Chapter 5: Cleaning and Maintaining your device

Chapter 5: Cleaning and Maintaining your device

<<<Chapter 4: How to Vape

Chapter 6: Troubleshooting >>>

Quick Links to sections in this Chapter:

 

Changing your coil

 

This is a step-by-step guide to changing your coil.

It is for beginners or those who are not confident doing it. 

It might be that you’ve been vaping for a while but you’ve been using cigalikes or pod systems so you’ve never needed to change one before.

Read on for simple, clear instructions.

This is not an in-depth guide to changing every single coil compatible with every single device but rather a general guide.

 

When to replace your coil

It’s a fact of vaping that, sooner or later, you’ll need to change the coil.

A lot of new vapers want to know how long their coil will last and the infuriating answer is: you need to change them when the wire has worn out or (more likely) the wick has burned, which varies according to the device and the vaper (if you want to know more about how different vaporisers work, go to Different devices and how they vary).

Most vapers need to change their coil between every one and two weeks but this varies hugely based on your individual vaping habits. 

Those who vape a lot will need to change it much sooner than those who don’t vape much.

If you don’t change it when it needs it, your vape juice will start to taste burnt. 

Also, if it wears out, it will start to leak – you’ll usually have changed it long before then.

 

How to change the coil

There should be instructions in your manufacturer’s manual.

As a general rule, it’s really simple.

It should only take a couple of minutes.

If you have a top-fill or bottom-fill tank (or clearomizer), the coil will be attached to the tank, which will be screwed into the battery.  

For a top-fill tank:

  1. Make sure the device is upside-down so that any residual e-liquid won’t spill out
  2. Unscrew the tank from the battery 
  3. Unscrew the base (with the coil attached) from the tank and put the tank down carefully
  4. Unscrew the coil from the base, take it out and put it straight in the bin or onto a paper towel (so you don’t get e-liquid residue where you put it down)
  5. Take the new coil out of the packet and screw it in to the base
  6. Screw the base back onto the tank (being careful not to spill any e-liquid)
  7. Screw the tank back onto the battery

For pod systems:

With these, you’ll buy a liquid pod that has a coil in it, which means you won’t need to change it separately, you just change the pod and get a new coil each time.

  1. Simply unclick the empty liquid pod
  2. Throw it away
  3. Click the new one into place

 

How to get your coil to last longer

There are a few things you can do to get it to last longer.  Even though they’re simple steps, they’re effective.

However, they won’t stop you having to change it sooner or later.

  1. Use the right coil for your device

      It’s really important to use the right coil for your device (or the settings on your device), not only to preserve the coil but to keep you safe.
    Always read the manufacturer’s manual and follow the guidelines given. 
    You need to consider what ohm-rating the coil has, what wattage your device is using and what e-liquid you’re using (the PG/VG ratio). 
    You can go to ‘Choosing e-liquid compatible with your device’ for more information about that.

  2. Buy quality coils

      To ensure they’ll last as long as possible, buy good quality.
    At Make My Vape we stock a wide range of quality coils so we can help you no matter what type of vaping device you use.
    Check out some of our best ones
    here.

  3. Don’t use thick or sugary flavour concentrates

      If you want your coil to last for as long as possible, stay away from thick and sweet e-liquids.
    They will gum up the wick after a while by leaving residue and eventually the wick will not absorb any more vape juice.
    However, if you love sugary flavour vape juice like chocolate or cake, you might decide that changing your coil a little bit more often is something you’re willing to do.

  4. Clean the coil

      A lot of people put in a new coil and then forget about it.
    It’s really easy to clean it out, though, and it doesn’t take long.
    For a step-by-step guide which is easy to follow, go to Cleaning your coil
    This won’t stop you needing a new one – you’ll need to change it eventually – but it will prolong its life.

  5. Avoid dry hits

      If you find you’re getting a lot of these, go to How to stop dry hits – you’ll be able to keep your coil longer and you won’t get the horrible taste and sensation of the dry hit any more.
    It’s worth reading just to avoid that.

  6. Prime your wick

      This stops your wick burning out too quickly, which will prolong its life.
    For full instructions on how to do this, go to Priming your coil
    There are several techniques for doing this so you can find the one that works best for you.

