How To Clean Your Vape Pen: Maintenance Guide
Posted by Vaporizer Chief on 8th Jun 2021
In order to keep something in working condition, it needs to be maintained. Maintenance can mean anything from cleaning to making sure components are replaced. This can be making sure your car runs clean and even your favorite vape pen. Owning a vaporizer can bring joy when it’s working and frustrating when the vapes not working efficiently.
The best way to extend the life of your vapor pen is to keep it clean and tidy. Unfortunately it can be tricky to get your components and accessories clean without altering the functionality. We compiled this list to help you clean almost any type of vapor pen safely and correctly.
Why You Should Clean Your Vape Pen
Learning how to clean a vape pen can help you save money in the long run. No need to keep purchasing a new atomizer or a battery when you learn the right techniques. To perfect your technique, you need to practice but learning the basics is a good starting point. A vaporizer usually consists of 2-3 parts; the battery, the atomizer/chamber, and the mouthpiece. The battery can often times be removable but can also be a static stationary battery. Your atomizer will vary from the different kind of vape you have. Some herbal vape pens have chambers that are replaceable while others are not.
When you notice your draws are feeling clogged or it’s hard to hit, you need to clean your vape. Sometimes if you’re using a conduction heating vape, your coil builds up a lot of residue. That can hinder the temperature to heat it up from the vape tank.
General Vape Cleaning Tips
As we said before, starting with general cleaning tips can help you maintain your device. Some are easier to realize than others but using all these steps can help.
- Clean the threading connection to make sure you can attach and detach your vape pen. You can have gunk build up if you’re using a wax pen. The threading can also strip if it’s too dirty.
- Never soak the whole unit into water or any other liquid. Unless it is 100% water proof and can be used underwater. You still might want to read the manual.
- Regularly spot cleaning is more helpful. Rather than cleaning it once a month, clean it weekly to avoid having to deal with hard to remove mess. It’s going to help save you time and energy.
- Rinse and Dry before using so you’re not attaching it when it’s wet.
- Warming up your atomizer before you start cleaning will help you remove residue easier. When it’s cold, it gets hard. Warming it up will soften up anything hard to reach places too. Use high temperature if you have a temperature controlling option.
- Be careful when cleaning your vape pen atomizers. Atomizers can be brittle and break if they have been used often.
- Some atomizers and vape coils just aren’t worth cleaning anymore. It’s best to just replace them because the flavor won’t improve much if you’ve been using it for a long time.
- Cleaning a vape tank can only do so much. You will need to learn when to replace or upgrade your vape coils.
Cleaning your Mouthpiece
Your vape pens mouthpiece is very important to make sure you’ve done a job cleaning. Due to the mouthpiece being the vapor pathway and the closest place to the chamber and your mouth, it can tend to acquire the most residue. Luckily it is also the easiest to clean. Simply apply a damp cotton ball or cloth to wipe away any residue. Feel free to use isopropyl alcohol but check your manual before applying any liquids to it. Some mouthpieces are designed to be dropped in warm water. This is ideal and recommended while you clean your vape pen.
If your mouthpiece is made out of glass, feel free to put it in a ziplock bag with isopropyl alcohol and salt. Not only will it soften it up but the salt will break the gunk apart. You can then drop it in a cup of warm water to make sure it’s cleaned. Finish it off by rinsing it through running water.
If it’s not glass, you can open the mouthpiece as much as you can and use rubbing alcohol. If you grind up your herbs very fine, this will be something to clean too. You will find powdered herbs stuck inside.
Cleaning Your Battery
The battery builds up the least amount of residue in comparison to the other components of pens. This is due mostly to the fact that the product you’re vaping doesn’t touch the battery directly. Despite this fact it’s a good idea to run a q-tip in the female component of the battery to keep the current uninterrupted by gunk. Sometimes a vape tank can have a miniscule leak that gets ejuice in your battery and eventually ends its life. Running a q-tip every once in a while through your battery will ensure the longest life possible. It is generally alright to run some rubbing alcohol lightly over more hard to remove residue, but check with your manufacturer before using any liquid directly on your vape pen.
Cleaning Your Dry Herb Vape Pen
Cleaning your herb vape pen is just as important as using it correctly. Not only will you increase the lifespan but you will save money to buy herbs rather than more vaporizers. Just because you’re vaping solids, it doesn’t mean it can’t get dirty. The good thing is you don’t need to use any chemicals like you do with a water bong.
