“How do I clean my atomizer?” This might just be the most asked question by new e cig users. Do a search on Google for it and you will discover that there are all kinds of crazy things people are trying – all in an effort to get their atomizers to perform optimally for a longer period of time.
If you add up all of the various things that need to be periodically replaced on an e cig – batteries, atomizers, cartridges, e-liquid – they usually amount to about a quarter of what most people spend on their traditional cigarette smoking habit. Although an e cigarette atomizer costs less than what many people used to spend per day on tobacco cigarettes, folks still try to figure out a way to cut down on the costs associated with using an e cigarette by utilizing all sorts of zany atomizer cleaning methods.
Most of these methods involve soaking an atomizer in some kind of liquid, be it lemon juice, Everclear alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or even Coca Cola. Still others claim that they do drastic things like dropping them into a pot of boiling water or they try cleaning their atomizers in the silverware tray of their dishwashers. We have tried all of the above and dozens more ways we’ve seen on the Internet and none of the methods have really worked for more than an hour or so, if at all. In many cases, the methods took a poorly performing atomizer and killed it altogether. Nonetheless, people will swear these methods work for them.
Atomizers are electronic gadgets with threadlike wires and tiny circuits in them. Before resorting to outlandish methods like the ones mentioned above, ask yourself if you would do the same thing to your television to clean it. I hope not! Atomizers are inherently designed to fail at some point because electronics and liquid really do not play together well. You can, however, do a couple of common sense things to prolong the life of your atomizer and have it performing at its peak. According to e cigarette manufacturers, the methods described below are the only approved methods of maintaining an atomizer …
Clean the Atomizer’s Connection Points
Cleaning the threads where an atomizer screws into the battery is something that you should do at least every couple of days. Without a proper electrical connection, the performance of the atomizer may become inconsistent or it may not work at all.
Make sure that any cloth that you use to remove crud in the threads or the connection post is clean and that it will not tear apart. The last thing you want is pieces of a paper towel or napkin becoming enmeshed in the threads. Not only can this lead to electrical current problems, but it could also become a fire hazard. After you have cleaned the outer connection surfaces, gently dab around your e cigarette atomizer’s vent holes (they are the tiny slots around the edge where the atomizer connects to the battery).
Some people like to insert a twisted up piece of cloth or paper towel into the main part of the atomizer where the heating coil is in order to soak up old e-liquid. We’re not big advocates of this practice because you might accidentally leave tissue or cloth particles inside of your atomizer, right next to the heating coil (talk about a fire hazard!). It is best to avoid putting any foreign object inside of an atomizer; you can usually effectively clean your atomizer without doing this.
Purging Old E Liquid From Your Atomizer
Storing your atomizer properly overnight and regularly purging its coil chamber can definitely keep an atomizer working at its peak for a longer period of time. Simply put, every time you use your e cig, e-liquid is gradually dripping into your atomizer’s coil chamber. Old e-juice building up inside of an atomizer can cause problems ranging from stale or burnt tasting vapor to a very difficult draw and, over time, that residue buildup can completely short circuit the atomizer, killing it.
One method of purging your atomizer of old e-liquid is to disassemble your e cig each evening, placing the atomizer battery connection side up onto a paper towel. This lets gravity drain the built up e juice down onto the paper towel. In the morning, you will often see all of the e cig juice that has drained out on the paper towel.
An even better method of purging built up e-liquid from your atomizer is to wrap it in a paper towel and gently blow into the hole where the atomizer and battery connect. Then, after wiping it off thoroughly, repeat the process from the other side, blowing into it where the atomizer connects to the cartridge. Be careful not to blow saliva into the atomizer while you are doing this. After every couple of blows, lightly tap the atomizer onto the paper towel. Repeat this process until you don’t see any evidence of liquid accumulating on the paper towel and when you stop hearing any gurgling sound that may occur.
Folks who really want to be thorough will do the blowing out method before leaving it to drain overnight onto a paper towel.
Is it Time for a New Atomizer?
If the above methods don’t work anymore, it’s probably time to break out a new atomizer. You can buy a new electric cig atomizer for around eight bucks. I change mine every couple of weeks – not because the one I was using isn’t working anymore – it’s just that a brand new one works so much better! It’s never a bad idea to hold onto your poorly performing atomizers just in case one dies on you. A poorly performing atomizer is better than no atomizer at all!
Or, you could continue exploring the zany atomizer cleaning methods others are trying. I hear someone in Alaska is attaching his to the runners on his dog sled!