Types of salt lamps

Salt lamps come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from completely transparent with intricate etchings in the glass to completely opaque in solid color. A few things these salt lamps have in common are that they’re all made from rock salt mined from underground deposits or sea beds, then cut into a figurine or lamp shape using a special saw that utilizes diamond-tipped blades. The resulting product is referred to as a “salt crystal,” although it’s composed primarily of sodium chloride (aka table salt) with impurities such as other minerals and metals, including potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron.

Many believe these lamps emit ionized particles called “negative ions,” which attach to pollutants like dust motes, and pet dander, causing them to settle on surfaces or fall to the ground. Some believe these lamps have a therapeutic effect that improves breathing and allergies due to the release of negative ions. But this has not been scientifically proven so far.

Sizes of salt lamps

Most salt lamps are between 6–18 inches tall with a base circumference of 5–12 inches, but some can reach 3 feet in height with a 20-inch base. A single lamp generally costs around $30-$50 depending on its size and intricacy of design.

Shapes of lamps

The most popular shape is the sphere, which is typically mounted on an equally spherical base for stability purposes. Other shapes include obelisks, pyramids, rectangles, or even cones which are mounted on square bases. Salt lamps can also come as a single piece, but they’re typically more expensive because the rock salt used to produce them is mined in smaller pieces and must be pieced together like a puzzle to complete the figurine.

Salt crystals are generally cut into their pieces before being shaped into figurines or mounted on bases so that they don’t break during either of these processes. The pieces receive an imprinted stamp that makes each one unique, then get encased in resin for protection and decoration before finally receiving moisture-resistant lacquer for protection against humidity levels that could potentially crack the surface if left unprotected. They may get color added using mineral pigments, which is what makes some models completely transparent while others remain opaque with the rock salt’s natural coloring.

What are the colors of salt lamps?

Salt lamp colors are divided into five main categories, each one indicative of a certain region or mine that produced it. These are Himalayan pink (Pakistan/ India), Mayan blue (Mexico), red (Afghanistan), white (UAE), and clear crystal. While colored lamps are more expensive due to the amount of processing needed to produce them, the color only penetrates about 1⁄4 inch deep so it can be chipped off using a razor blade while cleaning, revealing the lighter color of the crystal underneath.

            There are also other products on the market made from salt crystals but not necessarily in their original form as chunks mined directly from underground deposits or sea beds. Some of these items include candleholders and lamps that use candles instead of light bulbs to produce heat and light. Then there’s salt dough, which is made by mixing salt with flour and water to form a moldable material for children’s crafts or homemade decorations. Salt risers are another product crafted from this material as well as metal wire. The risers’ shape helps them retain the moisture necessary for the salt crystal formation process so it doesn’t evaporate too quickly as it dries out.

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Cleaning of a salt lamp:

While most people think of rock salt when they hear “salt lamp,” some products on the market have nothing at all to do with using real salt crystals in their designs. For example, Himalayan Glow makes a series of decorative lights that appear to use real salt crystals in their design, but this is only a visual effect achieved by encasing glass light bulbs between two panels of protective resin. Other companies produce lamps that make use of the same materials and shapes as salt lamps but replace the rock salt with glass or Styrofoam beads for decoration purposes.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 This classic cocktail from Harry Craddock’s 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book calls for gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc and lemon juice—with a salted rim to boot!

Kir Royale A classic French cocktail born out of the famous restaurant Maxim’s in Paris around 1950. Omit champagne; increase crème de cassis to 1/2 oz., and add 1 1/2 tsp. sugar syrup.

Moscow Mule Originally a “vodka kick” created for weary travelers in 1941 by three friends at the now-famous Chatham Hotel bar in New York City, this drink was based on the equally popular Ginger Rogers cocktail from the 1930s.  Omit vodka; increase ginger beer to 3 oz., and add 1/4 tsp. fresh lime juice.

More details

Old-Fashioned the original simple syrup recipe called for two parts sugar to one part water—no stirring involved!   Add 2 Tbsp. brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. water to a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until dissolved; remove from heat and let cool before using (store leftovers in jar with tight-fitting lid).

Pisco Sour Originally from Peru, this cocktail has been adopted by several South American countries (e.g., Chile) and is popular in the United States as well—and for good reason!   Add 1 tsp. lemon juice to shaker; omit bitters; increase pisco to 2 oz.; shake with ice cubes. Strain into glass; garnish with lemon wheel if desired.

Bloody Mary The original recipe called for equal parts vodka and tomato juice—but who are we kidding? Nobody’s drinking those anymore! Increase vodka to 3 oz.; omit tomato juice, celery salt, lime slice and Worcestershire sauce; add 5 oz. vegetable juice blend (e.g., V8); shake with ice, and strain into glass.

Strawberry Daiquiri A still-popular cocktail from Cuba’s El Floridita bar in the early 1900s.  Add 1/4 tsp. maraschino liqueur to shaker; omit simple syrup; increase strawberries to 6 oz.; shake with ice cubes, and strain into glass over crushed ice if desired.

Snow Cone Syrup An all-natural alternative to simple syrup for snow cones that taste just like regular cane sugar—minus the calories!   Combine 1 c. water, 1 c. sugar, and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice in small saucepan over medium heat until dissolved; let cool before using (store leftovers in with tight-fitting lid).


Since a salt lamp naturally cleans itself, purists argue that it should never be washed. It is not required to be washed because of its antibacterial characteristics. However, they advise using a slightly damp microfiber towel to gently wash away dirt if it becomes excessively dusty.