I have a lava lamp. I want to get rid of it but I believe the materials are explosive.

How can I safely dispose of it?

  • 4
    I won't joke and say to chuck it in a volcano. Jun 5, 2018 at 1:56
  • 2
    I dont live in Hawaii unfortunately. Jun 5, 2018 at 2:05

2 Answers 2


The incident you probably have in mind involves a person who was killed by a large glass piece from his lava lamp when it exploded due to misuse. The lamp was left to heat on a stove, the liquid inside expanded beyond the capacity of the container and the lamp exploded. The materials these lamps are made of are not explosive - it is the expansion of the liquid inside that caused the explosion. While some manufacturers (Mathmos) say it is safe to dispose of the lamp by just making a hole in the metal cap, pouring out the liquid and recylcing the bottle, some brands may contain carbon tetrachloride which is poisonous and should be treated as hazardous waste. For this reason, the best thing to do would be (if you can't find the information on their website) to contact your lava lamp manufacturers and ask them for the proper way to dispose of it.


Quoting two sources, but basically it's not explosive and not dangerous, and it depends if you just want to throw it, or take the more environmental approach and try to recycle what you can.

  • How do you properly dispose of a lava lamp?

    It’s glass and water and wax and dye and some electrical components — nothing that a landfill can’t handle. If you really want to be environmentally friendly, however, take the bottle cap off, dump the water down the drain (the wax won’t come out unless you either heat it up or smash the bottle). Put the glass and incandescent lamp in the glass recycling stream with glass bottles. Put the electrical components and all the rest of the metal parts in the metal recycling stream with tin cans.

    Robert Iodice, Licensed Engineer, Lighting Designer, Certified Energy Manager, Lic. Electrican

  • How to Dispose of Lava Lamps

    I called a lava lamp company and asked them how to dispose of a lava lamp. They told me that I could wrap the lava lamp in newspaper and throw it in the trash. I was told that it was non-toxic. They warned me not to pour the liquid down the sink because it contained wax. If the lamp works, take it to a thrift store. If it is broken, you should recycle the plastic and/or the glass bits. The electronic parts can be disposed of with other e-waste. The waxy lava stuff needs to be wrapped in newspaper and placed in the dumpster.

So basically:

  • If it's broken - recycle.
  • It's non-toxic - water and wax.
  • Don't heat it before throwing or opening, so that the was won't be thrown with the water (in case dumping down the drain).
  • If it's complete and unharmed - wrap it so it won't broke and throw it (still better to recycle 🍃).
  • 1
    if its not broken he could sell it.
    – fja3omega
    Jun 11, 2018 at 3:03
  • That's true, but he asked about disposing it Jun 11, 2018 at 8:06
  • 1
    If its not broken leave it by the container with a note saying "it works", someone will take it Jun 13, 2018 at 6:22

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