March 13th, 2019

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 10:04 pm

Some vapers are now changing things up and using advanced e-cigs that come with clear vape vapetank 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

before and after vape atomizer coilWhile 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 baulk 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.


Clean Vape Pen

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


More Techniques

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.

Paperclip MethodOG Four 2.0 Wax Vape Pen coil

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.