Salt Lamp Questions Answered: Cleaning, Leaking Water, Turning White & More
Himalayan salt lamps have become very popular in recent years and many people have questions about how to care for them properly.
This article explains exactly how to clean a salt lamp, whether they are safe to leave on and just how long a Himalayan salt lamp lasts if you look after it.
Also ahead, what to do if your salt rock lamp is sweating or leaking water, a simple solution if it’s turning white, what shedding salt or crumbling means and whether you can use salt lamps for aromatherapy.
How Do You Clean a Salt Lamp?
Cleaning a Himalayan salt lamp is quite simple. First, unplug your lamp and wait for the salt to cool to room temperature. Don’t be concerned if it starts sweating or weeping on a hot day.
Next, use a clean and moist, but not dripping wet, cloth or sponge to gently wipe away any accumulated dust and other contaminants from its surface.
Make sure to clean the lower part near the base as well since this area is probably the most in need of a good rub. If your salt lamp is particularly dirty it can be good to rinse the cloth well several times during cleaning.
Also, never use any chemical cleaning products on the lamp. They could react with the salt and release toxic volatile organic compounds. Only ever clean a Himalayan salt lamp with a cloth or sponge moistened with water.
Once you’ve wiped your lamp down well you can plug it back in and light it up straight away. The whole process of cleaning a salt lamp should just take a minute and only needs to be done every couple of weeks for optimal air purifying.
Why Is My Himalayan Salt Lamp Leaking Water?
It’s common for owners to become concerned when their salt lamp is ‘sweating’, ‘crying’ or ‘leaking water’, but this is normal, particularly in high humidity environments, and there is a solution.
First of all, if your salt lamp is wet to touch on the surface, or around the base, the moisture is not coming out of the pink salt itself, but rather from the air around it.
Salt is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water vapor from the air. This is a good thing as it also draws in pollutants attached to the microscopic water droplets and removes them from the air you breathe.
Heat from the light bulb inside the salt lamp should then have evaporated away the accumulated moisture on the surface, releasing the purified water vapor back into the air and keeping the pollutants trapped on the crystal salt.
If your Himalayan salt lamp is leaking water or sweating too much there are 3 possible reasons:
- The wattage of the bulb is too low to produce enough heat.
- The humidity in the air is currently too high.
- You’ve turned off the light bulb.
If your salt lamp has always been weeping, ever since you’ve got it, then the heat-producing light bulb inside of it isn’t warm enough to evaporate away the water on it and it will start dripping off. The solution is to fit a higher wattage bulb inside the salt lamp.
Most Himalayan salt lamps come with a 15-watt bulb, which is usually enough to prevent sweating. However, if you live in a very warm climate you may need to upgrade to a 25-watt bulb like these made specifically for salt lamps.
On the other hand, if you suddenly find your salt lamp crying when it hasn’t leaked water before then it’s likely the humidity in the environment has increased. It could be just a particularly humid day, or perhaps you’ve allowed a lot of extra moisture into the air from steam in the bathroom or kitchen.
A simple solution is to place a large plate or tray underneath the base of the lamp to catch any dripping water during the temporary humid conditions.
Some lamp designs, like the highly popular Himalayan Glow basket salt lamps are better off with protection underneath at all times to stop them dripping salty water onto furniture.
The third and most common reason for a salt lamp leaking water is simply that the owner has turned off the light underneath it.
The hygroscopic water attracting effects of Himalayan salt will of course continue. But without a heat source inside the lamp to evaporate away the accumulating moisture it isn’t surprising when the salt crystals start getting wet.
A related issue occurs when a salt lamp bulb blows out and is replaced with a low heat LED light bulb. These don’t work for Himalayan salt lamps and you should only use heat-producing light bulbs inside them.
Can I Switch Off My Salt Lamp Without It Leaking Water?
If you are going on holiday, or simply want to turn off your salt lamp for a while without it sweating or leaking water, it’s best to wrap it in plastic and store it in a dry place out of direct sunlight.
Himalayan salt lamps left with their light bulbs off for long periods will often sweat. Any dripping water is salt water that can damage furniture or floorings, so it’s best to care for them by wrapping them up in plastic while you are away.
Are Salt Lamps Safe to Leave On?
People often ask ‘can you leave a Himalayan salt lamp on all night?’ The answer is yes and it is in fact much better to do this to prevent salt lamps weeping and leaking water and to increase their air cleaning effects.
A high-quality Himalayan salt lamp, with a UL approved electrical cord and light fittings, like one of these highly recommended authentic artisan lamps, is safe to leave on at all times.
The only time you should turn it off is when you are cleaning your salt lamp with a damp cloth every couple of weeks.
The light bulbs inside Himalayan salt lamps use minimal power so the cost of keeping it on all the time is negligible compared to most other electrical equipment in your home.
