Last updated on February 24th, 2020
Why Do You Need to Clean Your Vape Tank Parts?
Cleaning a vape tank and mouthpiece is necessary to keep it sanitary, but it also improves your vaping experience. But what’s the correct method? Can you clean your atomizer coils too? We have the best tips on how to clean all your vape parts including different types of atomizers, coils and vape pods.
E-Cigarette companies don’t teach you how to wash your vape tank. They rarely mention that it’s also possible (in some instances) to extend the life of your ecig’s atomizer coils. After all, vapor companies are in the business of selling new accessories for your vaporizer.
I will say, a new tank and especially a new atomizer will give you the best possible flavor and vapor production – but not all vapers subscribe to an auto-ship program and it’s easy to get caught needed a new atty!
Note: Check out the best auto-ship programs at the bottom of this article.
If you want to use a different flavored e-juice, and want true flavor, cleaning your tank parts is essential. It will surely make everything more sanitary.
Different Types of Atomizers/Coils That Can Be Cleaned
You can always clean your tank and mouthpiece, but the atomizer or coil is tricky. It’s the part of your vape pen or vape mod that creates the vapor. The atomizer contains a heating element (the coil) and a wick which is usually made of cotton or polyethylene or polyester. Vapor is produced when the battery heats the coil, which then heats the e-liquid soaked cotton.
Today, practically all replaceable atomizers consist of a stainless steel, titanium or nickel outer shell that houses a cotton wick and a coil. They do not clean up well, but I’ll give you some tips (in a bit) that can improve your vape until your new atomizer is delivered.
There was a time when all vape tanks came with long atomizer wicks made of polyethylene and/or polyester. They are; however, becoming much less popular. The image below gives you some examples.
Poly-wick atomizers are still used in several vape pen models including the
- Halo Triton Tank
- Kanger’s models Evod, T3S, Protank2, and 3, T2 and Mini Protank2
- Apollo Cig’s Evod and Neo SubOhm ecig
If you vape one of those models you’re in luck, because their atomizers are the easiest to clean.
The Best Methods For Keeping Your Vape Tank, Mouthpiece and Polyethelene/Polyester Atomizer Coil Clean
Most ecig tutorial sites will tell you to soak your vape tank and atomizer in water for a few hours. Some recommend just running the parts under warm water. Some even recommend soapy water, but that can leave a residue so I don’t recommend it.
A water soak is fine for regular weekly maintenance, but if you’re going to use a different e-liquid flavor, or you’ve been using a high VG e-juice, or you really want to sanitize your mouthpiece and glass tank, there are better options than just a water wash. You can soak them in any of the following liquids:
3- Hydrogen peroxide
Okay.. let’s look at the alcohol option. I’m always asked, “What type of alcohol should I use to clean my ecig tank?” You may or may not know that there are various types of alcohol.
Isopropyl alcohol is type that is sold at the drug store. It’s usually used as an antiseptic for wounds and is known to be a safe vape soaking solution. It is, however, lethal to drink about 8 ounces of the stuff,… and directly inhaling the fumes can make you sick, so don’t do that.
Denatured alcohol is the kind you buy at the hardware store or find on your supermarket’s cleaning product aisle. It’s used mainly for cleaning windows or getting rid of mold. This type of alcohol has additives to make it bad tasting, foul smelling and nauseating. This discourages people from “recreational consumption”. It’s also poisonous. I definitely don’t recommend using it to clean anything that goes near your mouth.
Ethanol alcohol is the purest form of alcohol you can use. It’s the type used in alcoholic beverages.
Spray Method of Washing Your E-Cig Mouthpiece and Tank
Another method of sanitizing involves alternately spraying your vape tank and mouthpiece with hydrogen peroxide, and then vinegar. The key word here is “alternately”.
NEVER mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together! Combining them creates peracetic acid, which is potentially toxic. Even the fumes and can irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory system.
You can use them separately as they each clean different types of bacteria.
Here’s Why Vodka is the Best Solution for Cleaning Your E-Cigarette Tank and Atomizer Correctly
I recommend cleaning your vape tank and vape tank parts with vodka – an ethanol type of alcohol. I’m assuming you are of legal drinking age so you may read on.
The reason I use vodka is not necessarily because it’s readily at hand, (ahem). It’s because of its purity and the fact that it has all the disinfecting attributes of alcohol without the vile taste. Yes, you can rinse your parts with water if you use the more distasteful types of alcohol, but it’s not always easy to get the taste out of used atomizer wicks.
It’s Not Just Bacteria – It’s the Resins
Vodka also does a great job removing those gunky e-juice deposits that accumulate on the coil. How did they get there? The vegetable glycerin in e-liquids has a natural syrup-like consistency, and the resigns remain as you deplete your e-juice.
