How to Fix a Leaking or Gurgling Pod System

Over the past few years, pod vaping systems have emerged as the most popular vaping devices by a wide margin. The release of the JUUL in 2015 changed everything. From that point forward, just about every smoker who switched to vaping did so with the JUUL or another device that looked and worked pretty much the same. When those people decided that it was time to upgrade to more capable vaping devices, they didn’t buy mods – they bought better pod systems.

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Pod System Leaking Gurgling Fix

Today, vape shops like ILL! HQ have nearly based their entire business models on selling the huge variety of pod systems and nicotine salt e-liquids that have appeared in JUUL’s wake. There are millions and millions of vapers in the world today who have never used bigger devices like box mods and have no interest in doing so.

With all of the interest that pod systems receive from the vaping community, it’s not surprising that the product category has evolved extremely quickly. We’ve already seen several generations of pod systems come and go, but the one thing all pod systems have in common is that they can all gurgle or leak occasionally. These are problems that arise due to the extremely small form factor and tight airflow characteristics of pod systems, and it’s difficult to avoid them entirely. You can, however, minimize the chance that your pod system will gurgle or leak by keeping a few simple tips in mind as you use your device.

Inhale Gently When Vaping

The biggest thing that you can do to prevent your pod system from leaking or gurgling is simply inhaling properly when you vape. Vaping might be a replacement for smoking, but that doesn’t mean you can puff on a vaping device exactly as you would puff on a cigarette. A cigarette, for one thing, is very narrow and has quite restrictive airflow. Even the smallest vaping devices tend to have much freer airflow characteristics than cigarettes.

Along with the difference in airflow characteristics, tobacco cigarettes have a second major functional difference from vaping devices. With a cigarette, you’ll get more smoke if you inhale more firmly. Your pod system, however, doesn’t work that way and won’t produce more vapor if you inhale with greater air pressure. The vapor production of any vaping device is limited by the efficiency of the heating coil and the device’s operational wattage.

What does all of that mean to you? It means that if you inhale as firmly with a pod system as you would with a cigarette, you’re going to have problems. The tiny airflow vents in a pod system can’t handle that level of air pressure, and you’ll end up sucking e-liquid from the pod’s reservoir into its center chimney. That’s what causes leaking and gurgling.

Do you want bigger clouds? The way to get big clouds without making your pod system leak is by using gentle air pressure and by puffing as slowly and deeply as possible. If you’re still not happy with your device’s cloud production, it’s time to get a new pod system.

Use the Right Type of E-Liquid

It’s not technically necessary to use nicotine salt e-liquid with a pod system. You can definitely have a good experience if you use a pod system with freebase nicotine e-liquid, but the trick is that you need to use the right e-liquid. I’ve discussed the VG/PG ratio of e-liquid elsewhere on this site, and nowhere is that more important than it is with pod systems.

All tanks and pods for vaping share a similar design in that you have a reservoir and an enclosed atomizer coil. E-liquid flows from the reservoir to the coil through small holes on the sides of the coil’s enclosure. When you use a tank, your coil’s wick holes are large and can accommodate many different types of e-liquid.

The wick openings in a pod system, on the other hand, are much smaller and are designed to accommodate an e-liquid with a VG/PG ratio of about 50/50. If you use an e-liquid that’s too thin, it’ll flow too quickly through the openings and will flood the atomizer coil, causing the pod to leak. If you use an e-liquid that’s too thick, on the other hand, you’ll have trouble getting it to flow efficiently through the pod. You’ll puff too firmly when vaping, and that’ll lead to the problems I mentioned above.

To avoid those problems and prevent your pod system from gurgling or leaking, you don’t need to use a nicotine salt e-liquid – but with almost all pod systems, you should use an e-liquid with a VG/PG ratio as close to 50/50 as possible.

Blow Your Pod Out Before Refilling It

Do you have a pod system that’s already leaking or gurgling? If so, you’ve discovered how unpleasant a gurgling pod system can make your vaping experience. The e-liquid caught inside your pod’s center air channel blocks the airflow, hurting the device’s vapor production. To make matters worse, a pod system that’s gurgling will occasionally spit e-liquid into your mouth – and when you’re using a high-strength nicotine salt e-liquid, that’s a pretty unpleasant experience.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix. Here’s what you need to do. If you don’t want to waste any e-liquid, you’ll need to wait until the pod is empty and you’re ready to refill it.

When your pod is ready for refilling, remove it from your device and hold a paper towel over the bottom while blowing hard through the top. That’ll push the e-liquid out of the pod’s center air channel and through the intake vents, restoring the pod’s normal airflow.

Remember that, if your pod is gurgling when you vape, there’s a good chance that it’s also leaking. When you remove your pod, take a cotton swab and wipe up any e-liquid that may have made its way into the chamber at the top of your device. That’ll prevent the e-liquid from entering the device’s internal electronics and causing permanent damage.

The 9 Signs You’re Vaping Wrong

Vaping is supposed to be enjoyable. If you don’t enjoy every puff, you’re probably doing something wrong. Correct these 9 common vaping mistakes now!

You’ve done your best to make the switch from smoking to vaping a permanent one. You’ve tried tweaking little things here and there — maybe you’ve tried a few different e-liquids — but nothing is quite doing it for you. You might not happy with the flavor. You keep getting a burned taste. Maybe you feel like you’re just not getting enough nicotine to achieve real satisfaction. You keep asking yourself one question: Am I vaping wrong?

