How to Clean a Vape Pen
Vape pens are increasingly popular products for cannabis, CBD, and other vapable products. These products are discreet and user-friendly, but require a bit of maintenance from time to time. It is extremely important to exercise good hygiene habits with your vape pen, and committing to a cleaning schedule is crucial to keeping your equipment safe to use and in working order.
Follow the directions below to clean your vape pen:
Step 1: Research Your Vape Pen’s Model and Construction
Be sure you know as much as possible about your vape pen to ensure you don’t damage the product or affect its function. For this reason, knowing the vape pen’s model and its individual components is important.
In the best case scenario, you know the vape pen’s product name, brand, and model number. Many of these products have manuals and other resources online to help you identify the components and proper cleaning processes.
Construction of a Vape Pen
Vape pens have a huge variety of shapes, sizes, features, and functions. Some require the push of the button to activate the heating element, while others are draw-activated. Some have a removable lithium-ion battery, and others are built in. Generally, a vape pen consists of the following parts:
About the Battery:
Like any electronic, a vape pen needs power to function. Most vape pens are powered by lithium-ion batteries with a wide range of amps (amount of electrical power) and milliamp hours (mAh), which indicates how long the battery will run. If your battery is removable, like the popular 18650 lithium-ion batteries found in open system vaporizers, we recommend removing the battery and storing in a case before cleaning your vape pen. Damaged batteries are potentially dangerous, so always err on the side of caution with your power sources.
About the Cartridge:
The cartridge (also referred to as a “cart” for short) is the chamber where your cannabis oil is stored for vaporization. This is another case where different products have different constructions and styles; some have fillable tanks that require the user to squeeze oil into the cartridge, and others have disposable, replaceable cartridges that are pre-filled with oil. If your vape pen uses cartridges, be sure you know which cartridges are compatible with your product, such as a 510-thread or PAX Pod.
About the Atomizer:
The atomizer is the part of the battery that actually heats your cannabis oil, which “atomizes” the product into a fine vapor. In general, atomizers consist of a series of metal coils that get hot when electrical current passes through them. The most common coils are made out of nichrome, but some other materials include nichrome, kanthal, nickel, titanium, and stainless steel.
About the Mouthpiece:
The mouthpiece is the part of the vape pen that makes contact with your mouth. These are often removable, and come in a variety of materials from silicone to plastic. It is especially important to keep this part of your vape pen clean, since this part touches your mouth.
About the Button:
As mentioned before, not all vape pens have buttons. Some products are activated by your inhaling. For vape pens that do have buttons, pressing the button completes the circuit between the battery and the atomizer, activating the pen. Some vape pens have multiple temperature settings that can be accessed by clicking the button several times to cycle through each setting.
Step 2: Disassemble Your Vape Pen
Now that you know the individual components of your vape pen, you’ll need to take it apart. Most vape pens “thread” together, which means they can be screwed together or unscrewed apart. On the other hand, some vape pens snap together with plastic. It is essential to disassemble your vape pen completely before cleaning. If you are unsure how to disassemble your vape pen, the product’s user manual can often be found online.
Step 3: Gently Scrub Your Equipment
How to Clean Your Mouthpiece
(Materials needed: Rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, paper towels, bowl, water)
The cleanliness of your mouthpiece is essential for hygienic vaping. Dab a cotton swap or cloth in rubbing alcohol and scrub the inside and the outside of the mouthpiece, taking special care to remove any residue. For a deeper clean, mouthpieces can be soaked in a rubbing alcohol or water for up to an hour prior to scrubbing. After scrubbing, set the mouthpiece on a paper towel or cloth to dry.
How to Clean a Vape Pen Cartridge
(Materials needed: Rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, paper towel)
Cleaning cartridge-loaded vape pens is generally easier than cleaning tank-based vape pens. Dab cotton swabs in rubbing alcohol and gently scrub the exterior of the cartridge, taking special care to remove any residue on the outside of the cartridge. Once the exterior is clean, use a paper towel to dry the outside of the cartridge completely.
Never submerge your cartridge in alcohol or other liquids. This may contaminate your vape oil, produce harsh flavors, or dramatically affect your vaping experience.
How to Clean a Clogged Vape Cartridge
(Materials needed: Safety pin, hair dryer)
The oil in the cartridge may solidify, obstructing the airflow through the cartridge. In some cases, you can use the fine point of a safety pin to clear the clog. If that doesn’t work, apply heat to the cartridge with a hair dryer, gently warming the cartridge from a foot or two away from the cartridge. Once it has warmed for a minute or so, try removing the clog with the safety pin again. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to clear the clog. If the cartridge is still clogged after repeated attempts, you may have to replace the cartridge altogether.
How to Clean the Tank*
(Materials needed: Rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, paper towels, bowl, water)
*If your vape pen uses cartridges, you can skip this section.
To clean the tank, empty out any residue from prior vaping. For liquid, turn the tank on its side, draining the liquid into a pile of paper towels or directly into a proper waste management receptacle. Pouring liquid directly down the drain in the sink is not recommended. For solid concentrates, apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton swap and scrub away all residue. Soak the tank in rubbing alcohol and water for up to an hour before wiping down the inside with a cotton swab and left to dry on the paper towels.
How to Clean the Battery
(Materials needed: Rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, water)
As mentioned before, the battery is the most potentially dangerous part of the vape pen, and should be cleaned with care. In most cases, the battery needs a gentle cleaning on the exterior with cotton swabs. Make sure the connector (where the battery threads and connects to the atomizer) is free of any residue, as this can obstruct the flow of electricity to the atomizer.
Never submerge your battery in liquid. The battery should be cleaned externally and never soaked. Submerging or soaking your battery could result in a dangerous situation.
Step 4: Allow Your Vape Pen to Dry
To ensure you don’t get any “off” flavors or the essence of rubbing alcohol in your vape pen, give your vape pen enough time to fully dry. If you want to accelerate the drying process, you can use paper towels or cloth to wipe off any visible droplets. Once your equipment is fully dry, it is safe to refill your tank or insert a new cartridge, reassemble the individual components, and vape your products.
Step 5: Maintain a Regular Cleaning Schedule
Even if you only vape occasionally, you should clean your vape pen at least once a week. Depending on the amount of vaping you do, you may need to clean your equipment more frequently. A good rule of thumb is to clean your equipment as soon as you see any residue on the exterior of your vape pen, or whenever your vape has an irregular, “off” taste.
Learn More About Cannabis Products:
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Unsure of how to clean a vape pen? Find out the step-by-step process you need to take to properly clean, sanitize, and prepare your vape pen for safe use.