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How to Clean a Burnt Coil

 Dark image of man exhaling vapor.

You’re trying to enjoy a solid vape session, but something tastes a little off. You’re pretty sure it’s not due to your extract. Perhaps it’s just a mild burning flavor, or perhaps it’s progressed all the way to tasting like a noxious gas. The culprit may just be your coil.

The good news is, you don’t have to throw it out immediately! Keep reading to learn the proper way to clean your vape coil so you can get a little more time out of it.

First, Why Do Vape Coils Get Burned?

Before we dig deeper into how to clean a burnt coil, it’s important to understand why they get burned in the first place.

Think about how your vape is working when the coil is functioning optimally. You hit the fire button, causing electricity to flow to the coil and heat it. That heat is absorbed by the extract, which then soaks the wick, turning the extract into vapor.

The extract is taking some of the heat from the wick, ensuring it doesn’t get too hot. If there’s little to no product in your pen, it can’t absorb that heat. When learning how to clean a burnt coil, you need to understand the two ways it’s “burning”:

  1. The remaining extract gets “overcooked.”
  2. The wick lacks the protection of the juice and is exposed directly to the hot coil. Because wicks are usually made of cotton, they burn.

There’s one more important thing to know before you learn the steps to clean your vape coil: how to prevent it from burning in the first place.

How to Prevent Burning

close up of woman’s hands filling tank of pod vape

They say the best cure is prevention, yes? Rather than needing to learn how to clean a burnt coil, take steps to keep it from burning. Here are a few best practices:

  • Prime your coil before vaping. This just means pre-soaking the wick with juice before your first puff and after installing a new coil. Use a few drops of juice or extracts and wait five minutes before starting your session.
  • Keep the tank topped up. To avoid your wick drying out, always make sure to keep your tank filled. If performance or flavor decreases, it’s time to check the levels.
  • Stop chain vaping. An easy way to avoid needing to know how to clean a burnt coil is to chill with the chain vaping. You need to give your wick a chance to re-saturate before pushing the fire button again. Continuous vaping doesn’t give it that chance, risking a burn.
  • Reduce your power setting or use temperature control. Watch your power. Vaping at a higher wattage uses more juice with each puff. It’s similar to chain vaping, except the results happen much faster. Reduce the power or use an automatic temperature control device to keep it cooler.

Okay, you know why coils get burnt and the steps to prevent it from happening. Now it’s time to learn to clean your vape coil.

How to Clean a Burnt Coil

Replaceable Coils


One of the easiest ways is to remove the coil and place it in a bowl of warm water. This loosens up any residue that’s stuck to it. After it’s soaked for approximately five minutes, dump out the warm water and replace it with cold. Any last encrusted bits should fall off.

Let it air dry completely, slot or screw it back into your vape, and enjoy your smoking sessions free of a burnt taste.

Lemon Juice/Vinegar

If the coil head or tank needs a deeper clean—say, if you haven’t ever cleaned them or it’s been a long time—learn how to clean a burnt coil with lemon juice or vinegar.

Add your acid of choice to a bowl of hot water. Remove and keep track of all your O-rings or seals. Soak your coil in this mixture for anywhere from five to ten minutes. Give it a thorough rinse and let it air dry before trying to use it again.

Don’t forget to properly prime your coil and wick before the next use to make sure you’ve fixed the problem!

Rebuildable Coils

Dry Burning

If the coils in your atomizer aren’t that dirty, a light burn should clean your vape coil. Remove your wicks, pulse the fire button a few times to eliminate any remaining liquid, let it cool down, and re-wick.

Should that not work, use the following steps as a guide for how to clean your burnt coil:

  1. Follow the light burn steps above (remove wicks, do a light burn—don’t let them glow too much).
  2. Remove the atomizer from the mod and place it under running water.
  3. Brush parts lightly with a clean toothbrush and rinse again.
  4. Do a final dry burn to vaporize remaining droplets of water.

If none of the above steps work, you’re probably going to have to bite the bullet and order new coils.

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