What is lamp oil? (with photos) (2023)

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S. Mithra

S. Mithra Last modified date: May 10, 2023

Lamp oilis a liquid petroleum product designed to burn cleanlymessingand glass oil lamps, torches and lanterns. In the same family askerosene, it has been further processed and refined so that it does not produce as much harmful smoke,soot, and other pollutants. This oil can be used for everything from indoor emergency lighting during a blackout to soothing lamplight for a summer evening barbecue.

When houses used to be lit only by lamps, the fuel they burned was usually kerosene. This fuel was not ideal, however, as it produced a lot of black soot that obscured the glass bulbs of lanterns and fouled windows, walls, fabrics and anything it came in contact with. Under pressure from eager consumers, manufacturers decided to further distill kerosene so that the fuel could be burned indoors without too much inconvenience.

An oil lamp. Lamp oil is placed in the lower glass container where it soaks into a wick which then burns in the glass chimney on top of the oil container.

Now "ultrapure" or "ultraclean" lamp oil can be found at most supermarkets, outsidesuppliers, and camping stores. Some people keep it along with other emergency supplies, such as a battery-powered radio, water, and a first aid kit. Lamps are safer than candles and more reliable than flashlights.

As an oil distillate, this product is a flammable liquid that releases energy in the form of light and heat when the hydrocarbons burn. Like other hydrocarbon products, it must be handled with care. Users should always follow the instructions on the lamp or lantern when filling the reservoir, although it is usually safe to fill it to within about 1.27 cm (0.5 in) of the top. The wick should be cleaned and cut before every lighting, and it should never be rolled down while it is burning. The fuel should be stored at or near room temperature, not in a garage or shed where it could freeze; frozen oil can thaw too quickly, creating a risk of explosion.

A kerosene lantern.

The standard variant of lamp oil resembles waterviscosity, and it is also perfectly clear. However, there are many special varieties that appeal to people's sense of design, and the oil can be colored so that it gives a decorative touch to lanterns with transparent reservoirs. Purple or red create a romantic atmosphere, while green and blue evoke tranquility.

Lamp oil is used to light outdoor torches.

Oil can also be aromatic, so that when it burns it releases a soothing scent through the air, much like an air freshener. Pink or lavender may be suitable scents for a large bathroom or bedroomlemongrassofvanillacan smell a kitchen. Naturally,citronellaoil, when burned in outdoor torches, can help keep mosquitoes and other pesky bugs away.

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Discussion Comments


Can I use unscented lamp oil in a kerosene space heater indoors?


Can I use lamp oil in the salamander stove I have for the garage?


Warning: In the UK kerosene is called 'paraffin'. They also have a medicine called 'liquid paraffin'. This is something completely different. This could be the source of the confusion. I would not recommend taking kerosene internally.


Can you use citronella oil for lamps and torches on horses with baby oil and apple cider vinegar without any problems?


Where do I dispose of lamp oil? I don't think the trash will be wise.


I have several oil lamps throughout the house. I only burn the one in the living room. The oil in some lamps has turned yellow over time. In the event of a blackout, is it still safe to burn it or should it be thrown away now that it's discolored?


To post number 1; I was told you can interchange lamp oil and kerosene, but never mix them. However, kerosene is a very different oil and burns hotter, smokier, fumes and not nearly as safe. Be careful! Make sure your lamp is completely dry before you start with the kerosene.

If you need to buy kerosene, hardware stores usually carry small quantities of kerosene (such as 5/10 gallon). Or you can go to an oil company near you (ours was Bob Harris Oil Company) and they sell it to this day. It's also a gas station; just call around in your area.


To test if it's flammable, have a fire extinguisher handy and try to light it (I highly doubt it's still flammable after it's been cleaned). Also, do not add anything to your kerosene. Kero-Klean is the only additive that is potentially safe (and adds an odor).


With regard to kerosene as a medicine, this is pretty horrible, but I've read in many accounts by Vietnamese POWs that as often as possible they would secretly take a kerosene lamp and swallow a sip of fuel to fight the intestinal worms they got the food and water they lived on in the prison camps.

And I still remember my Scandinavian grandfather recommending a teaspoon of kerosene and a sweetener for whooping cough, along with gently fried onions in chicken fat, wrapped in a fat-soaked cotton cloth and applied to the chest and back. Which also worked, I guess.


Can lamp oil damage a carpet or any other fabric or even plastic that binds the carpet? My son has an oil lamp in his room and according to the experts, part of it leaked onto the carpet and caused the plastic fibers in the carpet to stretch or something.


