Coil Gunk: What to Do About the Black Stuff Ruining Your Coils
Coil Gunk what to do!
Do you love sweet e-liquids? If you do, you’ve probably experienced the most common problem that plagues the modern vaper. That problem is coil gunk. You’ve probably seen it a million times. You unscrew the bottom of your tank or lift the cap off of your rebuildable atomizer, and what’s inside isn’t pretty. The coil and wick – once resplendent in silver and white – now look as black as charcoal. You’ve got coil gunk. Coil gunk doesn’t just look bad; it also ruins the taste of any e-liquid. The worst part is that the accumulation of coil gunk is largely a function of the amount of e-liquid you consume. If you vape at high wattages with a sub-ohm tank or rebuildable atomizer, you’re going to deal with a lot of coil gunk. You may find that coil gunk begins to make the vaping experience unbearable after less than 24 hours of using a new coil.
Coil gunk is a reality of the modern vaping experience. You can’t stop it, but you can slow it down or work around it – and that’s what we’re going to discuss in this guide.
What Is Coil Gunk?
Coil gunk is the unvapourised remnants of the e-liquid that you use. While sweeteners such as sucralose are the most common causes of coil gunk, almost any e-liquid can cause coil gunk given enough time. Tobacco extract that isn’t filtered well, viscous vegetable glycerine and certain flavours can all cause coil gunk. Some substances fail to vaporize cleanly. Those substances leave deposits on your coils. Eventually, the deposits burn and turn black – and you’ve got coil gunk. Some e-liquids may take days to cause enough coil gunk to alter the vaping experience. E-liquids with sweeteners leave so much residue that they can cause severe coil gunk in hours. Eventually, coil gunk can become so bad that you’ll feel like you’re getting dry hits when vaping even though the wick in your tank or atomizer is wet. At that point, you have no choice but to replace, rebuild or re-wick the coil. If you don’t, the vaping experience will only keep getting worse.
Preventing Coil Gunk
Change Your E-Liquid
As we mentioned previously, coil gunk is almost Impossible to avoid. You could probably make your coils last for months if you switched to an unflavoured e-liquid. Most people don’t want to vape unflavoured e-liquid, though, so your next best bet is to experiment with different flavours. Some flavours vaporize more cleanly than others. Avoid e-liquids with added sweeteners; nothing causes coil gunk more quickly than sweeteners.
Change Your Vaping Patterns
If you simply can’t do without your sweetened e-liquids, you can try to reduce the amount of e-liquid you consume. Try lowering the wattage of your device or vaping less often. If you use less e-liquid, you may be able to stretch the longevity of your coils a bit.
Switch to a Rebuildable Atomizer
Coil gunk isn’t much fun under any circumstances, but it’s especially maddening if you’re using a sub-ohm tank with pre-made coils that cost several dollars each. Want to reduce your costs? Start building your own coils instead. Resistance wire and cotton are so inexpensive that you can buy a supply lasting several months or years in advance and never have to worry about coil replacement expenses again. You’ll still deal with coil gunk constantly if you prefer sweet e-liquids, but fixing the problem will cost a lot less.
Re-Wick Your Coils
Although building a new coil is the best way to deal with coil gunk and restore the vaping experience that you love, there may be some days when you simply don’t feel like doing the work. If you have a rebuildable atomizer, cleaning the coil and replacing the wick may be a viable alternative. Remove your current wick gently with a pair of ceramic tweezers. Lower your device’s wattage and pulse the fire button until the coils glow a dull orange colour. The coil gunk burns away, leaving a shiny silver coil. Wick the coil with fresh cotton and resume vaping.
Save and Clean Your Coils
Dry burning and re-wicking your coils as described above is a good way to extend their life. You may find, though, that dry burning alone doesn’t quite restore the original flavour those coils had when they were new. If dry burning isn’t producing the flavour you want, try cleaning your coils more thoroughly instead. Make several coils in advance. When a coil begins to develop gunk, remove it and soak it in strong alcohol. Use another coil while the dirty one soaks. After a bit of soaking and swishing, the formerly gunky coil should look as good as new. Let it dry fully before using it again. A daily cleaning regimen should make it possible to reuse your coils several times before you need to make new ones.
Is Coil Gunk Really Your Problem?
Coil gunk is the most common reason why your coil might turn dark and produce a burned flavour when you vape – but it isn’t the only reason. If you chain vape – or vape at too high a wattage – you could be burning your cotton. An easy way to confirm that is by looking at the wick after removing it from your coil. If the wick splits easily and has a black spot in the centre, burned cotton – not coil gunk – is your primary problem. Lower your device’s wattage and wait several seconds between each puff to ensure that you always vape with a wick that’s fully wet.
You Can Also Re-Wick Pre-Made Coils
Do you use an e-cigarette tank with pre-made coils? Re-wicking a pre-made coil is more difficult than re-wicking a rebuildable atomizer coil, but it can be done – although the method depends on the coil’s design. In most cases, you’ll remove the rubber insulator from the bottom of the coil head and push the coil out through the top of the assembly. Cut a strip of cotton matching the one currently wrapped around the coil and reassemble the coil head with the new cotton. Remember that every atomizer coil has positive and negative leads; the rubber insulator separates the two. Check YouTube for a video that explains how to replace the wick in your tank’s coil heads.