Vaping is a popular way to consume cannabis – and it’s becoming more popular by the day.
Did you know that the company behind Juul created the PAX vaporizer? It’s true. If it weren’t for weed smokers around the world, we wouldn’t be experiencing the e-cigarette revolution we’re in right now.
We’ll hold any thoughts as to whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. That’s not the focus today.
Our focus is on cleaning your vape. Why should you clean your vape? How do you clean your vape? We’re going to cover all that, and probably a little bit more. We’re going to look at both flower-only vapes and the ever more popular wax pens – we’ll even stop for a bit to talk about cartridge-based vapes like the PAX Era.
Let’s get started.
Why you should clean your vape
If you’ve vaped for a while this is pretty self-explanatory, but if you haven’t…
…it’s all about vapor production.
When your vape isn’t properly cleaned, it gets gummed up with resin. That resin is going to block the vapor pathways, and make your oven less efficient. That means you’re wasting bud (or concentrate) every single time you fire up your vape.
We’re not going to opine for too long on the health benefits of a clean vape here – there’s not nearly enough scientific research on the benefits of vaping cannabis to begin with, let alone research on whether or not a clean vape is better than a dirty one.
But let’s be real – would you rather put something clean in your mouth, or would you rather suck on a mouthpiece covered in germs and dust? The answer seems pretty clear to us.
Wear and tear can also be a problem. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your vape can lead to a longer lifespan. We all know these devices aren’t exactly inexpensive – so cleaning them is worth the time and the very little money it will cost.
How to clean your vape
Let’s start with a piece of advice: check the manufacturer’s website for advice on how to clean your vape. PAX, which may be the most popular vape manufacturer, offers a very detailed cleaning guide on their website.
Obviously, these companies are incentivized to have thorough cleaning instructions – after all, they want you to be happy with the quality of your device.
Flower (dry herb) vapes
Let’s start by looking at how you clean flower-only vapes. These vapes almost all have the same design – and they’re mostly riffs on the PAX. That means you’re going to have a mouthpiece, a vapor tube, an oven, a screen over the oven, and a lid for the oven.
You’re going to need:
- Isopropyl alcohol (IPA – but not like the beer)
- Pipe cleaners/a metal cleaning brush
- Cotton swabs (like Q-tips) – though paper towels will do in a pinch
- Mouthpiece lubricant
- A small container you don’t mind getting IPA and resin in
Take off the mouthpiece and the oven lid. Place them both in the container, cover them in IPA, and let them soak while you work on the rest of your device.
Dip a pipe cleaner in IPA, swabbing off any excess. Floss that pipe cleaner inside the vapor tube, getting rid of any resinous build-up. If there’s a lot of build-up, toss out your dirty pipe cleaner and start again with a new one.
Take your cotton swab, dip it in IPA, then swab the area directly below where the mouthpiece fits into the device. Once that’s done, set your eyes on the oven. Don’t submerge the oven in IPA – that can damage the device. Simply gently swab the inside. There might be some brown areas that remain once you’re done – that’s okay, as long as you cleaned out most of the resin.
Let everything dry, then reassemble it all. If you have mouthpiece lubricant, you can apply it to the edge of the mouthpiece where it connects to the device, then click it in and out of your device a few times to distribute the lubricant.
Concentrate (wax pen) vaporizers
Wax pen vaporizers are becoming more popular, but they come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. The ones you find at a vape shop in Denver might vary pretty widely from the ones you find at, say, a vape shop in Winnipeg.
For that reason, we’re going to focus on one thing in particular – cleaning threaded wax pens. The idea here is very similar to what you’re doing with dry herb. You’re going to need:
- Cotton swabs or paper towel
You don’t want to touch the coil of your device with IPA – that can ruin the coil. Instead, if your coil is too dirty, simply buy a new coil. Use the cotton swab dipped in IPA to carefully clean the threading, which can get clogged with resin. You can also take this time to clean the mouthpiece – if it’s detachable, you can put it in a container filled with IPA. Just check the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure.
Cleaning a cartridge vape
There’s basically no cleaning to be done here. Throw out damaged or dirty cartridges. You can dab the mouthpiece with a little IPA if you feel like it’s getting clogged. Not a lot to say – cartridge vapes don’t produce very much (if any) resin, and they’re designed to be easy to use.
A note on vape manufacturers
We highly encourage you to only purchase vapes – and cannabis products – from licensed retailers. There have been some huge problems with illicit vaping products, to the point that the State of Oregon is urging everyone to stop using vaping products.
By buying from a trusted manufacturer, you’re almost guaranteed to get more specific cleaning instructions than we could possibly provide here. What’s more, you’ve got a lot more assurance that your vape will work properly – and if it doesn’t, you may have more legal recourse than you would with an illicit dealer.
We hope that somewhat dire warning didn’t kill your buzz. Seriously, go clean your vape. You’ll enjoy it so much more when it’s cleaned out – there’s nothing quite like a good hit from a clean vape.