Can Lava Lamps Expire Or Go Bad? [Answered]

Like any other product, lava lamps do expire too. Although most lava lamps do not come with a specified expiration date, these incandescent lights also die with time. Usually, lava lamps have a 2000 hours lifespan. It is only a standard for measuring the durability of lava lamps. 


Most sellers offer a replacement for expired lava lamps. So, you don’t need to worry even if your lava lamps have expired. However, with proper use and care, these lamps may last way longer than expected.

When to know it’s time for a replacement

A Lava lamp creates an ambient and peaceful environment in your room. These lamps come in a glass vessel filled with a special type of liquid and advanced formulated wax that takes the form of lava when heated up.

Lava lamps are meant to last long making them a worthy artistic piece to decorate your home. But, if your lava lamps go bad, you can purchase a replacement for the bottle and bulb individually.

 Lava 5025-6 the Original Lamp 25-Watt Replacement Bulb
Lava 5025-6 the Original Lamp 25-Watt Replacement Bulb


But, sometimes it’s tricky to understand whether your lava lamp has gone bad or it’s a temporary problem. Here’s how you know whether your lava lamps have expired. 

Glass Vessel Gets Cloudy

When your lava lamp hits 2000 hours of lighting, it reaches the end of its life. The wax inside of the glass vessel goes bad and partly defuses in the remaining translucent liquid. 

That’s how the water no longer remains clear. It becomes cloudy and doesn’t form lava anymore. That is when you know that your lava lamp bottle has expired and needs a replacement even if the lamp is working just fine.  

However, there is another reason for the lava lamp being cloudy. If your lamp is shaken in a hot state then the wax could get mixed with the liquid making the solution cloudy. 

This is a temporary problem which can be fixed easily. Just turn it off and give it a few hours rest then again turn it on. Hopefully, it will be fixed. 

However, shaking a hot lava lamp can be dangerous. So, you must be careful with your lava lamp and try to avoid moving or shaking it whilst hot.  

Lamp Doesn’t Work Properly

The next thing that indicates that your lava lamp is expired is when your lava lamps are not turning on. This happens when the bulb has run out of life and expired. 

If you have a warranty available then it might get you covered for this and get you a free bulb replacement. Otherwise, you will need to replace the bulb and continue enjoying the delightful sight of your lava lamp. 

However, sometimes due to overheating or using the lava lamp for a long time without rest can be causing similar problems. So, if the light of the lamp turns off then unplug it and rest it for a few hours before using it again. 

If it seems to happen frequently then it might be a signal before your lava lamp goes bad completely.

Lava Liquid Fades Out 

Last but not the least, the discoloration of the liquid in the glass vessel can be another indicator that says – it’s time to replace your lava bottle. The quality of the lava liquid varies from company to company. 

A high-quality formulation of the liquid will provide a better flow of lava, a more vivid color, and a long-lasting lifespan. With time, the formula loses its temper and fades out when it reaches the end of its life.

Nonetheless, such discoloration can occur for other reasons too. Specifically, if you have placed your lava lamp in direct sunlight, then the dye will fade out faster than expected. 

In that case, you might get it covered within the warranty period. But if your warranty has already expired, you would have to order another replacement for the bottle. 

What To Do If Your Lava Lamp Go Bad

If you find out that your lava lamp has gone wasted then the first thing you need to do is to carefully dispose of or recycle it for further use. 

There are some safety concerns while disposing of the lava lamp. So, you must follow a few instructions by the manufacturers while dumping your lava lamp. 

The first step to disposing of the lava lamp is to pour away all the liquids inside of the bottle. You can safely break the bottle for that. But if you want to reuse the bottle, say, as a fish tank, then you should simply remove the metal cap. You can use a can opener for that. 

Remember that the wax will not come out if the bottle remains cold. So, turn on the lamp for a while and wait till it forms up lava. Then turn it off and wait until it reaches a warm state, not completely cool, neither too hot, when it’s touchable. 

However, be careful and do not overheat it. Otherwise, you might experience a dangerous explosion.

The manufacturers ensure that all the ingredients and chemicals used inside of the bottle are non-toxic. There still remain some safety concerns. The chemicals can react with other metals or things.

Besides, if you pour it down the sink, then the wax contents can clog the sink later. So the best way to dump the liquid is directly into a drain. Or, make a hole in one corner of your backyard field, dump it and cover it up.  

Lastly, if you want to throw out the glass bottle, then put it in the glass recycling stream. And put the other electric and metal parts into the tin can. But if you want to reuse it then wash it thoroughly with water before using the bottle again. 

Final Words

Although your lava lamp will die with time, if maintained properly you can enjoy the dimming lava light effect for a long time.

Simply put, use your lava lamp within intervals. Never run it more than ten hours straight, neither shake nor move it when it’s hot. If your lamp isn’t working properly, turn it off for a few hours and then turn it back on.

And when you know it has come close to expiry, replace the bottle or bulb as required, and discard the previous one as explained.

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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