Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hello all! I'm currently doing some repairs on my 7 year old lava lamp. Everything is going smoothly, got my surfactant measured correctly and it's now in the lamp. I got a question about the dye I'm using though. I purchased Clubhouse red dye (ingredients in picture below) because I couldn't find McCormick. Will this damage the wax at all? Thanks!

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Ok, so. A few hours later and here we are: sticking, (really bad sticking) then no movement. The recommended amount of surfactant for a 20 ounce lamp is 5 mLs, but I decided to screw it and put in 10 mLs just to see what would happen (why not if I'm going to clean out the bottle anyways, right?) I guess that helped because theres no more sticking, and Im getting flow! It's only one blob that goes up halfway then splits in half, but progress is progress. 

Talking to myself here haha, but I'm reading on other discussions that people get better flow with less surfactant, while some peoples lamps flow faster with more surfactant? What exactly should I do in my situation? A glob goes up, splits, falls, repeat. I have a huge amount of distilled water a decent amount of surfactant, so I'm all set to experiment...

Maybe this will be a weekend project.

Goodness gracious this lamps wax must have gone to crap (something in this 7 year old lamp wasn't right at least). It took at least 1 quarter of a small bottle of surfactant to get it flowing.

For now its snaking, splitting into large blobs that split a few times, repeat. Its actually really interesting flow.

So is this LavaLite wax or gookit wax?  The flow does look good!

Snaking and splitting

Regular lava lite wax with replaced liquid. The flow is great, especially when compared to how it used to be. I find it weird how it took at least 30 mLs of surfactant on such a small lamp to get here though...

Keith said:

So is this LavaLite wax or gookit wax?  The flow does look good!

Snaking and splitting

What did you use to make up the fluid?  Besides the surf.

Distilled water and surf was all I used. 

Keith said:

What did you use to make up the fluid?  Besides the surf.

The reason I asked is because you usually need to increase the density of the distilled water to get the wax to flow.  I prefer to use propylene glycol.  Many here have used a salt solution.  These will increase the density without adverse affects to the wax.  Too much of the wrong kind of surfactant can deteriorate the wax (such as dish soap, especially ones with strong degreasing properties).  If you don't have any clouding issues you are probably safe in that regard.  

It's interesting that you achieved that flow like you did :D

John H said:

Distilled water and surf was all I used. 

Keith said:

What did you use to make up the fluid?  Besides the surf.

Lava lamp wax can be funny with surf. I have some lamps that require very little and some that need a little more to get going and not just mound.

As long as you are happy with the results, enjoy :)

Oh, just be patient with replies as not everyone is logged in all the time at the same time of day. I know it takes normally 24 hours sometimes to get help lol

After shutting the lamp off for the night and turning it on in the morning, unfortunately something changed in the liquid and the wax stopped flowing. Took even more surfactant and now it's back to normal... Hopefully at least. I'm doing a third cycle just to see if the flow will change again. 

While I have you guys here, do you know if any brand of food dye will work to colour the water? I can't find McCormick anywhere so I got some red clubhouse dye. 

Keith said:

The reason I asked is because you usually need to increase the density of the distilled water to get the wax to flow.  I prefer to use propylene glycol.  Many here have used a salt solution.  These will increase the density without adverse affects to the wax.  Too much of the wrong kind of surfactant can deteriorate the wax (such as dish soap, especially ones with strong degreasing properties).  If you don't have any clouding issues you are probably safe in that regard.  

It's interesting that you achieved that flow like you did :D

John H said:

Distilled water and surf was all I used. 

Keith said:

What did you use to make up the fluid?  Besides the surf.

Yeah, it seems to act differently with the surf and needs significantly more just to get basic flow. I used 4 oz on this thing and only now does it move.

kero48 said:

Lava lamp wax can be funny with surf. I have some lamps that require very little and some that need a little more to get going and not just mound.

As long as you are happy with the results, enjoy :)

Oh, just be patient with replies as not everyone is logged in all the time at the same time of day. I know it takes normally 24 hours sometimes to get help lol

Any food dye should be okay.  Red is a hard beast to tame though.  Too little dye won't be red and too much might not be red either.  But the brand you have may easier to adjust.  Let us know!

John H said:

While I have you guys here, do you know if any brand of food dye will work to colour the water? I can't find McCormick anywhere so I got some red clubhouse dye. 

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