We’ve all been there. Even the world’s greatest cloud chaser still had a time when they had no idea what they were doing. During these beginning months of being a vaper, everything can seem like a huge obstacle. First off, it can be a minefield to find the best vaporizer, but even after you’ve decided on the perfect device, there’s still a ton to learn to get the most out of your vaping experience. In fact, one of the most important things you can do to have a fantastic session consistently is properly cleaning and maintaining your vaporizer.
Imagine you finally got your hands on the top of the line vaporizer you’ve had your eyes on. For the first month or so, everything is fantastic. The vapor production is robust, and the flavor comes through perfect. But soon you begin to notice a slight drop off in the quality. All the components are getting dirty and sticky, which only exacerbates the decline in performance. It becomes increasingly apparent that you must clean your vaporizer unless you want to purchase a whole new device, but where do you start?
This question can often prove more daunting than the initial quest to find the perfect vaporizer. That’s why we created this handy guide on the best way to keep your device working like the day you got it. Proper maintenance is vital in extending the life of your vaporizers, as well as ensuring a clean taste every time you use it. Regardless of what type of vaporizer you’re using, failing to adequately clean the excess material before adding more will have adverse effects on the taste and quality of the vapor produced. But before anything else, the first thing you must do to clean your vaporizer correctly is to understand each piece that makes up your device.
The Anatomy Of A Vaporizer
To ensure you get the most out of our guide, we’ll first go over the main components of a vaporizer. Everything from pens to box mods are made up of three major parts.
The Tank/Chamber- This is the portion of the vaporizer that holds the material. They’re called chambers while using wax or dry herb due to their bucket style. Alternatively, with oils or e-liquids they’re known as tanks due to their ability to hold extra material.
The Coil- The looped metal coils used to vaporize material when heated
The Battery- Either built in or replaceable, these power the atomizer, usually with user control options. Pens generally have built-in batteries, while larger box mods tend to have replaceable 18650 batteries.
The first thing to worry about when it comes to maintenance of a vaporizer is the coils. You should look at these as disposable parts that you’ll need to purchase on a semi-regular basis. Luckily, proper maintenance is the best way to increase the lifespan of your coils, and therefore reduce the amount of money you spend over time.
It doesn’t take long to notice a really bad coil, as the flavor produced is terrible. But when a coil first starts to go bad, you may not even notice it. That’s why you ought to be taking several key steps to keep your tank or chamber clean. Since coils themselves are extremely difficult to “clean” the best way to keep them fresh is to make their environment cleaner. That includes not only the container but also any rubber O-rings or other loose pieces.
We’re going to go in depth on each step needed to keep your tank or chamber as clean as the day you got it, from disassembly all the way through rinsing and drying. We’ll also go over the tools that do the best job, ones that probably came with your vaporizer kit. That way you’ll be fully ready to take on the pleasure and challenge of cleaning your vaporizer.
Before we get into the step by step guide, we want to make sure you understand the ins and outs of your specific type of vaporizer. So we’re going over what makes each major category of chamber/tanks unique. First, we’re going to go over a widespread vaping choice, chambers. Chamber style vaporizers tend to need a little more love and care than other devices, given the “already been vaped” weed, or sticky residue depending on the medium used. But that doesn’t mean they’re any more difficult to maintain, in fact, many people prefer the upkeep of these over tanks. These devices will almost always come equipped with tools designed to perfects clean your chamber.
Dry Herb Chambers
For cleaning dry herb chambers, this means using a brush tool that can thoroughly remove the used weed. These chambers don’t usually have exposed coils, so brushes work much better than they would in a tank. All you need to do after removing the majority of the ABV weed is simply brush out the inside while the device is still warm. More advanced models have a direct vapor path that needs to be cleaned. These devices will come with special brushes that can get deep into the paths and clean them out. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of creating hot spots that alter the taste and feel of your vapor. Some of the best models even have entirely removable pathways that can be cleaned more thoroughly, as well as see precisely any problem areas.
Concentrate chambers are more similar to tanks, in that they do usually have exposed coils for direct contact. This makes them a different beast to clean, but possibly even more critical. Getting rid of excess material seems even more difficult given the delicate coils, but it can be easy if you know what to use. After fully disassembling your device, you should take cotton swabs with either water and wipe them all down both inside and out. The thick, sticky substances used in these chambers can make it harder to get them sufficiently clean, so be sure to use isopropyl alcohol if you’re having any trouble getting them spotless.
