or flame when filling– duh.
  • Use only the recommended fluids, flints and wicks.

Filling Your Zippo

  • Remove the unit inside from the case
  • Turn it over and lift the felt pad
  • Slowly soak the padding material in the fuel chamber with lighter fluid
  • Stop filling when the padding material changes color
  • Insert the unit back into the case
  • Wipe excess fluid from the lighter and your hands
  • Use your thumb to strike the flint wheel in a downward motion to ignite


Avoid getting lighter fluid on your skin as it may cause irritation. If it happens, wash the affected area promptly with mild soap and water. Wipe off spilled fluid immediately so as not to cause damage to surfaces.

You’ll Need to Maintain the Wick as Well

A new wick is white, but with use it will turn black from carbon which will affect its performance. Then you’ll need to trim the wick.

  • Gently pull up the wick with a pair of tweezers
  • Trim the end of the wick at the level of the top of the chimney with a pair of scissors

At some point, you’ll need to replace the wick as it is only about 4 inches long. This is how to do it:

  • Remove all of the fuel chamber’s components – the flint screw, felt pad, packing material, and the old wick.
  • Insert the new wick thru the chimney hole
  • Replace the padding interwoven with the wick in an “S” pattern

Note: The wick should have as much contact with the padding as possible.

  • Replace the felt pad over the flint tube
  • Trim the wick even with the chimney height
  • Put the contents back into the case.