Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Spencers Cloudy Lava Lites Oh What a Mess Please Help!

Hi Everyone!

Well, I'm new here, and I found this awesome forum in my online travels because I have undertaken a journey..  We got four 52 oz lava lamps from Spencers for Christmas.  A clear/yellow, blue/red, red/black, and yellow/red.  The yellow/red is working fine.  The red/black - well, you absolutely can NOT see any lava at night or in dim conditions. Only during the day or in bright light is the lava noticeable.  A very poor color combo.  The blue/red is still cloudy enough that the lava is hard to see.  The clear/yellow you could not see the lava.  The replacement they sent us was the same.  So I investigated and found this website, lots of help, and that these Spencers lamps well, they suck.  :-)  I have a LL lamp from the early 1990's that rocks!

So I redid the clear/yellow with the distilled/epsom salt/dishwash liquid deal and it works fairly well but the cloudiness is coming back.  The replacement clear/yellow I am experimenting. 

So for questions: 

1-what is the thing with using propylene glycol?  I've tried a 50/50 PG with water and the lava just stayed at the top.  Is anyone having any success using the PG for lava lites?

2-does anyone think the yellow lava goo in the Spencers lamps is no good?  I've noticed a lot of white smeary type "floaters" trapped in the goo.  I wonder if the goo is "dirty" or no good mix?

3-is everyone getting better results with epsom salts, or should I try this pickling salt that everyone is talking about?

4-Should I just scrap the goo and just geta GOO KIT and redo the lamp?

Please help folks!!!


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i would take the ones back that aren't working.  i'm not sure about their return policy, but you may need the receipt.  otherwise, you can contact Lava Lite, and they may replace them.  contact susan michaels:

630-496-6663 direct line


otherwise, i've had good results using espom salt, distilled water, and dish soap.  just go real easy on the soap or else the wax will become filled with bubbles.

I would have retruned all cloudy lamps when i found them cloudy.  Did you buy in store or over the net?

Brad thanks for the contact info.  I will call Susan.  I really appreciate it, maybe she can help me out.  Perhaps I will send the blue/red back, since it's still cloudy and I haven't opened it yet.   I think I am going to nix the propylene glycol and stay with epsom salt. 

Gwen they were over the net.  Spencers.com was nice about it and just sent another one out free of charge.  They didn't want the other lamp back.  They of course just kept telling us to keep cycling the lamps, but the clear/yellows are so bad there is no way they would have ever cleared!

Now I see these metallic lamps, so I might try that someday.  But for now my main project is to get the clear/yellow working again.  I really think the goo needs to be cleaned out. 

And the glass for these lava lamps is full of distracting bubbles, very very poor quality.

I've read so much here that the china made lamps are not up to quality and that they might move back to the US.  When I read on Spencers.com that the glass might have specks and that cloudy is not a defect, I immediately knew that they know something is wrong with these lamps. 


I think you may have gotten one of the early summer lamps that never got sent back to LL as they were told to do by LL themself.  I am still not trusting of online retailers for the lamps because I do not know how old the lamp is, can't check the clairity and don't know how it is being handled in shipping.  My suggestion would be to take it to a Spencers store and see if they will exchange it for a clear lamp.

I'm going to try to upload a couple pics.  Check these out... First is how cloudy the clear/yellow is.  Second, as I'm pouring out the factory liquid, look closely at the whitish chemical sludge floating.  Some kind of precipitate or something that is the source of the cloudiness.  This was mixed through the goo. 



Gwen, early summer lamps?  Oh boy, this sounds serious.  Yes, Spencers online might have old stock on their warehouse.   Well that's insight for sure!  What was the issue with this early summer thing?


yeah, that one is hopeless.  the new stock of neons look great.  check out the video on my clear/yellow.  it's a sweet lamp!

the first Neons (the model of your clear and yellow) were very cloudy, particularly the yellows.  Spencers was instructed by LL to open every single lamp and send back the ones that were even slightly cloudy.  For most of the summer there were very few Neon's to be had at Spencers stores.  Then closer to the holidays they were back and clear as a bell with excellent flow, i have 3 of them myself in fact that I watch flow for hours.

Gwen, well then, that takes care of that.  Wonder if I still can get a replacement since I've opened it already... I will find out when I call them.  Thank you so very much for passing this on to me.  Wow, for sure I have one of these old ones. 

Brad, how do I access your video?


looking at those photos, you got the first batch, return it and buy a new one in store

Brad, WOW, found your video.  If we had that I'd be in hippy heaven!  You guys are right, we got bad lamps.  Real bad.  Brad that neon kicks!  And the glass is so clear too. 


Sadly, Spencer's online does seem to be selling old stock. I've bought three lamps directly from Lava Lamp in the past couple weeks, two 20 oz and one Grande, and all were perfectly clear. Even my Mathmos lamps from a few years ago were never this clear. Hoping Spencer's would also have new stock, I ordered a purple neon and a red / blue. Both are quite cloudy.

I'm glad to hear that Spencer's at least tried to be helpful. I'm planning to wait a few weeks and see if there's any way they can ship a newer lamp (as opposed to another cloudy, old stock lamp). If that fails, I'll probably check a store at some point to see if I can find a clear purple neon, since the color is quite nice.

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