How to Clean Vape Coils and Vape Tanks

How to Clean Vape Coils and Vape Tanks

**Disclaimer: All vaping products are meant for adult consumers. Please use products responsibly**

In this article, we will show you how to clean vape coils and tanks. But before we go into details, let's understand the anatomy of a vape and how the different parts work. By the end of this article, you will be a vape expert and ready to clean and maintain your vape properly. 

Anatomy of a Vaping Device

Vape Tanks or the Cartomizer 

After the battery, the core part of a vape is a vape tank or the cartomizer, sometimes referred to as the pod or cartridge. The vape tank plays a role similar to a car's gas tank. Tanks store your e-juice flavor before the atomizer vaporizes it. Unless you are using a disposable one, tanks are refillable. There are many different tanks in the market, so the more experienced you get, the more different mods you will play around with. Most experienced vapers prefer sub-ohm tanks, like the Freemax M Pro. Sub-ohm tanks help get more flavor out of every pull. 

Types of Vape Tanks 


Cartomizer combines the coil and reservoir and is considered one of the most basic types of tanks in the market that you usually see in cig-a-like devices. It has a cylindrical shape and a heating coil inside surrounded by a large wick. Although you can refill a cartomizer, it is tedious work. As a result, in most cases, they are intended to be disposable. 


Clearomizer came after the cartomizers. The name refers to this tank's transparency, which allows you to see how much liquid is left to avoid running on empty. Depending on which model of clearomizer you use, you can unscrew either the top or the bottom to remove the cap and refill the tank or replace the coil. Clearomizers are used in inexpensive vape devices like vape pens. 

Vape Tank

Like the clearomizers, a tank can be easily unscrewed if you need to replace the coil or juice. Tanks cost more than clearomizers but save you money in the long run because they last a lot longer. Moreover, they offer a greater level of customization and higher quality experience. Tanks are versatile and can be attached to many different modes, so you can affix them to more powerful vape gear to have a greater level of control over wattage. Keep in mind that tanks can sometimes leak liquid from the airflow holes. To avoid it, you must keep the device clean and timely to replace its parts. 

Sub-Ohm Vape Tanks


Sub-ohm tanks offer what some people call "the ultimate vape experience". These tanks have a tolerance to coils under one ohm. Ohm is a measure of electrical resistance and is determined by the coil's resistance and the battery's output. The advantage of low resistance is that you can turn up the wattage to make your vape experience more flavorful. Sub-ohm tanks need more power than the other types of vape tanks, so make sure to choose a power device carefully and check minimum resistance levels when purchasing a sub-ohm tank and a mod separately. 

The Atomizer of the Vaping Device

The atomizer is what makes vaping possible because it is what actually converts your e-juice into vapor. The atomizer connects to the battery directly. That's why it is crucial not to overheat your vaping device. The coil inside every atomizer turns e-juice into vapor and helps you create those amazing clouds! In general, most atomizers are between 23-25mm wide. But if you have been vaping for a while, we recommend you try larger models. Some atomizers have organic cotton coils that can be disposed of and replaced. So you can customize the type of coil you are vaping with. 

Vape Coils 


There is a wide variety of coil types. They are generally made of stainless steel, titanium, kanthal, nichrome or nickel. 

The essential part of the coil and, probably, of the entire vape is the "wick." The wick soaks up and absorbs all of that e-juice. Depending on how often you want to add e-liquid and the amount of flavor you are looking for, you can select different wicking types. For the best experience, try things like The Freemax Kanthal Double Mesh Coil

Types of Vape Atomizers and Coil Heads 

The variety of atomizers available to the vaping community keeps increasing. As a result, vape enthusiasts can better customize their vaping experience. Each type of atomizer is different and has its own advantages and disadvantages, including ease of maintenance and cleaning. 

Disposable Atomizers

Disposable atomizers are very popular among people new to vaping. They are usually included with the most starter kits, inexpensive and widely available. Once disposable atomizers are hard to draw air through, it is time to replace them. Because of their low prices, they are easy and quick to replace once they reach the end of their useful lifespan. 

You need to frequently replace these atomizers and lack features found on rebuildable and replaceable atomizers, making it difficult to change flavors. Despite all their downsides, including lack of flavor and vapor production, disposable atomizers are an excellent choice for new vapers. 

Replaceable Atomizers

The most commonly used atomizers today are atomizers with replaceable coils. Coil heads in these atomizers are generally replaceable and, in most cases, can be screwed in and out of the device easily. Replaceable atomizers can be easily washed if you wish to change flavors quickly. The cost of replacement coils over time is undoubtedly lower when compared to disposable ones. 

However, if you are looking for a more customizable experience or enjoy working with your hands, rebuildable atomizers might be the best choice for you. 

