What is Lampe Berger?

About 20 years ago, I was given a pretty glass lamp and a bottle of Amber Powder room fragrance. I had never seen anything like it but soon discovered what it could do. I’m still using it today along with a second lamp I treated myself to a few years later.

What is Lampe Berger? Lampe Berger, also known as Maison Berger, is a system that uses fragrances and specially designed lamps to eradicate undesired odors from your home. Lampe Berger lamps effuse essential oils suspended in pure alcohol via a safe, flame-free catalytic burner.

With Lamp Berger, bad smells vanish and wonderful fragrances are left in their place. You’ll find a vast array of scents and lamp designs to suit every taste and style. My favorite lamp is pictured below.

Image of black Lampe Berger lamp

How Lampe Berger works

Lampe Berger lamps burn a fuel made from isopropyl alcohol blended with carefully crafted essential oil mixes. They freshen the air very efficiently and remove any bad odors that might have been lingering.

There are various ideas about how Lampe Berger actually works. The original lamps were designed in the late 19th Century to clarify air in hospitals by removing bacteria from the air. They burned methylated spirit which did not smell very pleasant.

The fuel was eventually replaced with isopropyl alcohol infused with essential oils and prettier lamps were designed. Lampe Berger became a fashionable item to own as an air purifier for the home.

Believe what you will, but I don’t know if Lampe Berger really removes bacteria from the air. I can tell you that I have used it for 20 years and bad smells definitely vanish after about 20 minutes of burning this clever little lamp.

I am also sure that among the vast array of Berger Lampe fragrance, you are bound to find several that you love to burn.

How to use Lampe Berger

If you are a complete beginner, there’s nothing to it. Each lamp comprises a lamp, a wick with a catalytic burner attached, a decorative protective cap, an extinguishing cap, and a funnel.

Image of Lampe Berger components

Once you’ve purchased a lamp and fragrance, here’s a step-by-step guide to freshening your home the Lamp Berger way:

  1. Remove the decorative guard, burner cap and wick and fill the lamp 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up with lamp fragrance using the funnel supplied.
  2. Replace the wick and leave it for 20 minutes to soak up the lamp fragrance.
  3. Ignite the catalytic burner by holding a lit match or lighter to it and then place the lamp in a safe place for 2 minutes whilst the burner heats up.
  4. After 2 minutes, gently blow out the flame. You should notice a light, smokey haze floating from the burner and also be able to smell the fragrance from the fuel.
  5. Place the decorative guard over the burner and place the lamp in a safe place where it will not be knocked over by pets or people, or tampered with by children.
  6. After 20 to 30 minutes move it to a different room if required.
  7. When you’re happy that your home is sufficiently freshened, extinguish the lamp by carefully removing the guard and placing the burner cap tightly over the burner. Take care as the guard and the catalytic burner will be very hot.
  8. Put the decorative guard back on the lamp and store it somewhere until you use it again.
  9. Hint: extinguish the burner before the lamp fragrance runs out to stop the wick from drying out. This means you won’t have to wait 20 minutes after your next fragrance top-up before lighting your lamp.

Choosing a Lampe Berger lamp

The first hardest thing about using Lampe Berger is actually choosing a lamp! There are so many beautiful designs you’ll feel spoilt for choice.

There is no need to buy more than one as you can move one lamp from one room to the next after 20 to 30 minutes. Of course, you can buy more than one if you want to (and can afford it).

I have owned two lamps for about 20 years now so even though they may seem expensive they will last forever if you’re careful. Once you start using Lampe Berger you soon forget how much you paid for the lamp.

If you’re new to Lampe Berger, it’s a good idea to buy a transparent or semi-transparent lamp so you can see how much fragrance you’re pouring in and also how much fragrance is left in the lamp.

This clear cube style is simple yet stylish and doesn’t cost the Earth:

If you fancy a more elaborate lamp, the following one might be more your style. It’s pretty and not too expensive:

Image of round Lampe Berger lamp

Lampe Berger fragrances

The Lampe Berger fragrances are designed to work perfectly with the Lampe Berger catalytic burner and there is no guarantee that anything other than genuine fragrances will work correctly in these lamps.

There are many fragrances to choose from and I find they are strong enough to linger in your home for up to 24 hours after you extinguish the lamp.

Swapping fragrances

If you have been using one fragrance in your lamp and want to switch to another there are two ways to ensure you remove residues of the previous fragrance from the lamp:

  1. Let the lamp burn until the fragrance just runs out, place the burner cap on until the burner has cooled then remove the wick and allow any remaining fragrance to evaporate until the wick is dry.
  2. Use Lampe Berger So Neutral in place of a fragrance refill to clean the wick.

Diluting Lampe Berger fragrances

If you find any fragrances too powerful for your liking simply buy a large bottle of So Neutral to dilute it as follows:

  1. Fill your lamp about 1/3 od the way up
  2. Add the same amount of So Neutral

If you still find it too strong, add about half the amount of lamp fragrance.

Mixing you own Lampe Berger fragrances

Some of the Lampe Berger fragrances combine really well if you fancy creating your own unique scents.

You may notice recipes for creating your own fragrance to use in Lampe Berger online. You may find these don’t work very well and you might damage your burner.


The most commonly reported Lampe Berger problems are the burner not lighting after soaking the wick for 20 minutes or the burner not staying hot enough to effuse the fragrance after the flame is extinguished.

Most of the time this signals that it’s time to replace the burner and wick, which is usually necessary after about and Lampe Berger recommends you replace these after two years of regular use, though I’ve found mine last at least double this time.

They come in two lengths depending on if you have a taller or shorter lamp so ensure you buy the correct size.

Image of Lampe Berger catalytic burner and wick

Jane Pettitt

Hi, I'm Jane. I've had a passion for perfume since the age of 18. Purelyfragrance.com answers popular fragrance-related questions and contains guides to all sorts of perfumes, colognes, and fragrances for men and women. I write at home surrounded by cats (we have 4 at the moment) and also blog about these and other pets on petskb.com.

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