What Are the Dangers of Lava Lamps?

A lava lamp can be an attractive and fun decoration, but it can also be dangerous if used improperly. If you don't carefully follow the safety rules, your lava lamp could catch fire or explode.

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Avoid Clutter

Keep the area around your lava lamp free of clutter that could catch fire, including books, stray papers or posters.

Time Frame

Leaving your lava lamp on too long can cause it to overheat, increasing its chances of becoming a fire hazard.


Your lava lamp may be overheating if the lava liquid has stopped flowing and is resting at the bottom of the glass.

Touching the Lamp

Never touch a lava lamp that is turned on or has been used recently. Lamps become hot and can cause severe burns.


Never put a lava lamp on a heated stove, even if your lava lamp is not heating properly. Overheated lamps can explode. Never unplug your lava lamp if the cord or plug is wet.


The liquid inside lava lamps is non-toxic, so it will not poison children or pets.

Rebekah Richards

Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.org. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.