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If you’re not happy with your experience and want to know if you might be vaping wrong, this article is for you. I’m going to help you vape better by describing the 9 most common mistakes that new vapers make. Correct these mistakes now and start having the vaping experience you’re supposed to have.

Am I Vaping Wrong
This guy may not own a car, but you can bet that he remembers to prime his coils. You be you, vaping scooter guy!

Inhaling Wrong (The Single Biggest Vaping Mistake!)

By far, the biggest mistake that new vapers make is attempting to puff on their e-cigarettes as if they were tobacco cigarettes. With a tobacco cigarette, you usually take shorter, firmer puffs because that’s what makes the paper burn faster. A vaping device, on the other hand, only operates at one temperature regardless of how firmly you puff. If you puff too hard, in fact, you’ll probably end up with e-liquid in your mouth. The way to puff on an e-cigarette is with slow, even air pressure.

Buying More Power Than You Need

Vaping Wrong Signs
I think that a smaller vape pen is usually the best choice for a beginner.

When you walk into a vape shop, you’re going to see an assortment of gear ranging from simple vape pens to colorful and fancy looking box mods. The box mods will definitely draw your eye. They’ll look like high-end equipment, and since switching from smoking to vaping is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make, good equipment is obviously something that you want. Here’s the thing, though: If you’re new to vaping, the simple vape pen is most likely the thing that you really want to buy. That’s true for two reasons.

  • A high-end box mod has a complicated menu system and a bunch of features that you probably won’t care about at all for quite some time. Switching to vaping already means that you’ll need to get used to doing things like charging your device, filling your tank and replacing used atomizer coils. Do you really want to learn a complicated menu system on top of all that?
  • High-end vaping equipment is usually designed for direct-to-lung inhaling because that’s what produces the biggest vapor clouds — and big clouds are what many vapers want. The problem, though, is that you’re used to inhaling from the mouth to the lungs if you’re a smoker or a recent convert from smoking. That’s what smaller vape pens are designed for. In that way, a small vaping device actually gives you a more cigarette-like experience than a large device.

Installing New Coils Improperly

Process of filling an electronic cigarette with liquid, on the desktop
Keep your vaping coils wet — especially when you first install them.

Have you ever gotten a burned taste when vaping right after installing a new coil? For that matter, do you feel like you always taste an unpleasant, burned harshness when you vape? There’s a good chance that you’re burning the wicks in your coils because you aren’t installing the coils properly.

A vaping coil has a cotton wick that keeps the heating wire wet with e-liquid. Now, what do you suppose happens when you put a red-hot heating wire next to a strip of dry cotton? The cotton burns, of course! It’s important to avoid using a new vaping coil until the wick has a chance to become completely saturated with e-liquid. To help things along, prime a new coil by putting a little e-liquid on the wick through the top and side of the coil. Install the coil, fill the tank and wait several minutes before vaping.

Continuing to Vape After Your Coil Is Burned Out

If you bought your first vaping kit from a local vape shop, you probably bought at least one bottle of e-liquid at the same time. You saw shelf after shelf of brightly colored labels with tasty sounding names, and you probably ended up with a sweet e-liquid that tasted just like candy. You probably thought that the e-liquid was delicious — for a few hours, at least. Then, you started to taste burned sugar. By the next day, you wondered why you ever liked the e-liquid in the first place because you couldn’t taste anything but burned, horrible harshness. What happened? Coil gunk happened.

Coil gunk is the product of burned sucralose from sweetened e-liquid. Coil gunk builds up so quickly on a vaping coil that you might find yourself tempted to just power through it and continue vaping with the same coil for as long as possible. Coils, after all, are expensive. I suggest, though, that you shouldn’t continue using a coil that tastes awful and burns your throat. Sweetened e-liquids are everywhere these days, and coil gunk is the top problem that most vapers face. You can either replace your coils constantly, or you can switch to an unsweetened e-liquid. Click the link above for some other ideas that can help.

Using Your Tank Until It’s Completely Dry

Have you ever read that you shouldn’t try to drive your car until the gas tank is completely empty? Sediment in the tank could enter your car’s fuel system and cause damage. A vaping tank is similar in that it should never be allowed to dry out completely. That’s because the e-liquid can only pass through the coil’s wick holes if it actually touches those holes. If the e-liquid doesn’t touch the holes, the wick dries out — and you know what happens to a dry vaping wick. Keep your tank topped up.

Failing to Stay Hydrated

Vaping Wrong
Creepy vaping yoga guy says, “I never forget to hydrate when I vape.”

Have you ever experienced a bit of dry mouth when vaping? That’s not abnormal. Vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol are the two most plentiful ingredients in any e-liquid, and both of those ingredients draw in moisture and trap it. That’s why both are used in shelf-stable foods; they prevent those foods from becoming stale. When you vape, you should replace the lost water by hydrating frequently.

Using the Wrong Nicotine Strength

The more powerful your vaping device and tank are, the more vapor the combination will produce — and the more vapor your vaping setup produces, the lower the nicotine strength of your e-liquid should be. If you’re using a vaping setup designed for direct-to-lung inhaling, your e-liquid should have a nicotine strength of about 3-6 mg. With a setup designed for mouth-to-lung inhaling, you should use a higher nicotine strength. You can find nicotine salt e-liquids with strengths up to 50 mg today, but I usually tell people that around 18 mg is a good starting point. If you really need that cigarette-like buzz, though, go for the 50. Here’s how you can tell if you’re using the wrong e-liquid nicotine strength.

