Skip to Content

Can Lava Lamps Catch on Fire? (Answered)

Lava lamps are a very beautiful addition to any children’s room. They seem to enjoy the magical functions of it. However, this is why it is more important to look into any plausible safety risks so that nobody ends up getting hurt. 

Can lava lamps catch on fire?

There are very strict safety protocols to follow when using a lava lamp since it is mostly a decoration meant for children. If those protocols are not maintained properly then there is a chance that your lava lamp gets way too overheated and as a result catches on fire. 

Can a lava lamp blow-up?

A lava lamp can certainly go off if used improperly. You should never keep your lava lamp turned on beyond the recommended time frame. If you continue to do so there is a chance that it can start to get overheated. 

Lava lamps are tolerant of high temperatures and they are hot to touch, to begin with. This makes them even more sensitive and very high temperature over time can cause them to go off.  

Another reason your lava lamp might blow-up is if you buy a cheap quality knock-off lava lamp. These lava lamps are made up of cheaper glasses and are not tolerant of higher temperatures which can easily cause the glass to break and your lamp to go off. 

Can lava lamps cause fires?

Lava lamps can also be a huge fire risk if they are regularly being used improperly. The most common reason for lava lamps to be a safety risk is if they are kept on for way too turn and end up being highly overheated. 

Never keep your lava lamp in a warm area, on top of a place where it is heated because it can trigger your lava lamp to get overheated quickly. 

You should also never disconnect your lava lamp from the socket if you notice that the cord is wet because this can end up being very dangerous as well as a fire. 

Lava Lite 2124 Lava the Original 14.5-Inch Silver Base Lamp with Yellow Wax in Blue Liquid

5 Reasons why lava lamps go off or catch fire: 

There are quite a few reasons that can end up triggering your lava lamp to catch fire and you must be very wary of it. 

Keeping it on for too long:

Most lava lamps come with safety instructions and one thing you will notice common in them is a certain amount of time you can keep your lava lamp turned on in one go. This usually ranges from eight to ten hours. 

It can get very dangerous if you keep your lava lamp turned on longer than that regularly. Lava lamps require heat to function so after the allocated time they can get very much overheated which results in the lamp to blow-up or causing a fire threat. 

Using stovetops to heat it:

Lava lamps can require quite some time to heat up. Many people try to make the mistake of trying to quicken up the process by warming it up on top of a stovetop.

This is a big mistake and is very dangerous because not only can it get overheated very easily, it can also end up shattering the glass and cause the rest of the content in it to flame up. 

Warm, cluttered areas:

It is very important that you are using your lava lamp in a safe place. This includes operating it inside a cool place with not much stuff like toys and books around.

This is very important because a hotter environment can trigger your lava lamp to get warmer or overheated quicker than the allocated time. Not only can this cause your lava lamp to go off, but the flammable items near the area can also catch on fire. 

Lava the Original 16.3-Inch Silver Base Lamp with Yellow Wax in Purple Liquid

Cheap lava lamps:

It is never a good idea to buy cheap or knock-off lava lamps. Always make a detailed and informative purchase and know about the material of the lava lamp that you are purchasing. You must also ensure that it comes with proper safety instructions. 

This is because cheaper lava lamps are often made of low-quality glasses that are not able to retain the high heat lava lamps usually do. This can easily cause them to go off or be a fire threat. 


There is a bulb present inside lava lamps that may require to be switched out. You must be careful and only switch it out with a bulb that works well with your lava lamp. 

If you go for a bulb that is of a higher voltage then it can be quite dangerous as it will not work well with your lava lamp. It can radiate higher heat at a much faster pace which can cause your lava lamp to overheat quickly. 

It can blow up or cause fire risks so either get it changed professionally or be very informed when changing it yourself. 

Do lava lamps blow-up often?

If not used in a proper manner then there is a greater chance of your lava lamp to blow-up. There are a lot of horror stories surrounding lava lamps and it is not that bad as long as you are making an informed purchase and a good quality lava lamp. 

If you use it properly which includes not keeping it turned on for more than the recommended time in a day then you can get very good use out of your lava lamp without causing any safety risk. 

You must also use it in a cool environment with not a lot of flammable items around as safety and preventative measures. 

How do I know if my lava lamp is too hot?

Lava lamps take time to heat up to carry out their beautiful functions. They use heat to move the lava globs around and can get quite hot to touch in general which might make it difficult to tell if it is too hot. This is the reason why you should always keep a lookout for your lava lamps.

Another indicator through which you can tell if it is too hot is when you notice that the lava globules have started to stick to each other and are sinking at the bottom of the lava lamp. 

Can I leave my lava lamp on?

It is never a good idea to leave your lava lamp turned on for long periods of time. You should operate your lava lamp according to the safety instructions provided by the company or on average ten hours. 

Even then it is important to keep a watch out for your lava lamp to ensure that it is not overheating. This is to prevent any form of blow up or fire risks. Always operate your lava lamp in a safe and secure environment. 

What happens if I leave my lava lamp on overnight?

You should never keep your lava lamp on overnight. If you keep it on for a longer period of time than allocated then your lava lamp can go off or cause a fire. There are a lot of horror stories, especially about lava lamps blowing when kept turned on overnight. 

It can be even more dangerous if your lava lamp is not of good quality because they are more prone to blow-up. 

Not only that, if you keep your lava lamp turned on for longer periods of time then it starts to get damaged over time. The solution inside your lava lamp will turn cloudy and the lava globs will start to stick to each other and turn into a giant globule. 

It will not be as pretty as it once used to be. 

How many years do lava lamps last?

More than years, it depends on the number of times you are using your lava lamp. On average, lava lamps usually retain their form and function for approximately two thousand uses

After that, the lava inside it turns cloudy and the lava globules inside it move a lot slower and start to look worn off. 

Lamp Lava 2179 14.5-Inch, with White Wax, Clear Liquid, Tri-Colored Globe, Hand Painted Base Rainbow

Are old lava lamps dangerous?

Old lava lamps are not dangerous. It just depends on how you use it. As long as you are using a good quality lava lamp and following proper instructions it will not be dangerous even if it is old. This includes not leaving your lava lamp turned on for greater periods of time. 

The only issue with old lava lamps is that they will not be as beautiful to look at. They will be quite worn off looking if the lava lamp has been in use for a long while. 

Final Thoughts:

The best way to use a lava lamp is to follow the safety manual it comes with. If you want a lava lamp that you want to be turned on while you go to sleep then it is better to invest in newer versions that turn off after the allocated time. This will prevent any kind of blow-up or fire risk.