The Lava Lamp Dilemma: How Long Can You Leave It On Safely?

Lava lamps are a wonderful addition to any room since they are both beautiful and peaceful to look at and have around. Lava lamps have even proven to be a lifesaver for many people who were unable to sleep due to a lack of light.

As a result, it is crucial to know if it is safe to leave a lava lamp running for lengthy periods of time in order to avoid it from exploding or catching fire.

Lava lamps have dominated the market in recent years due to their hypnotic effect. The sight of droplets floating in a colored liquid has been said to have a relaxing effect, particularly when used while sleeping.

When these multicolored lights are turned on, they have the ability to transform a dull environment into a dynamic one.

As a result, many individuals have invested in a number of varieties of lava lamps, which are currently available from different manufacturers. The look of lava lamps also adds a vibrant touch to your home’s decor. 

How long can you leave a lava lamp safely

How Long Should a Lava Lamp be Left On

While it may be tempting to leave your lava lamp on all day and night, doing so might cause it to overheat, causing the colorful blobs to stop moving in a swirly, circular pattern.

For maximum results, use the lamp for no more than eight to ten hours at a time and then let it drop to room temperature before using it again.

Using these lamps for longer than ten hours can lead to various issues. The two major factors that play in considering how long you should run a lava lamp are: 

Ruining the lamp:

The globules of lava that come up from the lava lamp are far more sensitive than they appear. As a result, using it for longer than necessary is not recommended. It is possible that your lamp will become overheated if you keep it on for too long.

This can damage the smooth-moving lava globules in your lamp, resulting in a huge blob that will not separate. With time, it can completely damage the globules, and it may no longer be as soothing as it once was.

Safety while sleeping:

Sleeping while a lava lamp is on is definitely not a good idea. Most lava lamps must be switched off as soon as you see that they have begun to heat up. It is possible that it will catch fire if it has been overworked or overheated for a long time.

If the temperature of your room is higher than normal, which is often the case in tropical or hot countries— your lava lamp will overheat more quickly. Therefore, going to sleep with the lava lamp running is never a smart idea.

Other factors to consider when using a lava lamp: 

It is not only important to make sure you are not overusing your lava lamp, but you must also pay heed to all the other factors that can affect the efficiency of the runtime of your lava lamp. These factors include: 

Manufacturing quality:

Make sure you get your lava lamp from a reputed store and follow the manufacturer’s directions to the point. It is a good idea to register your purchased lava lamp with the supplier so that they may easily contact you if a refund is required or if a safety alert is issued. You will also find it easy to return a defective lamp to the supplier or arrange a repair.

Power outlets:

Confirm that the brand of the plug you are going to use matches the brand of your lava lamp. Check the socket and plug on a frequent basis for sparking sounds, burn marks, light flickering, and whether or not the plug and socket feel unusually hot to the touch.

Also make sure to check that any socket into which you plan to connect your light has a residual current device, shortened as RCD (a life-saving tool that lowers the risk of electrical fires by preventing electrical shock).

Prevent shaking it:

By far the most important guideline to remember regarding lava lamps is that they must not be disturbed. Repeated shaking of a lava lamp can result in a foggy look.

This occurs when a large glob of wax forms at the end of the lamp. The wisest choice to make here is to avoid shaking it, which can be managed by keeping the lamp out of reach of kids and placing it in a stable spot where it will not get knocked over.

Location of the lava lamp:

Avoid exposing the lamp to direct sunlight, since this might cause the colors of the wax to fade. Using or keeping your lava lamp in extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, might have a significant impact on its functionality.


Use a lava lamp that is large enough to provide lighting for a minimum of six hours. If it is too little or does not have enough power, you might want to avoid using it altogether.


Check to see if the lava lamp has a bulb that can operate continuously for six hours or more, as some are only meant to run for three hours. If it does not have enough power, you should avoid using it overnight.

