Lava Lamps:  How Long Do They Last and Will They Go Bad?

If you’re like most people, you probably have fond memories of gazing at a lava lamp as a child. They are mesmerizing to watch and can be quite relaxing. But will the lamp you have now last forever? And more importantly, will it go bad? In this blog post, we will answer many of your questions about lava lamps! We’ll discuss how long they typically last, what can cause them to go bad, and how to keep your lamp running smoothly for as long as possible.

Lava lamps are made up of two different substances: liquid and wax. The liquid is usually water or mineral oil (although there may be some other liquids used as well). The wax floats on top of the liquid because it’s lighter than it.

When you turn your lamp on, the bulb inside heats up and melts part of the wax into tiny droplets that rise to the surface where they cool down again before sinking back down through layers of colder wax below them. This process repeats itself over time creating mesmerizing patterns within each drop!

lava lamp on desk that has gone bad with wax that is faded

Do lava lamps go bad?

This is one of the most popular questions about lava lamps: do they go bad? The answer is yes, but it’s not very common. When a lava lamp goes bad, we say that it “expired”.

There are a few things that can happen over time that may cause your lamp to expire and stop working properly. Many of these things can actually be fixed to extend the life of your lava lamp.

We address most of these “fixable” issues in our post about Lava Lamps Not Flowing. This article calls out several reasons why your lamp may stop flowing, including problems like hardened wax or wax stuck at the top or in one big blob.

How can you tell if your lava lamp is bad?

You might be wondering how you know if your lava lamp has gone bad. Well, follow the link above and try our troubleshooting guide. If that doesn’t fix it, consider replacing the lamp. It’s probably just not work repairing if these steps don’t take care of the issue. 

YouTube video

Besides the issues addressed above, you might find that the liquid in your lava lamp has just faded out. Even though everything still seems to be functioning properly, it’s just not as pretty as it once was. This does happen. Cheaper lava lamps may have a lower-quality liquid formulation that causes it to expire earlier. This may also be caused by allowing it to sit in direct sunlight for too long.

purple and orange lava lamp on wood desk next to pencil case and notebook

Product Recommendation!

Lava Lamp, 14.5″ w/ Yellow/Purple Wax

Add some personality to any room with a Lava Lamp, the timeless retro icon. These mesmerizing motion lamps are a perfect match for your space. Includes a 25-watt bulb.

How long do lava lamps last?

In general, lava lamps last for about 2000 hours. This number can vary depending on the brand, model, and quality of your lamp though. So if you’re using your lava lamp often, it may not last as long as one that’s only used occasionally.

That said, there are a few things you can do to make sure your lamp lasts as long as possible:

  • Don’t turn the lamp off by unplugging it from the wall. Always use the switch on the cord.
  • Keep it out of direct sunlight or extreme heat. It’s always best to keep your lamp in the ambient temperature range of 68-74 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Always try to run your lava lamp for at least 4 hours once you turn it on. This ensures the wax has enough time to melt completely.
  • Never run any lava lamp for more than 10 hours at a time, it may overheat. Rest it for at least 4 hours between uses.
  • If it starts to flow less than usual or stops flowing altogether, try our troubleshooting guide before giving up!
16 blue lava lamps on a table

2000 hours is a long time, but with a little bit of maintenance, your lava lamp can last even longer!

So there you have it! Everything you need to know about how long do lava lamps last as well as what could potentially cause them to go bad. We hope this blog post has answered most of your questions regarding these mesmerizing lamps.

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