My dog ​​knocked over my wine oil lamp on my stone hearth and I've been trying to clean it up. I have used baking soda and vinegar several times. There is still a slight smell. I'm afraid it could ignite. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this?


30 - You could use the lamp oil to make a campfire.


Lamp oil is nothing but refined kerosene. I see no reason why they couldn't be mixed.

(Video) Time-Lapse Burn Test - Firefly CLEAN Lamp Oil vs. Paraffin Lamp Oil


I just bought two lamps with a few centimeters of lamp oil in them. I want to use them in our cabin that has no electricity, but we've been using kerosene to light our lamps there for 60 years. Can I mix lamp oil and kerosene? If not, how do I dispose of lamp oil?


#27, you said, "I'm going to try and get a can of home fuel out of our tank. It doesn't have that smelly additive they put in gasoline and diesel."

Does this mean that you actually considered using gasoline in a kerosene lamp, in your home, but were only put off by the smell?

That is if you haven't already blown yourself up.

To the people who are considering taking kerosene for medicine, let's look at the story of the man who accidentally got kerosene down his throat and found himself not getting a cold or the flu like others did. This does not mean that kerosene prevents or cures diseases! This just means that the two events, ingestion and not getting sick, happened at the same time.

It's a common mistake to hear a story like this and think it implies causation when it doesn't. It's just a coincidence.

#9, So you heard that antibiotics are bad for you, so you want to drink kerosene instead?

Please do not give kerosene to others as medicine. You could kill them!


Can lamp oil be used in Zippo lighters?


To the person who posted #19: I've heard that kerosene works for yeast infections. I have used kerosene firsthand for cuts. I soaked my hand after cutting it with a knife and it healed quickly. I also used kerosene when I got pricked by some cactus thorns and they came out. --egan stew


You can use lamp oil in kerosene lamps. I have a collection that I use to keep my front 'unheated' hall free from the deeper frosts of winter. The temperature stays below twenty and I leave two lights on 24/7. Kerosene is too sooty and very smelly.

There is a finer type of lamp oil that you could buy in the old days, but it may be from a bygone era. I'm going to try and get a can of home heating oil out of our tank. It doesn't have that smelly additive they put in gasoline and diesel.

As for your antique kerosene lamps, I just burned mine dry. When the kerosene ran out or whatever old fuel was in it I filled it with the liquid paraffin and they burn great very clean and don't really smell I use scented candles with them but I blow those out before I go to bed and always have a working smoke alarm near the 'fire zone'.

The fuel doesn't seem to last as long as the thicker old oils.


I collect oil lamps, but I also use them. I have seven over the mantelpiece. The problem is that when I light them, although they are very beautiful and bring soft light into the room, the fumes are so bad that it gives us a headache after about an hour.

I am wondering if the Northern Light paraffin oil can be used in hurricane type lamps with wicks and if so will there be that strong kerosene like smell when they are lit? Will it ruin my lamps? some are very old and expensive.



I found kerosene at my local Home Depot store in 1 and 5 gallon containers.

(Video) Tom Cunliffe by the light of the lamp ~ paraffin/kerosene ones. ©Tom Cunliffe


Kerosene ingestion is unfortunately a common and serious cause of childhood poisoning in underdeveloped urban areas of South Africa and other poor countries (De Wet et al. 1994). The pathology appears to be mainly localized in the lungs with other manifestations , for example in the central nervous system, secondary to hypoxia and acidosis (Klein and Simon 1986).


can you use lamp oil in a kerosene lantern? --hhsu


Can someone tell me if lamp oil or kerosene can be used as an antifungal agent? This sounds horrible, but I have 2 toes with horrible fungus under the nail. I've heard of people using it for medicinal purposes, but I wanted to get feedback if possible.


"Does anyone know if I can make my lamp oil fragrant by adding a few drops of essential oil?"

Unfortunately, as far as I know this won't work. I've looked everywhere myself.

The problem is that the smell will just burn. When in doubt, know that if it were possible, the shelves in WalMarts across the country would already be stocked with scented lamp oils, from cherry to grape harvest to vanilla wrinkle.

Shops have found a way around this by selling various scented oil warmers, which you pour a liquid into and light a flame underneath, never touching it.

I have an antique (Persian) oil lamp above the toilet, with a lighter, an excellent way for house guests to freshen the air after using the bathroom... finish your 'business', light the lamp and viola! A clean air by the time you open the door. No embarrassing fog chasing you.

Scented lamp oil would arguably be even better, I think.