After they’re clean, you should use another cotton swab and water to remove any excess alcohol and let them air dry on a paper towel. Be sure not to use a dry cotton swab for anything. Otherwise, you could end up making your chamber much dirtier, even damaging them.
The best trick for cleaning an oil tank is to disassemble every piece as well as you can before submerging everything but the coil into warm water. Tanks tend to be made of several parts including a few O-rings which means nooks and crannies that can be extremely hard to get to with regular tools. This is why it’s so important to take apart and submerge your tank when cleaning it.
If you have any spare unflavored PG and VG, you can always substitute the water to help ensure a thorough clean. Generally speaking, PG works best because it is thinner and easier to remove. But VG also works in a pinch, it will just require a little extra time cleaning at the end. Some people even use ultrasonic cleaners to ensure that everything gets dislodged.
Standard Step by Step Process
Now that we’ve gone over the finer points of each style of device, here’s the breakdown of each step.
- Fill a bowl with warm water or other cleaning substance
- Remove as much excess material from the tank as possible with tools
- Disassemble chamber/tank as much as possible
- Either submerge or use a cotton swab to clean surfaces
- Keep rinsing or swabbing until clean
- Let each piece air dry on a paper towel for about 15 minutes
- Reassemble device
- Quickly fire device before adding material to ensure everything is still working
No matter what you do, at some point, you’re going to have to replace your coils. Either they’ll get too crusted over or just stop working. Again, the best way to limit this is appropriately maintain your device, but if you’re doing everything listed above and still not getting the flavor or feel that you’re looking for, it may be time to buy some new coils.
Cleaning coils is extremely difficult. Submerging them in water will cause them to burn out, and even if it doesn’t, it’ll likely ruin the power. The coils are ultimately what make or break the flavor experience of any vaporizer, so be sure to take the time to ensure that yours are still up to snuff. You can tell many different ways, from a visibly dark or damaged coil to ones that just don’t function anymore. Fortunately, most coils are very easy to replace, as all you’ll need to do is unscrew the atomizer and replace it with a fresh one. As easy as replacing a lightbulb. But be sure to check if your coil is working before adding too much material. Otherwise, it will be hard to get a refund.
Cleaning the Exterior
Keeping the exterior of your device clean is much easier than the tank or chamber. But it’s just as crucial to the overall look of your device. Plus no one wants to get sticky residue all over their hands when they share with you. It doesn’t take very long to take a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol and swab the affected areas. In fact, you can probably even use a rag if you prefer, although around buttons and circuitry it may be better to have extra control. After getting things clean, simply use a paper towel to dry everything and you’re good to go.
At this point, you should be ready to take on the challenge of cleaning your device no matter what you’ve got. But the steps outlined are not everything you could possibly need to know. You’re going to learn more as you go through the motions. Such as finding your perfect method or steps you can skim over. Each device is different and maintaining them is the same. To make things a bit easier for you, we’ve gathered some of our favorite tips that can save you some serious learning time.
Correct Amount of Material – It may seem straightforward to some, but don’t overfill your device. Unless you’ve got a tank with viscous oil, it’s going to be very easy to overload your device and ultimately waste more material than you need too. It’s hard to give a blanket recommendation for how much to use given the variety of styles, but suffice to say it’s best to err on the side of caution and start small. Work your way up and find the perfect level for you.
Properly Storing Your Concentrates – Many who are new to concentrates treat their new substances like they would with traditional pot. But in fact, it’s best to keep your concentrates in a somewhat cool environment, where marijuana is okay at room temperature. Doing so will increase the duration of the vape session, not to mention make the material much easier to work with.
Safe Storage – Something that is extremely important for any vaper is not being careless with their vaporizer when not in use. Always make sure that it’s locked if it’s not in your hand, especially if it’s in your pocket. The easiest way to cause a burn or explosion is overfiring your atomizer when you’re not aware of it. Since most devices have button locks, it’s up to you to ensure your safety.
You now should have enough knowledge to embark on your first cleaning experience. You won’t know everything, and you’ll probably still make some mistakes, but don’t get discouraged. No one started out as a pro, and everything takes a little trial and error. Once you get the hang of things, you’ll be able to maintain your favorite devices for years to come. Hopefully, this guide was able to show you the best way to clean your device, but if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.