I have enjoyed my lava lamp since I got it for Christmas last year. It is my very first lava lamp and I sit at my desk chair sometimes staring at it for literally 10-20 minutes. It is that interesting to me. What is even more interesting, or probably more disturbing, is the fact that the water used to be crystal clear, and now it’s yellow. I don’t know why it has turned yellow, but apparently it’s a common problem with lava lamps.
Here is my lava lamp in December 2011 when I first got it, and here it is now in January 2013 a year later.
What a huge difference. I wonder what would cause the water to turn yellow like that? I never thought anything of it until I was browsing through the pictures in the My Pictures folder on my computer and came across it. I then suddenly remembered how clear it used to be. Naturally I went to Google to research it to see if anyone else has had this issue and to see if there was anything to do about it. I did find several websites that mentioned it and even a solution.
Update: I deleted everything I had typed out before and retyped it. I took out those links and here is why. I followed their instructions which seemed legit to me because more than one website mentioned the same exact thing, but all it did was mess up my lamp. Here is what it looked like after I tried their fix.
I was devastated when this happened to my lava lamp. The instructions were to let it cool so the wax was solid and open the top of the lava lamp and dump the water out into the sink. Then put new water from the tap in and swish it around to get all the grease off the walls of the lamp which meant doing that a couple of times. Then they said to fill it up with tap water and add a couple drops of dish liquid and add a mixture of epsom salt and water with a straw. Those white flakes in the image to the left is the result of the epsom salt.
I let the lamp cool down and dumped the water out and added new water and more soap, but not the epsom salt and turned it on and there was still epsom salt in the wax at the bottom, so it took several times of rinsing it out to get it back to this…
I was thrilled beyond belief when the lava lamp was back to normal and the lava was rising. But then it stopped rising and went back down and never went back up again. What did I do wrong? Like an idiot I mixed a tiny amount of epsom salt with a lot of water and added an inch full from a straw and I got that image from above again. UGH!
That blew my mind that such a tiny amount of epsom salt would do the same thing as a bunch of epsom salt in a smaller amount of water. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I rinsed it out again and didn’t add ANY salt at all and the lava wouldn’t go up again. I searched for more instructions because I really want this working again. I found one guy who made a video and said don’t use too much soap because it will ruin your lava lamp. He also said to use 1 tablespoon of regular table salt and use the straw to add it, which I did and it still won’t rise.
I’m not sure if every time I had to rinse it out and added more soap if the soap ruined the wax or what, but it’s not rising anymore at all. I rinsed it out again and didn’t add anything and it is just not working. I think I screwed it up beyond repair.
Of course I have questions, like did I use the wrong dish liquid? It’s Palmolive anti-bacterial, maybe it didn’t have enough of the right ingredient. Maybe I used the wrong epsom salt. The epsom salt I have is generic and it’s hard as a rock. I assume it’s because the ziplock bag it is in wasn’t manufactured properly because the zips don’t line up right so air gets in, maybe that’s why it’s hard, maybe moisture got in. Perhaps if I bought a brand name epsom salt then it might work, but what if I bought some and tried it and it still messed it up? What if, what if, what if…
Another update: It works! Here is a brand new post with a video.