how to clean a vape pen cartridge

How to Clean a Vape Pen

Vape pens are increasingly popular products for cannabis, CBD, and other vapable products. These products are discreet and user-friendly, but require a bit of maintenance from time to time. It is extremely important to exercise good hygiene habits with your vape pen, and committing to a cleaning schedule is crucial to keeping your equipment safe to use and in working order.

Follow the directions below to clean your vape pen:

Step 1: Research Your Vape Pen’s Model and Construction

Be sure you know as much as possible about your vape pen to ensure you don’t damage the product or affect its function. For this reason, knowing the vape pen’s model and its individual components is important.

In the best case scenario, you know the vape pen’s product name, brand, and model number. Many of these products have manuals and other resources online to help you identify the components and proper cleaning processes.

Construction of a Vape Pen

Vape pens have a huge variety of shapes, sizes, features, and functions. Some require the push of the button to activate the heating element, while others are draw-activated. Some have a removable lithium-ion battery, and others are built in. Generally, a vape pen consists of the following parts:

  • Battery
  • Tank
  • Atomizer
  • Mouthpiece
  • Button

About the Battery:

Like any electronic, a vape pen needs power to function. Most vape pens are powered by lithium-ion batteries with a wide range of amps (amount of electrical power) and milliamp hours (mAh), which indicates how long the battery will run. If your battery is removable, like the popular 18650 lithium-ion batteries found in open system vaporizers, we recommend removing the battery and storing in a case before cleaning your vape pen. Damaged batteries are potentially dangerous, so always err on the side of caution with your power sources.

About the Cartridge:

The cartridge (also referred to as a “cart” for short) is the chamber where your cannabis oil is stored for vaporization. This is another case where different products have different constructions and styles; some have fillable tanks that require the user to squeeze oil into the cartridge, and others have disposable, replaceable cartridges that are pre-filled with oil. If your vape pen uses cartridges, be sure you know which cartridges are compatible with your product, such as a 510-thread or PAX Pod.

About the Atomizer:

The atomizer is the part of the battery that actually heats your cannabis oil, which “atomizes” the product into a fine vapor. In general, atomizers consist of a series of metal coils that get hot when electrical current passes through them. The most common coils are made out of nichrome, but some other materials include nichrome, kanthal, nickel, titanium, and stainless steel.

About the Mouthpiece:

The mouthpiece is the part of the vape pen that makes contact with your mouth. These are often removable, and come in a variety of materials from silicone to plastic. It is especially important to keep this part of your vape pen clean, since this part touches your mouth.

About the Button:

As mentioned before, not all vape pens have buttons. Some products are activated by your inhaling. For vape pens that do have buttons, pressing the button completes the circuit between the battery and the atomizer, activating the pen. Some vape pens have multiple temperature settings that can be accessed by clicking the button several times to cycle through each setting.

Step 2: Disassemble Your Vape Pen

Now that you know the individual components of your vape pen, you’ll need to take it apart. Most vape pens “thread” together, which means they can be screwed together or unscrewed apart. On the other hand, some vape pens snap together with plastic. It is essential to disassemble your vape pen completely before cleaning. If you are unsure how to disassemble your vape pen, the product’s user manual can often be found online.

Step 3: Gently Scrub Your Equipment

How to Clean Your Mouthpiece

(Materials needed: Rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, paper towels, bowl, water)

The cleanliness of your mouthpiece is essential for hygienic vaping. Dab a cotton swap or cloth in rubbing alcohol and scrub the inside and the outside of the mouthpiece, taking special care to remove any residue. For a deeper clean, mouthpieces can be soaked in a rubbing alcohol or water for up to an hour prior to scrubbing. After scrubbing, set the mouthpiece on a paper towel or cloth to dry.

How to Clean a Vape Pen Cartridge

(Materials needed: Rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, paper towel)

Cleaning cartridge-loaded vape pens is generally easier than cleaning tank-based vape pens. Dab cotton swabs in rubbing alcohol and gently scrub the exterior of the cartridge, taking special care to remove any residue on the outside of the cartridge. Once the exterior is clean, use a paper towel to dry the outside of the cartridge completely.

Important note:

Never submerge your cartridge in alcohol or other liquids. This may contaminate your vape oil, produce harsh flavors, or dramatically affect your vaping experience.

