Keeping your vape pen clean is the real secret of getting a consistently good flavor out of it. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Regardless of the vaping material you use, it will eventually build up in the heating chamber (or the tank) and might completely alter the taste you’re getting, making it rather unpalatable after a while. There are also health and safety issues involved here – an unmaintained vape pen can develop firing problems, which will shorten its life, and the residue that accumulates will result in an unhealthy, polluted vape.
Luckily, vape pens are very easy to clean and it won’t take you more than 20 minutes every week to ensure that your pen is good to go at all times. This short guide will walk you through the cleaning process for three different types of vape pens:
- E-Juice vape pens – predominantly use a tank and are filled with PG/VG e-liquid.
- Dry herb vape pens – use a heating chamber with a screen that’s filled with dry material.
- Wax vape pens – use a ceramic chamber that is filled with wax.
The cleaning process is slightly different for each of these. However, they should all be cleaned on a regular basis, which will depend on your use. Ideally, you want to clean your vape juice vape pens whenever you switch to a different e-juice (to avoid lingering flavors) or at least once a week. Dry herb pens should be emptied and casually cleaned after every use, with thorough cleanings scheduled on a once per week basis. Wax vape pens benefit from twice a week cleanings because the residue gets really sticky really quick and can seriously mess with performance.
Cleaning Your E-Juice Vape Pen
Before attempting to clean your vape pen, it’s always smart to familiarize yourself with its anatomy. Most pens are pretty simple, consisting of a battery and a tank with an atomizer (heating element).
How you clean your vape pen will depend on whether or not it can be disassembled. Some pens have integrated tanks which cannot be removed. These can never be 100% clean as it’s impossible to rinse them out without getting the battery wet so they are cleaned with a Q-tip and a lot of patience. Vape pens that can be taken apart can be cleaned more quickly and easily.
- Unscrew the tank from the battery but make sure to remove the atomizer. Atomizers usually can’t be thoroughly cleaned (although careful maintenance can extend atomizer life) and will have to be replaced after a while (read more on that in our vape tank cleaning guide). If your atomizer still serves its purpose, set it aside and don’t clean it at this time.
- Wipe down the battery with a damp cloth and make sure that no liquid has seeped inside through the connector. If it did, turn the battery upside down to allow the liquid to seep out and carefully soak it from the connector with a Q-tip. However, if this happens you will likely notice some issues with the pen’s performance right away.
- Take apart the tank (glass, drip tip, O-rings, and upper and lower base) and soak the parts in warm water. You can add rubbing alcohol, baking soda, or vinegar to facilitate cleaning. Use a small, soft brush (a toothbrush for kids will do) to clean all the parts.
- Leave the parts out to dry or wipe them down with a paper towel. Clean the connectors on both the tank and the battery to make sure there’s no residue or small pieces of dirt. Assemble your vape pen (don’t forget the atomizer), put in some vape juice, and vape on.
Cleaning a Dry Herb Vape Pen
Dry herb vape pens have a battery, a heating chamber with a mesh, and a mouthpiece. All parts are pretty small and sensitive so take extra care not to disturb anything or you might render your pen useless.
- Disassemble your dry herb pen and place the parts on a table in front of you. Have paper towels, a small cleaning brush, and Q-tips close at hand.
- Take the heating chamber out and empty it gently. Tap the contents out on a paper towel and keep an eye out for the mesh (a small metal screen) so you don’t lose it.
- Clean the inside of the chamber with a small brush. Do the same with the mesh, making sure that you dislodge any particles that might be clogging it. Do not use water or rubbing alcohol because of the wiring. Be careful when cleaning around the coil and try not to disturb it (bend or break it), otherwise you’re going to have to replace it.
- You can usually clean the mouthpiece by rinsing it in hot water but check the user manual first. If that’s not an option, clean it with a Q-tip to the best of your ability.
- Clean the connectors on the battery and the heating chamber to ensure a quality connection. If there’s residue on the connectors you might need to tackle it with a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol or warm water.
- Assemble your vape pen again and wipe it down. Now that it’s clean, it’s good to go mano a mano with your favorite dry herb again.
Cleaning a Wax Vape Pen
Wax vape pens have a ceramic heating chamber, similar to the one for dry herbs. They also have a battery and a mouthpiece. They are more difficult to clean because wax is very sticky and tends to get into the small nooks and crannies so it might take you a bit more time to do it properly.
- Before disassembling the vape pen, activate it and let it heat up. This will make the cleaning process a bit easier as the heat will loosen up any caked residue.
- When the pen heats up, turn it off and take it apart. Place the parts on the table in front of you and make sure you have Q-tips, paper towels, some warm water, and rubbing alcohol close at hand.
- Depending on the manufacturer and the setup, you can either clean the heating chamber by dumping it into warm water/rubbing alcohol, or by using a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol. Gently stab at the heating chamber and rub it until no residue is visible on the Q-tip.
- Since wax easily seeps down to the coil, you will need to clean it as well. Use a Q-tip and as little rubbing alcohol as possible, making sure that you don’t disturb or damage the coil and the wicking because you’re going to need to replace them if you do.
- Clean the threading of the heating chamber and the battery with a damp paper towel to remove any residue or dirt that might interfere with the connection.
- Use a Q-tip to clean the mouthpiece. If you can completely detach it, it’s a good idea to clean it under running warm water because it’s going to go faster.
- Leave all the pieces out to dry completely before reassembling the vape pen. Once they are dry, put the vape pen back together and it will be good to go.
Clean your vape pens often and they will last longer. A bit of preliminary maintenance will ensure that the pen works properly and it also helps if you ever need to use the warranty – poor cleaning habits and nonexistent maintenance can potentially invalidate it.
How often and how do you clean your vape pens? Are you a slob or an OCD cleaning freak? Say hi in the comment section and let us know. You’re welcome to share your cleaning tips with the rest of the vaping world – beginner vapers are sure to appreciate it!