How to Fix Lava Lamp Wax Stuck at the Top?

Lava lamps can add a fun and retro touch to any space, but it can be frustrating when the wax gets stuck at the top and refuses to move.

If you’re experiencing this issue, don’t worry! There are several simple steps you can take to fix the problem and get your lava lamp flowing smoothly again.


In this article, we will guide you through the process of fixing lava lamp wax that is stuck at the top. Additionally, we will also explore the possible reasons why this issue occurs.

Why is the Lava in My Lava Lamp Stuck at the Top?

There could be several reasons why the lava in your lava lamp is stuck at the top:

The Lamp is Not Warm Enough:

Lava lamps work by heating the wax or lava at the bottom of the lamp. The heated wax then rises to the top of the lamp, cools down, and falls back to the bottom. If the liquid is not getting hot enough, it will not melt the wax, and it will get stuck at the top.

To avoid this, use an incandescent bulb instead of a low-power equivalent LED bulb. Check the rating label on the lamp and purchase an incandescent bulb of the same rating. Generally, a 40-45 watt incandescent bulb is great for a lava lamp.

The Room Temperature is Too Cold:

The ideal room temperature for a lava lamp to function properly is between 68-74 degrees Fahrenheit (20-23 degrees Celsius). Temperatures that are too low can prevent the wax from heating up enough to rise to the top.

If you’re having trouble with your lava lamp, try moving it to a warmer location away from drafts or air conditioning. This will help ensure that the wax heats up properly and puts on a mesmerizing display for you to enjoy.

The Lamp is Overheated

If your lava lamp gets too hot, the wax may become too thin and not rise to the top. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you are using the correct wattage bulb and that the lamp is not placed in direct sunlight.

The Wax Has Solidified:

Over time, the wax in the lava lamp can become solidified, making it difficult for it to flow to the top. To fix this, you can gently tilt the lamp to loosen the wax or try gently shaking the lamp to break up any solidified wax.

How to Fix The Lava Lamp Wax Stuck at Top Problem?

If your lava lamp’s wax is stuck at the top, don’t worry – it’s a common issue! This occurs when the less dense wax separates from the denser wax and rises to the top. Fear not, there are several steps you can take to fix the problem and get your lava lamp flowing again.

1. Swirl the Wax

Gently swirling the lamp may help the wax at the top to fall. However, it is important to avoid shaking the lamp too much, as this may cause the clear liquid to become cloudy.

2. Heat Up The Lamp

If the swirl technic doesn’t work then turn on the lamp and let it run for a few hours (2-3) until the lamp gets heated up enough to form the flow. This will give the wax enough time to warm up and start moving.

3. Replace The Bulb

If the lamp is not generating enough heat to initiate the flow, replace the bulb with a higher-wattage bulb. It is important to check the rating label on the lamp and purchase an incandescent bulb of that rating. The increased temperature in the lamp will melt the wax at the top and cause it to fall back down.

4. Use a hairdryer

If the wax is still up there and the flow isn’t reaching the top, try to blow a hairdryer right over the wax. Set it on its highest heat level so that it can melt the wax blob. Be careful not to overheat the lamp or the glass may crack.

5. Last Resort Fix: Draining and Refilling the Lava Lamp

If none of these tricks work, open the top lid of the glass bottle and drain out most of the liquid into a clean and dried vessel. Now, heat up the wax and let it melt completely.

Once it’s melted, pour the liquid back into the bottle using a funnel, seal the top and set it up all again. And you will be good to go.

Is Lava Wax Getting Stuck at the Top a Sign of Expiry?

It might be. But usually, it’s not.

Sometimes when the lamp gets shaken or falls off the ground, it creates a temporary blob stuck at the top of the bottle. It’s easily fixable.

But when you see it goes beyond fixing. And you notice that the clouding won’t go away even after you tried all that helps you fix a minor clouding, then consider it as a sign.

Can a Clotted Wax in a Lava Lamp Cause Minor Clouding?

Yes, it can. A minor clouding occurs when your lava lamp gets shaken a bit hard, or knocked over. 

Due to the sudden movement, the wax particles get dislodged and mixed into the solution. As a result, the lava wax deforms and sometimes gets stuck at the top and the clear solution becomes cloudy.

So, a minor clouding can happen when your lava wax is dislodged and clotted at the top.


Lava lamps getting stuck at the top is not anything new that occurs with lava lamps. However, it’s a quite tricky problem to fix without damaging the integrity of your lava lamp.

I hope you find this article helpful to fix your clotted lava lamp. But, before fixing it you need to be sure whether it’s a minor clouding or an expired lava lamp. 

In case of an expired lava lamp, we would recommend getting a replacement for your lava lamp rather than trying to fix it all by yourself.

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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