How to Get Bubbles Out of My Lava Lamp

By Paul Dohrman

A lava lamp is a novelty item that is used more for decoration than illumination. The colored wax rises and falls in interesting and mesmerizing globular shapes. However, sometimes the wax breaks up into small droplets or bubbles, which detract from the aesthetics of the wax’s flow. Lava lamp owners oftentimes want to remove them or reincorporate them into the larger balls of wax. You can try a few strategies to get rid of them.

Turn off the lamp and let it cool for two hours. Small bubbles of wax commonly form when the lamp is overheated. During these two hours, the bubbles will drop down to the bottom of the glass globe and hopefully be absorbed by the larger balls of wax.

Turn on the lamp again after two hours, and turn it off again as soon as you see small bubbles of wax forming again.

Replace the lava lamp's bulb with one of smaller wattage if the problem persists.

Tip

If your problem is not that the wax makes bubbles in the water solution but instead that the water solution forms bubbles in the wax, do not worry because this is normal, according to the lava lamp retailer The Generation Store. Though the lamp is not malfunctioning, the aesthetics may bother you enough to do something about it. One strategy is to leave it on for a long time (for a maximum of 10 hours) and see if you can heat the liquid out of the wax. If that does not work and you are willing to invalidate the warranty, then unscrew the cap of the globe and put one small drop of liquid dishwater detergent into the liquid. This may reduce the liquid’s tendency to seep into the wax.

Warning

Do not shake the lamp at any point when you are working with it. Doing so can lead to permanent clouding of the water solution with wax particulates -- so cloudy that you might not be able to see the orbs of wax rising. Do not run the lamp for more than 10 hours, regardless of whether you are having bubble trouble or not.

About the Author

Paul Dohrman's academic background is in physics and economics. He has professional experience as an educator, mortgage consultant, and casualty actuary. His interests include development economics, technology-based charities, and angel investing.