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How To Fix a Clogged Vape Cartridge

January 26, 2024

Does this sound familiar?

You try to inhale your vape, only to notice difficulty inhaling or reduced vapour production. Maybe you're looking to blow a big puff of smoke, but the device isn't cooperating. 

If this has happened to you, chances are you have a clogged vape cartridge. 

This is where something is blocking the airflow, preventing the smooth passage of vapour. 

While it can be frustrating, it's something that almost all vapers have gone through - and it's an easy fix. 

In this article, we'll cover why vape cartridges clog and how to fix them. 

Why Do Vape Carts Clog?

Sometimes, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of your clogged vape. That said, there are some common signs to look for to identify the root issue and prevent it from happening in the future. 

Type and Source of Your Vape Juice 

Vape juice products made from isolates and live resins/rosins tend to clog vape cartridges more than distillates. That's because they have unevenly distributed particles and a thicker base. 

In addition, there's a chance of the chemical compounds forming crystals again, causing a clog in your device. 

Thick or High-Viscosity E-Liquids 

Thicker liquids have a harder time flowing through the small openings in the cartridge, leading to potential blockages.

Also, the viscosity of e-liquids can vary based on the Propylene glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG) content since VG is thicker. This leads to a slower flow through the cartridge. 

Some vape juices contain additives or thinning agents to adjust viscosity and improve vaporisation. 

That said, if these additives aren't compatible with the cartridge, they can contribute to clogs. It's crucial to use vape juices that are designed for compatibility with your specific cartridge.

Prolonged Storage or Exposure to Extreme Temperatures 

Vape oil is a mix of various components, including terpenes and thinning agents. High temperatures can cause the oil to become thinner, leading to leakage and potentially causing clogs as the oil may seep into areas it shouldn't.

For example, leaving vape pens in a scorching hot car will cause the oil to become less viscous. Thinner oil moves rapidly in the cartridge and may even risk spilling. Also, warm oil has the potential to block crucial airflow points, creating less-than-ideal conditions for vaporisation.

Conversely, exposure to extremely cold temperatures can cause the oil to thicken or even solidify. This thickening makes it harder for the oil to flow freely through the cartridge, leading to clogs. It can also affect the wicking process, where the oil is drawn into the heating element.

Low-Quality Vape Carts 

It's a good idea for vape users to go for high-quality cartridges and batteries from trustworthy sellers. Avoid using black-market e-liquids since they may not be compatible with your device. Reputable online sellers adhere to quality and safety standards, while knockoff sellers are looking to make a quick profit with cheap products.

Sometimes, vape cartridges could be broken out of the box upon arrival. For that reason, keep your receipt so you can get a replacement immediately. 

Cartridge Has Run Its Course

The more you use cartridges, the more thick and sticky resin builds up. Over time, this resin and other leftovers from the e-liquid can get hard and make the cartridge clogged. So, if you've been vaping a lot, there's a chance your cartridge might get clogged.

Can You Unclog a Vape Cartridge?

The good news is that you don't have to be stuck with a clogged cartridge. You can take matters into your own hands to clear up the condensation buildup or chamber flooding that often causes blockage. 

Here are a few things you can do to unclog your vape cart. 

Preheating Your Cartridge 

Preheating the cartridge warms up the oil, reducing its viscosity and making it more fluid. When the liquid heats up, the oil becomes less dense, making vaporising easier. 

As a result, the oil will flow more easily and help to clear the obstructions. On top of that, heating the cart can break down residues that may have accumulated. 

Clean the Cartridge 

Regular cleaning prevents the buildup of residues, preventing clogs that can hinder the smooth flow of vape juice. And you don't want gunk getting stuck in there since it'll affect the quality and flavour of the vapour. 

To clean your vape cart, here's what you can do: 

  • Take Apart the Cartridge: Follow the instructions from the manufacturer to take apart your cartridge. Remove the mouthpiece and any parts that can be detached.
  • Clean the Outside: Use a cloth or cotton swab with rubbing alcohol to wipe the outside of the cartridge. This removes any leftover stuff or buildup.
  • Clean the Inside: For the inside, use a dry cloth or cotton swab to gently wipe away extra e-liquid or debris. Make sure to swab the mouthpiece and any airflow paths to remove the buildup. 
  • Let It Dry: Allow the cartridge to air dry thoroughly before reconnecting it to the vape pen. Ensure that there is no residual alcohol left, as inhaling alcohol vapours can be harmful.

Clear the Airway by Removing Residue or Debris 

Residues from the vape juice and debris can accumulate in the airway, blocking the smooth passage of air and vapour. 

To clear the airway, grab a small tool like a paperclip or toothpick. Gently poke it through the tiny hole at the bottom of the cartridge. 

Remember, don't push too hard to avoid damaging the coil or other fragile parts. After clearing the airway, take a puff to check if the airflow is better. This simple trick helps keep your vape working smoothly.

Tips for Preventing Cart Clogging 

While you might be able to resolve the issue on your own, it's better to prevent clogs before they happen. 

Here's what you can do to avoid recurrence. 

Inhale Slowly

If your vape cartridge is clogged, try inhaling slowly to fix it. Inhaling slowly heats the oil in the cartridge (if your battery turns on when you inhale), making it just right for vaping. It can also clear any blockages in the mouthpiece.

Like charcoal grills or candles, a fire needs airflow to keep going. Inhaling slowly provides the airflow your vape needs.

Also, slow inhalation helps maintain a more consistent temperature in the heating element.

Store Your Vape Upright in a Cool, Dry Place at Room Temperature 

Storing the vape upright minimises the risk of leaks. When a vape is placed horizontally or upside down, there's a higher chance of the oil seeping into areas it shouldn't. 

The temperature of where you store your vape is often overlooked. As mentioned, vape oil can change thickness with temperature changes. Storing your vape at room temperature helps maintain the optimal viscosity of the oil. 

When storing the device, pick a good spot for your vape cartridges where the temperature stays steady, and there's no direct sunlight. Stay away from places with lots of moisture or high humidity because that can make your cartridges leak. 

Take Smaller Hits 

Smaller hits mean less air is drawn into the cartridge at once. 

That way, the heating element has a chance to vaporise the e-liquid more effectively without overwhelming the system.

On the other hand, larger hits can produce more vapour than the cartridge can efficiently handle. Also, if you take big, forceful hits when vaping, more oil can get pulled into the mouthpiece's chamber, leading to clogs over time. 

Instead, try inhaling gently for 3–5 seconds with each hit. After that, give your cartridge a break and let it cool down for around 30 seconds before taking another puff.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with clogged vape cartridges can be a huge headache. But with a little troubleshooting, you won't have to worry about it anymore. 

Getting a high-quality disposable vape pen can go a long way to preventing clogs. That's because you'll automatically get compatible cartridges since they're ready to use out-of-the-box. 

But whether you choose to go with vape pods or disposables, there's no better choice than RELX vapes. We offer a wide selection of innovative vapes that deliver consistent performance, from the first puff to the last. Not to mention, there are plenty of flavour options to fit your tastebuds. 

Check out RELX today and upgrade your vaping experience.

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