Vaping Tips

How to Deal with a Clogged Vape Cartridge: A Complete Guide

Vape Cartridge

These days, around 1 in every 20 Americans vape, either to get a hit of something like nicotine or THC or as a solely flavorful experience. Anyone who has been vaping for a long time will tell you one of the major frustrations of using vapes is when you get a clog in the vape cartridge.

So, what causes this, how do you solve it when it happens, and how can you stop it from happening in the first place? Below, you will find details on how to recognize the causes of vape clogs, as well as how to stop them from happening.

If you are currently in trouble, check out the end of the article, where we run through some of the best ways to deal with clogs you might already have.

What Can Clog a Vape Cartridge?

Vape cartridges can sometimes be fickle. There are several potential causes for a clogged cartridge. The following are some of the most likely culprits:

Heat and Humidity

A high or low temperature can have a major effect on the makeup of your vape products. If it is too hot or too cold, the viscosity of the e-liquid inside the cartridge could change by an enormous amount, leading to issues.

If it is particularly cold, you might find the oil inside the cartridge starts to become thicker. This can lead to a temporary blockage as it cannot move through the coil.

If it is too hot, the oil will start to become very thin. When this happens, it may even start to roll into the airflow holes in the vape, causing other issues.

Even if it is too humid, this can cause other problems. More humidity also decreases the viscosity of the liquid, much like increased heat, while less humidity leads to a thicker liquid.

At the same time, high humidity can exacerbate issues with cleaning your vape. Moisture is a major cause of mold forming, which can both be a health hazard and a cause of clogs in your vape.

To avoid this issue, try to find a cool, dry location to store your vape between uses. Though, if you are in a warm climate and the only options are either out in the heat or in a refrigerator, choose the colder location. Heat, or the lack thereof, can also cause more issues than a thicker e-liquid, as thin oil can run out of the device through areas it could not before.

No matter where you store the vape, though, try to return it to room temperature before vaping. Also, clean the device between uses and clear out any oil that may have leaked before you next partake.

Do Not Inhale Too Hard

If you start to inhale too hard when you vape, this could have a major effect on the potential of clogs forming in your device. One of the main reasons for this is that cartridges are not built to accommodate hits of that size. Most of them expect the user to be drawing in smaller breaths.

As such, make sure to not inhale too fast or hard. The reason is it will prevent too much oil from passing through the cartridge all at once. If the oil moves too fast, it will not vaporize and will catch on areas past where it should become mist.

This may not be easy for you, as you might be far too used to taking deep hits. One of the ways you can solve this is by practicing, and being mindful of this fact when you next use the vape. Then, if you fail to slow your breathing and end up with a clogged vape, it will act as a small reminder of the correct way to do things.

Be Careful When Assembling

When you put your vape together, remember it is comprised of many parts that may need to align well for it to work. This includes the small holes through which air travels every time you breathe in the vapor.

If you screw together your vape and wind it too tight or too loose, these holes will not close in a way to align them. If you then try to pull the vape oil through these, they are likely to clog up and prevent you from drawing more.

On top of the issue of clogging, tightening your vape too much can wear down the device faster, and cause other issues. Not only will being more careful prevent clogs, but it will also save you money over the long term as you will not damage the structure of your device.

In some rare cases, it may be the fault of your battery when you assemble the device. With so many different batteries and cartridges available, inevitably, some will not fit with one another. As such, try out different combinations as this may be what causes clogs.

Clearing the Clog

It may be you have come to this page too late and a clog has already appeared in your portable vape. So, you do not want to hear about what caused it, instead, you want to solve the problem so you can continue vaping.

The first thing we would recommend is you read through the manual for your vape. They may have specific instructions for resolving a clogged device. Many of them will also have warnings or other details on how to avoid damaging your cartridge while trying to clean it.

If these steps do not help, you might have to try other methods of cleaning the cartridge. If so, check the following examples for ways you could go about removing clogs.

Apply Heat

Using a heat source, such as a hairdryer, lighter, or another device, you can start warming up the cartridge and the clog inside. As it heats up, it may melt or lose viscosity, softening enough to move away from the air hole. This can allow you to clean the area easier.