Rebuildable Atomizers

With rebuildable atomizers, you can have the most customizable vaping experience. They are capable of the most outstanding flavor and vapor production. They are also the most cost-effective, even though the initial cost of the rebuildable atomizer and its supplies is often higher than other types of atomizers. Although most rebuildable atomizers are relatively easy to use, some people find rebuilding atomizers and building their own coils time-consuming. As a result, this type is preferred mostly by advanced vapers. But with a little knowledge, care, and practice, you will find them simple to use and easy to rebuild. Different coil sizes, wire sizes, wicking material, and resistance coils give a different vaping experience. So only you can decide which is right for you. Rebuildable atomizers require some rebuilding tools, including wire cutters, nail clippers, resistance wire, wicking material, small screwdrivers, etc. Once you get comfortable with rebuilding your own coils, you will never look back. 

What Is Coil Gunk? 

Ever noticed the sludge that clogs up your sink drains? Or the tartar that builds up on your teeth after a while? The principle and premises are the same. An unwanted material that just grows and clings to your vape coils (or your pearly whites) like leeches.

Well, coil gunk, although not as revolting, can cause severe problems to your vape if not cleaned regularly. 

Without trying to overwhelm you with a chemistry lesson here, coil gunk can be simply defined as the e-liquid residue that wasn't properly vaporized. It clings to the coil, making it harder to vape effectively if left untouched, and a pain to clean, too, not to mention that it can really damage your vaporizer. 

If you're new to vaping, you should familiarize yourself with some of the content we're presenting here so you can avoid and minimize specific nuances that come with any habit you take on. 

Gunk is basically burned sugar. If you've ever poured sugar into a pan to make syrup, and you forgot, then you ran back to the kitchen just to find your sugar converted into a dark sludgy substance, then that's what gunk kind of looks like. 

Fortunately, cleaning your vape coils and tank is not a challenging task. It does take some discipline, and it must be done regularly, just like brushing your teeth on a daily basis. Sometimes we don't want to do it, but, hey! You have to do it.  

What Is Causing Your Tank and Coils to Get Gunky?

Just like taxes, bills, and death, getting gunk on your coils is a fact of life. We can do nothing to avoid it, but we can do quite a lot to minimize it. Respectable vapers will be adamant and stubborn about their vaper's maintenance and care. Just like you groom yourself daily, you should also apply the same discipline in keeping your vapes clean. So, if any of the following apply to you, please ensure you make the proper changes to reduce gunking up your coils. Read on.

  • Is your e-juice too sweet?

One of the main causes of coil gunk is attributed to the kind of e-juice you are using. E-juices with a high sugar or sweetener content can increase the amount and speed at which your coils gather gunk. Darker e-juices are also known to contribute to more gunk build up on your coils. So, if you're using a very sweet and dark e-juice and you notice that your coils are getting gunked up more often than you'd expect, it's time to switch to a different kind of e-juice. 

  • Are your power settings too high?

Try turning down the power a notch or two. This simple trick can help tremendously reduce the buildup of gunk and extend your coils' lifespan. Together with decreasing the power settings, try chain vaping less, and you'll see a dramatic improvement in the health of your coils. Just like your lungs when you swapped smoking for vaping. 

  • Does your e-juice have a high VG content?

Try switching to a lower VG (Vegetable Glycerine) e-juice. Check that VG vs. PL (Propylene Glycol) ratio is slightly balanced or leaned towards the PL side, as high concentrations of VG are known to increase gunk buildup chances. Just look for a low VG juice, and you'll see less gunk overall. 


Why Is It Important to Regularly Clean Your Vape Coils and Tanks? 

  • Your coil and tank will last longer. If you clean your vape tank and coil regularly, you will extend their lifespan. However, remember that irregular cleaning has the opposite effect. 
  • By regularly removing built-up residue, you will achieve better performance of your vape. The residue may ruin the taste and clog the air vents. As a result, it leads to dry hits and overheating. 
  • Regular cleaning of your vape coils and tanks is necessary if you want to get the flavor and enjoy the vaping process. Clean devices will deliver bolder, fresher, and tastier flavors. 

So, How Can You Clean Your Tank and Coils?

Remember that a few paragraphs ago, we warned you that gunk could be minimized, though never wholly helped from building up again? Regardless of how diligent and meticulous you've been in preventing gunk buildup, you will always have to get your hands dirty on a daily or weekly basis to keep your coils shining bright like a new trombone at a symphonic orchestra.  

How to Clean Replaceable coils

Sub-ohm tanks and clearomizers that come with replaceable coil heads can be cleaned. However, cleaning will not revive them completely. But you can get an extra few days out of a coil head. 

