Can I Use Tiki Torch Fuel In An Oil Lamp

Tiki torch fuel is petroleum-based and meant only for outside use and for repelling insects. Tiki torch fuel smokes when it is burned. If you must use tiki torch fuel in an oil lamp, it is only safe to do so outside and it can be cut with 50:50 kerosene to achieve a longer wick life.

For a DIY approach, some people use either vegetable oil or a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and distilled water as homemade tiki torch fuel, which is certainly cheaper than buying fuel specifically designed for a tiki torch. (While youre thinking about affordable DIY solutions, why not try making a DIY tiki torch using a steel pipe and a recycled glass bottle?)

Most tiki torches work using an oil reservoir and a fiberglass wick (as opposed to oil lamp wicks, which are generally made from cotton). Solar-powered tiki torches are also available and dont require oil, but they dont produce real flames and use LED light to create the appearance of flames instead.

Disposing of leftover torch fuel does require special handling. Unused torch fuel and/or lamp oil is considered hazardous waste, so it shouldnt be poured down a drain or thrown away in your trash can. Check with your municipalitys waste services department for instructions on where to drop off hazardous waste, including torch fuel.

Commercially sold torch fuels are typically petroleum-based. Many people like using citronella-scented torch oil in their tiki torches because the odor repels mosquitoes. Manufacturers also use cedar, eucalyptus, and lemongrass scents in tiki torch fuels. “Unscented” fuel is also available, although it will still have a strong odor and generate a good deal of soot and smoke. Those are the downsides of most tiki torch fuels, though there are now clean-burn fuels available that promise to produce less odor and smoke.

Theres no one specific fuel that you have to use in the oil reservoir. Several types and brands of tiki torch fuels are available, but you can also use lamp oil thats not specifically designed for tiki torches. You can even experiment with a DIY alternative that you probably already have in your medicine cabinet.

Contemporary Oils and Organic Lamp Fuel

Lamp oil may seem like the logical choice in terms of fueling your oil lamp, but there are a wide variety of alternative fuels you can use for different results. Not all alternative fuels are suitable for antique kerosene and paraffin oil lamps.

Canola Oil: An oil that is derived from crushed rapeseed. Castor oil can be used as an organic lamp fuel; however, the presence of unsaturated compounds can cause the oil to form a resin that may cause the lamps wick to clog.

Castor Oil: A vegetable-based oil that is derived from the castor bean, Ricinus communis. Castor oil biodegrades naturally to become a renewable energy source. Castor oil has been used as fuel in Egypt, India, and beyond.

Fish Oil: An oil that is derived from the tissues of oily fish. Fish oil was traditionally used to fuel lamps for centuries, but it does not burn very brightly and can become smoky in prolonged use.

Kerosene: A readily available and affordable form of refined oil that was discovered by medical doctor and geologist Abraham Gesner. In 1846, Gesner distilled coal to produce a clear fluid. He discovered that this clear fluid produced a bright yellow flame when used to power a traditional oil lamp. This yellow flame was much brighter than any flame produced by preceding oils, so he named this new liquid kerosene after the Greek word for “wax oil,” “keroselaion.

Lamp Oil: A flammable hydrocarbon oil that is typically refined and purified to burn in an odorless, soot-free manner. Clear lamp oil is often labeled for purity and designed for indoor lamps. Colored lamp oils are suitable, but they could stain or discolor your lamp and its components. Scented lamp oils may become smoky while in use. Lamp oil slowly evaporates over time, so it is important to store your lamp oil with a properly fitting cap to ensure maximum shelf life.

Olive Oil: An odorless, smokeless renewable fuel that is a popular alternative to kerosene or lamp oil. Lampante oil is the lowest quality of virgin olive oils, and it is not fit for human consumption without being refined. Olive oil is not usually suitable for wick-type lamps, but you can retrofit an olive oil lamp on your own. Olive oil may be suitable for thick wicks because it does not burn until it reaches 550° F.

Palm Kernel Oil: A low-viscosity paraffin oil that is derived from the kernel of the oil palm, Elaeis guineensis. Sadly, palm kernel oil is rare due to the growing demand for renewable raw materials. Palm kernel oil is also odorless, non-toxic, non-flammable, and safe for homes with small children or pets.

Which Fuel can I use in my Oil Lamp or Lantern?

The easy answer is to follow the list of approved fuels found below. The more complicated answer explains the 3 things to look for in a fuel. If you are curious if a fuel you have is correct to use, please review the 3 major criteria.

The approved fuels for indoor or outdoor use in Tubular Lanterns and Flat Wick Oil Lamps are:

1. Lamplight Farms® Clear Medallion Brand Lamp Oil, (#60020, #60003 aka #6300, #60005 aka #6400, and #6700 Only) Flash Point: 145 Degrees Fahrenheit

2. W.M. Barr & Co. Klean-Heat® Kerosene Substitute (#GKKH99991, 128oz, sold by Home Depot SKU #391-171) Flash Point: 145 Degrees Fahrenheit (Do Not Purchase Klean-Strip 1-K “Kerosene”)

3. Genuine Aladdin® Brand Lamp Oil (#17552, 32 oz., and #17554, 128 oz.) Flash Point: 141 Degrees Fahrenheit

4. MVP Group International Florasense® Brand Lamp Oil (#MVP73200, 64oz. and #MVP73201, 32 oz., Sold by Wal-Mart ) Flash Point: 142 Degrees Fahrenheit (Purchase only the clear unscented version of this fuel.)

