Is Driftwood Good Firewood?

Driftwood seems like a gift from nature when you are looking for some firewood to burn. They conveniently wash up on the shore and a lot of times can even look dry. But you should not be so quick in adding them to the fire. Let’s take a look at whether you should burn driftwood.

You should not burn driftwood at all. They have a very high moisture content as well as high salt content if they have been drifting in the ocean. They can also contain pockets of gases and could have been treated or painted as parts of ships or packaging before becoming driftwood.

driftwood firewood

What Is Driftwood?

Before we move ahead with the rest of the article, it is important to know what driftwood really is. Driftwood is a piece of wood that washes up on the shore of a river, lake, or ocean and it could have been drifting in the water for years before they wash up.

A lot of the older driftwood can even be part of boats or ships which might have sunk earlier on.

Can Driftwood be Used as Firewood?

You should never use driftwood as firewood. Although they can sometimes look dry, they are full of moisture which can be even worse if they were floating around the ocean which means that they also have a high salt content.

Driftwood can also be pressure treated, stained, or painted before it became driftwood which further increases the number of chemicals within the wood.

Being submerged for a long time in the ocean can also lead to a build-up of gases within the wood through the chemical reactions between heat, salt, water, and wood.

Burning driftwood will also be incredibly hard due to its high moisture content which further means that its heat output will also be low. A lot of the driftwood can also be rotten which further reduces its efficiency.

What Are The Health Hazards of Burning Driftwood?

Burning driftwood can release a lot of toxins, fumes, gases, and substances into the atmosphere which can cause both short-term and long terms health damage.

You can experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, stomach issues, liver issues, compromised immunity, and even a higher chance of cancer. These effects can be even more severe and long-term on children.

What Are The Environmental Effects of Burning Driftwood?

Burning any firewood releases a toxin known as dioxin which happens to be carcinogenic. This is what increases the chances of cancer, respiratory issues, compromised immunity, and overall air and soil pollution.

When driftwood has been floating around for some time in the saltwater, the levels of dioxin increase dramatically which are released when you end up burning them. This chemical will also bioaccumulate which means that it will keep increasing as you keep burning the driftwood.

On top of the health hazards, these chemicals can also affect the wildlife and plant life in the area as well.

Can You Burn Driftwood in a Log Burner?

No! you should not burn driftwood in a log burner. The seawater and high moisture content can ruin the internals of a log burner and this is on top of the environmental and health risk that you will be taking.

Can You Burn Freshwater Driftwood?

Although freshwater driftwood is much better than the one from the ocean, you should still not burn it. But if you can properly season the wood once it is out of the water and make sure that it has not been treated, stained, or painted, then it can be safe to burn driftwood. But the time it will take you to prepare the driftwood can be too long.


Driftwood should not be burnt at all. They have a very low heat output as well as efficiency due to having very high moisture and salt content. On top of this, driftwood can also be rotten, treated, painted, or stained depending on its source which can release a lot of harmful gases and particles upon burning.

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