Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hello everybody!

I've got a Century 100-1982, that works well, but as you can see, needs fluid. Was tipped over years ago and I never quite figured out how to add more.

From what I can figure out from the info on the site, is that the best thing to do would be to remove all the liquid, clean the container and refill with new liquid. And I'm thinking I've figured out that I don't know where to start with how to refill it or what to refill it with.

Should I empty and refill (looking for advice and easy how to do it, plse) or can I dodge the bullet and top off with something?

The liquid really smells like kerosene.

Thanks for your help!



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Good luck! Keep asking if you need help! 

Thanks everyone!

I'm finding that every time I go on line and search for a replacement lamp to harvest the liquid to top off my lamp, I walk away with more question.

Basic questions, 

1. Is there more than one ORIGINAL Lava Lamp? (doesn't seem there would be, but .....)

2. Should I only be considering yellow fluid to replace for my red waxed lamp?

Thank you :)


There were two main companies that started lava lamps in the 1960s - Lava Lite (in the US) and Mathmos (in the UK). Around the 90s, many knock-offs were made. 

You could definitely dye clear fluid yellow. It's up to you what color you want the liquid to be. For that year, red came with yellow or clear fluid, for the most part. 

Thank you Erin!! :)

You're welcome!

I'm finding that obtaining a donor lamp to be far more expensive than the cost of my original lamp, so I'm gonna replace the liquid today, I hope.

I'm breaking down the instructions in the links, I'm figuring I need:

gallon distilled water

regular sized container of epsom salts

dish washing liquid or miracle bubbles 


And these are the steps:

1. start with cool lamp  

2. pour out (save or dispose of properly) liquid, leaving enough liquid to coat the ball of wax.

3. clean bottle, coils if necessary. 

4. slowly refill bottle with cold or warm distilled or good tap water. (don't fill completely to top, leave 1/2"  ..is that bout right? ) Do not disturb wax, be gentle.

5.turn on lamp, when wax melts, start adding the epsom salts at a 4:1 ratio (warm H20 to salt, stirring to dissolve salt) one eye dropper drop at a time. Desired results are that wax separates and floats to the top of the liquid.  **???*** could someone please explain how to add the salt water? If I already have filled the bottle with distilled water, how much liquid do I mix with the epsom salts to start with? And do I need to adjust the fill level to accommodate adding the salty mixture? Bout how much epsom salt (4:1 ratio) are we talking? A cup? more? Drops?  I know the instructions say 'dropper' but just wondering....

5. add eye dropper of desired surfactant (either dish soap, bubbles or glycerin). I'm trying dawn dish soap. (?? here, does color of dish soap affect color of liquid?

6. add few drops of McCormick food coloring if desired. Info about proper colors and expected results in the original 'refill liquid' link.

7. observe flow action over hours and admire your work!

Did I miss anything? Once I get an ok from you all, I'm diving in!


If it were me, I'd stay away from the Dawn dish soap - too much and it may "eat" the wax.  I've seen it.  :>)

Hi Kirk.....miracle bubbles instead?

That's what I would use.  Walmart carries it by the truckloads here...

you will want to leave at least 2" of space from the top of the globe.  i made the mistake of not leaving enough room and ended up having to dump some liquid in order to add more salt and water solution.  you can always top off with more water at the end when the lamp begins to flow, but i would wait to do this until the globe cools to avoid cracking the glass.

as for adding the water and epsom salt solution - add it with a dropper or straw by putting the straw in the solution about an inch or so, put your finger over the top of the straw hole, then place the straw into the globe and release your finger.  do this slowly.  add some solution, wait 5 minutes or so, observe any changes, then add more if needed.  when you start adding the solution, the wax will move about wildly.  this is normal.

i would save the liquid just in case things go awry and you at least want to be back where you were to begin with!

the rest of the steps you listed look great.  it sounds like you are well prepared.  good luck and post some photos of the lamp when you're done!

Hi Brad,

How much of the epsom/water solution should I prepare? A cup?  or more?

I'm about to get out the lab coat and get goin'!

Thank you all for your help...!

i prepared 12 fl oz (a water bottle) just in case i needed that much, but a cup might do.  i did not measure the amount of epsom salt i added to the pot, so it's hard for me to say how much of a 4:1 solution you will need.  i heated a pot of water to just below a simmer, then added epsom salt until it began to precipitate.  it was potent :)

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