Try to keep your chamber as clean as possible so empty the ashes and vaped herbs immediately after every single use. After almost every use clean out the chamber with a small cleaning brush or q-tip to also elongate the life of the atomizer.
To start cleaning your weed pen, run a warm cycle in your dry herb vaporizer to heat up the dry residue. Take apart the mouthpiece, the herbal chamber, and battery apart. Usually your set or herbal kit will come with a cleaning brush. If it came with it, use it to scrub your chamber. The bristles are thin but hard so it should do the trick. If it didn’t come with it, you can use a pipe cleaner or just a dry paper towel. If you have a conduction vaporizer, make sure you don’t touch the coils. Since they’re exposed, they can break or lose connection. Convection units are fine and can be scrubbed all you want.
Wipe the exterior shell to make sure it’s clean from any dirt. This includes the chamber connector and any buttons.
Cleaning Your Dab Pen
Waxes, shatter, crumble, butter etc. are definitely stickier than dry herbs. This makes the cleaning process a bit more excessive. With wax atomizers, the wax is placed directly onto a very delicate coil. Some consider a dab pen for wax the hardest device to clean. The residue with concentrates stick on and can be hard to remove. This is true for places you cannot heat up. It really can be tricky and cleaning the atomizer can be hard. Depending on your atomizer, if you scrape it too hard it might be break the coil. This can render it useless but if you’re careful, you should be fine. Learning how to clean your dab pen is going to be an important task that you should do once every week or two.
When you begin to clean a dab pen, heat up the atomizer before cleaning to warm up the residue. This will help clean it off easier. Don’t touch the coil though. The longest you’ve used your unit, the more brittle the coil is. This makes it break off easier.
Clean off any leftover residue from the battery, connectors or atomizers exterior. As it builds up over time, it gets harder to clean. If you end up using something sharp to wipe it off, you will likely scratch your vape.
Remember to wipe it down and dry it before using your wax vaporizer. You can use a cotton ball or even a dry q-tip.
- Make sure you do not get any water inside the unit or into the atomizer. This can short circuit the electric parts. It can also be dangerous to use the dab pen afterwards.
- Use the provided dabber tool to remove any excess concentrates that are stuck on the side of the atomizer.
- Use a q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol to remove any dry concentrate from the battery unit or the rim of the atomizer.
- Cleaning a quartz nail, titanium nail, stainless steel or even ceramic nail are all ok to be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol.
- Never dip your battery into water.
Cleaning Your e-Cig/Mod
It might be a bit harder to realize if your mech mod needs cleaning. It can still clog up if not taken care of and even worse, the flavor wo. There aren’t many components to an electronic cigarette. The tank and battery are the main parts and sometimes a mouthpiece, if it’s not on the tank. The tank holds your e-liquid while the coil is the heating element that heats it up. The battery is where the coil gets power to heat up.
To clean your e-cigarette, simply unscrew the atomizer tank from your device. If you have a clearomizer, make sure you’re not tilting it so it doesn’t spill. For drip tanks, dab a dry cotton swab and clean out anything you can. Don’t use water unless you’re cleaning your clearomizer. You can wash this out and let it dry before refilling. Rubbing alcohol is ok to use, just make sure you don’t use a lot. You want just enough to get rid of any oil leftovers.
Using too much water can possibly leak into the unit. Since it consists of electrical, you don’t want to mix the two. Vape battery safety is very important.
Once you’re done, prime the coil with your favorite e-juice. This will get rid of any last leftover oil. Priming your atomizer is the process of filling up your cotton with liquid to make sure you don’t get a dry hit. When you drip it on, let it sit for about 2 minutes to absorb as much as it can.
When to Replace Your Vape Coils?
It’s good to clean a pen vaporizer to make sure it’s working properly. However, there comes a point where you need to replace them because cleaning a vape tank won’t improve them. There are a few tips to follow to make sure you’re optimizing your vape sessions.
- If the coil is dark, black, damaged or crusted.
- If you are tasting burnt flavor or the vapor is too hot, even after cleaning the vaporizer.
- Decreased vapor clouds
- The atomizer keeps leaking.
- The whole coil isn’t heating up.
How to Properly Clean your Vaporizers Atomizers and Coil
Some vapers are now changing things up and using advanced e-cigs that come with clear vape vape tank systems, rather than cartridges you throw away after using. Most of these tanks have to be cleaned on a regular basis in order to maintain a high quality of vape.
If you have owned any type of vaporizer you've probably been curious as to how to clean an atomizer coil. Consider our run-down on how to clean your vaporizer’s atomizer tank properly listed below. You’ll be glad you put in a bit of elbow grease to keep your vaporizer in premium condition. After all, it’s much cheaper than buying a new atomizer.
