Are Lava Lamps Dangerous to Cause Fire?

No, Lava Lamps cannot start or cause a fire all by itself. But, this fun decorative piece can be dangerous if it’s not used in a proper manner. 

Lava lamps are designed in a way that cannot cause a fire, but it can catch a fire if it comes in contact with the fire.


Fire first heats up the wax to the point that it starts to evaporate. The vapor creates a severe pressure inside which can crack the glass wall. 

And when it does, as soon as the vapor catches fire, your lava lamp can even explode. And thus it can cause a fire to break out.

So, Can I Conclude that “Lava Lamps are Safe to Use”?

Simply put, lava lamps are safe as long as you are following the safety rules of using a lava lamp. It involves the usage, timing and also where it’s placed. 

There are some kinds of dangers associated with any electronic devices. Lava lamps are not an exception.

All the dangers associated with lava lamps are due to the users not following the usage directions. Otherwise, lava lamps are quite an aesthetically pleasing and safe product to use to create this perfect mode. 

What are the Possible Dangers Associated with Lava Lamps?

As stated already, Lava lamps are quite a safe decor with only a few concerns.  The first mentionable danger is the chances of the lava lamp catching a fire and exploding. 

Furthermore, Lava Lamps can burn your skin if you touch it when it’s operating or right after shutting it down, whilst still hot.

Do lava lamps have real lava inside of them?

No. There is not anything related to real lava that is used in a lava lamp.

Due to the naming of Lava Lamps, this question is asked frequently. However, the fact behind naming it a lava lamp is for its lightning globes floating upwards like a lava. 

But, there are no real lava properties used in a lava lamp. It’s only a mixture of wax and water and some secret ingredients.  

Can Lava Lamps Catch a Fire?

Yes, Lava Lamps can be fire hazardous. However, it is not a common hazardous fact of a lava lamp. 

The whirling globes that form the lava in a lava lamp is paraffin wax. This substance is similar to candle wax. 

The lava material of a lava lamp is flammable. So, yes, lava lamps can catch a fire. But, not as easily as candle wax.

It takes a long time to heat up and vaporize the lava wax. If the wax is overheated then the wax evaporates. If the vapor comes in contact with a little bit of oxygen, it will immediately catch a fire. 

Is it safe to sleep with a lava lamp on?

The answer is mostly on the negative side unfortunately. 

The soothing light of lava lamps makes a cozier environment. Users often want to light their lava lamp all night long. But, unfortunately it can be dangerous to leave a lava lamp on while sleeping. However it depends on how long you usually sleep. 

Lava lamps are recommended not to run more than 8 hours straight. If your sleep time is less than that, then it should not be dangerous for you to sleep with your lava lamp on. 

However, we don’t recommend it for daily purposes. Because, if it runs longer than the recommended duration, it could get overheated.

When overheated, your lava lamp can stop working properly. In the worst case, it might catch fire or explode if left on for too long. So, it would be wise not to sleep leaving your lava lamp on.

Are Lava Lamps Hot Enough to Burn Skin?

Yes. Lava Lamps can get burning hot. 

The operating temperature of a lava lamp is around 60° celsius (140° F). That means if you touch the glass or metal base of an operating lava lamp, it can burn your skin. 

This is the usual temperature of an operating lava lamp. If a lava lamp is run for longer than the recommended duration, then it gets even hotter.

So, never touch your lava lamp when it’s on or while it’s still hot.

Can a Lava Lamp Explode?

This is the most commonly asked question about a lava lamp. And the answer is yes, it can. But not if you use it properly.

If a lava lamp runs for a really long time, or it’s kept near a stove and gets extremely heated, then it might cause a dangerous explosion. 

So, you should watch out how you are using your lava lamp and how long it runs. Do not let it get overheated to prevent such a fatal accident. 

However, explosions of a lava lamp are rarely seen or heard. Because, it needs to get too heated to explode, which is not very natural. So, be cautious but don’t get paranoid with the fact. 

Do Lava Lamps Contain Hazardous Elements Inside?

According to the authorized manufacturers of lava lamps like Mathmos, the ingredients used in a lava lamp are non-toxic to humans and pets. 

Lava Lamps are mainly made of wax and some liquid ingredients, all of which dissolves in water. Only one ingredient that’s used in lava lamps is toxic for humans, polyethylene glycol.

But it’s hazardous only when injected into the human body. As a solvent, it is not toxic. However, being cautious never puts you at a loss. So, when you dispose of your lava lamp, do it carefully as instructed by the manufacturer.  

Safety Precautions for Using a Lava Lamp

You might feel threatened by now, reading out all these dangers of a lava lamp we have discussed so far.

But we assure you a safe use of lava lamps if you simply follow these safety measures while using your Lava Lamp—

  •  Setup Space

Set up your lava lamp in a safe and dry space. Choose a clutter-free corner, make sure no flammable things that can cause fire are around the lava lamp. 

For a durable use and to prevent the lava from fading out, make sure that sunlight can’t fall upon the lamp directly.                                                                                                   

  • Environment

Do not operate your lava lamp in extreme weather. Lava lamps don’t make proper flows in extreme hot or extreme cold.

  • Duration

Run your lava lamp 8-10 hours straight on highest. Not more than that. If possible give breaks between the 8-10 hours duration as well.

Make sure your lava lamp never gets overheated, or runs more than 10 hours straight.

  • Experiments

Do not perform any experiments with the lava lamp such as putting it on a stove or burning it in fire. 

  • Touch

Avoid touching the lava lamp whilst hot. As stated already, it can burn your skin. 

  • Disposal

If your lava lamp expires, dispose of the bottle and the bulb carefully. If you’re not sure whether your lava lamp has expired, read this article to know more about it.


Everything has its pros and cons. Lava lamps are made for making your evening a little bit more comfortable and relaxing. 

That’s why making sure of the fact that your amazing experience doesn’t turn into a horrible nightmare is really important. 

This article is all about to make you aware of the dangers associated with lava lamps and how to prevent it. Hopefully this article will help you have a safe and soothing experience with your lava lamps.

About Annabelle B. Malcolm

Howdy, readers. This is Annabelle B. Malcolm and I’m a content curator. Don’t tell anyone but I low-key take pride in having a treasure of random knowledge. I co-manage this website with my husband Jamie who is a lighting technician by profession. The idea for this website stemmed out of boredom. Out of nowhere really, Jamie came up with the idea of having a website and since he is an authority on lighting fixtures, we decided to play to our strengths.

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