How to clean antique oil lamps

Thank you Chris. I have several antique oil lamps that I need to clean up and get ready for the spring storms we have in TN.

I bought an old oil lamp yesterday from an antique store as a Christmas gift for a family member. It came as an electric lamp and I want to convert it back to kerosene but I cannot unscrew the collar. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated !!

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I have an old storm lantern and the oil reservoir has a number of tiny cracks in so does not hold oil for long. Di you know where I might get a replacement made?

I have a very old lamp and have a hard residue, i need a brush that has stiff bristles but will bend. This glass flares out at the top and is like a ledge and you cant reach it. Any brush ideas? I was using a baby bottle brush,but it isnt adequatebecause the handle is too stiff.

Soaking overnight with dawn usually works for me. Other suggestions a strong solution of washing soda, soak overnight. Goo-gone a commercial product that lifts waxy build up.

Have you tried soaking it in warm water with Dawn dishwashing liquid. The lamp oil, when it evaporates can leave a gummy residue behind. Ive found Dawn to be effective in dissolving that. If Dawn doesnt work (needs to be that brand) There may be a stronger cleaner, but that usually works for me.

Soaking overnight with dawn usually works for me. Other suggestions a strong solution of washing soda, soak overnight. Goo-gone a commercial product that lifts waxy build up.

You can remove rust with salt and vinegar and fine steel wool. Make a paste with the salt, using just enough vinegar to make it spreadable. Let it sit in the paste for half an hour and then scrub it off with the fine steel wool. Repeat as necessary. Then I would give it a coat of beeswax- walnut oil (try 1 part beeswax to 3 parts oil). That will protect it from rust.

I sprayed my Eagle lamp with WD-40 where it screws onto the glass base and let it sit for a short while and it easily screwed off! Hope this works for those of you out there still having problems.

Appears to me metal and not brass. Any experience with that?

Since the oil evaporates into the air, I dont use my lamps. I am chemical sensitive plus I would think the fumes would not be healthy for anyone. Is there a safe, non-toxic oil I can use in my antique oil lamps? Thanks.

You might try soaking them in warm, soapy water overnight. That sometimes loosens them.

I have an Aladdin oil lamp and been unable to free its oil-fill cover / screw on cap. A few years ago I applied too much pressure to one and broke the glass neck under the cover so that was a lesson learned. I havent soaked it but did spray some vinegar, some penetrating oil and so far no luck.

Do you know the story behind your lamp. I have the exact same one but in green glass. If you have any info, Id love to hear it. Thank you!

You dont need fancy cleaners to cleanthe glass chimney. Just use a sink of hot soapy water and wipe the inside withan unpaper towel. Be sure to remove all soot and then rinse with hot water. And let it stand to air dry. Your glass chimney will be streakless and clean.

Hi, I just bought an antique oil lamp that has some stains. Its an older white glass lamp with the hurricane globe and old white glass lamp shade. The hurricane globe is fine but Im trying to figure out if there is a way to remove the stains from the white glass. Its a greenish stain. Not sure if its from the oil or what? Im not sure how to attach a picture to this post, but if there is a way to send you a picture let me know and Ill send one. Thanks

Hi Barbara, I am having the same problem with an antique oil lamp that I have. I tried the baby bottle brush also. I was going back through the prior discussions Chris was having with others and found something that might help us both.

I have a vintage oil lamp from the early 1900s. It has quite a lot of metalwork as in the base, around the central part where there is a key for moving the wick and an unusual top like an umbrella (with an opening for the glass top). The metal is in need of cleaning with quite a bit of rust. Any suggestions as to cleaning it please?

Every lamp is different. Im glad you figured it out.

Ive got what I believe to be a pretty old oil lamp from a barn sale. The burner appears to be pressed on the oil reservoir and there is a brass cap I think is a vent. I want to take it apart but Im not sure how to without damaging something. Your picture above may be similar, any tips on how to get this apart? Were there some lamps that dont come apart?

Do not use cooking oil, orolive oil.The heavier oils dont wick-up easily in order to keep the flame supplied with fuel. Learn how to make anolive oil lamp here.

Filed Under:Emergency Preparedness,Green Living,Homemaking,Lost Arts of Self RelianceTagged With:antique oil lamps,how to clean a kerosene lamp,how to clean an antique oil lamp,parts of an antique oil lamp

Have you already tried Dawn dishwashing liquid. I would try that first. Squirt some in add hot tap water and let it sit overnight. Then brush with a bottle brush. If that doesnt work then try some baking soda and vinegar in the kitchen sink. But often the Dawn works great. Its important in this respect to use the name brand. Other dishsoaps dont have the same chemicals as Dawn.

Clean the burner under running water and brush with a metal brush to get any ash out of the mechanism. You may find carbonized pieces of wick lodged in the burner mechanism. You can remove these by brushing with a tooth brush under running water.

Replacethe wickwith a fresh wick. Trim the loose threads on the wick with sharp scissors. Slide it into the mechanism at the bottom of the burner and roll the threading screw regulator to raise the wick, just above the burner.

I have some lamps that the threads go on the inside and I cant get them to open also the kerosene has dried up on the inside . I found them in my grandmother & Fathers old smoke house .

That would prevent being able to fill the lamp with kerosene.