Why it's important to keep a clean atomizer
While many of us are already aware of the multiple benefits and conveniences of vaping, little emphasis is placed on keeping your vape's atomizer clean. Failing to maintain the cleanliness of your atomizer doesn't just affect its' overall vapor production. It will always result in much poorer flavor quality. This can often leave you with a nasty burnt taste. Most people might balk at the extra work needed to keep your atomizer in tip-top shape. It's actually not complicated or difficult at all to do so.
How do you know when your atomizer needs to be cleaned?
Probably the most important question of them all. There's no fixed period that can help you determine exactly when it's time to clean your vaporizer tank. There are a lot of telltale signs though that you should watch out for.
If you notice that your atomizer isn't producing as much vapor as it used to, that's usually one of the first signs that your atomizer is in need of some maintenance. Leftover residue from vaporizing e-liquid, dry herb, or wax often sticks to the coil. This prevents efficient heating and vaporization. As more gunk covers the surface of your coil, there's less ideal surface area on the coil to properly vaporize. This produces less vapor.
Another sign is when your vape starts tasting funny or burnt. The leftover gunk that sticks to a well-used coil isn't just sitting there doing nothing. Your atomizer is trying it's best to burn it but burnt residue does not taste good at all. A burnt flavor is one of the most noticeable signs that your vape is most likely dirty and in need of immediate cleaning.
Lastly, if you're experiencing more tightness in the draw when taking a puff, that's another sign. This is usually a sign that some dirt or residue has already built up inside your atomizers airflow channels. Ensuring that your airflow slots are nice and open will help to keep your atomizer feeling brand new.
Replacing your atomizer
When all is said and done, there are times when cleaning no longer does the trick. While some atomizers last indefinitely, there are a few which are disposable by design. Rapid heating and cooling of metal will eventually lead to its demise. This is usually seen when a metal coil loses its ability to cool off rapidly which often leads to a burnt atomizer or “boiled” e-liquid or wax.
In such cases where you've already tried your best to clean the atomizer coil, yet fail to see any improvement in your vapes performance, it might be a good idea to swap out the atomizer or its coil. This is obviously the most surefire way to get fresh and brand new performance out of your vape.
What You Need To Know About Cleaning a Clearomizer
Before you go taking apart your vaporizer, it is important to realize that you may not actually need to clean your device if it falls under certain standards. For example, some vaporizers offer exchangeable ecig tanks that are inexpensive to replace. Most of them come with unique flavors to choose from. If your vaporizer comes with an e-cig tank that is not rebuildable then you likely won’t need to clean coils. Typically, those vape tanks last for several months before you have to replace them, so keep that in mind. Here are a few methods and tips every vaper should follow if they want to make sure that their vape performs as well as it was designed to.
How to Clean your Atomizer
Now that you know what type of device you have, the next step is to start. Here are a few steps to use as a basic outline for cleaning your vaporizer atomizer tank.
- Fill your kitchen sink or a large pan with water. Make sure you clean different tanks separately to keep the parts aligned. Remember to grab a towel before starting the process. Things are going to get icky.
- Place your vaporizer or e-cig upside down prior to removing the tank from the battery. This prevents your e-Cig juice from spilling out if you have a bottom coil system.
- Unscrew the atomizer from the base of the tank and remove the mouthpiece. Essentially you are completely disengaging the unit, similar to how you would a gun. (Pro tip, take a picture of your unit while it is totally broken down to remember how it goes back together.)
- Make sure your sink stopper is secure to prevent your parts from falling down the drain. Next, turn on your water and begin to rinse all of your parts out with fresh water. Top coil atomizer tanks will need to have their wick threads cleansed as well. Be gentle throughout the process.
- For an additional clean, use vodka or gin! That’s right; remove left-over e-liquid by soaking your e-cig parts in gin for at least 2 hours. Remove, rinse, and reassemble. This is especially helpful if you plan on filling your tank back up with a different flavor of e-liquid.
Keep your device clean, your vape smelling and tasting incredible, and be healthier by cleaning your atomizer coil on a regular basis. In general, the process listed above takes no more than 30 healthy minutes to complete, so there really is no excuse. Be smart and clean your vape tank. You’ll be glad you did.
Dry Burn your Atomizer
This is the recommended and most effective first step to take when deciding to clean your atomizer head. Not only is it easy, it also takes the least amount of time to accomplish. Make sure that any wicking material is removed from the coil or atomizer before attempting this as you're definitely going to be burning up anything that isn't a coil when dry burning your atomizer.
