3 Ways a Lava Lamp can Go Bad – Tips on Repairing and Preventing Damage

Can Lava Lamps go Bad & How to Fix Them

Lava lamps are a treat to look at. In fact, they look so amazing that one can become devastated when they stop working. After all, lava lamps aren’t exactly like normal lamps where you just need to worry about the bulbs going bad.

Can lava lamps go bad? Absolutely. Can you fix them if they do go bad? Yes, but the probability of success will depend on the scope of the problem. In some situations, it would be less expensive to just get a new one instead of spending more money to fix it.

Lava lamps should last years, and won’t go bad anytime soon. However, keeping them on all night or shaking them could shorten that lifespan dramatically. You know a lava lamp has gone bad when it either overheats, is cloudy, or the wax is solidified.

As lava lamps require a good amount of heat to produce the visual quality they are known for, there are always risks you need to ponder about. Trying to fix one without proper knowledge may not only lead to the lamp not working but might also result in dangerous consequences.

What Causes Lava Lamps to Go Bad?

Every high-quality lava lamp out there is designed to last for a very long time. However, sometimes various issues pop up such as the bulb not working or the liquid inside becoming cloudy.

Lava lamps are unique light fixtures and require you to have a good understanding of them to ensure longevity. Let’s look at a few reasons why your lava lamp might be facing issues.

Shaking it Often

When you shake or move the lava lamp too much or if the lamp has reached the end of its lifetime, it will start giving a very cloudy appearance. Almost all lava lamps take hours to get started especially if it’s brand new.

Some people mistakenly think that there is an issue and end up shaking it. When you do that, you may see some movement but in the long run, it will end up ruining your lamp especially if you do it often. So, always be patient and wait for three to four hours to see if it starts working.

Related article: How to Fix a Lava Lamp after Shaking it?

Keeping it On Overnight Consistently

This is one of the most common issues seen in lava lamps. Lava lamps are not designed to be kept ON overnight and most of them should be turned OFF after 8 hours. Keeping it ON after this period will lead to the lamp getting overheated.

Once it gets too hot, the bulb may explode and result in dangerous consequences. If you consistently keep the lamp on for 8 plus hours straight, then it will get damaged over time.

Related Article: Are Lava Lamps a Fire Hazard & Can I Leave them on All Night?

How to Fix a Stalled Lava Lamp by Yourself

Before we get into how to fix such a lamp yourself, it is important to note that it should be done only if you are experienced and know what you are doing.

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If you are confident about your skills and have experience fixing broken products, then here are a few steps to follow to fix a stalled lava lamp:

  1. Check the coil position – If your lava lamp has stalled, then the first thing you need to check is whether the coil is in the right position or not. It is usually found at the bottom of the bottle. Sometimes, the wax might fall on it as it dries and may make the coil slanted.
  2. Let the lamp cool – If that’s the case, turn OFF the lamp and let it cool down for an hour or so. Touch the exterior after an hour to see if it has fully cooled down. Make sure you wear safety gloves and have a thick towel nearby to be safe.
  3. Align the coil – Twirl the bottle at the base or move it from side to side gently. This usually helps the coil to get aligned properly. If this doesn’t help, then you must pick up the lamp carefully and tilt it a little at an angle that will help the coil to align itself in the correct position.

Common Issues with Lava Lamps – How to Tell it’s Gone Bad

There are two things you can do to ensure that an issue doesn’t escalate to the point where you need to buy a whole new lava lamp. One option is to fix it at the earliest possible stage and the other is to handle your lamp with care so that you can minimize the chances of it becoming defective.

Here are some of the problems you might face with lava lamps and how to solve them:

Cloudy Solution

As mentioned above, if the liquid appears cloudy, then it mostly points to the bottle being either defective or reaching the end of its lifetime. If that’s the case, you need to contact the manufacturer and let them know.

They might either give you a replacement for the defective part, offer a brand new one, or refund your money. If the lamp is old and has put in thousands of hours of use, then you can buy a replacement bottle and make your lamp look as good as new.


Overheating is one of the most commonly seen issues in lava lamps. Keeping them ON overnight not only ends in damaging them over time but also poses several dangerous consequences such as the lamps burning your skin on touch or even exploding.

One of the telltale signs of an overheated lava lamp is the presence of wax shaped like a dome inside.

So, always keep them ON only for a maximum of 8 hours. If you allow the lamp to cool down consistently, it will last a lot longer and give you more value for your money.

Solid Wax

If you see that the wax inside the lamp is solid and not in its original form, then that points to an issue with the coil. The coil with the bulb is what keeps the wax inside in its proper form.

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The coil is usually extremely hot but sometimes it doesn’t get hot enough to melt the wax. In this case, the wax solidifies and the lava lamp will lose its iconic visual display.

If this issue happens to you, contact the manufacturer and see what steps to take. Do not attempt to fix it by yourself as you may end up permanently damaging the lamp.


There are many ways to fix a lava lamp but the best thing you can do is to handle it carefully and minimize any issues from occurring in the first place.

Always keep the lava lamp in a stable place and make sure you let it cool down after every 8 hours by turning it OFF. If the above solutions don’t work, contact the manufacturer to find out what options you have at your disposal.

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