  • If your nicotine strength is too low, you’ll have frequent strong cravings and may find it impossible to resist returning to smoking. You’ll use your e-liquid rapidly.
  • If your nicotine strength is too high, you might feel overly wired from the excess nicotine. You’ll probably experience severe irritation in your throat when vaping.

Using the Wrong VG/PG Ratio

If you’ve bought e-liquid a few times, you may have noticed that every bottle has a VG/PG ratio printed on the label. The ratio matters because it determines the thickness of the e-liquid. Thin e-liquids work best in smaller devices, and thick “Max VG” e-liquids work best in larger devices with accessories such as rebuildable atomizers. Does your vape taste burned if you don’t wait a minute or two after each puff? Your e-liquid is probably too thick. Use an e-liquid with more PG.

Buying the Same E-Liquid Over and Over

There’s a wide world of e-liquid out there, and you’re doing yourself no favors if you buy nothing but the same e-liquid. Cigarettes can only taste like cigarettes, but e-liquid can taste like anything that you can possibly imagine. If you aren’t experiencing all of those different flavors, you’re missing out on a major part of what makes vaping so great. You might even experience vaper’s tongue, the phenomenon in which your taste buds become so fatigued that they can no longer taste your e-liquid at all. Palate fatigue is real! Experiment with new flavors; it’s why vaping is so much fun.

Leaking Vape Tank: Fix It in 8 Easy Steps

Are you suffering from leaky vape tank syndrome? My 8 easy steps will stop your tank from leaking and get you back to vaping like a champ.

Do you know what’s not fun? Picking up your vaping device and discovering that your hand is now covered with e-liquid. That is most definitely not fun. Today’s vaping tanks may not leak as often as the tanks of the past did, but that’s little comfort when you’ve got a wet, sticky hand or a big puddle of e-liquid on your table. So, have you got a leaky vape tank that absolutely refuses to keep e-liquid in its place? Let’s fix that tank and get you back to vaping.

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Leaky Vape Tank

Disassemble, Check and Reassemble the Tank

Have you got a tank that leaks badly enough to dump its entire contents out the bottom? You’ve got a serious problem on your hands, and the cause of the problem is likely to be an assembly issue or a failing gasket. Start by disassembling the tank completely. Rinse the tank’s components in your sink and dry them with paper towels. When you bought your tank, did you notice that it came with a bag of spare silicone gaskets? That’s because the gaskets in a vape tank tend to stretch and tear over time. Examine your tank’s gaskets closely and replace them as needed.

The next most common reason why a vape tank leaks is because of assembly issues. The gaskets in your tank can only do their job if the tank’s threads are lined up and tightly screwed together. Reassemble the tank slowly, being especially careful not to cross the threads. If a thread doesn’t turn smoothly, don’t force it; back it up and try again. Assemble the tank so the components are just finger tight. Over-tightening the tank can warp the gaskets and may actually make the leaking problem worse.

Try a Different Coil

In a typical vape tank, air enters through the bottom vents and carries the vapor out the mouthpiece. In order for that system to work, the bottom of the coil is by necessity a big hole leading straight out the bottom of the tank. Aside from the partial vacuum in the tank’s reservoir, the only thing keeping the tank from losing all of its e-liquid is the coil’s cotton wick. When the wick is saturated with e-liquid, the interior and exterior of the coil reach a sort of pressure equilibrium, and the e-liquid in the reservoir stays put.

Some people have found, though, that coils from a few vaping product manufacturers have occasional quality control issues. Users have reported leaking issues with some very popular vape tanks — even a few that were released quite recently. For those users, trying a different coil resolved the issue.

Update Your Tank

On one level, today’s vape tanks aren’t that different from the tanks of the past. Every tank still has air holes, a reservoir and an atomizer coil. On another level, though, today’s tanks are different in every way. Quality control — among most product manufacturers, at least — is better than ever. Vape tank designs are also better than ever. Manufacturers have found more and more ways to coax ever more airflow out of their designs while making leaks less and less common. Are you trying to wring a few more months of use out of a tank that’s several years old? Save yourself the headache and pick up a new tank.

Try a Thicker E-Liquid

Vape Tank Leaking

Are you using a high-output vape tank with a big coil head? If you’ve been vaping for a few years, you’ve probably noticed that atomizer coils have only gotten bigger as people have demanded better and better vapor production. Maybe you haven’t noticed, though, that the wick openings on the side of a typical vaping coil have gotten bigger as well. That’s because e-liquid preferences have changed over the years. In the past, most e-liquids had VG/PG ratios that strongly favored the thinner PG. Today, though, more people than ever prefer thicker high-VG e-liquids for their bigger vapor clouds and fuller mouth feel. Vaping product manufacturers design their tanks to satisfy mainstream tastes — and that means a typical modern vaping tank will not work well with a high-PG e-liquid.

Do you ever leave your vaping device on a table overnight and get up to find that the e-liquid has begun to seep out through the air intake vents at the bottom of the tank? Does your vape tank gurgle often when you use it? Your e-liquid might be so thin that it’s seeping through the cotton wick and flooding the coil. Try an e-liquid with at least 50 percent VG. If that doesn’t fix your leaky vape tank, try an even thicker e-liquid.