 

Next steps

As mentioned above, you can prolong the life of your coil by cleaning it. 

If you want to find out how to clean it, go to Cleaning your coil for a practical guide.

If you’ve changed your coil and want to clean your tank so you can change the flavour of your e-liquid, then go to Cleaning your tank.

 

Cleaning your coil

 

Coils need replacing.

They are largely responsible for the quality of the flavour you get, so don’t try to keep a coil once it is past its best. 

That’s not to say you can’t get some more out of them, though.

 

Why clean your coils

E-liquid leaves a residue. 

It will taint the flavour of your new e-liquid when you add it in. 

This is especially noticeable if you have been using strong flavours like coffee, menthol or tobacco.

VG and sweet flavour concentrates are particularly well-known for gunking up coils, which will stop the e-liquid saturating your wicking material and will affect flavour and vapour production. 

If you leave this too long, your wicking material will stop absorbing the vape juice, creating a burnt taste.

There are many different types of coil but replaceable ones (the ones you’ll want to clean) fall into two categories: coil heads for tanks and coils for rebuildable atomisers. 

The way you’ll clean each type is very different.

Coils for rebuildable atomisers

These were designed to be cleaned and have parts replaced as they get past their best.

The first thing to do is to take the wicking material out.

There are a few things you can do to clean your coils.

  • A dry burn

This can only be done once or twice as a quick clean before you need to clean them properly.  First, take the cotton out of the coil and then press the fire button a few times until you burn off the residual e-liquid.  Don’t let them glow too much – you only need a light dry burn. Let them cool down and then re-wick them.

  • Rinse them under warm water

Remove the coil from your mod and remove the wicks.  Run it under the tap to wash all the remaining vape juice off your coil.  Leave it to dry on a paper towel.

  • Brush them lightly with a toothbrush

If the e-liquid is sticky or gunky then you might want to brush it lightly with a toothbrush to clean all of it away.  Rinse it under the tap – to do that, remove the coil from your mod and take the wicking out of the coil and then run it under warm water, gently brushing the build-up away.  Leave it to dry on a paper towel and then re-wick it.

 

Replaceable coil heads for tanks

These coils heads are designed to be replaced when they have worn out. 

They can be cleaned but not perfectly.

They have the wicking material inside them already and this makes it impossible to clean thoroughly.

If you clean them, you’ll get a few more days to a week out of them (depending on how much you vape), so it can be worth it. 

However, drying them is simply a case of giving them time to dry naturally so it’ll take a while.

To clean replaceable coil heads, soak them in water, vinegar or cheap vodka for two to three hours. 

Take them out and rinse them under warm water. Rinse them thoroughly as the cleaning fluid will have soaked into the cotton and you’ll need to ensure it’s all washed out. 

Rinse once more with distilled water and then leave them on a paper towel to dry.

 

Next steps

If you’ve already cleaned your coil once, you may find that you have to bite the bullet and just replace it.  If you’re not sure how to do that, go to Changing your coil for full instructions.

As well as cleaning your coil, you might want to clean your tank at the same time.  Go to our guide Cleaning your tank.

The next step, once you’ve got a clean e-cigarette ready to vape, is to keep it clean.  Check out Keep your e-cigarette working for some tips on how to do that.

 

Cleaning your tank

 

All vaping devices vary in style and structure so you may need to adjust slightly for each device you own.

Most tanks are easy to clean once you understand the basic principles. 

Follow these easy steps to keep your tank and coil clean.

 

Why clean your vape tank

In order to get the best from your vaping device, you need to maintain it. 

E-liquid does not generally stain but you will get residue build-up in the tank and coils. 

Eventually, this will stop your vaporiser performing optimally.

The most obvious problem it creates is that leaving the residue of one e-liquid in your tank and coil will taint the flavour of your new e-liquid when you add it in. 

This is especially noticeable if you have been using strong flavours like coffee, menthol or tobacco.

 

How to clean your vape tank

These simple steps are quick and easy to follow. 

You can either give your tank a quick rinse or you can clean it more thoroughly, depending on how dirty your tank is. 

