If you’re a newbie to the world of e-cigarettes, then there’s probably a lot you don’t know about the industry. As it stands, e-cigarettes are NOT a healthier or viable alternative to smoking regular cigarettes, nor should they be treated as a mechanism to help you break your addiction to smoking. While we do not recommend purchasing e-cigarette devices or accessories, you must take care of your equipment for hygienic reasons. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us all of the need to be mindful of others and to limit the spread of harmful germs throughout the community.
Before diving into how to maintain your e-cigarette device, you must be aware of the anatomy of your device (i.e. which component goes where, what their function is, etc.). Let’s jump in!
Anatomy of a conventional vape device
There are many different components to each vaping device, which can make it difficult to clean (especially if you’re not aware of how each part works and where it fits in). Moreover, each device is different so that anatomy can change quite significantly across other models and brands.
For example, a pen-style model (generally the most straightforward and generic) is comprised of 3 elements, which are as follows:
- A battery
- A coil
- A tank
The battery is obviously the power source for the unit. The coil is responsible for creating the heat that turns the liquid into a vapour, while the tank is the part that holds the e-liquid. The atomiser is generally held in the tank as well.
How often should I clean?
The frequency of cleaning your device is predicated on several factors. Firstly, you should consult the manufacturer’s advice (in the manual or handbook) to see if they have any cleaning guidelines. Another thing you need to consider is how often you use your device. If you’re using it often, then you’ll need to clean it more frequently (as liquid build-up can occur in the tank and near the atomiser, which can inhibit your e-cigarette’s efficiency).
Likewise, if you decide to change flavours, then you’ll want to clean the tank and mouthpiece to ensure you remove any remnants of the previous flavour. This is because lingering stains from the last flavour can compromise the new flavour, which is something you certainly don’t want! We recommend that you make a habit of cleaning between flavours, or at the very least, every few weeks, regardless of use. This will ensure that your device is always clean and hygienic.
Cleaning the coils
If you clean your vape coils as often as possible, you’ll extend their use life and improve the overall quality of your device. No matter how effective you are with your cleaning, however, you will need to replace the coils at some point. If you’re concerned that your coil might need to be changed, then check out some of the indicators below:
- Visually dark or crusted in appearance? (replace it!)
- Your vapour tastes smoky or burnt, despite cleaning? (replace it!)
- Your device isn’t producing the same amount of vapour as usual? (replace it!)
Removing the coil from your e-cig is relatively straightforward. Firstly, remove the tank from the device – since this is where the coil will be situated. Twist the coil to the left to unscrew it – it’ll pop out after a few seconds. If you’re cleaning the coil, place it in warm water for a few minutes. If you’re discarding the old coil and installing a new one, then insert the new coil and reattach the tank to the device. Simple!
Cleaning the tank
The tank should be cleaned as often as you can. If you’re switching flavours, make sure you detach the tank from the device and soak it for a while to ensure that lingering taste is gone. This clean should only require a quick soak, which is one of two methods of cleaning your vape tank. The other way is a more intense cleaning process that uses an alcohol solution. We’ll run you through both processes.
According to Vape.A.Box, the quick soak method is the one you should use when cleaning your vape device every week or fortnight. Firstly, fill a bowl with warm (not boiling) water. Detach the tank from the rest of the device and make sure all e-liquid left in the tank is poured out. Disassemble each component of the tank and place them in the bowl of warm water. Using a soft brush and/or cloth, wash each part until clean. Usually, water should be sufficient; however, if the tank is filthy (or you haven’t washed it for a while), then we recommend adding a few drops of dish soap to the solution.
Once each part is clean, place on a towel for 10-15 minutes. This will allow them to air dry. Give the components one last wipe with a dry cloth and then inspect each piece to ensure there are no lingering stains. Once you are satisfied, began reassembling each part to rebuild the tank. Then, reattach to your device.
A deeper clean
If you have washed the tank using a quick soak and it hasn’t cleaned the device properly, then you probably need to perform a deeper clean. To ensure all lingering stains/scents are removed from the tank, you need to use an alcohol-based disinfectant or cleaner. Non-flavoured vodka works very well, as it can help break down the deposits left in the vape tank. Dampen a small piece of cloth with water and the vodka, and then start scrubbing challenging areas until the stains are gone.
Once you have applied the vodka to the tank, wipe and rinse the device with warm water. Let the tank stand and air dry from around 15 minutes. Reassemble and add it back to the rest of your electronic cigarette or vaping pen.
Usage tips to maximise your device’s performance and minimise cleaning needs
Now that you know how to clean your e-cig, it is also worth knowing how to use your device to maximise its performance and minimise how often you need to clean it. Here are some of the best tips we can offer:
Store your e-cigarette safely
When not using your vaping pen, you must store it safely. Find a good place to store it where it won’t encounter any mishaps. Ideally, you would want to have a strong case that you can use to carry it around in. When at home, find a draw or a shelf to place it where it’ll be out of harm’s way!
Keep your e-juice out of the sun
It would help if you didn’t expose your e-liquid canisters to direct sunlight. Extreme heat and humidity can cause the liquid to “thin out”, which means it could leak out of the cartridge. Furthermore, it won’t taste anywhere near as clean when you smoke it! So, if you purchase a new range of e-liquids for your device, make sure you store them somewhere dry and at room temperature. Kitchen cabinets generally work well!
Don’t overfill the cartridge/tank
When filling the tank, make sure you only fill it up to the prescribed level (there should be a little mark/engraving to guide you). Overfilling the tank could cause unnecessary leaking and make the vaping process messier. At the same time, make sure you re-fill the cartridge when it’s nearly empty. This is because the atomiser/coil could burn out if there is no liquid to heat into vapour, so having an adequate amount of fluid in the tank is vital.
Don’t forget the mouthpiece
Some users focus so much on cleaning the entire device that they forget about arguably the most essential piece for maintaining hygiene: the mouthpiece. Once you have finished using the device, make sure you wipe the mouthpiece with a cloth or disinfect the surface with some alcoholic wipes. Any lingering germs from your mouth could be spread to others who use your device. Do this before and after you use your device (every time!).
Wash your hands as well
It might seem a bit pedantic and over the top, but you should wash your hands before and after using your e-cigarette. If you have shared your e-cigarette around, then you don’t know what kind of germs could be on the surface of the device. Wipe the device down and remember to wash/sanitise your hands.
So, maintaining health and hygiene while using an e-cig is essential. Not only does it ensure that your device is clean and safe to use, but it also improves its overall performance and efficiency. If you stick the above tips when using your device, then you’ll be completely fine. As a final reminder, we do recommend to all readers that considering e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative to regular smoking is not a viable decision. There’s no evidence to suggest it can help you break your habit, and this is reflected in the current legislation and scientific opinion on the matter. If you need to break your habit, we suggest pursuing support services to get there!