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How to clean your vaporizer

About as fun as cleaning an oven with nothing but elbow grease
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Ah, the humble vaporizer. Actually, it’s not all that humble. It boasts its ability to provide the perfect flavor profile and optimal high. It lures ‘connoisseurs’ with its various temperature settings, Bluetooth connectivity, and companion apps that further tunes its intricacies. No, the vaporizer is not humble or simple; it’s perhaps one of the most complicated cannabis delivery systems available. One could argue that it has more in common with an oven than a bong or pipe – after all, it does contain a small ceramic oven. 

Like an oven, it gets caked in sticky black stuff that can interfere with its function and impart undesirable flavors. But, unlike any modern oven you’re likely to find in your kitchen, vape manufacturers have yet to develop any form of self-cleaning, meaning they are a pain in the ass to keep clean. Unlike most cannabis accessories, vaporizers are crammed full of electronics making the typical ‘dunk it in cleaner and let sit’ approach impractical, potentially dangerous, and definitely wallet lightening. With that said, it is possible to keep them clean, and, with more frequent cleaning, it becomes much easier.

What you’ll need:

  • Cotton swabs
  • Bong cleaner or Isopropyl alcohol
  • A small bowl
  • Paper Towels

Before we begin, there are a few important notes about the cleaning solution used. Most vaporizer manufacturers recommend isopropyl alcohol for cleaning. Some even include a handful of alcohol wipes with the product. In this case, we’ll be cleaning a Davinci IQ2, and we’ve had great success using bong cleaner, but not just any bong cleaner is safe to use. Some bong cleaners can cause damage to certain parts of the vaporizer, particularly the ceramic oven. If you stray from the manufacturer’s recommendations, make sure you use a safe product on ceramics. You should also thoroughly explore your device’s warranty to ensure that whatever method you use to clean doesn’t void the warranty should anything go wrong.

With that out of the way, we can start removing all the removable parts of our vaporizer. The pearl, vape path, and mouthpiece are typically removable and safe to soak in our cleaning solution.

Once we’ve removed the small parts, we can fill our small bowl with the cleaning solution and leave these parts to soak while we focus on cleaning the rest of the device. Remember, safety first; put on your gloves.

At first glance, it would seem that the only area of the vaporizer that needs a good cleaning is the oven. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The entire vapor pathway can end up clogged with resin, as evident by the small chunks stuck to the base of the mouthpiece. We will have to start somewhere, though, and since the oven requires the brunt of the cleaning, we will begin here.

You’ll need a lot of cotton swabs for this job. Since we don’t have the luxury of soaking the oven in a cleaner, we’ll have to dip our cotton swabs in our bowl of solution and manually scrub the oven clean. Your swabs will get caked up pretty quickly depending on how long you’ve waited between cleanings. But, we must press on and keep dipping and swapping out our dirty swabs until the oven looks new again. It should be obvious, but do not use metallic objects to scrape away at the ceramic oven, the cleaning process takes time, and there are no shortcuts. Metal scrapers will leave you with a scratched oven and a voided warranty.

Look at those pearly whites...that pearly white...the oven is clean.

Now we can turn our attention to the vapor path. For this, you’ll want to give your cotton swab a good soak and gently insert it into the hole. The bulk of the resin collects at the bottom, so you’ll want to swirl the swab around to pick up as much of the sticky mess as possible. You’ll need to repeat this process until your swab comes out clean.

If you notice that the holes that allow air to be drawn through the oven are blocked, you can give it a good blow from the mouthpiece side. The leftover cleaner from all of your scrubbing should have loosened up the blockage. You’ll want to aim the base at a piece of paper towel to avoid making a mess.

You can take a couple of cotton swabs and wipe the base and mouthpiece area down, as well as clean out any remnants in the oven that have made their way over from your excessive blowing.

Now you can remove the pearl, mouthpiece, and vape path from the bowl of cleanser and give them a thorough rinse under warm water. Allow them to dry before re-assembling.

We now have a small problem. Like our pipes, we don’t want to inhale any left-over cleaner, but unlike pipes, we can’t rinse our vaporizer. You’ll want to power on your vape and let it get up to temperature before loading any product into the oven. This will allow any leftover cleaner to burn off safely. 

Not all accessories are the same; for more cleaning tips and to keep all your peripherals looking new, catch up on our series below

How to clean your bong
How to clean your pipes
How to clean your grinder