The approved fuels for outdoor use in Tubular Lanterns and Flat Wick Oil Lamps are:

1. Non-Dyed (Clear) Kerosene with a Flash Point Between 124 and 150 Degrees Fahrenheit

2. Coleman® Brand Kerosene Fuel (#3000000270) Flash Point: 130 Degrees Fahrenheit

3. Crown® Citronella Torch and Lamp Fuel (#CTLP01, #CTLP02, #CTLP48) (OUTDOOR USE ONLY, cut 50:50 with kerosene to extend wick life.) Flash Point: 141 Degrees Fahrenheit

4. Tiki® Brand Citronella Torch Fuel (OUTDOOR USE ONLY, cut 50:50 with kerosene to extend wick life.) Flash Point: 145 Degrees Fahrenheit

3 Requirements for a Safe Fuel:

Lets go over each characteristic.

Flashpoint: The Temperature at which the fuel will give off enough vapors that they can be lit in air. This is a critical measurement, if the fuel you have has too low of a flashpoint, the fuel in the tank can heat up past the flashpoint and create enough vapor in the oil tank that will ignite from the flame. This will either cause a blow torch affect, and adjusting the wick will not fix the issue, or the flame could simply ignite the fuel in the tank and cause an explosion. This is why using the correct fuel is VERY IMPORTANT.

Dangerous Fuels Include: Gasoline, Coleman Fuel, White Gas, Paint Thinner, Mineral Sprits, Wood Alcohol, Naphtha, Turpentine, Benzene and any other fuel with a flash point under 124 degrees F.

If a lantern ever has a flame which you can not control, immediately place a bucket over the lantern to kill off the oxygen supply to the lantern. You can also bury the lantern in dirt or sand to kill airflow.

Note: Center Draft Oil Lamps often warm the oil more in usual operation and thus we suggest a slightly higher flashpoint fuel for these lamps if a lamp shows signs of acting as a runaway with any approved fuel listed above. Fuels around 145 to 175 Degrees F should suffice.

Viscosity: The Thickness of the liquid does matter as well, proper Kerosene and Lamp Oil need to be very thin for the cotton wick to carry the fuel to the flame fast enough. If the fuel is thicker, the cotton will struggle to do its job, the top of the wick will dry out and the flame will then start burning the wick instead of the fuel. This will cause soot to come off of the flame, as well as more poisonous Carbon Monoxide.

Incorrect Fuels Include: Paraffin oil*, Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil

Any food grade fuel, as well as fuels that contain Citronella. Citronella can be used in oil lanterns only outdoors, but must be mixed with Kerosene 50-50 to thin out the fuel.

Purity: The purity of a fuel matters as well. If a fuel is a pure oil, usually of Petroleum, and follows the other two rules above, it is a good fuel to use in Tubular Lanterns and Flat Wick Oil Lamps.

Fuels that are impure can include those with dyes to color the fuel, Fuels with added scents to make them smell different. This also includes Paraffin Fuel, and Citronella.

Paraffin in the U.K. is kerosene. Paraffin Oil in the UNITED STATES is Liquid Candle Wax , and is mis-labeled for use in oil lamps and lanterns, when in fact it is only suited for Candle Oil Lamps that use small diameter (under 1/4”,) round wick. 99% or 100% Paraffin Oil is NOT designed or suitable for use in tubular lanterns or oil lamps that use flat wick, or Kosmos or Matador type oil lamps. Further, it burns only 1/2 as bright of any of the approved fuels listed above. Paraffin oil has a much higher viscosity and a flash point of 200 degrees or higher, as compared to the flash point of 150 degrees for kerosene. These differences inhibit the necessary capillary action of the wick, and will cause Lamps and Lanterns with 7/8″ or larger wick to burn improperly and erratic. This is because the Paraffin Wax and any other contaminates will clog the wick as the Cotton acts as a filter for the lantern. When the Wick Clogs, the flame will dry the top of the wick and burner the cotton instead. When that occurs, excess amounts of Carbon Monoxide are produced, which is a poisonous gas.

Once a wick is contaminated with paraffin oil, it must be replaced in order for the lantern to burner properly. If you must use paraffin oil, it may be mixed 1:10 to 2:10 (one to two parts paraffin,) to ten parts standard lamp oil or kerosene so that it will burn satisfactorily. Paraffin Oil is sold in the United States under the following trade names, which should be avoided except for use with lamps or lanterns with 1/4” Round of 3/8″ flat or smaller wick:

Aura Oil Crown Royal Firelight Glass Orvis Lamp Fuel Northern Lights Northwest Pure LiteRecochem Ultra-Clear Lamp Oil Soft Light Tropical Lights Ultra-Pure Weems & Plath

CAUTION: Diesel and Aviation fuel should not be used in any wick lamp or lantern as the fumes from fuel additives can be FATAL if inhaled.



What fuel can you use in a oil lamp?

Kerosene and paraffin-based oils are still the two primary lamp fuels used today.

Can you burn tiki torch oil in an oil lamp?

Tips for Safely Fueling Your Oil Lamp

You should never use mineral oil, rubbing alcohol, or pure gasoline as fuel for an oil lamp. These materials can pose serious health hazards from vapors and aromatics that are released when they are burned.

What can I use in place of lamp oil?

Approved Fuels For Oil Lamps
  • Non-dyed (clear) kerosene.
  • Klean-Heat kerosene substitute.
  • Standard clear lamp oil.
  • Citronella oil (outdoor use only)

Is tiki torch oil kerosene?

The TIKI BiteFighter fuel is a blend of kerosene, citronella, and cedar oil that has been specifically designed to help provide a long-lasting burn while also offering strong bug repellent properties.

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