When the resins are washed away, your vape tank will smell fresh and you won’t get any “flavor-ghosting” – meaning your e-juice won’t taste anything like the last flavor you used. Although you won’t get any vodka aftertaste, it’s a good idea to give all parts a quick rinse with water.
Yes, using vodka it’s considerably more expensive than water (especially if you don’t use it for anything else), but hey, you’re worth it. Note: You can use a 50% water/vodka soak.
Follow These Steps to Clean Any E-Liquid Tank, Mouthpiece and Polyethelene/Polyester Atomizer Correctly
1- Shut off your battery and unscrew the tank. If your tank loads ejuice from the bottom, make sure to first turn the ecig upside down to avoid spilling any e-liquid. Empty all the remaining e-liquid.
2- Remove the atomizer by unscrewing it from the base of the tank. Also remove the mouthpiece.
3- If you find any rubber o-rings, check to see if they are worn. If they’re good, they can also be washed. If not, you’ll need to buy new ones.
4- Atomizers that have long wick threads usually have plastic thread holders. Remove them gently. Make sure you remember how to replace them and don’t get them mixed up with parts from other tank systems.
5- I recommend taking a picture of your disassembled vaporizer, showing how the parts are connected. It will make things much easier when you put the parts back together. Trust me on this one.
6- Keep the battery away from the cleaning area so it doesn’t fall into the sink. Before you soak or rinse anything, use a damp cloth or paper towel to clean the residue from the metal connecting threads.
7- If you’re running your washable parts under the tap, MAKE SURE TO COVER THE DRAIN. You don’t want to have to call the plumber when a small part slips out of your hand.
8- When you do a soak cleaning, use a bowl that’s big enough to cover the parts you are cleaning. Let the parts soak for at least 15 minutes.
9- Use a Qtip to help clean the atomizer’s polyethylene or polyester wick threads. Never pull on them or they may unravel. This can easily destroy the atomizer coils.
10- If you’ve been soaking parts in alcohol or vodka, rinse them all in cool water.
11- Let the parts dry on a paper towel for half an hour or until dry.
12- Atomizers and coils need to dry for at least 24 hours.
Cleaning Cotton Wick & Metal Atomizer Coils
The current industry standard is bottom coil atomizers and they are much harder to clean. That’s because the cotton wicking is contained within a metal housing.
You can try to soak those atomizers, but once the cotton gets wet, the structure can change. It’s really meant to handle e-juice, not water or vodka. Unless these atomizers are allowed to dry completely they will be prone to leaks and hot spots. Even then, they will not perform as well as a fresh atomizer.
The best way to clean these popular atomizers is by dabbing the cotton windows with a wet cloth or a Qtip soaked in water, (or Isopropyl alcohol or vodka), then letting them dry. If you still want to rinse or soak it, make sure you let it dry completely…at least overnight.
If you’re an advanced vaper and you’re willing to do the work, use a rebuildable tank and atomizer – one that is compatible with your tank. It’s also more economical than constantly buying new atomizers.
Can I Clean My Vape Pod?
Open system vape pods can be cleaned even though you can’t take apart the pod to get at the coils. Forget trying to clean a pre-filled JUUL Pod, since it’s a closed pod system.
Here’s how to clean open pod systems (those that let you add e-liquid or oils).
You can also flush out old ejuice by submerging the pod in your chosen washing liquid, and shaking it.
I like to flush it using a clean dropper filled with vodka.
When it’s flushed clean, let it dry completely. This can take up to 24 hours.
I’m impatient, so I roll up a thin strip of paper toweling and stick it into the ejuice hole. It soaks up the excess moisture making drying time quicker.
Cleaning works best if you use the same e-liquid as before. Since the atomizer may still have some residue left on the coil, there will probably be some “flavor ghosting” from the previous e-liquid.
How Often Should I Clean My Tank? – What Are the Signs That My Ecig Needs Cleaning?
You should clean your ecig tank, mouthpiece and any o-rings weekly and when changing out eliquids.
There are also signs that your atomizer need to be replaced.
1- You’ve been vaping the same flavor e-juice, but it’s not as flavorful.
2- The vape seems harsher than usual.
3- You’re not getting an easy draw, or there seems to be more air and less vapor.
Can You Get Rid of a Burnt Taste By Cleaning Your Atomizer and Coil?
If you accidentally get a dry hit by vaping an empty tank, your atomizer has been compromised. While it may not be fried, your vape will continue to taste nasty because some of remaining e-juice has burnt onto the wicking and coil.
Cleaning the atomizer can help improve the taste of your vape, but there are no guarantees. As long as you perform the cleaning correctly and let all parts dry completely you have nothing to lose but the cost of a new atomizer.
Here are companies with cost effective auto-ship programs for atomizers and e-liquids.
Do you clean your atomizer coils or simply replace them? We welcome your comments.