How to Use an Oil Lamp

Hi Everyone!

In this post I show you the basics on how to use a oil lamp (including some pointers on trimming the wicks).

Oil lamps were once used widely as the primary source of light in most households.  Since the advent of electricity they have fallen into the category of relics, or, at best, ornamental pieces. Using an oil lamp is a great skill to the homesteader/prepper!

Lets resurrect them!  Personally, I think you can’t get a better back-up source for both light and heat.  They last a very long time on one fill up, and they are very inexpensive to add to your supplies.  That is why we have five of them and will add more.  We even fire them up occasionally simply for ambiance.  There is nothing like a nice family meal, or board game, by lamp light!

Check it out, this is how simple they are to use and maintain:

If you don’t have a few of these for your home, go get them (See links below)!

Here are some links to help you get started:

Glass oil Lamp

Hurricane style oil lamp

The best lamp oil

These are all great prices compared to what you can probably find in your local hardware store.





It may seem at times like you have ‘done it all’ but there are many new crafts and lost skills out there for all of us! This is my mission!

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12 comments to How to Use an Oil Lamp

  • Good blog, thank you. I really love it!

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  • Therese

    Can you plese tell me if you have to soak the wick in the oil first before lighting? I have a brand new wick and was not sure if this is a step that you must do before lighting for the first time. Thanks!

    • Hi Therese!

      You don’t have to soak it by itself or anything like that. Just let the new wick absorb the fuel for a few hours before you use it the first time.

      Make sure the fuel is topped off!

      I hope this helps, thanks for visiting!


  • Brendan

    Hello – just picked up to lamps at an auction today. Silly question but if you let light the wick and leave it, will the flame burn down through the burner into the holding area of oil? Or will it automatically extinguish itself when the wick burns itself out? (If that makes sense).

    Newbie here…


  • Dani

    Hi! I have this glass like oil lamp with a chimney(is that what it’s called?) that my friend gave me. It’ the same size with yours. I have a problem with the internal part. That screw with teeth inside? I cant adjust the wick because the screw or the peg like thing is somewhat dissasembled or misplaced?? Haha i dont know i’m new at this stuff. Thanks!

  • susan

    I have 2 old family oil lamps. I am moving and need to get rid of the old oil and need to clean the lamps. Can you tell me how?

    • Hi Susan!

      I tried to respond to you when I first saw your question on my phone apparently it did not take. So, sorry for the late reply. I would just run the lanterns almost dry then dry everything our with an old shirt (or paper towel) and let the everything dry outside. The lamp oil/kerosene will be gone in a single nice day. I hope this helps, if I misunderstood the question let me know and I’ll do what I can to help more.


  • Olivia

    I have a lamplighter plain glass lamp with a big bottle of same brand lamp oil, never used ~~ it’s over 10 years old and has turned a pale gold/yellow color, is it still good to burn? It’s hurricane season and I live in the south, so please advise ASAP. Thank you!

    • Hi There! I would imagine it is fine! Just make sure you try in a safe place first and check for the following:

      -Watch for leaks for a while after to fuel up!
      -Make sure the globe is not damaged
      -You may need to trim the wick for shape since its never been used.

      Drop me another line if I can help any more!


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