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Guides | 07.28.2022

How To Unclog A Vape Pen

We’re here to help you find a solution.

There aren’t many things more annoying than going in for a hit on your favorite vape cartridge, only to discover it’s clogged up.

When Push Comes To Shove

Photo courtesy of Elyxr

Most people who have used or consistently used vape cartridges to fix their weed have run into an annoying issue: a clogged airflow.

When this happens, the natural reaction is to put in all the work and try to suck out the clogged duct, but this isn’t always your best bet when it comes to getting your vape back to tip-top shape.

Here at Herb and with the help of our buddies at ELYXR, we’ve got the tea: why it happens, how to fix it, and vapes you can buy that will keep clogging at bay. Let’s get into it.

Why Clogging Happens

First, we gotta get into the reasons why a vape airflow might get clogged – from condensation to chamber flooding. Here’s why your vape might be blocking you off from the wonders inside:

Condensation Buildup

This is the most common reason why a vape cartridge might get jammed. After using the vape for a while, the condensation of the oils and distillates inside can creep up on the duct’s walls, blocking the mouthpiece and stopping vapor from passing through easily into your lungs.

There is a telltale sign that this might be the issue: if you’ve ever had droplets of the liquid pass through the duct and past your lips (which can have a nasty taste), it’s a signal that there might be some buildup going on that can later affect the cartridge’s airflow. As soon as you notice it happening, take a few minutes to unclog it before it turns into a future nuisance.

Thick Oil

Pure hemp extract is a thick and viscous oil, meaning it can easily get up into the duct and jam it up or crystallize inside, clogging the vape and keeping you from getting those well-deserved and relaxing hits.

In most cases, the thicker the oil, the higher the potency, but some brands try to thin it out by adding additives like terpenes, MCT oil, or vegetable glycerin to keep the distillate more liquid, but this can often make the vape less concentrated than you might want.

Here’s the best tip: make sure that you double-check that your supplier offers products made from high-quality sources, especially since there are some thinners out there that can affect your health (remember the whole Vitamin E = lung illness shenanigans.) The black market is alive everywhere, so your best bet is to go to your trusted dispensary and make sure each vape cartridge has a certificate of analysis (COA), ensuring they’re safe for consumption.

Chamber Flooding

Last, but not least, another reason why your cartridge vape or disposable might be blocked is because of chamber flooding, the thing that happens when vape carts are left unused for a long time.

Over time, the distillates and oils can thicken at different temperatures, ultimately making their way down to the bottom and oversaturating the wick, basically super-soaking the coil in weed juice.

When this happens, the coil will have a difficult time heating up to the right temperature and creating smooth, thick clouds of vapor. If you start noticing a burnt aftertaste or less vapor coming out than usual, take precautions.

The burning smell and taste can permanently damage the overly-saturated vape, so maybe say bye-bye and move on to the next one.

How To Fix A Clogged Vape Pen

Photo courtesy of Elyxr

There are many tips and tricks that can help your vape cartridge or disposable get back to working as it should. Here they are:

  • First, try using your mouth rather than your lungs to inhale, creating pressure in the duct and getting rid of built-up distillate.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try taking the cap off of your vape and using a small and thin tool to clean out the mouthpiece, something like a needle or a paper clip. Slowly push the tool through, twisting it and pulling it up to dislodge the stuck distillate until you’re good to go. Lastly, blow through the charging port until you feel the airflow going back to normal.
  • Sometimes, all you need is a little heat. This can help liquefy crystallized distillate or hardened clogs that can be formed over time. Here are a couple of ways to do it (whatever method you try, make sure to take every precaution to ensure your safety and the integrity of your vape):
  • Set the vape in a warm area, perhaps near a heater.
  • If you’re not a cold-blooded reptile, you can try holding the cartridge in your hands for a few minutes to warm it up.
  • Blowdryers do more than just give you fabulous hair. You can try carefully heating up the cartridge by waving a hot-air blowdryer back and forth across the vape, making sure to give it about a foot of space.
  • Last, but not least, you can try putting your cartridge in an airtight bag (make sure it’s totally airtight), and dipping it in warm water for a bit. This method can be helpful but make sure to not let any water into the bag, you don’t want to ruin your vape.

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