The steps you can add if you need to are clearly marked.

 

  1. Take the coil out

    Whether you’re planning on giving your tank a quick rinse or a thorough clean, the first thing to do is take the coil out so you have access to the tank.

  2. Dismantle your tank.

    Take your tank apart and lay it out on a surface you can wipe.  You might also want to put a paper towel down first. When you take it apart, take note of how it fits together so you can reassemble it later.

  3. Rinse it under warm water

    Warm water is best for rinsing your tank, so just run it under the tap to wash away the residual e-liquid.

  4. Leave it to soak

    This is an optional step for when you want a more thorough clean.  Either use a bowl filled with water or leave the parts in the sink to soak for an hour or two.  You can soak it in plain warm water, which is just an extension of rinsing it under the tap, or you can soak it in propylene glycol (PG).  Some vapers swear by this as PG carries the flavour in your vape juice so it works well to get the residual flavour out of your tank, ready for a fresh batch.  Be very careful you don’t use VG instead, as this is a much more viscous liquid and it’ll make cleaning your tank much harder.

  5. Use a cleaning agent

    This is an optional step and you won’t need to do it every time, although you might choose to.  There are a lot of different products you can use to clean your tank:

    • Washing up liquid – gets your tank clean and sparkling
    • Baking soda – it’s a good cleaning agent and is not abrasive
    • Vodka (unflavoured) – it doesn’t have to cost much and it’s an effective cleaning agent, particularly used on the thick VG liquid
    • Vinegar – will clean your tank but must be thoroughly rinsed away.  It has a strong smell which can linger and ruin your vape flavour if not washed away properly
    • Lemon juice – will clean your tank but is, like vinegar, highly acidic and must be rinsed away thoroughly

    The most important thing to do is to rinse it thoroughly afterwards to get rid of all traces.  If you don’t, you could end up vaping traces of the cleaning agent. Some vapers don’t like to use these at all because leaving traces of them on your vaping device can cause rust.  Most of them, though, if used appropriately and rinsed off, are perfectly fine.

    Read the instruction manual for your device as it may recommend cleaning agents so you can be sure you’re using one that is appropriate for your device.

    It is not recommended that you soak any part of your e-cigarette overnight in a cleaning agent as this may degrade your equipment.  Soaking in water should be fine but you shouldn’t need to do it for very long to get it clean.

  6. Give it one last rinse

    If you’ve left it to soak or used any soap or cleaning liquid then you’ll need to rinse your tank under warm water to ensure you wash away all traces of e-liquid and cleaning fluid.

  7. Use a paper towel to dry it off

    A paper towel is the best thing to dry your tank as it’s thin and soft, meaning you can get into the little spaces and you can be gentle while you’re drying it off.

  8. Leave it to dry completely

    This shouldn’t take long, but it’s best to leave your tank out on a paper towel to dry completely.  This ensures there is no moisture or condensation in it that you could have missed when drying it by hand.  Fifteen minutes should be enough.

 

Using an ultrasonic cleaner

Another method of cleaning your tank is to use an ultrasonic cleaner. 

This is typically used for cleaning jewellery as it’s designed to remove residue from small and fragile items.

Some vapers have one to help steep their e-liquids (to find out how this works, take a look at Steeping). 

If you have one, have a go at cleaning your tank with it. 

It’s really easy and very effective.

Just fill it with water and put your tank parts inside, then let it do its thing. 

Make sure you rinse everything afterwards and allow to dry completely before re-assembling your vaping device.

 

Next steps

As well as cleaning your tank, it’s best to clean your coil (to find out how, go to Cleaning your coil) or change it (go to Changing your coil). 

It doesn’t take long to do and it’ll keep your e-cig performing well so you can enjoy your favourite vape juice.

 

Keep your e-cigarette working

 

In order to ensure your vaping device performs effectively and gives you the best vaping experience, you need to maintain the device. 

This doesn’t need to be complicated or hugely difficult, it just needs a little care every now and again.

Cleaning and maintaining your e-cigarette will:

  • Keep your device functioning properly
  • Help reduce leaking and spitback
  • Ensure you get the full flavour of your vape juice

 

How to clean your vape pen

All-in-one vaping devices are slightly more difficult to clean because they don’t come apart.

