How to Fix a Lava Lamp after Shaking it?

Sometime in the 1960s, lamps were invented with the sole objective of producing light. As technology became more and more advanced, lamps were introduced in different shapes and sizes to the consumers.

Today, you have the option of choosing from a wide variety of lamps. The lava lamp happens to be one of the most innovative and modern lamps available in the market today.

Most people don’t understand how lava lamps work. Because of this, some people take it upon themselves to shake the lamp which could damage it beyond repair.

If you have shaken your lava lamp, you can try fixing it by keeping it turned on for a long time. The heat should eventually bring it close to its original form. However, it might be cloudy. If so, you will have to either replace it entirely or see about just replacing the contents inside.

In this article, I will go more into detail about what lava lamps are and how they work. I will explain why shaking them is a bad idea and if you did shake it, how to (hopefully) get it fixed.

What is a Lava Lamp and How Does it Work?

To understand why your lava lamp can be damaged by shaking it, it’s important to know how a lava lamp works.

Lava lamp, also referred to as Astro lamp, was invented by a British entrepreneur named Edward Craven Walker in the year 1963. Both the design and the constituents of the lava lamp are unique. Inside the glass container, there is a round-shaped mixture that essentially comprises of colored wax. It also contains a mixture of different kinds.

A modern lamp is incomplete without a light bulb and you get that here inside the glass container. The heat emanating from the light bulb lends warmth to the wax and leads towards melting and moving through the liquid content. Until you switch off the lamp, this process will not stop.

Lava lamps use liquid and oil-based material to light up. Water and oil have different kinds of properties that forbid them from mixing. The densities of water and oil are vastly different from each other. When you apply heat at the bottom of the lava lamp, the oil present inside the lamp will move towards the surface and bottom of the water mixture intermittently. The heat emanates from the light bulb positioned at the bottom area of the lamp.

When wax engulfs the heat, it expands substantially. Over a period, its density decreases and it rises upward. As the heat dissipates at a slow rate, this process takes place slowly. When the heat disperses out of the wax, it will find its way back to the bottom of the lamp. After it comes back, it will receive heat again.

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Why Should You Not Shake a Lava Lamp?

How to Fix a Lava Lamp After Shaking it

Most kinds of lava lamps consist of silicone-based oil which is very delicate. If you shake the lamp or turn it upside down for some reason, the oil will spread across the lamp. Though water and oil do not mix, the water looks quite foggy to the human eye. That is one of the primary attractions of this lamp as you cannot see what is happening inside.

Most lava lamps come with a manual or instructions that specifically state that they cannot be shaken or turned around, especially when it is quite warm. However, accidents happen and there is a chance that the lamp could fall off your hand or could be mishandled by a child who mistakes it to be a toy.

Many times, when such a thing happens, people contemplate replacing their lava lamp with a new one. It is important to know that a lava lamp, if shaken or turned around, can still possibly be fixed.

How to Fix a Lava Lamp After Shaking It?

Whenever you encounter an issue, replacing your lava lamp would be a good idea if it has not exceeded the warranty period. If that’s not the case, you might as well spend some time and energy in getting it fixed. Here are a few simple steps in which you can do that.

#1 Switch it on and off repeatedly

As soon as you realize that the lava lamp has been shaken, switch it off immediately. The sooner you do it, the lesser will be the chances of the oil or the wax spreading throughout the lamp. Don’t switch on the lamp for some time. You can switch it on again after 2-3 hours. This will give the oil or the wax enough time to harden up again.

Once you turn it on, you might notice the liquid inside it getting clouded again. As soon as you observe this, turn off the lamp and do not touch it for 2-3 hours again. This is a process you need to repeat 8-9 times. Doing that should help in resolving the issue. If the problem persists, you can move to the next step.

#2 Do not turn it off for several hours

When switching it on and off repeatedly does not solve the problem, you could consider letting it remain switched on for several hours. By doing so, you will ensure that the lamp produces enough heat to make the wax return to its normal position. If your issue is still not resolved, then it is time to move on to the next step.

#3 Get it unplugged

Unplugging the lava lamp and replacing its contents is one of the last methods people opt for when trying to fix it. When you accidentally turn it down or shake it up, its contents get mixed up causing the lamp to malfunction.

An effective way to resolve this problem would be to replace the water present inside the lamp. There is a process you need to follow to do this. One important thing you must remember is that replacing the contents of the lava lamp could result in making the warranty offered by the manufacturer void.

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#4 Replacing the Contents of the Lava Lamp

Before you replace the contents, you have to make sure the old material gets out of the lamp properly. You will have to loosen up the lid present on the lava lamp and then pour the liquid content out of the lamp.

Get a bottle of distilled water. While pouring it inside the glass container, ensure that it spreads well but does not exert a lot of pressure on its way. It is recommended to use water that is cool but not excessively cold. Do not stir or shake the water. You just need to pour the water and repeat this process several times.

After cleaning the lava lamp thoroughly, fill it up with a good amount of distilled water. After this, you need to procure saline solution from a store and add it to the other components in the lava lamp bottle.


Sometimes, we shake a lava lamp playfully without realizing that it could cause a problem. While buying a new lava lamp seems like a quick solution, going through a couple of simple steps with patience will help you in resolving the issue and saving up on the money that you would have spent on buying a new product.

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