Let dirty coil soak and have water pass through it to remove the residue. Wait for the coil to fully dry, which may take a while. You can follow these steps to clean your coil heads: 

  • Let the coal soak in vinegar, ethanol, or cheap vodka for 2-3 hours. 
  • Place it under the tap to rinse thoroughly. 
  • Rinse it for the final time with distilled water 
  • Use a hairdryer or another device to blow warm air on the coil's open side and force moisture to the wicking holes. 
  • Set your coil aside until fully dry. 

With a bit of sun or a heater, you can speed up the process, but it will still take a while. Even though the wicks will look much better after cleaning, you will still need to change the coil head soon despite the new look. 

How to Clean Rebuildable coils

You can reduce coil gunk by using rebuildable coils. With rebuildable coils, you can simply replace the wick with a new one if your coil does, indeed, end up smothered in gunk. 

  • Grab a pair of tweezers and pull out the wick.
  • Dry-burn the coil to get rid of the residue.
  • After the coil has cooled down, check for residue remains.
  • If there is still some residue clinging onto the coil, grab a Q-tip and dampen it a bit, then wipe the coil gently with it.
  • Now you're ready to re-wick the coils and get to vaping again.

How to Clean Vape Tanks 

Rinse, let dry, and vape.

A standard warm water rinse works wonders if your tank is relatively clean. Open the tank apart by separating the pieces. Then place each part under running warm water. Grab a piece of paper towel and wipe them dry. Let them air dry for a couple of hours until you can't see any condensation or traces of dampness. 

If your tank has undergone quite some use and it's not as shiny as new, you may have to add an extra step. Take a microwaveable bowl out of your cupboard, fill it with water, and place it in the microwave for 2 minutes. While you wait for the water to heat up, give your tank parts a quick rinse under the sink. Remove the bowl of hot water from the microwave and place the parts of your tank in the bowl. 

Go grab a coffee or a beer while the water in the bowl cools down. Then give your tank another rinse under the sink. Repeat the paper towel wiping part and let the tank parts air dry for a couple of hours. If you can't wait to vape again, grab a hairdryer to accelerate the process, but don't use the hottest setting! A medium heat or cold setting on your hairdryer would do.  

Have you changed your wick recently?

Changing the wick must be done regularly. A dirty wick will, without a doubt, hinder the overall health of your coils and vaporizer and leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth. All you have to do is to have some new and clean wick ready to replace the old, dirty, and gunky wick. 

Remove the old wick with a pair of ceramic or metal tweezers. Then using the same tweezers, just tuck the new wick through the coils and cut off any excess wick that might interfere with the proper closing of the tank, and that is all you need to do. Simple and easy. 

How to Clean Your Tank With Household Cleaning Agents

Water is fine. However, if you want even better results, you might just have the proper household cleaning agent a few feet away from you. Some of these cleaning agents are baking soda, ethanol, vinegar, and even cheap vodka. 

  • Baking soda can make your tank sparkle like new again. 
  • Ethanol, aka grain alcohol, is also another effective cleaning agent. 
  • Vinegar. If you use vinegar, make sure you rinse it thoroughly to avoid the lingering smell.
  • Vodka. A bottle of cheap vodka, which could be lying around in your pantry, is also another effective cleaning agent. 

Goes without saying that regardless of the cleaning agent you use to clean your tank and coils, remember to always rinse thoroughly with water after, and let air dry for enough time before you vape again. 

Cleaning a Vape Tank with an Ultrasonic Cleaner

If you want your vape tanks to be cleaned as thoroughly as possible, get an ultrasonic cleaner. Typically used for cleaning precious metals and jewelry, now ultrasonic cleaners are used by many vapers to clean vape tanks. Although you don't necessarily need an ultrasonic cleaner made especially for vape gear, you should consider purchasing one that can run for cycles over the ten-minute mark. 

Using an ultrasonic cleaner to clean your vape gear is an easy process. Fill it with water and run it until your vape tank parts are clean. For better results, you can add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid to the cleaner. Just ensure to give your tank an extra rinse afterward. 

Using the Propylene Glycol Rinse to Clean Your Vape Tank 

You can use propylene glycol instead of water to clean your tank. Just fill up a bowl with PG, disassemble your tank, and let it sit there for a couple of hours. Don't use vegetable glycerine because it's a much thicker liquid that will make cleaning your tank more difficult. 

Once your tank is done soaking, stand it up on a dry towel, and allow it to drip dry. PG is a great flavor carrier, so this method is excellent for getting rid of that leftover flavor. 

Final thoughts and recommendations

Cleaning your vape tank and coils shouldn't be a drag. It can be fun to do. Put on your favorite tunes, crank up that volume, and clear the desk. Get your materials ready and get to work. After doing it for the first time, you'll get the gist of it, and you will enjoy doing it repeatedly. It is quite relaxing, like a meditation session.