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 Fragrance lamps do much more than perfume the air ...

Fragrance lamps, which operate on the process of catalytic combustion, are the quintessential decorative accessory for indoor air purification.  The primary function of these stylish perfume bottles is, first and foremost, to purify the air of offensive household, pet and smoke odors, eliminate bothersome bacteria and germs, and ultimately increase oxygen levels while permeating the air with gentle fragrance.  This process sets the function of a fragrance lamp apart from that of candles, reed diffusers, oil burners, incense, room sprays, potpourri and sachets.  All other home fragrance products, at best, "mask" existing odors and, in some instances, contribute to additional smoke and other airborne pollutants. 


The catalytic stone is the workhorse of the lamp that works in conjunction with high grade fragrance oils specifically formulated to complete the catalytic conversion.

Fragrance lamps use a method of catalytic combustion to move large volumes of air through the lamp's heat chamber which is most commonly referred to as the wick or stone.  This heat mixes with the room's cooler air creating a continuous flow of air, a process known as catalytic conversion.  Airborne molecules that contain bacteria that cause foul odors are filtered through the lamp's chamber and converted into oxygen.  The catalytic burner reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit to combust a special alcohol based fuel.  The burning fuel releases molecules (negatively charged ions) into the air that capture and destroy impurities, resulting in purified air.  In just 25-40 minutes, one fragrance lamp will deodorize and fragrance 1,000-1,400 cubic feet and under most circumstances, the effects will last for days.


In the late 1800s, in an effort to counteract diseases which had become widespread and catastrophic, fragrance lamps were invented as a method to purifiy the air in hospitals and morgues.  The lamps of that era were more utilitarian and not decorative as they are today but used the same alcohol based fuel without the addition of fragrance. Then, in the mid-1900s, fragrance lamps became a luxurious household item in the homes of only the wealthiest of individuals.  Today, the very same technology is being used in households and offices to purify the air of odors, bacteria and germs. Because fragrance lamps are now affordable, everyone can own them.








1.    Always keep the solid cap on the lamp when the lamp is not in use.    Leaving the stone exposed when the lamp is not in operation is the culprit of most wick problems.  The alcohol based fragrance oil remaining in the lamp (or its parts) will evaporate causing a build-up of unburned essential fragrance oils in the stone.  Furthermore, alcohol seeks to absorb moisture out of the air causing condensation inside the lamp.  The moisture dilutes the fragrance oil causing it not to burn.  By simply securing the cap snugly back into place when it is not in use will prevent this problem.

2.   If the wick fails to stay hot after 2-4 minutes of burn time, place the solid cap back on the lamp for atleast 20 minutes before trying to relight the lamp again.  Relighting the lamp too soon can destroy the stone.

3.   Extinguish the flame after 2-4 minutes.  Leaving the flame burning for a longer period of time can cause irreparable damage to the stone.  2-4 minutes is sufficient time to heat the stone to full capacity.

4.   Never fill the lamp more than 2/3 full.   Use as little oil as you like, but never more than 2/3 full.  For the combustion process to work properly, there must be a sufficient air space between the oil and the stone.  For optimum performance, only use the amount of oil you intend to burn at one time to avoid leaving remaining oil in the lamp.  The stone will work at peak performance if the lamp is completely burned out each time.  Just remember to cover the stone with the solid cap once it burns out.

5.   White Smoke?  Some essential fragrance oils have a tendency to produce "white smoke" temporarily.  The white smoke is harmless and is to be expected from time to time in every brand of fragrance oil.  The white smoke is the result of incomplete combustion of very long chain molecules found in certain essential oils.  If the catalytic process is operating efficiently in your fragrance lamp, you will occassionally see this occur.

6.   Rejuvenate the stone with Purifier or Neutral.   Lengthen the life of your stone with regular maintenance.   Greenleaf Purifier or Lampe Berger Neutral are special unscented lamp oils that do not contain any essential fragrance oils.  These special purpose fuels are designed to clean the inside of the lamp, wick and stone.  The essential oils in fragrances can build-up in the stone over time.  This build-up can be avoided by burning a small amount of purifier between fragrance changes.  If the stone is already clogged, soak the entire wick and stone in a small container of Purifier or Neutral for atleast 24 hours and then place it on a paper towel to dry completely.  Once the wick has been cleaned and dried, replace it in the lamp and start over as if it were a new wick.  If this process does not work, the wick is finished and it is time to buy a replacement wick.

