Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hello everyone, this is my first post.

I have a couple of crappy "made in china" lamps and always wanted to get a proper one and of course to my knowledge the best of the best is a Mathmos.

I Iive in Israel so shipping a Mathmos here is not so simple or cheap.

So after some searching I finally found a proper shop that ships to Israel and ordered a brand new violet/orange astro.

a week ago I finally got the lamp, but to my disappointment after the lamp starts to flow there are some very noticeable small dark pieces or debris in various sizes floating in the orange wax.

I cycled the lamp about 6 hours every day in the past week but those dark pieces remains.

Except for that dirty wax there are a lot of tiny bubbles in the glass and one molding scar, but according to the mathmos site that is normal. beside that the lamp flows beautifully, far better than the Chinese ones.

So I wanted to ask you, the lava lamp experts, if you know what those dark pieces are and if there's anything I can do to get rid of it without opening or damage the globe?

Here are some pictures:

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Okay so the store I bought the lamp from came through with the warranty and sent me a replacement bottle. they even offered a different color so I got the yellow / orange one.

Now I want to try and clean the orange wax in the original bottle.

it looks to me like the worker at mathmos who puts the coils in the bottles dropped it on the dirty floor at the factory and didn't bother to clean it before inserting it into the bottle.

I did open the bottle by heating the cap with a hair drier. I have a general idea on how to do this but would like to get a more detailed instructions so I would not ruin it, any tips?

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Wow that coil and wax looks exactly like my lamp's coil and wax. I bought mine approximately 10 years ago at Walmart my lamp was made in china. You're probably correct about the dirty coil being contaminated from dirt that was picked up off the floor. Filtering the molten wax through a cheese cloth is what I had in mind and that coil needs cleaning. Just a thought water heat salt nice conditions for a metal corrosive, then the tetrachlorethlene a strong metal cleaner that's added to the wax to increase it's specific gravity helping it sink in water(1.000). Is the metal coil made of stainless steel and the right kind at that and who knows what's in the water and the wax exactly. When my lamp only gave me a huge dome with no flow, while still hot I shook the lamp quite hard you should have seen all the dirt that came off the coil and mixed with wax the lamp looked like a bottle filled small tapioca eventually they began to clump together till hours later the same thing all over again. While the wax clumped something very interesting happened,the small globules rising and falling behaved in such a way that it showed the invisible heat stream in the water generated by the light bulb I could exactly see where the cooler wax travelled colliding with hot globules it resembled a flock of birds avading a preditor only in slow-mo. When my camera gets repaired I'll tape it and let you know all the steps and details towards fixing my lamp.     

Very interesting Pierre.

I guess dirty liquids is more common in Chinese made lamps but it shouldn't be in British made ones...

Actually, I have already cleaned the wax in my lamp a few days ago.

If you or anyone else is interested, this is how I did it:

1. The cap is glued to the bottle. I heated it with a hair dryer to melt the glue. used a silicon oven glove to screw the cap off safely. cleaned the glue off the inside of the cap and the threads on the bottle.

2. Poured the master fluid (violet) with a funnel into a properly sized clean glass jar.

3. Put the mathmos bottle in a deep cooking pot. filled the pot till the water reached a bit over half of the bottle (make sure no water go in the bottle).

4. Carefully heated the pot on the stove with the bottle in it, making sure the water don't get too hot.

when the water felt almost too hot to the touch I turned off the fire and left the bottle in the pot till the wax melted completely.

5. When the wax melted I poured it through a filtered funnel into a clean mason jar.

I used a short pantyhose like sock as the filter. look at all the dirt...

6. I emptied some of the hot water from the pot and put the jar with the wax in it so that the wax stays in a liquid state. making sure no water goes into the jar.

7. Took an old metal clothes hanger, cut it and twisted it into a hook shape. used it to take the two springs out of the bottle.

8. Washed the bottle and springs thoroughly with hot water inside and out. I used Fairy classic dish soap.

although its a new bottle I used a bottle brush to scrub the inside. not sure if it was really necessary.

9. After the bottle has dried a little I put the springs back into the bottle.

10. Poured some of the violet master fluid into the mathmos bottle and put the cap on. shaking the bottle while rotating it so that the fluid coats the inside of the bottle. this way the wax shouldn't stick to the inside of the bottle.

11. Poured the master fluid out from the mathmos bottle back to the glass jar leaving only a tiny amount in the bottle.

12. Make sure the springs are aligned correctly on the bottom of the bottle.

13. I made sure that the wax is still melted and poured it back into the mathmos bottle. I used a fresh filter on the funnel and  fitted a hose that goes all the way to the bottom of the bottle to make sure the wax doesn't splash inside.

14. Left the bottle with the wax to cool completely for a few hours.

15. Using a clean funnel, hose and filter I poured the master fluid back to the mathmos bottle. I made sure the fluid flowed down from the side of the bottle and not directly on the wax.

16. Capped back the bottle and cleaned the outside of the bottle. Done.

In the entire process make sure not to lose too much of the wax and master fluid. I lost a bit of master fluid and had to add some distilled water to top it back up above the cap line.

After doing all this the wax and fluid are completely clean. the lava flow is still fantastic and overall it was a fun little afternoon project.

Now I need to find a mathmos base and cap to make use of the extra bottle...

Here are some shots of the clean lamp:

Looks super clean! Good job, I haven't rebuilt one yet but have an clear/orange with this issue. What were the fillings? I had a hunch that they may be a corrosion of some kind. Maybe a big powerful magnet could pull them from the suspension... Saving all the filtering steps. Obviously won't be 100% but might be able to work to an extent.



Aaron Rodgers said:

Looks super clean! Good job, I haven't rebuilt one yet but have an clear/orange with this issue. What were the fillings? I had a hunch that they may be a corrosion of some kind. Maybe a big powerful magnet could pull them from the suspension... Saving all the filtering steps. Obviously won't be 100% but might be able to work to an extent.


If those really are corroded metal particles in your lamp it will have to be a very powerful magnet and the wax should be in a melted state for the magnet to be able to pull it through the hole in the top of the bottle.

I'm not sure what the dirt particles in my lamp were composed of, but I really doubt it was rust. the bottle is new and the springs doesn't have any signs of corrosion on them. so it was probably just plain dirt/dust.

Wow, what an operation, congratiulations!

The repaired lamp looks phantastic. But it's really disappointing, that they sell such a contaminated wax with a new lamp.

Thanks. Yes it was pretty disappointing.

Before I ordered the mathmos lamp I bought a generic lava lamp in a local shop. I had to get it replaced because there was some dirt floating in the master fluid. the replacement lamp had strange particles that looked like ugly glitter floating around alongside the wax. ended up returning it and got a refund.

after that experience I decided to get a mathmos thinking it will be perfect...

Peter Panussi said:

Wow, what an operation, congratiulations!

The repaired lamp looks phantastic. But it's really disappointing, that they sell such a contaminated wax with a new lamp.

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