Does Lampe Berger Really Purify The Air? (Fact Or Fiction?)

  • Author: Irene Batres
  • Date: May 1, 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Concerned about air quality in your home and the health risks of impure air?

The Lampe Berger is an elegant solution.

But does Lampe Berger really purify the air? 

Yes, Lampe Berger purifies the air using “catalytic combustion” to eliminate bacteria and odors while diffusing a fragrance. However, its effectiveness is less established than air purifiers. 

In the rest of this article, I will dive into the science, how it works, and most importantly, if it is worth the hype for keeping indoor air clean and fresh.

Does Lampe Berger Really Purify The Air?

What Is A Lampe Berger?

A Lampe Berger is a fragrance lamp invented in 1898 by pharmacist Maurice Berger to combat sepsis in French hospitals. 

It purifies and deodorizes indoor air at a molecular level through catalytic combustion, capturing and destroying airborne bacteria. 

To use it, fill the lamp one-third full with scented or neutral oil, light it, and allow it to burn for two minutes before extinguishing it. 

The scent then diffuses, purifying the air and removing odors.

Now known as Maison Berger Paris, the brand is appreciated for its practicality, beauty, and quality. Style icons like Coco Chanel and Pablo Picasso have endorsed it.

How Does Lampe Berger Purify The Air?

Knowing that no scientific proof exists to back these claims up is essential. However, by doing extensive research, I was able to find the information below:

Lampe Berger purifies the air through a unique process known as catalytic diffusion. The lamp uses a catalytic burner that heats an alcohol-based liquid fuel. 

This heat releases molecules into the air capable of eliminating undesirable odors while simultaneously diffusing a pleasant scent. 

The key to this process is the catalytic burner, designed and perfected over time to destroy the molecules responsible for unwanted smells.

This process begins when you fill the Lampe Berger with fragrance oil. You then light the burner and let the flame burn briefly. 

The heat from the flame causes the catalytic burner to combust the isopropyl alcohol in the fragrance oil. 

This combustion process purifies the air, removing bacteria and odors. At the same time, it disperses the chosen fragrance, filling your indoor space with a pleasant aroma.

Notably, Lampe Berger lamps also increase the amount of oxygen in the air. The light can disperse the fragrance for hours, depending on how long you let it burn. (1.)(2.)

Does Lampe Berger remove allergens from the air?

The Pros And Cons Of Using Lampe Berger for Air Purification


  • Aesthetically Pleasing: The Lampe Berger lamp is stylish and adds a touch of elegance to any room
  • Offering a safe and effective way to purify the air without any harmful side effects
  • Perfect for Gifting: Its attractive design and functionality make it a great gift option.
  • Minimal Alcohol Smell: Any alcohol smell from the bottle dissipates once the lamp is burning, resulting in a pleasant fragrance
  • Purifying a space of 50 square feet in just 30 minutes


  • Fragrance Sensitivity: Some people may be sensitive to the fragrances used in Lampe Berger lamps, which can cause headaches, allergies, or other adverse reactions
  • They are not Back up by science or enough data that prove they actually work for air purification.
  • It does not trap dust, hair, odors, and allergens like a HEPA air purifier would
  • Expensive Refills: The cost of the oil refills can add up, especially given the rate at which the lamp consumes the oil.
  • Potential Fire Hazard: If not handled properly, the flame can pose a fire hazard
  • Not Always Effective: Depending on the size of the room and the level of odors present, the lamp may only sometimes effectively neutralize all odors.

Lampe Berger Vs. Air Purifiers

FeatureLampe BergerAir Purifiers
FunctionalityPrimarily for fragrance diffusion, not specifically designed for air purificationSpecifically designed for air purification
Air purification technologyUses a catalytic process to break down molecules and diffuse fragranceUtilizes a variety of technologies, such as HEPA filters, activated carbon filters, UV-C lights, and ionizers, to capture and eliminate pollutants
MaintenanceRequires regular cleaning and wick replacementMinimal maintenance is required, such as filter replacement
Coverage areaDesigned for smaller roomsCan cover larger rooms and open spaces
CostIt may not be as effective at air purification as dedicated air purifiersWide range of prices, but typically more cost-effective over time
EffectivenessIt uses an open flame and can pose a fire hazard if not used and maintained correctlyIt uses a catalytic process to break down molecules and diffuse fragrance
SafetyA wide variety of fragrances are availableDesigned with safety features, such as automatic shut-off and child locks
Fragrance optionsExplicitly designed for air purification and can effectively remove a wide range of pollutantsNo fragrances are necessary, but some air purifiers have optional scent cartridges
Environmental impactFragrance oils may contain synthetic ingredients and contribute to indoor air pollutionSome models have eco-friendly filters and operate with low energy consumption
Noise levelSome models may make noise while in operationDesigned to operate quietly
AestheticsDesigned to look elegant and stylishRange of designs available to suit any decor style

Why Air Purifiers Are a Better Choice:

Air purifiers, particularly those with HEPA filters, are a superior choice primarily due to their specific design for air purification. 

They employ advanced technologies, including HEPA filters, which are highly efficient in removing up to 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. 

This capability makes them effective against allergens and asthma triggers. Thus they are highly recommended for individuals with respiratory issues.

Compared to Lampe Berger, air purifiers are safer, require less maintenance, and are more environmentally friendly. 

Despite lacking the wide variety of fragrance options offered by Lampe Berger, air purifiers provide some flexibility with optional scent cartridges.

Final Thoughts Does Lampe Berger Really Purify the Air?

While Lampe Berger provides air purification to some extent, it’s primarily a fragrance diffuser and not specifically designed for air purification. 

Its effectiveness is less substantiated than air purifiers, with limited scientific data supporting its air purifying claims. 

It also has downsides such as potential fragrance sensitivity, inability to trap dust and allergens like HEPA filters, and a potential fire hazard due to its open flame.

Conversely, air purifiers, particularly those with HEPA filters, are designed for air purification, removing up to 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. 

Air purifiers are safer, require less maintenance, and are more environmentally friendly than Lampe Berger. Despite fewer fragrance options, some offer scent cartridges. 

Air purifiers cover larger areas, operate more quietly, and are generally more effective in air purification.

Lampe Berger Air Purification FAQ 

Can Lampe Berger improve indoor air quality

Is Lampe Berger Effective in Purifying Air?

While Lampe Berger can reduce bacteria and odors, it’s less effective than a HEPA air purifier in removing various pollutants. 

A dedicated air purifier is a better choice for serious air purification, especially for respiratory concerns. (1.)

What Specific Contaminants Does Lampe Berger Remove From The Air?

Lampe Berger primarily eliminates bacteria and odors using catalytic combustion. Isopropyl alcohol disinfects the air by breaking down airborne pollutants.

However, it isn’t designed to remove specific particles like dust, allergens, or VOCs, which air purifiers with HEPA filters can handle more effectively.

How Long Does It Take Lampe Berger To Purify The Air In A Room?

A Lampe Berger can purify the air in a 50-square-foot room in roughly 30 minutes, and it takes around 40 minutes for a larger space of 200 square feet. 

After this, the diffusion process begins to slow, but the purifying effects can sustain up to 24 hours.

irene mills author of freshairdevices


Irene Batres is eager to help others create an indoor allergen-free home. She has years of experience testing out air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and other products designed to help with indoor air quality. Learn more about me.