Keep Your Tank Upright

Today’s vape tanks are less leak prone than ever, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything possible to give your tank a hand. Avoid storing your vaping device on its side for extended periods. All vape tanks are least likely to leak when they’re stored upright.

Don’t Overfill Your Tank

As I mentioned above, a partial vacuum forms inside a vape tank when you inhale through the mouthpiece. The vacuum helps to keep the e-liquid in the reservoir when you aren’t using the tank. When you are using the tank, the act of inhaling creates a pressure differential that draws the e-liquid into the coil’s wick. The magic doesn’t happen, though, if there’s no room in the reservoir to form a vacuum. When you fill your tank, leave a little empty space at the top of the reservoir. If there’s no space, there’s no vacuum — and your tank may leak.

Note that leaving some extra space in your tank becomes doubly important during elevation changes. If you’re going to bring your e-cigarette on a flight or a drive through the mountains, do so with the tank at least half empty. If the tank is full, the expanding air inside the tank will push the e-liquid out.

Don’t Inhale Too Firmly

It is extremely common for newer vapers to puff too firmly when vaping. An e-cigarette isn’t the same as a tobacco cigarette. If you puff more firmly on a tobacco cigarette, the paper burns more quickly. With a vaping device, though, the operational wattage largely determines the vapor production. The device won’t release more vapor if you puff more firmly. You may, however, suck excess e-liquid through the cotton wick and flood the coil. To avoid that problem — and enjoy the biggest vapor clouds your device can produce — use a slow and steady inhaling pattern.

Keep the Chimney Dry

Do you find that your tank produces vapor with a somewhat “wet” character? Do you occasionally feel like you’re getting tiny e-liquid droplets in your mouth? Some vaping tanks — particularly those that use Clapton coils and other twisted coil designs — tend to produce unusually large e-liquid droplets, and if you have that type of tank, you’re going to find that your tank spits and gurgles frequently. That’s because many of the larger e-liquid droplets will stick to the interior of the tank’s chimney and run back down to the coil. If you get enough excess e-liquid in the coil assembly, some of it will leak out. Prevent that from happening by running a twisted paper towel down the chimney periodically to absorb the excess e-liquid.

Coil Gunk

Coil gunk is gross. If you’re sick of getting that horrible burned sugar taste when you vape, I’ve got 14 easy tips that can help.

Coil gunk is an e-cigarette problem that many e-smokers know all too well. How many times have you experienced this scenario? You’ve been using your favorite sweet and creamy e-liquid non-stop for a few days, and you begin to notice a change in the flavor. You ignore it at first, but before long, it tastes like you’re getting dry hits even though your tank is full or your wick is yet. You look at your atomizer coil, and this is what you see:


Pretty gross, right? There are quite a few factors that contribute to atomizer coil gunk. No atomizer coil lasts forever, but there are some conditions that contribute to rapid coil gunk buildup. The good news is that those conditions are, for the most part, completely avoidable — a good thing if you’re using a tank with pre-made coils and can’t afford to drop a new coil in your tank every day. Ready to learn more about coil gunk and decide on a plan of action? Read on!

What Is Coil Gunk?

Coil gunk is a dark crust that forms on an atomizer coil, eventually discoloring the wick as well. Eventually, the crust becomes so thick that you can taste it when you vape — most likely because the coil is actually burning some of the gunk off. After a while, coil gunk makes the experience of vaping so unpleasant that you have no choice but to replace or clean the coil.

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Quite simply, coil gunk is residue. It’s all of the stuff in your e-liquid that doesn’t vaporize cleanly — flavors, sweeteners and other components. Eventually, it claims every coil. Today, though, coil gunk accumulates more quickly than ever. For that, you can blame the sweet, rich e-liquids that many e-smokers prefer today. You can also blame the popularity of sub-ohm tanks and rebuildable atomizers (RBAs) that consume more e-liquid than ever.

If you have an e-liquid that tastes exactly like your favorite dessert — and it’s so sweet and irresistible that you can’t put it down — it probably causes coil gunk. I’ve had pre-built coils gunk up after less than a full day of use. At $2-3 per coil, that’s not a lot of fun. If coil gunk is getting you down, read on to learn about some of the most common causes. You can decide for yourself whether changing your vaping habits in an effort to reduce coil gunk would be worthwhile.

What Causes Coil Gunk?


By far, sweeteners cause more coil gunk than anything else. The carbohydrates and sugars don’t fully vaporize; instead, they collect on the coil and eventually burn. If  you want to avoid a gunked up coil, the absolute best thing that you can do is avoid any e-liquid with sweeteners.

Take a look at the video above, in which someone drops a red hot ball of nickel into a pan of sucralose (Splenda). You might think that a glowing ball of nickel and an atomizer coil have nothing in common with one another — until you watch the video and see that, when they pull the ball out, what’s on it looks an awful lot like coil gunk.

By far, sweeteners cause coil gunk more rapidly than anything else.

I’ve noticed that Black Note and Halo e-liquids, in particular, seem to cause far less gunk than a lot of products from other e-liquid companies. In Halo’s case, I believe it is because Halo e-liquids contain less sweeteners than other brands — and often no sweetener at all. Black Note is a very gunk-free e-liquid simply because the tobacco extracts are so well filtered and few additional ingredients are added to their e-liquids.