How to Clean a Clogged Vape Cartridge

(Materials needed: Safety pin, hair dryer)

The oil in the cartridge may solidify, obstructing the airflow through the cartridge. In some cases, you can use the fine point of a safety pin to clear the clog. If that doesn’t work, apply heat to the cartridge with a hair dryer, gently warming the cartridge from a foot or two away from the cartridge. Once it has warmed for a minute or so, try removing the clog with the safety pin again. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to clear the clog. If the cartridge is still clogged after repeated attempts, you may have to replace the cartridge altogether.

How to Clean the Tank*

(Materials needed: Rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, paper towels, bowl, water)

*If your vape pen uses cartridges, you can skip this section.

To clean the tank, empty out any residue from prior vaping. For liquid, turn the tank on its side, draining the liquid into a pile of paper towels or directly into a proper waste management receptacle. Pouring liquid directly down the drain in the sink is not recommended. For solid concentrates, apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton swap and scrub away all residue. Soak the tank in rubbing alcohol and water for up to an hour before wiping down the inside with a cotton swab and left to dry on the paper towels.

How to Clean the Battery

(Materials needed: Rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs, water)

As mentioned before, the battery is the most potentially dangerous part of the vape pen, and should be cleaned with care. In most cases, the battery needs a gentle cleaning on the exterior with cotton swabs. Make sure the connector (where the battery threads and connects to the atomizer) is free of any residue, as this can obstruct the flow of electricity to the atomizer.

Important note:

Never submerge your battery in liquid. The battery should be cleaned externally and never soaked. Submerging or soaking your battery could result in a dangerous situation.

Step 4: Allow Your Vape Pen to Dry

To ensure you don’t get any “off” flavors or the essence of rubbing alcohol in your vape pen, give your vape pen enough time to fully dry. If you want to accelerate the drying process, you can use paper towels or cloth to wipe off any visible droplets. Once your equipment is fully dry, it is safe to refill your tank or insert a new cartridge, reassemble the individual components, and vape your products.

Step 5: Maintain a Regular Cleaning Schedule

Even if you only vape occasionally, you should clean your vape pen at least once a week. Depending on the amount of vaping you do, you may need to clean your equipment more frequently. A good rule of thumb is to clean your equipment as soon as you see any residue on the exterior of your vape pen, or whenever your vape has an irregular, “off” taste.

Learn More About Cannabis Products:

For more information on vape pens, concentrates, and high-quality cannabis products, check out our Resource Center. Become a Happy Valley Insider for exclusive deals and updates, and be sure to download the Happy Valley Insider App for even more tools to assist you with your experience.

Unsure of how to clean a vape pen? Find out the step-by-step process you need to take to properly clean, sanitize, and prepare your vape pen for safe use.

How To Clean Your Pen Vaporizer (6 Easy Steps + Photos)

Want to know a secret?

Here’s one of the best-kept secrets to getting that pure and flavorful vapor each and every time: keep your pen vaporizer clean and well maintained.

In fact,

the quality of vapor you get does not always depend on the type of vaping material you use.

But if spending more time to clean your pen vaporizer might be too much for you, don’t worry, as pen-style vapes are always the easiest to handle because of their small and lightweight design.

Why Cleaning and Maintenance Still Matters

We may not need to state the obvious, but highlighting the importance of cleaning your favorite vape pen will constantly remind you that you’re not just using the device for your own pleasure.

As what American comedienne Whoopi Goldberg says about her favorite pen: “…her name is Sippy. Yes, she’s a she. And yes, I named her Sippy because I take tiny, little sips — sassy sips, even — from her.”

In other words:

owning a pen is like having a flourishing relationship with it. If it gives you the highs, the joys, and that euphoric feeling every time you use it, then in return, take care of it, so it’ll stay with you for a very long time.

Then come the issues of health and safety.

That sticky residue that eventually builds up inside the herb chamber or cartridge must be removed to clear the pathway and at the same time, make sure that the vapor you inhale stays clean, pure and healthy.

Also, a clogged heating element could compromise your device’s performance and might also render the vaporizer unsafe for vaping.

Also, don’t forget the warranty, of course. Taking extra care of each part of the pen will make sure that any defect or malfunction you experience will be covered by the terms and conditions of the warranty.

Here are some of the best practices we’ve gathered when it comes to keeping your pen vaporizer optimally functioning and looking shiny and new.

Before Cleaning: Get to Know Your Vape Pen

Different vape pens call for different ways to clean them.

Does your device purely vaporize herbs or oil and wax perhaps? So, each function requires a different design, and therefore, different ways to clean.

Also, knowing the parts of your vaporizer pen helps you to disassemble it before cleaning it.

A typical vape pen, Atmos Raw being one good example, comes in three parts: the battery, ceramic heating chamber, and mouthpiece.

