Last updated on November 20th, 2017
Proper Cleaning of Your Vaporizer’s Clearomizer or Metal Tank
If you're using an e-cigarette vaporizer with a tank system, rather than a traditional e-cig that uses pre-filled cartridge, you can improve the taste of your vape, and extend the life of your atomizer by giving those part a proper cleaning every few weeks.
Extending the life of your atomizer coil is economical, but there's also a health benefit of cleaning your tank. Mouthpieces and tanks not only collect e-liquid gunk and residue, they collect germs. Atomizers should be replaced every 4-6 weeks, but most styles can be washed a few times before you toss them.
What Types of Atomizers and Tanks Can Be Cleaned Before You Replace Them?
Traditional (cigalike) cartridges and the slim, fill-it-yourself clear cartridges like V2's ExBlank tank or Vertx cartridges do not clean up well, because of their slim styling. Those you must replace with an entirely new cartridge, but if you use a tank with any of the following atomizer coils, you can clean it.
- Top Coils
- Single Bottom Coils
- Dual Bottom Coils
- Built-in (Pre-Built) Coils
Unless you rebuild your own RBA or RDA atomizer, (meaning that you replace the coil and cotton wick yourself), you're using either a top coil, bottom coil, or a built-in (pre-built) coil atomizer.
This ecig tank cleaning guide applies to those last four styles. Note, atomizers with a pre-built coils (those where the cotton is visible through small holes in the atomizer) are state-of-the-art now and have a different cleaning method!
You can use my cleaning methods for all types of atomizers, but never take any atomizer apart! Also remember that after cleaning, allow the atty to dry completely. If you don't, you'll get that annoying gurgling noise when inhaling.
Some Popular Atomizer/Coil Examples are:
- HALO CIG'S TRITON TANK, AND V2'S EXBLANK TANK ALL HAVE A TOP COILS
- MANY eGo STYLE VAPE PENS (LIKE VAPORFI'S PRO 3 USE A BOTTOM COIL
- VAPORFI'S ROCKET3 HAS A BUILT-IN COIL.
This only applies to
- Top Coils
- Single Bottom Coils
- Dual Bottom Coils
Clean your Clearomizer or Tank at the sink or fill a large pan with fresh water. Have a towel or paper towel handy. If you are cleaning different types of Tanks do them one at a time so parts do not get mixed up.
- Cleaning Step #1
Shut off your battery and unscrew the tank from the battery. Empty any remaining eliquid from your tank.
- Cleaning Step #2
Unscrew the atomizer part from the base piece of the tank and remove the mouthpiece from the system.
Most glass tanks, like the early model Kanger ProTank2 Mini (shown) can be taken apart completely for a super thorough cleaning.
For newbies: You may want to take a photo of what goes where – especially the atomizer and base of bottom coil tanks. Putting all the parts back together can be very tricky, as some parts screw easily into more than one part of the system. I’ve screwed many an atomizer in backward.
- Cleaning Step #3
Close the sink stopper or place something over the drain to prevent losing your ecig parts.
Turn on the water and begin rinsing the parts, flushing them with fresh water.
If you’re cleaning a top coil atomizer gently clean the wick threads. Never pull on them or unravel them if they are twisted threads. You can easily destroy the atomizer coils.
You can gently remove any plastic thread holders or rubber rings but make sure you remember how to replace them and don’t let them get mixed up with parts from other Clearomizer/Tank systems.
If you notice any dark spots on the wicks near the coil, don’t try to rub them off. You’re only going to wear out the wicks.
Remember, cleaning your atomizer gives it some added longevity, but it will never give you the pure taste of a new coil.
For a Squeaky Good Clean
It’s almost impossible to get the fragrance of your last e-liquid flavor from any part that’s plastic and some of the older tanks are made of polycarbonate plastic. The small rubber parts really absorb flavors and fragrances.
Newer, higher end tanks made of pyrex and glass tanks won’t retain flavors if you wash them. They also won't crack when you use certain e-liquid flavors!
If you want to do a really thorough job, especially if you’re planning to refill the tank with a different e-liquid flavor, get a small container or ceramic cup and fill it with enough vodka or gin to cover your ecig tank parts. Use a different jar for each set of parts. You can also use isopropyl (not rubbing) alcohol, but something edible is always nicer.
Let your parts soak overnight or for at least 2 hours. Then rinse them carefully making sure there’s no chance they can slip down the drain.
Set the parts out to dry on a towel or paper towel for several hours or until completely dry.
The trickiest part is reassembling the Clearomizer/Tank system so refer to your photos if you have them.
What About the Built-in (Pre-Built) Coils?
Ah…there's the rub! Actually rubbing the windows (where the cotton wick shows through). Use a cloth soaked in alcohol. This is the recommended way to clean them. The manufacturers warn not use water!
That said, I have personally soaked this type of atty in vodka for a few hours, letting it dry out thoroughly. it did get rid of some of the old ejuice, but it wasn't long before it burnt out.
NOTE: You may get away with just firing your mod until the juice has all been vaporized from the cotton. That said, I really suggest replacing those built-in coil atomizers for optimal vaping.
So, while cleaning your vaporizer’s atomizer can extend it's life, cleaning your mouthpiece and tank will help you to maintain the full flavor of your e-liquids.