As has been suggested, you may not be able to color lamp oil with food coloring as the two liquids are immiscible, but you can add colored water to the oil and it will form an attractive separate layer under the oil. This is also a useful technique for raising the fluid level if the wick is no longer reaching the oil and you don't have any spare oil.


Hello, I use lamp oil for fire shows.

We dip the kevlar balls and ropes into the lamp oil and set it on fire and swirl it around us until it basically goes out.

Now we're starting to do this more often and we noticed that the colored ones don't burn as well and some non-colored ones burn better than others.

Now we want to order larger quantities, but we can never say in advance how good it will be. Is there some kind of formula or ingredients in lamp oil that we should look for that will ensure proper burning?

Sorry for my strange question, but I can't seem to get an answer to it anywhere.


If the lantern's label on the side says to just use "petroleum," but the package insert that came with the same lamp says "citronella lamp oil" or "kerosene lamp oil," is it safe to use regular kerosene you get at a gas station? purchased or lamp oil that has no label other than "petroleum distillate?" The different labels are confusing.


Does anyone know if I can make my lamp oil fragrant by adding a few drops of essential oil? I know both are flammable so I want to know before I try. Thank you.


I know this sounds awful and I feel like an idiot, but my dog ​​accidentally drank a small amount of lamp oil. She's not acting sick, but should I call the vet?

(Video) Top 5 Best Lamp Oils for Indoor [Review 2023] - Liquid Paraffin Lamp Oil/Clean Fuel Lamp Oil


How do you dispose of lamp oil?


as someone mentioned, it can be poisonous, but so can nutmeg. for information on it, just email the manufacturer and ask for an MSDS sheet. they are required by law to send you one. MSDS sheet, means safety data sheet.


So you know the lamp oil bottle I have says "harmful or fatal if swallowed." And I was told when I asked about water purification for hiking that carbohydrates do bad things to your stomach. That didn't justify getting water from a lake that motorboats sailed on.


To the anonymous person who responded about the grandfather. Thank you for the information. I remember the sugar, but couldn't remember exactly how it went. You refreshed my memory and I see my grandma doing the same.

Now I would like to ask if the kerosene I would find in the store is the same as what they used back then? I've been on the internet trying to get answers from distributors and they haven't answered me back.

I would think about using it for myself as I have read about the antibiotics and the bad effects they have on our body. Doctors have also given so much that they have almost no effect anymore. I am looking for other ways to treat myself and maybe others who are willing.

I have a friend, Ed, who also said he was responsible for filling the lanterns and getting some down his throat so often and he didn't have a cold or flu. Perhaps, since he is much older than me, he knows where to get the kerosene. Esther May:


To the person who posted the comment about taking kerosene, my grandparents used kerosene home brews. When my grandfather felt a cold coming on, he would get a level tablespoon of sugar and pour in some kerosene until it was full. Occasionally he would add a little Vicks Rub to the mixture. When I pressed him the reason he told me it cured the FLU. He would have lived through the flu pandemic of the early 1900's and I believe the custom came from there. I wouldn't even think of using it myself


There was a widely used insect repellent in this country (NZ) many years ago, when the pioneers reportedly consumed sugar cubes dipped in kerosene which, when excreted through the pores, kept sand flies at bay.

It was said to have worked for that purpose, although the personal freshness of a T-Ford must have been a bit of a drawback I imagine!

Dave (NZ)


Thanks for that information. I forgot about the cats and hairballs. A friend of mine told me that as a boy his job was to fill the lanterns. He said he would suck the hose to get it going and occasionally get some fluid down his throat. He didn't take much, but he noticed he didn't catch a cold or flu like the rest of the family.

Actually my question is; kerosene, is it the same today as it was 50-100 years ago? I know we have the scented stuff, but that's not what I'm looking for. I was hoping someone would use it too. eganstew


I suspect that your grandmother's use of kerosene as a home remedy was part of a once-popular idea that a host of ailments could be cured by "cleaning out your system." Essentially, it probably acted as a laxative. I'm not sure I would recommend using kerosene for this purpose, but petroleum jelly is an effective stool softener, safe when used in small amounts. For example, vets often recommend giving cats a fingertip-sized dose of petroleum jelly every few days as a preventative against hairballs.


When I was a kid, my grandmother used to give me a teaspoon of kerosene. I don't know the purpose of it and would like to know if anyone knows why, what and the purpose. So far I've had one person say it's for parasites, and another said it took care of a cold. Does anyone have information?


You cannot add dye to lamp oil. Food coloring is water based and as the saying goes "oil and water don't mix." You can easily buy colored oil for the same price as clear.