If you want to do this, do not place the device on the cartridge itself. Instead, hold it around three inches away and start to heat the item for around ten seconds. After you do this, shake the cartridge or tap it against a hard surface to try to shift the clog.

This may not work all at once, so keep trying if the clog does not come out right away. Though, remember not to heat the item too much, and do not strike it against surfaces too hard.

The Dry Burn Method

This way of clearing out a clog requires you to draw air through your activated vape. Do not use any e-liquid, and pull air through the same way as if you were drawing in vapor. In theory, this may burn away any residue that might clog up the coil itself, which the oil would prevent burning if it passed through instead.

Be careful to not do this too much at once. Take breaks between dry hits, to give the coil a chance to cool down. You do not want it to heat up too much for too long, as this may cause harm to the device or even cause it to set alight.

Percussive Maintenance

Your clogged vape cartridges might only need a simple tap against a hard surface to clean them out.

Hold the cartridge in your hand and strike it on a solid object near you. You should be gentle, but firm, with these strikes. This could be against the surface of the table, a wall, or anything else that will not give way.

If this does not work right away, give it another go, and try twisting the cartridge as you do so. Though, be careful not to cause damage to the cartridge by striking too hard.

Use a Tool

Sometimes you need to go straight to the issue and do it yourself.

Pick up a small tool, such as a toothpick, a paperclip, or a dedicated clog-removing tool, and go to town on that cartridge. With a gentle hand, scrape at any clogged residue you see on the device and try to break it up with your own dexterity.

This can be very effective at removing smaller clogs, especially if they are close to the mouthpiece of the device or blocking the air holes. Using your tool is also much more precise than other methods that demand you impact the item as a whole.

While you do this, though, be careful about being too rough with the cartridge. This could end up damaging it, and it is unlikely you would be able to repair it.

Alcohol or Vinegar

It turns out some basic chemistry can help you out here. If you find a small container and fill it with either pure alcohol or vinegar, you can then leave the cartridge to soak in it. After a few minutes, you might find the clogs have soaked up some of that liquid and are either breaking down or becoming softer.

After removing the cartridge from the liquid, shake it to help break apart any clogs that may remain. You can then use a small tool (as above) to scrape away any residue that remains in place.

Once you are done, rinse away any remaining liquid with water and make sure to dry it before inserting it back into your vape. Not only could this damage your device, but vaping pure vinegar or alcohol may not be safe or pleasant.

Of course, also make sure you do not leave the cartridge in the liquid for too long either, as it could end up causing harm to your device.

Reverse Priming

Depending on the location of the clogs, this may help clear out some of the blockages closer to the device’s mouthpiece. All you need to do is remove the cartridge from the device’s battery, put your mouth over the mouthpiece and softly blow. This will move some of the clogs closer to the mouthpiece itself.

Though, you should be careful not to blow too hard. There is a small chance you could damage the mouthpiece if you impart too much pressure onto it.

Cleaning the Cartridge

Take a Q-tip or other cleaning device and dip it in cleaning alcohol. You can then use this to try rubbing away any small blockages you can find in the cartridge. As you do this, try to focus on the air holes and the mouthpiece of the device, as you are more likely to find issues in these areas.

As usual, be careful when you try to clean the device, as too much pressure can cause harm to the cartridge or mouthpiece. Instead, use a soft touch as you work and try to pay attention to where you are cleaning.

One of the main benefits of this method is it is much more focused than soaking the whole cartridge in alcohol as above. You can touch up a small area without worrying about the liquid touching any other part of the device.

Force Air Through the Clog

When the blockage is stuck somewhere, it might take some very specific pressure to move it away from the air holes in the cartridge. One of the best ways to do this is to fill a syringe with air and force this air through the holes.

You can also use other air-related tools, such as a can of compressed air. If you do this, be careful as you may not be able to get as much control over the air speed with these.

Swap Your Vape Cartridge for a Disposable Vape

As you prepare to clean your vape cartridge, remember you do have other options available to you. If your vape ends up damaged, or you cannot get rid of the blockage, you might want something to tide you over. This is where we can come in.

We supply high-quality disposable delta-8 vapes of various flavors, all for the discerning user. All you need to do is check out our range of devices and pick up something for when your vape has trouble today.