How to properly extinguish a kerosene lamp

Another in the series.

This one’s simpler: many folks use the glass lifter to lift the glass then blow out the flame. There’s a problem with this method because the flame never completely snuffs, leaving bunches of unburned hydrocarbons around. In short, you get flammable smoke.

The right way to do it is to use the wick raiser to lower the wick until the wick disappears in the wick channel and the flame is almost out (it will begin to gutter or flicker), then if it refuses to go out after a few moments, only then, use the glass lifter to lift the globe. Still, don’t blow into it. The lamp should go out on its own. If not, just lower the wick a bit further, and it’ll go out.

Way safer, much less stinky.

Also, don’t raise the wick now that it’s out. Leave it down until you go to light the lamp the next time. There’s a chance it could re-light if you raised the wick, and you of course don’t want that. Also if the wick re-lights and you put the lamp on a shelf, now you have something dangerous going on.

The above applies to standard standing-flame kerosene lamps. If you’re working with an Aladdin lamp (the king of mantle lamps) then the instructions are a bit different: You turn down the flame as far as it will go, wait for the mantle’s glow to go way down, then blow across the top of the lamp chimney. Not down into it. Blowing down into an Aladdin will break the mantle. One thing is important if you’re burning an Aladdin: NEVER leave it unattended. Aladdin lamps burn VERY hot and are not known for being really stable. If you have never owned one then you might ask, ‘Then why are they used?’ They’re tremendously bright. Bright as a hundred-watt bulb, roughly 1500 – 2000 lumens.

If you found this post helpful, I have another helpful one about how to set the proper burning height while lighting a lamp. Click here to go there.


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