After removing the wicking material, gently pulse/dry burn the coil for 2-4 seconds until you see the coil starting to glow. You'll notice a few dark spots stand out amidst the glow which will quickly dissipate or burn. Repeat this process 2-3 times until the coil burns a nice and clean orange, indicating that your coil is now gunk-free.
The Q-Tip Method
If you find yourself in the situation where your atomizer is already starting to taste like burnt pancakes but you don't have any tools or wicking material on hand, using a Q-tip is also an effective way to spot clean your atomizer head that doesn't require removing or replacing the wick.
Simply dip a Q-tip in isopropyl alcohol and gently swab it over the coil until all the gunk sticking to the coil has been cleaned out. You can also use the same method to clean the rest of the internals of the atomizer such as the airflow channels or juice well as these areas are often difficult to reach without a Q-tip. Take note that this method won't completely clean your coils, at least not at the level of a proper dry burn, but it's very effective for on-the-go maintenance.
Soak the Atomizer
Often considered the “deep clean”, this method is the most thorough and effective ways to ensure that your atomizer is squeaky clean to the point that it looks like it just came out of the box. It's still fairly easy to do but requires you to remove the coil so it's best done when you decide to swap out the coil.
You'll need a warm bowl of soap water or isopropyl alcohol, although the latter is more effective at breaking down all the gunk that's built up. Drop the atomizer in the bowl and let it soak for about 30 minutes giving ample time for the alcohol or soapy water to work its magic. After that's done, dry the atomizer with paper towels and let it air dry until you're confident that all the nooks and crannies of your atomizer are completely dry and liquid free. Also take note that if you choose to use soap water for this method, make sure to rinse the atomizer with clean water after soaking and before drying to wash off any soapy residue.
If you find that a Q-tip is too large to fit into the tight airflow slots your atomizer has, a paper clip will work just fine as an alternative. Simply unbend it to a straight wire-like tool and use it scrape and dislodge any gunk or residue that might've found its way to your atomizer's air flow channels.
After you've loosened the residue, its also a good idea to wrap the end of the paper clip with a bit of wet cotton or tissue in order to let it grab all those loose gunky bits. This will guarantee that anything leftover inside the airflow slots will be cleaned out.
Blow Out the Atomizer
While it may seem overly simple, a good and hard blow (not suck) on the atomizer can help in flushing out anything that might be clogging up the airflow slots. This won't remove residue that's truly stuck to the insides unless the gunk has built up to a point where the airflow is mostly closed off already. The paper clip method is a bit more thorough, but blowing out the atomizer doesn't take much so it's always worth a try.
Clean the Threading and Connections
Dirt or residue from vaping doesn't just affect how well your atomizer heats up your product, it can also get in the way of the contacts that facilitate the flow of current from your battery to the atomizer. Make sure that the connections and any threading that connects the atomizer to the coil are completely clean and free of dust, lint or any other debris.
Failing to clean the contacts can prove to be a fire hazard as whatever is trapped between your atomizers contacts can easily combust from the heat transfer. Just make sure that the threads and contacts are completely dry after cleaning before use as any leftover liquid can easily cause a short in the atomizer or worse.
Burn Off Any Leftover Residue
After all the above steps have been applied, it's usually a good idea to give your atomizer one last burn. This helps get rid off any stubborn residue that the previous methods failed to get rid off. Take note that this method is only advisable for atomizers that use metal coils. Ceramic coils will eventually pop, crack, and break when exposed to enough heat so always keep that in mind before doing this step.
What Not to Do When Cleaning your Atomizer
- Don't handle your atomizer unless you're 100% sure that it's already cooled down. These things get pretty hot and touching them at temperatures even remotely close to their normal operating temperature will no doubt lead to some potentially nasty burns.
- Don't use acetone, bleach, or anything corrosive to clean out your vape tank. While a good portion of any atomizer is metal and won't usually react to these substances, there are a few parts which might not react well to acetone. While higher-end atomizers use PEEK insulators which are highly resistant to corrosion, there's no guarantee that your atomizer has one, so it's much better not to take any chances and just stick with the above-mentioned cleaning materials.
- Don't use your atomizer with your vape unless you're 100% sure that everything is dry and there's no leftover liquid inside. This will prevent any unwanted shorts not to mention that it's also possible for any liquid trapped inside the atomizer to leak into the internals of your vape. This will eventually wreak havoc with the electronics.