Why is my vape dirty?

While there are plenty of vapes to optimize and customize your vape to your specific needs, the best way to get the best performance possible is to ensure your coil is clean and well maintained. Generally speaking, your vape will become dirty and worn out because of the e-juice you’re using as the residue and buildup will eventually affect the performance and flavour of your vape. Components of e-liquid, such as vegetable glycerin (VG), sweeteners, and certain flavour bases will gunk up your coil faster, and will ultimately cause a decrease in vapour production and may even cause an unpleasant or burnt taste in the vapour. 

While simply changing the coil can help alleviate some of these issues, the flavouring from your last e-juice can still linger in your device. This is especially true for flavours such as cinnamon, coffee, menthol, tobacco, certain desserts, and more overpowering flavours such as melon, grape, or licorice. These lingering flavours can be an issue, especially if they clash on the palette, and can often ruin a vaping experience in terms of taste.

E-juice may be the biggest culprit of a dirty coil, but even new tanks and atomizers aren’t safe from an off taste or poor performance. As some of you may know, machine oil is often used during the manufacturing process of most vape devices. This oil is not always washed or cleaned off the finished product and will end up on the device you end up using. While the machine oil will not make the device look immediately dirty, it will have a distinct smell that will give it away. This machine oil is definitely something you should look to clean out of your vape as it can cause drastic flavour changes and an unpleasant aroma.

How to clean a tank

First, remove your coil and set it aside, we’ll discuss how to clean the coil later, but for now, let’s focus on the tank itself. Carefully disassemble the entire tank to as many pieces as possible. By breaking down your tank first you’ll be able to easily clean each component while making the drying process much faster. Disassembling the tank also has the added benefit of getting you familiar with all the pieces of the device should anything ever go wrong with it. 

Standard Rinse

If this is just a routine clean or your tank isn’t showing any signs of gunk and buildup, a simple rinse can do wonders and should be done to maintain the overall quality of your vaping experience. Simply place each part of your tank under running water and dry them with a piece of paper towel. You will then have to set your tank aside till no water or condensation is visible before putting your coil back in and reassembling the tank. 

Hot Water Technique

If you haven’t washed your tank in a while, or you require a bit of a more thorough clean, you can heat up some water in a microwave or on a stove and place the rinsed parts into the hot water. This will help remove any VG that may have built on the pieces and will remove any machine oil on a device. As with the first method, you simply need to pat the pieces dry and leave them to air dry before reassembling. The hot water technique should be used on all new devices to remove any trace of machine oil that may be on the tank. 

The PG Rinse

For tanks that may appear clean, but still carry the flavour of a past e-liquid, the PG rinse is a simple but effective solution. As the name suggests, you just need to soak the disassembled tank in the substance for an hour or two. Only use PG for this process as VG will make cleaning your tank much more difficult and lacks the flavour-carrying properties of PG. Once your tank is finished soaking, let it drip dry on a napkin be reassembling. 

The Cleaning Agent Rinse

For the best and most effective results, you can easily rinse out your tank with household items that are easy enough to find. If you use this process, be sure to rinse your tank thoroughly after and let the tank sit for ample time to dry. 

  • Baking soda – is a great option that is easy to get a hold of and will wash off easily with a simple rinse. 
  • Ethanol – also known as grain alcohol, is a solid choice and should easily get rid of lingering flavours. Be sure to not confuse this with isopropyl alcohol which should never be used on the inside of your tank. 
  • Vinegar – is a highly acidic cleaning agent that will cut through gunk and grime. When using vinegar, be sure to thoroughly rinse your tank after to avoid any lingering smells from the vinegar. 
  • Cheap vodka – works in a similar way to ethanol and will require the same amount of post cleaning to ensure it does not stay in the device. 

The Ultrasonic Cleaner

If you want to get the most thorough and effective cleaning possible, you’ll need to invest in an ultrasonic cleaner. While these devices are more often used to clean jewelry and precious metals, ultrasonic cleaners are now used by vapers to clean their atomizers. When looking for an ultrasonic cleaner for tanks and atomizers, be sure to find an option that can run for cycles over the ten-minute mark. 

Using an ultrasonic cleaner is a relatively easy process and is quite convenient. Just fill the device with water, place you tank pieces inside, and run the device. For even better results you can add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid into the cleaner. Give the pieces an extra wash afterward and let dry. 

How to clean coils

Cleaning coils is easier said than done, but shouldn’t be ignored by vapers looking to get the most out of their vape. When looking at coils it’s important to understand the two varieties they come in. First, there are replaceable coil heads for tanks, which are encased in a small metal chamber and contain an absorbent wick. On the other hand, there are rebuildable wicks, which require user installation but are easier to clean.

Replaceable Coils

These coils are traditionally used in sub-ohm tanks and clearomizers and can technically be cleaned, but this will not fully revive the coil. Best case scenario, you’ll be able to get a few extra days of life off your coil, but it will never be as good as a new coil head. This has to do with the presence of wicks which cannot be fully removed. These wicks, which hold onto the e-liquid, can be rinsed somewhat, but water will not wash out all of the e-liquid and a residue will always remain. On top of that, it will also take a lot longer to dry these coils, as you will need to wait for the water in the wick to fully evaporate. 

If you do decide to clean your replaceable coil head, you can follow a basic rinse and soak method. 

  • Let you coil soak in vinegar, cheap vodka or ethanol for a few hours 
  • Place it under a tap to rinse 
  • Rinse and soak again with distilled water for an hour
  • Blow air through the open side of your coil to force out any moisture to the wicking holes 
  • Set aside and let dry 

You can also use a solar heater to speed up the drying process, but it will still take some time. Even if the wick looks clean after this process, don’t get your hopes up and it may just be better to replace the coil head entirely. 

Rebuildable Coils

If you are using a rebuildable coil, not only can you effectively clean your coils, but you should clean them regularly. While gunked up coils will affect all types of coils, they are particularly bad in rebuildables as there is less material between the coil and your mouth. Thankfully, cleaning your rebuildable coil is incredibly simple and can be done easily and quickly. 

First, remove the wicks from your coils. If the buildup isn’t too bad you can simply burn off any residue by dry firing the coil without any wick. Simply pulse the fire button a few times to remove any remaining liquid and caked on residue. Once the coils look clean, you can re-wick and re-juice. 

If dry firing isn’t quite working, you may need to follow these steps for a deeper clean. 

  • Remove wicks from your coils 
  • Dry burn them till they start to glow (don’t let them glow too much) 
  • Dip the coils in a cup of warm water or place them under a thin stream of running water
  • Brush them lightly with a toothbrush or coil cleaning tool
  • Repeat steps 1-3 until they appear clean
  • Rinse again 
  • Finish with another dry burn to remove any final droplets of water

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