I know, I know. Sweet e-liquids are very tasty. I love my Mad Hatter e-liquid, too. I’m just saying that if you prefer really sweet e-liquids, you’re probably best off using a tank or atomizer that you can rebuild — or at least re-wick — because you’re going to get coil gunk really quickly.

High Wattage, Chain Vaping

Do you enjoy taking very long puffs when you vape — particularly at fairly high wattage settings? You might think that you have a problem with coil gunk, but the problem may actually be that you’re burning your wick. If you use cotton, for example, it’s important to bear in mind that cotton is exceptionally absorbent — but it doesn’t wick very well. In other words, liquid might not travel to the coil as quickly as the coil can vaporize it. Take enough long puffs consecutively, and your wick will at least partially dry out. You’ll burn your wick away, little by little.

If you have an RBA or RTA, It’s actually really easy to tell if you’re vaping too frequently and killing your wick. Simply access the coil and tug one side of the wick with a pair of tweezers. The wick will break easily, and you’ll see a big black spot in the portion of the wick that was directly under the center of the coil. Take a look at the picture below:


In this picture, you can plainly see that the cotton wick has split in the middle from burning.

If you’re using a tank system, it’s not so easy to tell whether you’re killing your wick. It’s probably safe to assume that you are, though, if you need to replace your coil every day. If you look inside your coil and see black after just a day of use, that’s another likely sign.

NET E-Liquids


I have experience with two types of Naturally Extracted Tobacco e-liquids — Black Note and everything else. Most of the time, an NET e-liquid has a very noticeable “ashtray” taste. That’s because all of the tiny tobacco solids in the extract weren’t filtered out. Those solids end up sticking to the coil and burning. Eventually, the burned tobacco solids form a crust of carbon on the coil. The coil gunk spreads and discolors the wick, and eventually you’ve got a foul tasting e-cigarette.

What can you do about a crusty coil caused by NET e-liquids? In my opinion, you should give Black Note a try. Black Note makes the only NET e-liquids I know of that don’t form coil gunk.

VG-Based E-Liquids

If you’ve done any reading online about coil gunk before coming here, you’ve probably seen someone claim that an e-liquid with a VG/PG ratio that heavily flavor vegetable glycerin will cause coil gunk more quickly than other e-liquid formulations. I haven’t seen that, myself. I actually have no reason to believe that vegetable glycerin causes coil gunk. However, it is true that VG doesn’t carry flavors as well as PG. For that reason, some vendors add extra flavor to their “Max VG” e-liquids. If you consume more flavoring agents, you’re going to get coil gunk more quickly.

Dark E-Liquids


Some people find that darker e-liquids cause coil gunk more quickly than clear e-liquids. I have no opinion on the matter because I find that dark e-liquids are almost always sweet — and it’s well known that sweet e-liquids cause coil gunk more quickly than anything else. I find that very sweet e-liquids gunk coils up at about the same rate regardless of their color. It could be, though, that the same compounds that make some e-liquids darker than others also collect on coils rather than vaporizing fully.

How to Fix Coil Gunk

Clean Your Coil

Most of the people reading this article probably use tank systems with pre-built atomizer coils. It is technically possible to re-wick and dry burn a pre-made coil, but doing so is often difficult. You really won’t get anything like the performance of a new coil unless you replace the gunky coil entirely. If your wick isn’t burned at all, though, you may be able to restore some of the lost performance by cleaning your coil.

To attempt cleaning your coil, I suggest swishing it in a strong grain alcohol — something that’s safe to drink. If you have a very small nylon brush, you could also try scrubbing the inside of the coil. Rinse the coil with very hot water, and leave it out to dry completely before priming it with e-liquid and attempting to use it again. Usually, the same conditions that cause coil gunk also ruin cotton wicks. So, although you can try cleaning your pre-built coils, you may have limited success. Still, it’s worth a try if gunk has ruined your last coil.

Switch to a Rebuildable Atomizer

If you deal with coil gunk constantly and don’t want to change your usual e-liquid, you should probably consider using a rebuildable atomizer. Pre-made coils for tank systems usually cost about $2-3 each. To a certain extent, coil gunk is simply a function of the amount of e-liquid you consume. So, if you’re replacing your coil every couple of days and going through 10-15 ml of e-liquid daily, you could easily end up paying more for vaping than you would for smoking.

Switch to a rebuildable atomizer, and you’ll cut your costs significantly. Instead of spending a few dollars for each new coil, you’ll spend a few cents. With a rebuildable atomizer, it’s also much easier to clean the coil and put in a new wick — which is really all that you need to do to get rid of coil gunk.

It’s finicky and sometimes frustrating, but I’ve really been enjoying the iJoy Tornado Nano recently.

Change Wick Material

If you’re constantly torching your wick by vaping at high wattage settings or not giving your coil a sufficient break between buffs, you may benefit from a switch to a different coil material. People love cotton because it’s cheap, it works fairly well as a wick and the flavor quality is high. One thing cotton isn’t good at, though, is staying intact at extremely high temperatures. You may have a better experience if you switch to a different wick material such as silica or ceramic, since both of those materials can handle high coil temperatures without burning.