So leave your salt lamp on 24/7 when you are at home. Though if you do leave for an extended period it’s best to switch it off for safety and wrap it in plastic to stop it from leaking water onto furniture.
Can You Turn Off Bedroom Salt Lamps?
If your salt lamp is in your bedroom you probably want to switch it off in the evening when you sleep. That’s okay but it could be worth keeping a drip tray underneath it if you live in a humid environment.
While it’s better to sleep in total darkness, a small and low light salt lamp, like one of these 7 beautiful and unique designs, could make for a soothing children’s night light with a soft amber glow which is much better for sleeping than regular lighting.
Why Is My Salt Lamp Turning White?
If your Himalayan pink salt lamp is turning white is usually caused by an accumulation of salt residue on the surface of the lamp.
The hygroscopic properties of Himalayan salt attract water molecules from the surrounding air. Heat from the bulb inside the salt lamp then evaporates away moisture on its surface.
In certain circumstances, such as during a sudden rise in humidity, water accumulating on the surface of the lamp breaks down ionic bonds within the salt in sufficient amounts to leave a crusty white residue after evaporation.
The simple solution to the question ‘why is my salt lamp turning white?’, is to turn it off and clean it thoroughly with a damp, but not wet, cloth or sponge.
Be gentle, but rub the surface until you see the natural pink salt crystals below the white salt residue and your salt lamp will be as good as new again.
How Long Does a Salt Lamp Last?
Pink crystal salt from the Himalayas was laid down some 250 million years ago. It doesn’t go bad and no, Himalayan salt does not expire, as long as you keep it dry and don’t put it in water.
People sometimes ask ‘how long do salt lamps last?’ The answer is, with proper care, for a lifetime, and quite possibly your children’s and grandchildren’s lifetime.
What is less resilient than your ancient salt lamp is the electrical wiring that powers the light bulb inside. While this can be replaced, it’s yet another reason to invest in a high quality authentic Himalayan salt lamp from a specialist producer with a reputation to uphold like SoWell.
They also have an extensive range and some quite stunning designs like these to go with their superior quality, along with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee.
Can Salt Lamps Melt Away?
One reason people might think salt lamps don’t last is the idea that they can melt. As described earlier in this article, a Himalayan salt lamp melting is just moisture accumulating on the surface during high humidity or when switched off.
The solution is to keep them on to prevent dripping water or fitting them with a higher wattage of light bulb. Occasional sweating of your salt lamp won’t affect its durability or how long it will last and it definitely won’t melt away.
One thing that can definitely break a salt lamp though is dropping it. So expect it to be heavy and handle it very carefully, especially if it’s a little wet, and keep it well away from children and pets like cats for safety. There’s much more on Himalayan salt lamp warnings here.
Can You Put Essential Oils Directly on a Himalayan Salt Lamp?
Some people like the idea of an aromatherapy salt lamp and turning the heated salt crystals into a natural oil diffuser. They ask ‘can I put essential oil on a salt lamp?’
Yes you can, though it’s best to only use high-quality essential oil, not cheap synthetic fragrance oil, and stick to the same oil each time.
Only use a few drops in a small specific area that you can wipe down later. Also be aware that the crystal salt may hold onto the fragrance for a long time, and likely won’t combine well with other oils, so make sure you really like the smell.
If you prefer to use a variety of essential oils in aromatherapy, a far better option would be to choose a specifically designed Himalayan salt lamp oil diffuser, like this pretty one with 2 extra light bulbs for free.
Another good option for aromatherapy is to use a Himalayan salt candle holder with a special fitting for adding essential oils.
It’s also recommended that any electrical oil diffusers should be placed far away from your salt lamp. Since it is naturally attractive to airborne water droplets, the aromatherapy effects will be reduced if the lamp is positioned too close to a regular diffuser.
Why Is My Salt Rock Lamp Shedding Salt?
Being natural blocks of crystal salt, and fragile on their surface, it’s unsurprising that Himalayan salt lamps can shed salt flakes, particularly after cleaning or during times of very low humidity in the air.
If, however, your salt lamp is actually crumbling or shedding large amounts of salt in a short time after purchase, then it could be a fake and mined from a much lower quality vein of salt than a true Himalayan salt lamp.
To make sure you have a durable salt lamp that will last a lifetime, it’s highly recommended to choose yours from a salt lamp specialist like SoWell.
All of their salt lamps are authentic, fair trade and of the highest quality. See the full range, with rare colors and some uniquely beautiful designs, available here.
Salt Lamp Care
I hope the research and recommendations in this article have answered any questions you had on how to care for your salt lamp, clean it, stop it leaking water and why it’s best to keep it on at all times.
You can also see the best salt lamps of 2020 here, with a wide variety of shapes, styles and budgets covered. If you are looking for a Himalayan salt lamp for your home then reading this can save you hours of time.
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