What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Vape Pen?
Nothing good. As stated in the intro, a lot of things can go wrong with a dirty vape pen, here’s a rundown:
Uneven Heating – If the atomizer has lots of dried wax residue left behind, then not only does it look gross, it can prevent any new wax you put in there from getting heated properly. The reason is that the dried up wax can block the heat from getting to the fresh wax, so the dab gets vaporized unevenly, which messes up the vaping experience.
Faulty Connections – With some vape pens, the wax leaks out from the atomizer while you’re vaping and drips down onto the threads connecting the battery to the atomizer. When the leaked wax dries, it can interrupt the flow of electricity from the battery to the atomizer. The end result is a vape pen that doesn’t vape, and no one wants that.
Clogged Airway – Sometimes if you inhale too hard, wax droplets can get pulled into the mouthpiece. Once those droplets dry and harden, they become an obstruction that blocks the flow of air. That means you end up having to inhale harder to get any vapor from the atomizer into your lungs.
You don’t want any of those problems, so it is necessary to keep your wax pen clean and pristine. How do you do that? Just follow the steps. Note that these steps work for all types of atomizers, namely rod coils, ceramic coils, and quartz coils. However, you will likely find that ceramic and quartz atomizers are easier to clean than the rod coils.
Step 1: Q-Tips and Alcohol
That’s isopropyl alcohol, you use it by dipping the q-tip into it and then wiping out the atomizer. That should clean up any dried up residue, especially if you do the cleaning while the atomizer is still warm and the wax is still soft.
Step 2: The Alcohol Soak
If the residue is too stubborn because it has dried and hardened, then you can remove the atomizer from the battery and soak it in a shallow dish of iso alcohol for an hour or so. You don’t need a lot of alcohol, just enough to completely submerge the atomizer. After a while, the alcohol should have broken down the wax build-up, at which point you remove it from the alcohol and then dispose of the alcohol. Make sure that the atomizer is completely dry before you use it again.
Step 3: The Burn-off
In the case of particularly stubborn residue, you can skip the alcohol and use the atomizer itself to do a sort of self-cleaning. You do this by removing the mouthpiece so that the atomizer is exposed, and then crank the vape pen to its maximum setting. That should melt the wax residue, so make sure that you have a strip of paper towel handy. That is because, once the melting starts, you will need to hold the wax vape upside down to let the melted wax escape and drip onto the towel.
Step 4: Blow It Out
Once the atomizer has been cleaned, you still need to worry about the mouthpiece. If it gets clogged, then remove it from the rest of the vape pen and give a good strong blow right into the mouthpiece. In many cases, that should be enough to dislodge any pieces of dried up wax clogging the airway.
Step 5: Dab Tools or Paperclips
If you suspect that the air path is still clogged then you need to clean it out, and the handy dab tool can be used for just that purpose. That’s right, the dab tool is a jack-of-all-trades, well, at least two of them, since, aside from dabbing, it can be used to clean out the air path.
Just stick the dabbing end of the tool into the mouthpiece and move it around to clear out any dried up wax. You can improvise with a straightened paper clip if you don’t want to use your dab tool for that purpose.
Step 6: More Q-Tips and Alcohol
But what if I have a glass mouthpiece and don’t want to scratch it up? In that case, you can use a q-tip dipped in iso alcohol again, this time to clean the inside of the mouthpiece. Gently rub it on the inner surface of the glass to get it spic and span again. As usual, make sure it’s completely dry before using it again, you don’t want the taste of alcohol in your next session.
Step 7: The Wipe Down
If the atomizer has leaked and wax has dripped down onto the threads connecting the atomizer to the battery, then a thorough cleaning is in order to prevent any connection errors from occurring. Use a lint-free cloth that has been dipped in iso alcohol to carefully and thoroughly wipe down the threads. Once you are sure that the threads are completely clean, you should also make sure that they are completely dry before reconnecting the atomizer and the battery.
Tips and Tricks
Hold The Vape Pen Vertically – If your wax pen is prone to leaking, then you can mitigate that problem by holding it as vertically as possible while you vape. That may be a little awkward in some cases, but it’s better than having to clean the threads afterwards. Better yet, just get a leak-proof vape pen in the first place.
Strike While The Iron is Hot – Or rather, clean while the atomizer is still warm. The best time to clean is right after a vape session after the atomizer has cooled down but is still warm. That way you can be sure that the wax is still soft and pliable and easy to clean.
Cleaning Other Types Of Wax Vaporizers
There are other kinds of wax vapes of course, but this article is mainly focused on vape pens because they require the most maintenance. The other types of wax vapes are e-nails like the Dabado Bolt V2, and handheld dab rigs like the Puffco Peak, both of which are pretty easy to clean because you only need to worry about cleaning their nails and water bubblers.
You clean their bubblers similarly to how you clean the coils in vape pens, by using a q-tip dipped in iso alcohol, initiating a burn-off, or soaking the nail in alcohol. As for the bubbler, if it gets filmed with residue, it can be cleaned by pouring some iso alcohol into it, swishing it around, and then pouring it out. It should be rinsed out with warm water afterward, and then be allowed to dry before it is used again.