Whether you use a sub-ohm tank or a rebuildable atomizer, one thing is most likely true: Coil gunk is an everyday part of your life. Sweetened e-liquid is here to stay. Almost everyone who buys bottled e-liquid is buying vape juice with sucralose, and given the massive amount of e-liquid people use these days, you’re probably tasting that nasty burned flavor and pulling a black, gunky coil out of your tank almost every day.
Replacing a vape coil each day is a serious pain, and that’s doubly true if you use a sub-ohm tank with pre-built coils. Today’s tanks have huge coils that can easily cost more than $3 each – even if you buy them from a great local vape shop like Vapor Connection in Pittsburgh. If you’re throwing your coil away every day or two, vaping can easily end up becoming more expensive for you than smoking would be – and the low cost of vaping is supposed to be one of its most appealing aspects!
So, how do you solve that problem? One solution, of course, is to simply stop using e-liquid with sucralose. If you love your e-liquid as it is, though, you aren’t going to want to do that – so the next best solution is to make your coils last longer. In this guide, I’m going to explain how to clean an atomizer coil and potentially extend its life by double or more.
What Can You Expect From Cleaning an Atomizer Coil?
Cleaning your atomizer coils is a bit of work, so it’s good to know what you can expect from your cleaned coils in terms of performance. The first thing you need to know is that you will probably not mistake a cleaned coil for a new one. Nothing produces a flavor quite like that of a new coil.
Cleaning a dirty coil will, however, remove most or all of the gunk from the coil. Sucralose residue tastes terrible – like burned sugar – and when the layer of residue becomes thick enough, it can cause an irritating sensation in the throat almost like that of a dry hit. So, while a cleaned coil may not taste or perform quite like a new one, it also shouldn’t irritate your throat or taste like burned sugar. If you enjoy the experience with a cleaned coil enough to use that coil for a few extra days, then cleaning your dirty coils can save you a bundle of money.
The second thing you need to know about cleaning an atomizer coil is that it won’t fix a burned cotton wick. If you experience a dry hit because you’ve forgotten to fill your tank, there’s a good chance that you’ve burned your wick. Pyrolysis alters the composition of matter permanently, and no amount of cleaning will get the nasty flavor out of burned cotton.
Coil Cleaning Method Using Things You Already Have
The easiest way to clean a vaping coil is with water or a high-proof drinking alcohol such as vodka. Just drop your coils into the cleaning solution and give them a good swish. If you’re using plain water, consider heating it to increase its cleaning power. Alcohol is a powerful solvent and will work fine at room temperature. To save time, you might consider holding on to your dirty coils for a week or two and cleaning them all at once.
Leave the coils in your cleaning solution for several hours or overnight, swishing the coils around whenever you walk by the bowl or glass. The agitation will help the cleaning solution dissolve the sucralose residue.
In the morning, take one of the coils out of the solution and examine it under bright light. If it’s still dark and covered in gunk, it needs more time in the cleaning solution. If it looks brighter, it’s ready to use. Remove the coils from the solution and leave them out to dry for at least a day. If you cleaned your coils with alcohol, rinse them thoroughly before drying them. Don’t forget to prime your cleaned coils with e-liquid before using them.
Coil Cleaning Method Using an Ultrasonic Cleaner
The reason why cleaning your atomizer coils works is really quite simple; it’s because you can power through just about anything with water and a bit of agitation. You can’t stand around shaking a bowl of water all day, though, so if you want your coils to come out shiny and white every time, you need something to do the shaking for you.
The ultimate tool for cleaning atomizer coils is an ultrasonic cleaner like the ones that your local jeweler probably carries. An ultrasonic cleaner can remove dirt, dead skin and even tarnish from jewelry using nothing but water and constant high-frequency agitation. Ultrasonic cleaners are extremely effective for cleaning atomizer coils, and many people report that even the most gunky atomizer coils will come out of an ultrasonic cleaner looking almost like new.
Coil Cleaning Also Works for RDA Users
If you’re an RDA user, you know that one of the greatest benefits of using a rebuildable atomizer is that, if you buy the wire and cotton in bulk, you can have all of the coil building supplies that you need for months at a cost of just a few cents per coil. The downside, of course, is that even the most experienced coil builders typically need several minutes to rebuild their coils from scratch.
The good news is that, if you use an RDA, you can remove the cotton from your coils before cleaning them. Since you can re-wick your coils with fresh cotton after cleaning them, you can actually expect your cleaned coils to be virtually indistinguishable from freshly built ones.
If you’ve ever tried cleaning your RDA coils, you’ve probably noticed that if you remove the coils from your RDA, it can be very tricky to remount them. Well, there’s an easy workaround for that: Buy two RDAs. When you’re ready to clean a coil, remove the cotton and dunk the entire RDA in your cleaning solution. While you’re cleaning that RDA, you can use the other one. Re-wick your coils with fresh cotton after cleaning them.