What Are Himalayan Salt Lamps?

Himalayan salt lamps are salt crystals cut out from amber-coloured rock salt, hollowed out to fit a lightbulb inside. When you light them, they give out a warm, reddish-pink glow.  Sellers of these decorative pieces say they do more than light up a room. They claim the lamps can boost mood, improve sleep, ease allergies, help people with asthma breathe better, and clean the air, among other benefits.

The salt in these lamps comes from the Himalayas, a mountain range that stretches about 1,500 miles across Pakistan, India, Bhutan, and Nepal.  True Himalayan salt lamps come from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan. The salt this mine produces has a reddish, pink, or off-white colour.

How Do Himalayan Salt Lamps Work?

Advocates say the lamps work in two ways:

  • Attracts particles; These lamps supposedly attract allergens, toxins, and pollutants to their surface.
  • Possibly emits negative ions; Some people believe negative ions in the air have health benefits.

Ions are molecules that have undergone a change in charge. Negative ions have gained an electron. Positive ions have lost one.

Ions are all over the place, we may not see them with the naked eye, but they are there. Some ions come from particles in outer space that make their way down to Earth. Other ions develop closer to home, due to factors such as radiation, sunlight, lightning, or the collision of water droplets in a waterfall.

Some people say they feel more refreshed and clear-headed after a storm, a feeling they believe is due to the number of negative ions in the air. Commercial ionizers and purification systems also produce negatively charged ions to create cleaner and more comfortable indoor spaces.

Himalayan salt lamps supposedly produce negatively charged ions while water molecules from the air attract to — and then evaporate from — the warmth of its surface.

Top 5 Do Not’s for Your Salt Lamp

There are several things that you need to be careful of as a salt lamp owner since they do naturally “suck in” moisture from the air.  Because of this there are some things you should not do with salt lamps.

  1. Avoid placing your salt lamp in an area with naturally high moisture levels, for instance the bathroom, the laundry, the basement or attic, and the kitchen.  These environments cause your lamp to collect excessive amounts of moisture and start dripping. This will damage the lamp, the base, and the cord as well as the bulb fitting. It could also damage the furniture surface you place it on because the salt water will ‘drip’ on it, staining it.
  2. Do not place your salt lamp on top of electronics, like microwaves, TV’s, or Speakers. This is again, to prevent the moisture dripping from to enter and ruin your electronics.
  3. Do not leave your lamp exposed to the elements for extended periods, this includes outdoors areas, patios, lawns, open shed is or next to open windows or doors. For the same reasons as above, your lamp will collect and pool too much moisture in an open area with freely moving air.
  4. Do not wash your lamp directly with water, never wash your lamp with running water or submerge in water.
  5. Do not place your lamp directly next to loudspeakers as the strong vibration can cause the bulb inside to hit the inside of the lamp and become displaced/fuse. Or it can shake violently the filament once again causing it to fuse.

Drying Excess Moisture from a Leaking Salt Lamp

The above DO NOT tips are fantastic for keeping your lamp in great shape; however, it is unavoidable that eventually your lamp will accumulate some moisture on its surface, or even dirt and dust, or both!

When it collects water on the surface it is referred to as leaking, melting or even “crying”. So how do you prevent your salt lamp from leaking water?

Keep your lamp on! – Our number one tip for preventing your salt lamps from sweating is to keep your lamp on for at least 16 hours a day, every day. Keeping it on 24/7 would be even better!  Keeping the lamp on keeps the salt block warm and evaporates any excess moisture.

Your lamp can start crying if it is left off for long periods of times or left next to an open window or high moisture environment. You need to dry this out, but before you do make sure your lamp is switched off.

Take a dry cloth (preferably lint free) and gently dab the surface of the lamp until dry. The salt lamp surface is rough so if you wipe instead of dab and use a cloth with lint or a paper towel it will scrape off onto the lamp and break of tiny bits of the salt rock as well. An old cotton shirt should do the trick.

Turn your lamp on again! – Once you have dried your lamp, turn it back on so that it heats up and any remaining moisture is evaporated off.

How to Clean Your Salt Lamp

In case your lamps get dirty for any reason, do not worry there is a simple solution.

  1. Take a clean cloth and wet it with water. Make sure the lamp is off before proceeding.
  2. Wring the water out of the cloth as much as you can, making sure it is as lightly damp as possible, and certainly not “wet”.
  3. With the damp cloth dab off the dust from the lamp, do not scrub. Scrubbing will smooth out the salt lamp surface making it shinier looking and removing the rustic rough natural look of the salt.
  4. For the greasier and tougher pieces of dirt, you may have to use more force and scour the surface vigorously. Do not use metallic utensils to scratch the lamp surface, as it will cause damage.
  5. Once cleaned, use a clean dry cloth to dab it dry.
  6. Turn the lamp on again to let the remaining moisture evaporate and voila! Your lamp is clean and good as new.

The Proper Way to Store Away Your Lamp (Long-term)

So, you have decided to put away your salt lamp for some time, it happens, but there is a right and wrong way to do it. Do not just put it in storage along with all your other items because it will collect water and erode over time.

If you are going to store your lamp for an extended period (more than 1 week) then place it in an air-tight plastic bag (Ziplock), preferably a sealable one, so it does not collect any moisture.

Cling wrap or multiple shopping bags one on top of one another would also work great.

Source 1: https://www.webmd.com/balance/himalayan-salt-lamps

Source 2: https://www.thesaltlampshop.com.au/blogs/salt-lamp/salt-lamp-care-maintenance-guide

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