Re-Wick and Clean

[yellow_box]Note: check the bottom of this article for information about re-wicking pre-built atomizer coils.[/yellow_box]

If you’ve never cleaned a gunky RBA or rebuildable tank atomizer (RTA) coil before, it’s really not so hard to do — but there are several ways to go about it. The first thing you’ll want to do is remove your wick, assuming that you’re using cotton. Whether it’s from the coil gunk or constant vaping, the wick is going to be scorched, discolored and unusable. So, you’ll need to remove it and throw it away. I like to disassemble my RBAs and RTAs fully and rinse them in the sink before I begin, since I don’t like getting e-liquid on my hands and re-wicking a coil is always a good excuse to give everything a good cleaning.

Use your fingers or a pair of tweezers to gently tug the wick out of the coil. Throw the wick away.

That’s the one aspect of cleaning a gunky coil that pretty much everyone agrees on. You need to get rid of the wick. The best way to clean a gunky coil is a subject of intense debate, though, so I’ll provide a few options and let you select one for yourself.

Dry Burn

Probably the most popular method of cleaning coil gunk is the dry burn. To dry burn your coil, simply pulse the fire button a few seconds at a time until the coil begins to glow red. During the dry burn, the coil burns away the gunk. You should be left with nothing but dark carbon on your coil after dry burning, and you can get rid that by rubbing the coil with a wet cotton swab, using a small brush or running some water over the coil. Once the coil is completely clean, you can add a new wick and continue vaping.


What are the downsides of dry burning a coil? For one, you are actually burning something. That’s going to create fumes, and you might inhale those fumes. Nobody actually knows what the implications of that are.

There’s also the possibility of a coil breaking and potentially causing a short if you heat it too much. I actually ruined a very nice regulated box mod that way. The coil popped, the mod made a sort of screeching sound, and then the screen turned off. Obviously, that was a potentially dangerous scenario. I learned that day that a dull red glow on the coil is perfectly sufficient when dry burning.

Lastly, you should know that some types of wire don’t really take well to dry burning. Titanium, nickel and nichrome all have potential issues associated with dry burning. Unless you use a Kanthal coil, I’d really suggest cleaning the coil in some other way.

Liquid Cleaning

You can actually do a lot to de-gunk your coils simply by using a bit of liquid. After removing the wick, unscrew the coils from their posts and drop them in some very hot water. After a bit of time, the coil gunk will start to fall off. If necessary, you can give it a bit of mechanical help with a brush or cotton swab.

You can often dunk the entire atomizer base — coils, build deck and all — in liquids without worrying if you don’t want to bother with reattaching the coils when you’re done. You might want to be careful, though, with metals such as copper that discolor easily.

Some people suggest using other liquids such as vodka, grain alcohol or Coca-Cola for cleaning coil gunk. It seems to me that an alcohol that’s safe to drink is acceptable as a coil cleaning solution. I use that method sometimes, myself. The Coca-Cola method supposedly works very well, thanks to the acids in the beverage. However, the same acids that eat away the gunk on your coil could potentially eat away at and degrade the coil itself. Doesn’t sound like a great idea to me.

Ultrasonic Cleaning

Do you have an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner? If you do, fill it with plain water and drop in your coils. The ultrasonic waves provide plenty of mechanical help for removing coil gunk, and you don’t need to worry about residues since it only requires water.

Clean All of the Coil Gunk

Whatever method you use, the most important thing is that you clean away all of the residue on a coil before using it again. Otherwise, the residue that’s left will burn, the wick will degrade almost immediately and you’ll need to start the cleaning process all over again.

Re-Wicking Pre-Built Atomizers


It is actually possible to re-wick a pre-built atomizer head, as evidenced by the picture above. Whether you can do it easily, though, depends on the atomizer’s design. With some atomizer heads, you can simply pull the pin and insulator off of the bottom and push the coil and wick through the top. Unwrap the wick from the coil, replace it with a new wick and reassemble the atomizer. Make certain that you return the coil’s positive and negative leads to their original positions. One is usually slightly longer than the other; that one goes between the pin and insulator. The shorter lead goes between the insulator and the body of the atomizer.

Vape Tongue

Whether you call it vape tongue, vaper’s tongue or simply vaping fatigue, the symptom is the same: you’re no longer able to taste your e-liquids. Vape tongue is one of the more common complaints reported by frequent e-cigarette users. While no one agrees on a single effective solution for vape tongue, my research suggests that there are quite a few different reasons why someone might suddenly become unable to detect the full range of flavor in an e-liquid. Curing vape tongue, then, might be as simple as identifying the cause.

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Vape Tongue

Taste Bud Fatigue and Vape Tongue

Experts believe that taste bud fatigue primarily occurs for two reasons: either you’ve consumed too much of a single strong flavor or you’ve consumed too many things that are similar — but not exactly the same — and can no longer taste their differences. With e-cigarettes, these same scenarios can lead to vape tongue. Is your favorite e-liquid an extremely strong cinnamon flavor? Have you been spending time sampling as many tobacco or custard e-liquids as possible in hopes of finding a favorite? Citrus and other very tart e-liquids may also contribute to vape tongue.

Stay Hydrated

The base substances used to create e-liquids — propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin — have the ability to absorb and trap water. This can lead to dry mouth and ultimately dehydration. On their own, these conditions can make flavors more difficult to perceive. When you vape, though, dehydration is made worse by the oily film that can form on the tongue, covering the taste buds. To date, scientific studies concerning e-cigarettes have focused primarily on issues such as air quality and potential cancer risk. Therefore, there are no solid guidelines regarding how much a person should increase his or her water intake when vaping.