Is it safe to burn my lamp oil if I add dye to it?


I see that the difference between 'Lamp Oil' and 'Kerosene' is the processing, so I can swap the two. If not, where can I find kerosene?

(Video) Lumaseries Rain Lamp with Mineral Oil 💡 Gadgetify

Post your comments


    What is lamp oil? (with photos)? ›

    Lamp oil, also called paraffin oil, is an odorless, flammable hydrocarbon derived from petroleum. It's a clear lamp oil but can be sold in a variety of colors. It doesn't burn as brightly as kerosene but is designed specifically for oil lamps.

    What is considered lamp oil? ›

    Lamp oil, also called paraffin oil, is an odorless, flammable hydrocarbon derived from petroleum. It's a clear lamp oil but can be sold in a variety of colors. It doesn't burn as brightly as kerosene but is designed specifically for oil lamps.

    What was lamp oil made of in biblical times? ›

    The most common fuel used for lamps at the time of the Bible was olive oil. The olive is an evergreen tree that grows up to 8 meters high and can live for many years. Some olive trees on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem are thought to be as old as 1500 years. The trees remain productive as long as they are pruned well.

    What is lamp oil used for? ›

    Lamp Oil: Used in oil lamps. torches and lanterns. What is in it: Contains mineral oil or refined kerosene (so that it burns without soot). Usually has the viscosity or thickness of water.

    What can I substitute for lamp oil? ›

    Store-bought lamp oil is typically a mix of kerosene and paraffin, but it's actually cheaper and safer to use vegetable oil right from your kitchen; the most widely used is olive oil. Alternatively, look for lampante oil, a type of olive oil made only for burning.

    Is olive oil a lamp oil? ›

    Olive oil is a renewable lamp fuel. For burning as lamp oil you can use cheaper grades of olive oil, like pomace olive oil, rather than the expensive extra virgin oil. Buy a trusted brand, as you want pure olive oil, not olive oil that's been adulterated with canola oil or other GMO oils.

    Is lamp oil the same as fish oil? ›

    Jamaican “Lamp oil”otherwise known as fish oil is not the same as the kerosene oil used in lanterns.

    What kind of oil was used in lamps in Jesus time? ›

    The earliest clay lamps were shallow bowls in which a wick was floated in a pool of oil. Later versions were hand-folded to create a spout for the wick to rest in, as with this "cocked hat" lamp. The most common oil used in the Mediterranean region was olive oil.

    What oil did Jesus use in the Bible? ›

    Hebrew Bible

    The holy anointing oil described in Exodus 30:22–25 was created from: Pure myrrh (מר דרור, mar deror) 500 shekels (about 6 kg (13 lb))

    What oil did Romans burn in lamps? ›

    Ancient Oil Lamps

    They were fueled by fish oil, animal oil and fat but mainly by vegetable (olive) oil. A woven fibrous wick was placed in the hole at the tip of the lamp to burn the oil.

    Does lamp oil go bad? ›

    Wondering how much paraffin lamp oil to buy for the looming winter, but don't want it to expire before the last snowflake falls? Not to worry – our experience (Firefly Pure Paraffin Lamp Oil) is that the shelf life of paraffin lamp oil will last indefinitely if stored in a sealed container.

    Why is lamp oil so expensive? ›

    Lamp oil is more expensive than kerosene due to the extra steps needed to purify the oil resulting in significantly less impurities released into the air when burned. Best quality lamp oils will be virtually smokeless and without an odor.

    What does the Bible say about oil lamps? ›

    Matt. 25 Verses 1 to 13

    [3] They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: [4] But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. [5] While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. [6] And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

    What are the different types of lamp oil? ›

    Lamp oil on the other hand has two types, one is a kerosene based, the other is a paraffin based lamp oil.

    What are the 5 oils for lamps? ›

    6 Types Of Lamp Oil And Its Benefits
    • Desi Ghee. Cow's ghee is consider exceptional for puja and lightning lamp purposes. ...
    • Pancha Deepam Oil. ...
    • Sesame oil. ...
    • Mustard oil. ...
    • Coconut oil. ...
    • Other Oils.
    Apr 8, 2023

    Can I use a regular oil in a oil lamp? ›

    While it is possible to use vegetable oil in an oil candle, it is not to be recommended. Vegetable oil is a much more viscous, heavier oil, with a higher flashpoint than proper lamp oil.

    Is lamp oil the same as mineral oil? ›

    Paraffin lamp oil is created through a crude oil distillation process. It is a mineral oil.


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