My Father-in-law, who was in his late 70s at the time, was askance that I would actually want a kerosene lamp. He grew up with them and remembered the soot on the ceilings and the toxic fumes, and having to clean them once a week.

You could try hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or diluted chlorine bleach. (one at a time) If that doesnt work, make a paste with baking soda, borax, and water and apply that. If its just on the surface of the glass one of these might help. If its embedded in the glass it may be permanent.

Some old lamp collars were glued on using plaster.

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I have found the best way to clean the residue out of old lamps is with carburetor cleaner (acetone). It works amazingly well. Just be sure to do it outside and dispose of the liquid properly (evaporation works well). Also, the pressurized cans that the carburetor comes in really washes away the residue.

Its a tea lamp looks rustedi have a. Karen Anne no 1 tea lamp purple

Amazing! Soaking in Dawn, a little bit of water and a bottle brush works!

Thanks for the tutorial. I have several large and mini lamps that I need to clean this spring.

Aladdin lamps are a different breed where the fuel is held under pressure. Your best bet would be to contact Lehmans. They have a lot expertise in Aladdin lamps. Im sure they could direct you to where to find help.

This was back in February 2016. Her reply:

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Screw the burner back into place. Allow the wick to saturate in theparaffin oil for an hour before lighting.

Liquid paraffin wont explode in the same way as kerosene. The paraffin isnt under pressure. Turn the wick up as necessary and trim it before you light it, yes.

Replacingliquid paraffinor kerosene lamp oil with alternative fuels can result in explosions and wild fires. Only use the recommended fuel for your oil lamp.

Turn up the wick. Light as usual. Turn down the wick using the regulator, until it stops smoking. This is the ideal level of burn for your lamp. As the flame consumes the wick and the oil, youll need to adjust the wick as necessary to get a clean, smoke free burn.

To get the full light output from your antique oil lamps youll want to clean them and keep the fuel topped up. But be aware that fuel evaporates from the reservoir of your oil lamps over time, as the wicks are exposed to air. If you are conserving fuel, you may want to keep your lamp reservoirs only partially full, filling them up just before intensive use, during a storm or expected power outage.

My Eagle oil lamp does not appear to have collar, so I cannot figure out how to remove the burner to fill it. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you

I have this lamp. I cant get the burner to come loose from the glass. I have sprayed with penetrating oil and it has not worked. Any suggestions?

No Im afraid I dont. I bought mine at the antique mall in Fort Langley, BC, Canada in the early 1980s. They said it was an antique rather than a reproduction.

We have an old lamp with a thick brown waxy buildup on the inside, tried the dawn, naphtha, varsol, nothing seems to touch it or soften it up, ever have this problem??

I had to open mine at the base of the burner,not where you would think to open it like a jar lid. . I could not open it at the ring.

When you remove the burner from the lamp the reservoir will be open. Refill the reservoir with lamp oil or liquid paraffin to at least half full.

Any ideas or suggestions would be very helpful

great information here but i have antique lamps that have stained fuel reservoirs and was wondering if there is a way to clean them .. any ideas would be helpful

When we bought our first antique oil lamp Mr. Joybilees dad scoffed at us. He grew up in 1910 with smoky old kerosene lamps in Scotland and much preferred the convenience and cleanness of electric lighting. He didnt understand why we would choose to buy antique oil lamps for our home. But I cherished my antique oil lamps and have used them for many years. I use them during power outages and just for ambiance in our home. I switched early from kerosene lamp oil to liquid paraffin lamp oil because paraffin was less smoky and smelly. The odorless fumes can still be toxic though, so allow for adequate ventilation to prevent headaches and chemical sensitivities.

There are three types of antique oil lamps:flat wick, central draught (tubular round wick), andmantle lamps, likeColeman camp lanterns. The most common of these is the flat wick oil lamps. Antique oil lamps give more light than candles with pressurized oil lamps giving off up to a 100 lumens of light and flat wick oil lamps giving about 20 to 30 lumens of, light depending on how wide the wick is. For comparison, the average candle gives off 13 lumens while a 60 watt incandescent bulb produces 800 lumens. Oil lamps are used for camping, and when the power goes out. If you live off-grid youll use your oil lamps more frequently.

Your newly cleaned antique oil lamp will burn clear, smoke free, and bright.

Hi, like Anne we have just bought a Paraffin table lamp only to find when we removed the burner assembly that a hole has been drilled through the bottom of the glass resevoir and its brass collar, presumably to convert it to electricity. The collars attaching the glass reservoir to the burner and base are bonded with a hard white substance. Have you any idea what this is? I could just squirt some epoxy / mastic into the hole, but Ive no idea if it would seal to the white stuff, and would prefer if possible to use the original stuff whatever it is.

Hi! My grandmother gave me her late husbands, his late grandmothers old oil lamp, (real turn of the century, I know). I bought new oil for the lamp, and a new wick, I took out the old one but I still need to clean the metal (?) parts (how can i clean that?) and what should I do with left over lamp oil? (Its red) and if should have to get rid of it, then how? Thank you!

I dont understand how a lamp burns liquid parrafin oil .. do you have to turn the wick up hourly? Will the bottle explode if the wick gets short .. will the fire go inside the bottle .. I dont understand how this is safe? Help.. bought one .. afraid to use it .. and oh .. do I cut the wick prior to lighting it each time ??

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Just follow these simple steps and youll have your flat wick oil lamps running clean and at high efficiency.

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