However, there are some generalities that you might find helpful. If your mouth consistently feels dry when vaping, increase your water intake. According to the Mayo Clinic, mild to moderate dehydration can also cause decreased or yellower/darker urine, dry skin, headaches, constipation, dizziness or lightheadedness. In these situations, it might be wise not only to increase your water intake, but also to consider cutting back on vaping a bit. You may find that this alleviates vape tongue as well as a variety of other conditions.

Use Only One E-Liquid

Vape tongue can occur as a result of using too great a variety of e-liquids in a short timespan. Some people, for example, have several different tanks or cartomizers that they keep filled with all of their favorite flavors. This allows them to switch from one e-liquid to another at will. Other people like to sample as many e-liquids as possible within a specific flavor category, such as menthols or caramel flavors. This can end up creating a situation similar to what you might experience when sampling many different perfumes at once — you can’t discern the subtle differences between different e-liquids any more and can only taste the base notes. Try limiting the variety for a while and sticking with just one favorite flavor.

Try Unflavored E-Liquid

This is a solution that you’ll see suggested over and over if you browse e-cigarette forums in search of a solution for vape tongue. You still like the experience of vaping — and of course, you still need your nicotine — but you can’t taste your e-liquid. In fact, you may not enjoy its flavor at all. Get through it by using an unflavored e-liquid for a while. Halo Fusion is the best performing unflavored e-liquid I’m aware of. You might also find an unflavored e-liquid helpful if your vape tongue is actually the result of having a cold.

Clean Your Mouth

I mentioned above that the oily substances in e-liquid, combined with a lack of adequate hydration, can cause a sticky film to form inside the mouth. As you can probably imagine, this can really dull one’s sense of taste. Good oral hygiene is obviously wise for anyone, but it is especially important when your mouth is constantly filled with vaporized vegetable glycerin. Consider adding a tongue scraper to your oral care routine, as well; it can help to break up this film while also removing dead cells, food particles and microorganisms.

Reset Your Taste Buds

For some e-smokers, a good palate cleanser is all that’s needed to cure vape tongue. Some of the most popular palate cleansers include water, milk, coffee, tea, lemons, lemon sorbet, dark chocolate and pickled ginger. According to a study published in the March 2009 issue of Chemosensory Perception, though, plain table water crackers are the most effective of all palate cleansers. The study found that water crackers were effective in cleansing the palate of all food types tested. In 2014, Wine Enthusiast asked six sommeliers what they used to cleanse their palates between wine tastings. Their suggestions included pineapple, banana, beer, tortilla chips, beef and Chablis.

Olfactory Fatigue

As you’re likely aware, our overall perception of taste comes from our sense of smell as well as our taste buds. Many people explore this phenomenon at a young age by attempting to taste various foods while holding their noses. Unless you happen to be a supertaster, you’ve no doubt noticed that holding your nose severely diminishes your ability to taste food. In this way, olfactory fatigue can cause vape tongue. This is particularly likely if you exhale through the nose or sample many different e-liquids in a short timespan. The most popular solution for olfactory fatigue, bar none, is coffee beans. In fact, some perfume sellers keep coffee on hand for customers to sniff between samples. However, this creates a bit of a problem for those whose olfactory fatigue results from sampling many coffees. In this case, coffee experts suggest that the next best solution is your own skin, sans perfume or cologne. If you’re suffering from vape tongue and nothing else seems to work, try taking a whiff of your own arm. It just might help!

Illness Can Cause Vape Tongue

If you have a cold, you’ve probably noticed that it can result in a diminished ability to taste your food. The same would be true of your e-liquid. Many common classes of medications are also linked with changes in perceived taste, including some antihistamines, antibiotics and some cholesterol and heart-related medications. If you believe that a medication you’re taking is changing the taste of your favorite e-liquid, finding a solution might be as simple as finding a different e-liquid unless you are only using the medication temporarily. If you are unable to taste your foods and e-liquids because of illness, try switching to an unflavored e-liquid until you start to feel better.

Old E-Liquid

Some people believe that the taste of a newly mixed e-liquid can be improved by “steeping,” or allowing the bottle to rest unused for several days or weeks. During this process, the nicotine in the e-liquid begins to oxidize and some alcohol-based flavors may begin to evaporate. Although I personally have never owned a bottle of e-liquid that I thought improved with age, many e-smokers do swear by this technique. One thing everyone agrees on, though, is that there is a point where an e-liquid simply dies. If you have ever put a bottle of e-liquid away and forgotten about it for several months, you probably found that it tasted virtually nothing like you remembered. This isn’t a case of vape tongue — it’s simply that the e-liquid has aged for far too long and lost most of its flavor.

Dirty Equipment

Whether your preferred vaping setup uses cartomizers, atomizers or tanks, one component is almost always the same: the heating coil. Over long periods of repeatedly vaporizing oily e-liquids, residue will begin to collect on the coil. This leads to two problems. First, the coil will have difficulty working as well as it should, leading to diminished vapor production and flavor. Second, a portion of what you inhale will be the residue collected on the coil, which will alter the flavor of your e-liquid in ways you won’t enjoy. If your equipment is old and dirty, it might cause a sensation similar to that of vape tongue. Many e-smokers advocate cleaning old coils in grain alcohol or hot water. Personally, I have never found this to restore much of the coil’s original performance. This solution might work as a temporary stopgap, though, until you are able to obtain a new coil.