Some quick tips to apply for handling your lava lamp: 

  • Even if your lamp does not heat, you should never place it in a hot place.
  • If the plug or cable on your light is wet, do not unplug it.
  • If you happen to buy an old lava lamp, it is a smart option to rewire the bulb.
  • If you are going to microwave a lava lamp, make sure it is only for 3 minutes.
  • Remove or loosen the top cap of the lamp as little as possible. If you damage the seal, your lamp will be ruined, and your warranty will be canceled.
  • Before removing or replacing parts, make sure to unplug the lamp from the outlets.
  • Keep the light on a flat, cold, and dry surface whenever it is not in use.
  • If your lava lamp has an opening for putting extra oil, never fill the container over the fill line marked on the base of the lamp by the manufacturer, since this can cause harm to your product.
  •  Keep the lava lamp away from anything that could catch fire. The greater the distance between the lava lamp and any drapes and/or other items as such, the better.
  • Set the lava lamp on a timer if possible, so that it goes off after six hours or under. This may be done by using your phone, or by simply setting a timer into the outlet and scheduling it to go off six hours after you begin to use the lamp.
  • Always make sure to clean your lava lamp using a soft, wet cloth, otherwise, the components in the glass will break down and separate.
  • Use only the type of oil advised for your lava lamp (a common oil for lava lamps includes canola oil or vegetable oil); using a different type might damage your light.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1. What causes lava lamps to get so hot?

Due to the way lava lamps work, they turn rather hot. They work by conducting heat.

2. Is it common for lava lamps to overheat?

Yes, getting overheated is one of the most common features of a lava lamp.

3. How can I tell whether or not my lava lamp is getting too hot?

Checking the lava globules is the best method to tell whether or not the lamp is getting too hot. If you find the lava globules splitting too unnaturally into little balls or clinging together like a large lump at the bottom of the lava lamp, it is a sign that your lava lamp is too hot.

4. Do lava lamps expire?

It is incorrect to say that lava lamps expire; however, if they are used for an extended period of time, they may begin to fade.

5. How long do lava lamps last?

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how long they last. It is estimated that you may use your lava lamp for around two thousand hours before it begins to fade.

6. Is it true that lava lamps are poisonous?

Fortunately, you do not have to fear the insides of your lava lamp being poisonous. Even if your lava lamp ever breaks, the air coming out will not be toxic as well.

7. How much energy does a lava lamp use?

A standing lava lamp often has a larger base and a larger heating bulb, requiring more electricity to heat the lamp so that the lava melts properly and produces the desired effects. In general, a lava lamp consumes 25 to 40 Watts. 

8. What is the best way to add solid wax to a lava lamp?

Switch on the bulb and allow it to cool upside down after heating the lamp till the wax melts. Turn the bulb when the wax has hardened and allow it to heat up. There is a high chance that this will not work because the wax will cling to the edges as well, but it is worth a shot!

9. Is it safe to touch a lava lamp?

Avoid touching a lava lamp, especially if it has been on, to prevent burns. Before handling or picking it up, make sure to switch it off, disconnect it, and let it cool for at least an hour.

10. Is it possible to refill lava lamps?

Yes, it is possible to do so. Fill the lamp halfway with filtered water, leaving 1 to 2 inches of room at the top. Add a teaspoon of canning salt, pickling salt, or Epsom salt to the water and gently mix it until the salt dissolves. Fill the lamp with the solution slowly, being careful not to damage the wax at the base.

11. Is it true that lava lamps can deal with anxiety?

Yes! It can be completely used for meditation and anxiety relief.

12. How can I fix a lava lamp that has been shaken?

Turn off its bulb for two hours, then turn it back on immediately when the fluid begins to cloud. Six to eight “power-on” like this should be enough. If this does not solve the problem, proceed to run the lamp for ten hours straight in hopes that enough heat may fix the issue.

13. Why does the wax in my lava lamp remain on top?

This is mainly due to the less dense section of the fluid separating and floating to the top. To fix this, you should try replacing the bulb with one with greater power. The wax at the top will melt as the temperature rises, and it will drop back down.

14. Is it possible to use LED bulbs in lava lamps?

No, because LED lights do not reach enough heat to melt the wax lumps inside the lava lamps since they are energy-efficient.