The best way to clean them is to use a wet cotton bud to wipe the inside of the tank. 

You can soak the cotton bud in either distilled water or in propylene glycol (PG).

If you use PG, make sure you then wipe the tank with water as well to ‘rinse’ it. 

To dry it, use a dry cotton bud to wipe the inside of the tank and soak up the e-liquid and the water.

Leave it to dry thoroughly before refilling it with your new e-liquid.

It’s not advisable to try to rinse these under the tap as no matter how careful you are, splashes of water could get into the electrical compartments like the charging port.

You can rinse the mouthpiece under the tap since you can detach that.  Just make sure to dry it thoroughly before re-attaching it to the vape pen.

 

How to clean your battery case (or box mod)

This obviously can’t be rinsed under the tap and it’s not advisable to wash it with water as – even if you’re careful – you could get water in the charging port or it could seep into the battery compartment.

Instead, use a damp cloth (which is well wrung-out) to wipe it and get rid of any splashes or spills and keep it clean. 

It’s best to keep it clean so that it keeps functioning efficiently – you don’t want the buttons to start sticking.

 

Maintaining your vaping device

Maintaining your vaping device will be much more efficient than trying to undo damage from poor maintenance.

It doesn’t take long and, once you’re in the habit, you won’t even think about it any more.

Here are some simple tips on how to maintain your e-cigarette:

  • Clean your tank

    Clean your tank to stop it from becoming gunked up and damaged.  For a simple guide on how to do this, go to Cleaning your tank.

  • Clean your coil

    Clean your coils and replace them when they stop working efficiently.
    Go to Cleaning your coil
    to find out how to do it.

    To know when you need to replace them, you need to watch out for the signs that they are used up: 

    • they’ll become dark and crusted
    • you may find that it leaks because it cannot process the e-liquid properly
    • you’ll experience less vapour production
    • you get a burnt taste when you vape

     

  • Keep the right level of e-liquid
  • Maintain the right level of e-liquid.
    Don’t let your tank run dry as this’ll cause dry hits and will damage your coils.
    By the same token, don’t overfill your tank either as then the e-liquid will spill.
    Find the optimum amount of e-liquid – a lot of tanks have this marked on them so you can always fill it the correct amount.

  • Store your e-liquid correctly
  • Store your e-liquid correctly by keeping them in appropriate bottles and in a dark cupboard or box.
    E-liquid is sensitive to heat and so exposing it to high temperatures or direct sunlight might reduce its flavour and vapour-production.
    For some top tips, go to Storing your e-liquids
    .

  • Store your vaping device properly
  • Store your vaping device properly.
    Individual e-cigarettes might vary but as a general rule you should store them upright to reduce the risk of leaking.
    They should be kept safely, as well, somewhere they won’t be knocked over or battered.
    Go to How to use your device safely
    for some more information about storing and transporting your e-cigarette.

  • Keep it in moderate temperatures
  • Don’t leave your e-cigarette in extreme temperatures.
    Leaving it in very cold temperatures may cause the tank to crack, which will mean your e-liquid leaks everywhere.
    By the same token, leaving it in very hot temperatures (like a really hot car) will make your e-liquid thin and runny and will mean it’s more prone to leaking out as well.
    This wastes your vape liquid but also means you get it on your device and have to clean it or it could stop working properly (especially if it gets on the mod or anywhere near the charging port).

  • Replace worn parts
  • Replace any parts of your vaping device that are worn or damaged.
    It’s really easy to check for damage whenever you clean your tank and it’s a good habit to get into.
    The two things you should be looking at particularly are the coil and the o-rings – you can easily buy replacements for both and they’re not expensive, so they’re worth changing if your vaporiser is not performing perfectly or if you’re uncertain about their condition.

         

        Next steps

        Maintaining your device is much easier than fixing it once something goes wrong.  However, if you’re having problems like spitting or leaking, go to Troubleshooting for some practical tips to stop it.

        If you want to find out how to keep yourself and your e-cigarette clean and healthy, go to ‘Vaping hygiene’.

         

      Chapter 6: Troubleshooting >>>

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