How to Clean a Vaping Coil: Two Easy Methods

Sucralose-sweetened e-liquid is one of the greatest developments ever to hit the world of vaping. It’s also one of the biggest problems. Although sweetened e-liquids have flavors that positively explode on the palate, they also leave black gunk on your coil. In just a day or two, a heavily sweetened e-liquid can turn a shiny silver coil into a black, slimy mess that makes every e-liquid taste like burned sugar. If you use pre-built coils, coil gunk makes vaping cost much more than it ought to. If you build your own coils, coil gunk means that you have to build new coils much more often than you probably want to.

What if you didn’t have to throw your gunky coils away and start over every day or two? What if you could get an extra few days of life out of every coil instead? In this article from, we’re going to show you how to do exactly that by cleaning your vaping coils. When following these instructions, keep in mind that a cleaned coil doesn’t produce exactly the same quality of flavor as a new coil. A cleaned coil is far superior to a gunky one, though, and we think you’ll find the effort worthwhile if it extends the life of a coil that you would otherwise have thrown away.

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How to Clean a Pre-Built Vaping Coil

To clean a pre-built vaping coil for a sub-ohm tank, you need two things. Before you begin, prepare a bowl of hot water and a spare coil to use while you’re cleaning your current coil. You can also use a spirit such as vodka to clean your coils if you like. Vodka is a more effective cleaner than water, but it’s also more expensive. If you clean your coils with a spirit, you can save money by cleaning several coils simultaneously.

Begin by disassembling your empty tank completely and rinsing all of the components in the sink. Dry the tank fully before installing the spare coil.

Place the coil in the bowl of water and swish the coil around with your finger to agitate the water. The agitation helps the water break through the layer of gunk on the coil. Continue agitating the bowl periodically over the next 24 hours. By the next day, you’ll likely see several back flecks in the water. That’s the gunk that formerly covered the coil.

Remove the coil from the water. If you used vodka to clean the coil, rinse the coil in the sink. Allow the coil to dry completely before priming the wick with e-liquid and returning the coil to your tank. Since cleaning a coil involves saturating the wick fully with water, it may take up to 24 hours for the water to evaporate completely.

How to Clean an RDA Coil

If you like, you can clean an RDA coil using the same method that we outlined above for cleaning pre-made coils. Simply remove the coil from your RDA and discard the wick before soaking the coil in water or alcohol. Here, though, we’re going to share an RDA coil cleaning method that you may find faster and simpler: the dry burn method. To do this, you’ll need cotton because you’re going to discard your current wick. You may also find a small wire brush helpful.

When you clean an RDA coil by dry burning, you’re burning away the gunk that covers the coil. This process will generate a small amount of smoke, so you may want to do it outside.

Remove the cap from your RDA and remove the wick from your coil. Discard the wick. Lower the wattage on your vaping device. When you clean your RDA coil by dry burning, you want to use just enough power to make the coil glow a dull red. An orange glow means that you’re using too much heat and may be stressing the metal.

Begin pulsing your device’s fire button – for just a fraction of a second at a time – until the coil begins to glow. You should now see small wisps of smoke rising from the coil. Continue pulsing the fire button until you no longer see smoke, and the coil begins to glow more brightly.

Pause and examine the coil under a bright light. Do you still see spots of dark gunk or carbon on the coil? A wire brush can remove those last bits of grime easily. Avoid brushing too firmly, though, as a very stiff brush could potentially scratch the soft metal of the coil. The more grime you’re able to remove, the better the flavor of the cleaned coil will be. A perfectly cleaned RDA coil also lasts longer before gunk begins to accumulate again.

When you’re satisfied with the way your coil looks, you can resume vaping immediately. Install a new wick and wet it thoroughly with e-liquid before vaping.

Bonus Tip: Power Away Coil Gunk With an Ultrasonic Cleaner

If you clean your sub-ohm tank or RDA coils using the soaking method described at the top of this article, you’ll probably notice that agitation is the key to effective removal of coil gunk. The more times you remember to agitate the water during the cleaning process, the more gunk you’ll remove from the coil. If cleaning the coil proves successful, you should consider buying an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner.

An ultrasonic cleaner uses constant gentle agitation to remove oils, dirt, grime and oxidation from jewelry. Ultrasonic cleaning is extremely effective, but it’s also gentle enough to clean soft metals without damaging them. It can work the same magic on your vaping coils.

To clean a coil with an ultrasonic cleaner, simply drop the coil in and leave the cleaner on overnight or for the length of time recommended in the cleaner’s manual. Many people have reported that ultrasonic cleaning leaves their coils looking as bright as they did when they were new. Even if you use heavily sweetened e-liquids, you may find that an ultrasonic cleaner makes it possible for you to clean and reuse the same coils repeatedly before you finally need to replace them.