E-Cigarette Problem: Leaking

I imagine that just about every e-smoker has experienced an e-cigarette leaking at one time or another. When this happens, it doesn’t just mean that you’ve lost some of your e-liquid — it might mean that you’ve stained your clothes or your handbag as well. I know this problem all too well; I fill my own cartomizers, and I never leave the house without a small e-cigarette in my pocket. More than once, that pocket had a little spot of e-liquid on it by the time I got home. So, what do you do about an e-cigarette leaking? I’ve picked up a few tricks that I think you might find helpful.

E-Cigarette Leaking

Why Is My E-Cigarette Leaking?

An e-cigarette atomizer or cartomizer is designed to hold a small amount of e-liquid in place and keep the e-cigarette going for several uses before it needs refilling. This might be a wick, a bit of polyfill or a hollow reservoir. If your e-cigarette is leaking, the short answer is that you’re attempting to put more e-liquid into your e-cigarette than it can actually hold — but on its own, that information may not be of much help. To solve an e-cigarette leaking problem permanently, you need to know why it is happening.

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Leaking E-Cigarette Cartomizer

The traditional e-cigarette cartomizer has a very simple design; a filler material is wrapped around a tube, and at the bottom of the tube is an opening with at least one heating coil. The heat from the coil pulls e-liquid out of the filler material, vaporizes it and sends the vapor up through the tube. If you’ve been using e-cigarettes for a while, you know that you can keep a cartomizer going for quite some time by occasionally adding a few drops of e-liquid to the filler material. When refilling a cartomizer this way, problems can happen when you add e-liquid so quickly that it can’t seep into the filler material. When this happens, e-liquid pools at the top and eventually travels down the center air tube — a direct path out through the bottom of the cartomizer. Overfilling a cartomizer can also cause this problem, which is especially common when the heating coil is dying. This brings me to the next common cause of e-cigarette leaking problems.

Leaking E-Cigarette Atomizer

Dripping e-liquid into an atomizer is a sure way to taste the pure flavor of your e-liquid with no compromise in vapor production. The problem with dripping, though, is that an atomizer has no filler material or reservoir to hold e-liquid in suspension; all it has is a wick. I’ve found that even experienced e-smokers tend to drip too much e-liquid into their atomizers when their heating coils are about to die. Because you aren’t getting the amount of vapor you expect, you naturally conclude that you haven’t used enough e-liquid. Before you know it, your e-cigarette is leaking and you’ve got e-liquid all over your hands. You may be able to clean your atomizer to prolong its life. For me, though, cleaned atomizers have never performed as well as new ones. I think it’s a far better practice to simply buy a new atomizer every 2-3 weeks.

Leaking E-Cigarette Cartridge

I know there are still a few of you out there using three-piece e-cigarettes with disposable cartridges. I understand the appeal; they’re incredibly inexpensive and they do work well the majority of the time. However, you might want to consider upgrading your battery if you haven’t already. Some companies selling three-part e-cigarettes may also be selling older automatic batteries with extremely high sensitivity levels. This type of battery can turn on and begin vaporizing e-liquid if you simply shake it — so you can imagine what might happen if you walk around with it in your pocket — something you should definitely avoid. Alternatively, switch to a manual battery that only works when you want it to — or ditch the three-part e-cigarette altogether. Read my article about the best e-cigarette for beginners to learn more about this.

E-Cigarette Problem: Gurgling

When you use an electronic cigarette designed for dripping such as the eGo e-cigarette or one of the many USA-made e-cigarettes, you have to maintain a constant balance. If you add too little e-liquid to the atomizer and the heating coil becomes dry, you’ll receive no vapor when you puff — or worse, you’ll sting your throat. Add too much e-liquid, though, and the atomizer will make a gurgling noise. When this happens, there’s little that you can do except continue vaping through it or give your e-cigarette a quick cleaning. I’ll also discuss what to do if you have a gurgling e-cigarette cartomizer or clearomizer.

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E-Cigarette Problem: No Vapor

E-cigarette technology is still quite new. Although great advancements have been made in the last couple of years, you may still experience occasional e-cigarette problems and it can be helpful to know how to troubleshoot them. The most common problem you might experience with your e-cigarette is that you puff on it and no vapor is produced. Why does this happen? The most common reason is that the heating coil in the atomizer or cartomizer is dry. However, it could also happen due to a part failure or simply because the battery needs to be recharged.

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The E-Cigarette Free Trial Scam

You’ll see e-cigarette free trial offers frequently as you browse the Web. For a small shipping fee, you receive an e-cigarette battery, a USB charger and a few refill cartridges — a basic starter kit. If you keep the e-cigarette, you’ll automatically receive a supply of refill cartridges each month. On the surface, this might sound like a decent bargain. However, I have never seen an e-cigarette free trial that wasn’t a scam. If you fall victim to one, there’s a good chance that you will be turned off from e-smoking for life. Learn why you should stay far, far away from these offers.

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Crescent Canna is America's leading source for federally legal, potent THC products shipped straight to your door nationwide. Crescent's unique line of THC edibles includes gummies, cereal bars, seltzer and more. Shop the selection now. Use the coupon code "25MOON" when checking out for a 25% discount on all products excluding powders, bundles and seltzers.

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