A product as iconic and well known as the Lava® lamp is bound to generate a great deal of conversation. Lava® products are also somewhat mysterious, evoking questions about their origin, history and of course, “how do these things work?” Below are answers to a few of the more commonly asked questions that we receive.

If you have any additional questions, please contact us at: orders@lavalamp.com.

How big are the lamps in relation to each other?


Set-up and Assembly of your Lava® lamp

  1. Be sure the light bulb is tightly screwed into the base.
  2. Plug your Lava® lamp into a power outlet and place it away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures; 68° F is best.
  3. Switch the Lava® lamp power on (switch is located on cord for most styles).

Running your Lava® lamp for the first time

  1. Be Patient. It will take between 2-6 hours for the lava to flow the first time you start a Lava® lamp.
  2. Your Lava® lamp will form “tower-like” pillar shapes when it begins to flow. This is normal. Please allow it run for at least 2-6 hours for the first time you use it. The more often you run your Lava® lamp, the quicker the start-up time.

If the lava is not flowing properly, check the coil

  1. The metal coil should be at the bottom of every Lava® lamp’s glass globe. It helps to accelerate the heat to melt the lava at a faster pace. If the coil is not nestled at the bottom of the lamp, it will take longer for the lava to flow.
  2. If the coil is not at the bottom, twirl the globe GENTLY in the base and the coil will drop.  You can watch a step by step video at www.lavalamp.com/InstructionalVideos.

If your Lava® lamp appears cloudy

  1. If you receive a Lava® lamp that is cloudy, allow it to sit at room temperature and let the wax settle for about 8 hours.
  2. Turn the lamp on until the wax begins to soften, then shut if off again and allow it to cool.
  3. Once it cools, turn it on again and let it run for 8-10 hours. This should result in a clear lamp.
  4. If your Lava® lamp is still cloudy, please call Guest Services at 1-800-336-5282 weekdays 8 am-4:30 pm CST or email orders@lavalamp.com.

5 Ways to keep your Lava® flowing:

  1. Do not loosen or remove the bottle cap on the globe. Breaking the seal will ruin your lamp and void your warranty.
  2. Do not move, shake or drop your Lava® lamp while “WARM” This may cause permanent damage such as the lamp to become cloudy and/or the lava to break apart. If this happens, shut the lamp off immediately and let it sit undisturbed for 24 hours. After 24 hours, turn it back on and run as normal.
  3. Do not place the lamp in direct sunlight as colors will fade.
  4. Do not store or operate in extreme cold or heat as this will negatively affect the functionality of your lamp.
  5. Do not run your lamp 24/7. We recommend that you only run your lamp for a maximum of 8-10 hours at a time.

Can I use LED light bulbs in the top lamp part of the Bright SourceTM lamps?   

Yes, LED light bulbs work in the TOP portion of the Bright SourceTM lamps. For the bottom Lava® lamp portion you will need to use Model #5045 40 watt Bright SourceTM bulbs.

Replacement Bulbs

Lava® lamps do not require special bulbs, but each lamp does require a bulb specific to its design. Please consult the chart below before purchasing replacement bulbs for yourLava® lamps.

Model Name OZ.   Bulb Wattage, Model Number
and Common Name
11.5″ / Accents 12 15 Watt (Sewing machine bulb)  Incandescent 5150
14.5″ / Classic 20 25 Watt (Refrigerator bulb)*  Incandescent 5025
17″ / Designer 32 40 Watt A15 (Appliance bulb)  Incandescent 5032
16.3″/ Premier 52 40 Watt A15 (Appliance bulb)  Incandescent 5032
18.5″ / Double Play 80 40 Watt R50 (Floodlight bulb) Reflector 5041
18.5″/ Royale  80 60 Watt R20 (Floodlight bulb)  Reflector  5060
27″ Lava Grande 250 100 Watt R20F (Floodlight bulb)  Reflector 5010
*Delineates the same size base to bulb socket requirement.


Important information

The portable lamp has a polarized plug (one plug is wider than the other). As a safety feature, this plug will only fit in a polarized outlet one way. If the plug does not fully fit in the outlet, then reverse the plug. If you still encounter problems, then call a qualified electrician. Never use with an extension cord unless the plug can be fully inserted. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DEFEAT THIS SAFETY FEATURE.

Your Lava® lamp operates at a very warm temperature. The glass globe and base will become “HOT!” Do not handle your Lava® lamp while it is still operating or hot to the touch.