Fragrance Allergies:  Quite often I come across people who are sensitive to fragrances who do not know they can still enjoy the benefits of pure air that a fragrance lamp provides. Even those with sensitivities can enjoy purified air by burning Greenleaf Purifier, Les Provencales Neutral and Lampe Berger Neutral.  Purifier and Neutral are unscented and specifically formulated to purify the air without fragrance.

7.   Never mix your own fuel.  Effective catalytic fuels contain high-grade ingredients that are not available on store shelves.  While some claim that imitation recipes of fragrance oils mixed with  91% isopropyl alcohol are exactly the same as the  brand-name versions, these homemade fragrances are not effective in creating the catalytic conversion necessary to oxygenate and purify the air.  While a homemade fuel may emit a nice fragrance, it will not capture air molecules and convert them into pure oxygen.  Experimenting with kitchen mixtures will undoubtedly ruin the lamp's stone.  For those who love to mix their own fuels, I know this topic will rate as an unpopular part of the guide; however, the fact remains the same.  Reliable fragrance oils from Lampe Berger, Lampe Paradise, Greenleaf Aroma Decor and Les Provencales Ambiences, have all undergone numerous independent scienfitic trials and are proven to eliminate household, pet and smoke odors, and rid the air of bacteria, allergens, dust mites, mole spores and other common household germs. 

8.   Choosing a Fragrance.  The issue of fragrance choice is the main issue of concern, and rightly so.  All fragrance oils are not created equal.  Choosing a reputable brand and a reputable dealer of fragrance oils is a great place to start.  Recommended brands of fragrance oils are Lampe Berger, Lamp Paradise, Les Provencales Ambiences and Greenleaf Aroma Decor because each of these brands are proven to effectively complete the catalytic conversion to purify the air.  Each of the brands mentioned above are manufactured by reputable companies with the highest standards in quality control and come in a wide variety of fragrance choices reasonably priced from $10-$18 a bottle.

9.   Eventually a new wick will be required.   A healthy wick will last up to 350 burns.  Over time, the catalytic metals in the wick and stone get used up or coated with deposits and the stone is finished.   All catalytic stones work the exact same way, whether it is manufactured by Lampe Berger, Lamp Paradise, Scentier, Les Provencales Ambiences, etc.   The best replacement wicks will come in their own box for protection and not simply in a small bag. 

10. All catalytic wicks work the same.  Whether you are buying Lampe Berger, Lamp Paradise, or some other established wick from a reputable dealer, all catalytic wicks use the exact same technology and function the exact same way.  Each brand may distinguish itself by using a unique stone shape or rim color, but the fact remains the same ... all catalytic wicks serve the same purpose, have the same parts, use the same technology and, when initiated, complete the same process.  Gone are the days of one fragrance lamp brand controlling the entire market.  Feel free to experiment with brands from reputable dealers and you will discover many great, affordable fragrance lamp brands.

11.  Fragrance lamps are not expensive.  Most nice fragrance lamps begin at around $40.  Special Edition lamps created for Lampe Berger by commissioned European designers can cost from $300-$10,000, and are generally acquired by collectors.  For most buyers, a nice $40-$90 lamp will suffice for everyday use.  The one-time purchase of a stylish fragrance lamp will provide a lifetime of purified indoor air.  Replacement parts and oils are readily available to keep your lamp burning for years to come.  A fragrance oil refill costs the same as a nice candle, but does so much more.  When you consider the lifetime of use coupled with the healthy air quality a fragrance lamp provides, the cost to own, operate and maintain a fragrance lamp is quite affordable.

12.  Isn't Lampe Berger the best?  As an authorized Lampe Berger dealer, I should be telling you "Yes, of course Lampe Berger is the best!". But the fact is, all fragrance lamps are pretty much the same.  Lampe Berger was the first manufacturer and retailer of fragrance lamps for home use and that is why the term "fragrance lamp" and "Lampe Berger" are synonomous.  For many decades, Lampe Berger was the only brand of fragrance lamp available for consumers.  Today, many exciting newcomers have come to the fragrance lamp industry, many of which offer much more style and affordability than Lampe Berger.   

Finally, it is my sincere hope that these tips help you understand the function of your fragrance lamps, wicks and oils, the tremendous benefits that burning your fragrance lamps will have on the quality of the air you, your family and guests breathe.  Afterall, fragrance lamps have been purifying the air for over 100 years in homes all over the world, and we are certain they will still be burning strong 100 years from now.   "A fragrance for every season, a fragrance lamp for every room" is our motto because we love the air we breathe.

Wishing you gracious living in a purely scented home,

Jamie Dulaney

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