Without the oil attachment, you can use the Atmos Raw with any kind of ground herbs you like.

Let’s take a closer look at the parts of your vaporizer pen and get to know how to take care of each component.

Proper Care for Each Component

Although you use your vape pen as one device, cleaning it means disassembling the parts to make sure more surface area is cleaned in the process, removing unwanted dirt and residue that might affect the performance of your vaporizer.

Here are the main parts of a typical vape pen, and some tips on taking good care of each component.

The Battery

When unboxing your device for initial use, make sure you avoid draining the battery power completely before even initially charging it.

And at least once a week, inspect the head of the battery just in case small particles or thin films of leaked concentrates touch the head.

Oil Cartridge or Herb Chamber

Most herbal vaporizer pens use a heating coil inside the herb chamber to vaporize your dry, ground materials.

Because this is the most sensitive part of the chamber, avoid poking it with sharp metallic objects to prevent damage to the coil. You may use a cotton swab or the cleaning tool that comes with the kit (if available) to reach out for clogged particles inside the chamber.

You use rubbing alcohol to wipe the outer part of the chamber or cartridge, but we don’t recommend using it to clean the inside part.

The same care and maintenance are applicable for oil cartridges, only that you can’t use any liquid such as water or alcohol to shake the interior of the tank as they will be tough to remove later on.

If you use a vaporizer with a clear tank for concentrates, keep your cartridge (or the entire device) away from direct sunlight to keep the material inside the tank fresh and potent.


This part may be the easiest to clean, but it also attracts most of the residues next to the heating chamber or cartridge because it serves as the vapor pathway. Simply use a soft cotton cloth or cotton swab to wipe any dirt.

For deeper cleaning, you may also use rubbing alcohol (but check the manual first) or soak your mouthpiece in isopropyl alcohol for about 20-30 minutes, followed by rinsing it with hot water.

Cleaning A Dry Herb Pen Vaporizer

Although vaporizing ground herbs can be quite a bit messy, cleaning the pen vaporizer after use is the easiest to do. There’s less sticky residue that is otherwise very much common with concentrate vaporizers.

To clean your pen vaporizer after use follows these steps:

#1: unscrew the heating chamber and empty it out by tapping the contents out gently into a trash bin.

#2: With the use of a cleaning brush (which usually comes with the product when you buy one), remove dry particles from the chamber and the screen. Of course, never use water to clean these parts as the device comes with compact wirings inside.

#3: Wipe the outside part with a cotton cloth and also clean the mouthpiece with running water.

#4: Once done, screw the chamber connector to the heating chamber.

#5: After screwing the pieces back together, press the same micro button five to six times in quick succession to turn the device on.

In all, cleaning the dry herb vape pen is indeed simple and easy.

Cleaning Wax Or Oil Pen Vaporizers

Wax and oil pen vapes are the hardest to clean because of the rather sticky residues. But once you get the process right, it all becomes easy when you do it regularly.

Now, the design varies per brand and model, but these types of vapes share similar parts that also share the same functions.

To clean the wax or oil vape follows these steps:

#1: Open the chamber and separate the mouthpiece as well.

#2: Then use a Q-tip, dab tool (if it comes with the vaporizer), or a cotton bud dipped in isopropyl alcohol, rub the rim and the inner lining of the chamber and the mouthpiece. You’ll notice the dark residue sticking to the Q-tip or cotton bud.

#3: Repeat the same process until no residue is visible as you clean. Make sure not to put too much pressure on the heating coil as this is the most sensitive part of the vape. Once you damage it, the entire pen vaporizer becomes useless.

#4: Once done, screw the chamber connector to the heating chamber.

#5: After screwing the pieces back together, press the same micro button five to six times in quick succession to turn the device on.

#6: You are now ready to use your clean vape again!

Bonus: Cleaning Tips

To make the cleaning process quick and easy, make sure the vape is warm as higher temps help loosen the residue easily from the vaporizer.

Then again, avoid using water or drops of rubbing alcohol as an excess liquid may seep into the circuitry of the vaporizer.

The mouthpiece, however, can be cleaned using running water or a generous swab of cotton with rubbing alcohol.

For users of Atmos Raw with oil attachment, separate the oil attachment first from the heating chamber and clean the outer part with soft, damp cloth.

Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, remove any visible residues from both ends of the attachment.

Do you have cleaning tips and tricks that you find more interesting? Feel free to comment below.

Taking good care of your pen vaporizer shouldn't be hard. Read our ultimate guide how to clean your pen vaporizer in 6 easy steps. ]]>